The Three Players Crucial To Newcastle United’s Season
Love or hate derby matches, what’s Joe Kinnear’s job, Alan Pardew, favourite derby goals and matches, what’s the state of Newcastle United?
In a new fetaure, we have asked some of our regular contributors to answer a few questions and first up Mag columnist, Horsey.
Is Alan Pardew part of the problem or part of the solution?
Excellent question. He divides opinion and those opinions change of a weekly basis among my friends and that seems the same on the social media sites. I haven’t seen much in the last couple of weeks on The Mag website calling for his head but that will change with one result. You could argue if he had any pride he would walk like Keegan did as at least he had some principles. But equally we could argue if Keegan had stayed and shown what he could or couldn’t do with the hand he was dealt from above, then we may have had a bit more respect for him. After all, he could point to the people above him not supporting him. I get the feeling Pardew is trying to do that. Until we can realistically get anyone better through the door (and who the hell would that be?) then it’s rock and hard place time. I don’t know Pardew’s personal circumstances as to why he would want to put himself through the mire currently. The game and result on Sunday might change all of that mind!!
Which three players are crucial to Newcastle’s season?
All teams need a goalscorer so Remy is proving to be our main man at the minute. However, we need to get Cisse firing as reliance on one man is not a good scenario to be in, given the potential for injury, suspension or the police knocking on the door. I don’t go for all this nonsense about Cisse being offside too much, that’s down to others not seeing his run quick enough and holding the ball too long. He fought for the team on his own up front for much of last season. He just needs a chance to lash one in without having to think about it too much to get back on track, a last minute winner on Sunday would do me just fine.
Krul is vital to us and can be the difference between earning a difficult point and losing badly (although I know we still do lose badly too frequently as it is). A settled back four would certainly be helpful in that respect but he’s a man with potential to be a great and I hope he does that here and not somewhere else.
An in form Cabaye who wants to be at Newcastle is a no brainer. He was terrible last year but is looking more like the Cabaye we know and love at the minute. He is the spark to our attacking play and scores goals of great quality to help the forwards out. My only concern is the January transfer window as he’s already shown he’ll be off given the opportunity and a faltering NUFC isn’t going to persuade him to stay.
What do you think of the state of Newcastle United on the pitch this season?
I’ve seen worse (a lot worse) but we are typical Newcastle at the moment, totally unpredictable. You just don’t know whether we’re going to see the team fighting for each other and taking the game to the opposition, or just going through the motions and maybe putting a little bit of effort in for 45 minutes. We need to get back to putting it in for 90+ minutes every game, no excuses. We can carry one, maybe two, players under-performing but not half the team. The potential is there but without the desire, effort and application then potential is all it is. We need some leaders of men on the pitch and I don’t really see too many of them at the moment, especially when the chips are down. I’d love to see someone just take control on the pitch to gee the players up but I don’t think we’ve had anyone like that since Nolan and Barton left. Maybe it’s the too many foreigners thing, I don’t know?
What do you think of the state of NUFC off the pitch at the moment?
I worry that the attitude of Mike Ashley to survive on a shoestring is going to set us back years. It’s all very well having ideas to feed fans hotdogs at their seats at half-time but how much revenue does that bring in? Commercially we are a million miles behind most other clubs. The reality is that being well supported, while giving us huge pride that we still turn up despite wondering why we bother sometimes, does not bring in the finances that others are bringing in. The whereabouts of the huge TV deal that we so badly craved to hang onto by surviving relegation last time round seems to have disappeared, anyone know where it’s gone? On a personal level the disbanding of the singing section was the worst thing that has happened in terms of the match atmosphere, it’s terrible at the minute. It seemed Mr Ashley didn’t like the nasty songs about his running of the club so he picked up his ball and went home.
What three separate words would you use to describe a derby match?
Unbearable, Edgy, Euphoric (depending on how they go on the day)
Which is your favourite derby goal?
Liam O’Brien in the 1-1 draw down there. I’d been several times to Joker and suffered nil nil draws so this was the first goal I actually got to celebrate. The free-kick the year after was up there but this one came from a similar distance from open play and rescued a point near the end of the game. To say the 5000+ Mags behind that goal went absolutely mental would be a huge understatement.
If I could have two then I’d say O’Brien’s free-kick , I’ve got a signed photo of that goal hanging in the netty!! Love that man!!
Favourite derby match and why?
So many to choose from for a variety of reasons. I’ll go for the 5-1 as it’s not often you can actually enjoy a derby game for more than the last 30 seconds before the ref blows the final whistle. This one was enjoyable from the moment Nolan stuck the first one in.
Sunderland in same division and derby matches, or the mackems relegated to the Conference?
Relegated to the conference. The games are just not enjoyable until you know you’ve won.
What job do you think Mike Ashley has hired Joe Kinnear to do?
Get the beers in at half-time?? I have no idea and he probably doesn’t either.
As things stand now, what needs to happen in the January transfer window?
A centre half who knows what they are doing, a centre forward that can give us 20 goals a season and probably a creative midfielder to replace Cabaye when he does one!! I can only see Cabaye leaving, and not the quality players in the positions mentioned coming in, as we won’t pay the going rate. We could unearth a bargain but it’s a continual gamble with that approach.
Hand on heart, where do you think United will finish this season?
Our unpredictability is the only predictable thing about NUFC. We could finish comfortably top half if the team played as a team for 90+ minutes every week. However, we can equally capitulate in a heartbeat so I’d take 10th now if you offered it to me but I’ll be happy to finish anywhere away from the relegation dogfight!! Those who know me understand I’m a pessimist, I like to think I’m a realist in some respects.
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