'Jose Enrique, we're in the top six...'

There is very little can beat a match day when the circus/pantomime rides into town and up to St.James’ Park.

The other week against Liverpool we were spoilt for choice as the pantomime baddies lined up to take the applause…

No two cases are ever the same but it is normally one or both of the following when the ex-player gets stick, something they said or something they did or didn’t do when wearing black & white.

King scouser Kenny gets stick because of the way he tore a very good Newcastle side apart, Enrique because he made clear he wanted to leave and said under Ashley we would never be top six (which we all agreed with at the time…), while Andy Carroll signed a new contract before next minute seemingly happily moving from the team he supported.

Craig Bellamy was a strange case as he initially had a lot of support/sympathy due to his run-ins with manager Souness, this though spiralled into contempt when he got into conflict with Alan Shearer after leaving….only one winner in that contest!

Rather bizarrely, Newcastle United have now seemingly gained a reputation for being bitter towards returning players, previously I have to admit I thought we were a bit soft the other way and gave certain people a far easier time than I reckon fans of other clubs would ever do.

I’ll never forget David Kelly getting a standing ovation at St.James’ Park as he entered the pitch in a mackem strip!

Les Ferdinand, Gary Speed and Rob Lee were given plenty respect after leaving, while Andy Cole had our respect and gratitude…until he celebrated at Wembley and joined in with an abusive song aimed at Kevin Keegan and the Newcastle fans. ‘Thick’ doesn’t quite go far enough.

Geordie boy Lee Clark had some kind of very early mid-life crisis and went to the mackems ( that day I knew that anything was possible in football), yet in later matches for the likes of Fulham I can’t remember him getting what possibly he deserved for such a betrayal, such though was the respect he’d built up while at Newcastle.

Things were more mixed up with our trio of superstars in the eighties with Peter Beardsley coming out of things pretty unscathed, while (Judas!) Waddle and Gazza were perceived as greedy and traitors. All three though probably only guilty of ambition, though Waddle hardly helped himself by talking about how great he was treated while at Spurs and infamously saying dismissively how on the way back from Newcastle’s away trips the coach would stop for fish & chips at Wetherby!

Of our modern day ex-players I probably have most sympathy for Enrique, a class player who always did his best for us and didn’t turn his back when Newcastle were relegated. When he talked about a lack of ambition under Ashley, Enrique was only voicing what most of us were thinking.

The golden rule clearly is; do your best when wearing the shirt AND keep your mouth shut!

Who would you cheer or boo?

desree 5pts

if Mclaren was still here, we'd be down and he would be saying 'judge me in the championship'

TonnekToon 5pts

" Judge me after 10 games " Mctuffty said . Rafa's had 8 and hes' light years ahead .

JohnyH 5pts

Dead right, He's the complete manager, after years and years of dross.

long one
long one 5pts

Rafa does not need to comment he's proved what a real manager can do not a coach that thinks he's a manager like McLaren I test my case p.s Ashley charnley .Carr should go fxcx off to India

JDfollowingNUFC 5pts

Rumour mill is that Rafa was a neighbor of Sir John Hall in Marbella back in the day and Rafa called him when his agent raised it with him when Maclaren was leaving. Sir John gave him a shove in our direction which did the trick (as well as a good sum of money) . Sir John has followed it up by hosting Rafa for dinner since he arrived at the club trying to twist his arm to stay even if we are relegated if Mike Ashley gives him the control he needs/wants to build a legacy for himself. Just what I heard.

wor monga
wor monga 5pts

No incoming manager will comment on a previous coach’s performance or the timing of his departure… it’s an unwritten law…Rafa will have studied the offer made and the facts as they stand such as games left, points needed, squad strengths, morale, support, etc before agreeing to take it on, and what went on before his arrival won’t enter into the equation…

...He’ll base his decisions on this, and so he must think that the task is achievable…even though we all know that the decision to bring him in was made far too late, and the window was the 18 day break!!!

Napam_Enema 5pts

Rafa is a gentleman, he is intelligent and respectful so he was always going to be diplomatic to that sort of question.  I, on the other hand, have none of Rafa's most noble traits and will gladly say that McClaren, like Carver and Pardew before him, is a deluded fool who's false sense of his own abilities has been encouraged by stupid and short sighted commentators.  

disillusioned old man
disillusioned old man 5pts

The only question about McClaren is...Why the hell did we employ him in the first place.

jimblag 5pts

Anita has been a star under Rafa. Keep up the good work little man, you're very appreciated.

ArtyH 5pts

@DownUnderMag @jimblag Totally agree with what you have said, however what I cannot understand is why Shelvey, Gini and Mitro have not played to their usually high standards. It may well be the tactics do not suit them or they are not up to the mark according to Rafa. In any case I trust Rafa to do the best for the team and club, its up to the players to work harder to get recognition from the BOSS. 

If we stay up and Rafa gets what he needs to run the club HIS way I think he could be the man to get the club/fans the success it has long since desired. 

DownUnderMag 5pts

@jimblag the whole team is working hard and working together, Anita yes, but Lascelles, Darlow, Townsend, Mbemba and even a resurgent Tiote have been immense since Rafa took over.  Would love to see us stay up and him get some cash to spend and a licence to clear out the dead wood...would be great to see just how far he could take us - over to you Mr Ashley to back him!