There have been a lot of things on the pitch this season that have narked me.
There have been times when I’ve questioned players’ desire, commitment, ability, work rate (I’ll stop there). But one thing that is particularly galling is losing the bliddy toss before kick-off.
Surely it is the basics of any Newcastle United captain to make sure we are shooting towards the Gallowgate End in the 2nd half. Alan Shearer barely lost a toss in 10 years, it seems we’re being turned round every week.
Some might say it shouldn’t matter, and granted, there are games and results in the past that support that. For the memorable comebacks – Arsenal 4-4 and Leicester 4-3, you could also point out that the 5-0 victory over Manchester United began shooting towards the Gallowgate End.
But I’m a traditionalist, I think certain things should be done a certain way. I’ve used the word ‘certain’ twice there, where the very thing I want to happen week in week out is dependent on a game of chance. But the game of football is full of variables, with one certainty, if you score more goals than the opposition then you win the game.
How you achieve that goal can be influenced by many things big and small and I think one of those influences is held in how, as Kevin Keegan described, the Gallowgate End sucks the ball into the net. If this can happen in the second half of matches then surely it increases the chance of winning the game.
Now if you know me, you’ll know I sit in the Gallowgate End and will probably cite this as some sort of reason for bias. Well yes, I suppose it does, but it was stories like KK’s that made the Gallowgate End famous in the first place – that made me and my Dad choose that as our position to view the match from, so it should remain significant to our current incumbent of the armband.
The number of times we’ve swapped ends this season has made me question whether this is by design rather than luck.
Is our captain under instruction in some games, that if we win the toss to swap ends?
Perhaps this would signify a change in emphasis to go for it and attack the opposition early doors. At least this is a nod to the Gallowgate End’s significance but as a supporter I don’t like it. I mean, depending on how your pre-match sup has gone, you may be inclined to leave at half-time thinking the game is over, imagine!
Regardless of which way we shoot, we need to pick up as many points as possible at home in order to stay up. Based on this season’s form can you see us winning all of our home games?
Unfortunately, home form can’t be solely relied on as four wins, five draws and four defeats tells its own inconsistent story. We need results that buck the trend i.e. a couple of away wins and beating the bliddy mackems for a start, that sort of thing.
With Premier League survival hanging in the balance… our fate might well hinge on the toss of a coin.
Howay me bonny lads!!!
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