'Half-Term Report'
By Davey Brown
Wednesday 11 May 2011 09:19:00
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Before I start, I'd like to say a big thank you to Chris Hughton for everything he did for Newcastle United. Good luck in the future and you'll always have a place in Geordie folklore for bringing us back from the dead, unifying the players, winning promotion at the first attempt and of course, beating the mackems 5-1.

 

So, we've had a decent first half of the season back where we belong in the Premier League. At the time of writing, the transfer window is about halfway through. The signing of Ben Arfa was welcome news as he is a class act. I think he will come back even better than before and will be raring to go. Credit where it's due to Ashley for making Ben Arfa a permanent signing.  We could still do with 2 or 3 more new players Mike so come on, get your hand in your pockets!

 

At long last, it seems the Carroll saga has been closed with both the player and Harry Redknapp saying he's not going to Tottenham. There were rumours that £30-40million was the price they would pay for his services. That's crazy money for any player, but it shows how far Carroll has come in a relatively short space of time if he's being valued so highly. I don't think these transfer rumours and/or the price on his head will have unsettled Big Andy as he comes across as a level-headed lad who takes everything in his stride, so once he's back it should be business as usual from him. I don't know if the Spurs game will come too soon for his return but wouldn't it be ironic (and funny) if he played against them and scored?

 

Along with the rest of the Toon Army, I am hoping we can bring a couple of new players in this month. We have the basis of a good squad but it needs reinforcements to cover for injuries or suspensions. As expected, every footballer who ever laced up a pair of boots is being linked with every team in the land. Robbie Keane, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, Messi, Ronaldo, Pele and some kid who plays for Heaton Buffs; they're all coming to the Toon! Seriously though, we could do with cover at left-back, another good midfielder and a strike partner for Carroll. I wasn't impressed by Pardew's comments today (17/1) about 're-thinking' his transfer targets after Best's hat-trick against West Ham and Shola's recent form. Best has got to be banging in 15-20 goals a season before he can be classed as 'the answer' and Shola's 'recent form' is the same as Shola's previous form. Shite! I hope Best does come good but he still looks a little bit off the Premiership pace. We can't afford any passengers. 

 

We're sitting quite comfortably in 9th place the day after the draw over at the Stadium of Ikea. But with the Premier League being so unpredictable this season, what's stopping us moving up a few more places? Stoke, Bolton and the cheesy chips brigade are all, surprisingly, in the top eight. With the right additions to the squad, we could rise above any of those three if not all of them. If Mike Ashley needs any motivation to buy now, he can take heart from the fact that a higher league finish brings with it a higher cash prize. Music to Mike's ears? Of course it is but only if he takes his head out of his arse and realises the huge potential at this huge club. Maybe I'm getting a bit carried away if I mention us sneaking into Europe this season, but the way this season is going, nothing would surprise me. I'll settle for mid-table consolidation and then build again in the summer with a view to progressing to the next level in 2011/12.

 

So, all in all, apart from a few awful results and performances, it hasn't been a bad return to the big time for the Toon. I'd have taken 9th place at this stage. The time to build and move things forward is now. We're back and while The Entertainers might seem a long, long time ago, the opportunity is there to have another crack at Europe.

 

After a month of the mackems trying to wind us up about Carroll supposedly going to Spurs, isn't it ironic that their very own England 'superstar' has handed in a transfer request. While going to Villa seems to be a step down in terms of current league placings, you've got to wonder why Bent wants out. It's his second transfer request this season so something obviously isn't right. Oh well, haha you SMBs!

 

Although Howard 'The Homer' Webb added 3 hours on at the end of the game, a draw over there wasn't a bad result. Aye, we should have won comfortably, but we never really broke into a sweat and their celebrations at the final whistle proved how desperate they are to beat us. And just when you thought DJ Doubtfire couldn't embarass himself any more, he goes and takes stupidity to a whole new level. After sunderland's humiliation at SJP, he was banging on about the song played at the end of the game, saying 'Newcastle United have no class'. So what does he do? He tells the world that he's got a 'special' song lined up to play after the return game IF they beat us. He told the press (over muted sniggering), that his team 'didn't turn up' last time, they 'froze on the big stage', they were 'boys among men' and basically wrote off his own team as being utter shite. Talk about heaping extra pressure on your team! Well done Brucey, cracking tactics!

 

Did you see the clip of him when he did that little frenzied 'sprint' after they equalised? He looked like a walrus trying to escape from a clown costume. The mackems ripped out their own seats to throw at the Toon fans, hurled vile verbal abuse at our players and staff, TRIED to pump up the pre-match tension with threats of playing a record (!) and pelted coins before, during and after the game. And they said we have no class! Incidentally, I heard a rumour that one of the unwashed threw a pound coin at the away end, then immediately threw a note with 'I want change' written on it.

 

There's a group on Facebook called 'The North East Football Banter Page For Newcastle, sunderland and Middlesbrough'. As you can imagine, it gets a bit lary on there! Before I go, I'd like to share two comments made by mackems on there. These are priceless and if any of them ever wondered why we laugh at them so much, this is part of the reason.

A week before the derby at SJP a mackem came out with this beauty:

 

'Just wait until the 31st cos sunderland are going to show you Geordies that we are the best team on Tyneside'.

 

Then, a couple of weeks ago, another of their finest ambassadors shared this pearl of wisdom with us:

 

The reason sunderland's crowds are so low, is because mackems obviously have better things to do on match days'.

 

I rest my case.



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