LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER
By Davey Brown
Thursday 24 Feb 2011 11:47:00
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'Welcome to the longest rollercoaster ride in the world, otherwise known as Newcastle United. This season has so far thrown up a lot of ups and downs. The 6-0 battering of Villa which was sweet revenge for the way their fans treated us the day we were relegated, a great win at Everton followed by a surprising but well-deserved triumph at Chelsea in the League Cup, two very disappointing home defeats at the hands of Blackpool and Stoke, a crucial win at West Ham, a big defeat to Arsenal in the cup which was quickly forgotten when we locked horns with and demolished the unwashed from doon the road, then a tremendous victory against all odds at The Emirates, before being brought back down to earth with a bump against a horrible Blackburn team.

 

Nobody could or would have predicted a 5-1 win against the mackems. Derby games are usually tight affairs but we went for the jugular from the start and it paid off in a way we'll never forget. Any big win is enjoyable, but to do that to our biggest rivals is the stuff dreams are made of. And it was made even sweeter by the plank that is Titus Bramble being sent off and his grumpy old woman of a manager spitting his dummy out.

 

So what is it with our beloved Newcastle United? How can we hit heights so great with a demolition of the scum, a fantastic win at Arsenal etc, then fall so drastically from grace with home defeats to the likes of Blackburn? Obviously last season we were playing in a lower level of football, but at home, we swept away most teams and even on off-days, we still managed to scrape out a result. But this season, despite it being the Premier League with classier teams/players, we are struggling badly in games we are expected to win. We played well against Blackpool but despite creating numerous chances, it wasn't our day, Stoke did us with a double sucker-punch and Fat Sam's anti-football tactics paid off for him. 

 

How and why is it going wrong at home? Surely we can't blame the pressure of playing in the Premiership as our victories this season, (apart from sunderland), have more or less all been achieved with us being the underdogs. Are Newcastle players raising their game too much for the 'harder' games and suffering from psychological burnout when the lesser teams come along? Apart from James Perch, none of our players have played badly so we can't blame a lack of form and/or incompetence. The team spirit is undeniable, there is a decent amount of class in our team with all the lads looking like they have risen to the challenge the Premier League offers and despite the Southern media's relentless witch-hunt of Chris Hughton's job, he seems to be capable of holding his own amongst the big boys. Three home defeats at this stage of the season isn't good but we've gained enough points from other games to deter any panic. Having said that, we can't afford too many more slip-ups. We still have Chelsea, Man. Utd, Arsenal and Man. City to come to St James' Park so we need to start winning the 'winnable' games before the top four arrive otherwise it could get messy.

 

I'm a realist and while the victories we've had this season have been great, I'm not getting carried away with dreams of European qualification. It would be nice to get the passports out again, but as our level-headed manager rightly pointed out in August, our aim should be to consolidate our place in the Premiership. Safety first and anything else is a bonus. I'd like the Fat Controller to get his cheque book out in January to supplement the squad. A striker in the mould of Robbie Keane, (who I think could be persuaded to come at least on loan), or, dare I say it, Craig Bellamy? Both of these are quick, good finishers and the type of players who would be able to capitalise on Carroll's flick-ons. And we could do with two decent squad players who could do a job should injuries or suspensions hit us, which, knowing Newcastle United's luck, undoubtedly will.

 

There'll be plenty more twists and turns this season and enough ups and downs to make us dizzy, but that is the way it is when following the Toon. Yes, it's a rollercoaster, but we're used to it



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