This weekend’s FA Cup matches took place to a backdrop of what I feel is probably the least interest ever shown by your average Newcastle fan.
I didn’t know who was playing who, didn’t watch any matches or highlights and only found out the fifth round draw some hours afterwards.
I discovered that Sunderland had stumbled through to the fifth round and that Cardiff are through, after an easyish looking tie at Bolton, and have a home game with Wigan which would put them into the sixth round with minimal fuss.
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I look back at that feeble surrender in the third round and I just feel sick, this match proved once and for all that there is no intention whatever the circumstances, where Newcastle will compete for any cup under Ashley. Already with enough points in the league to make staying up a virtual certainty, what possible reason was there for Newcastle not to throw everything at it?
I don’t think Pardew is told who to pick in his Cup teams but I’m damned sure that when he selects his side he has to demonstrate clearly to Ashley that he has done everything in his power to risk Newcastle losing them.
If you recall, Remy was left out against Cardiff as one of seven changes, with Cabaye and Krul picking up mysterious injuries that didn’t stop them playing in the following (Premier League) match. Cabaye allowed to go back to France as well for a break as well…hmmm. If you want to believe that they were really injured that is up to you.
Go back further and Manchester City are at St.James’ Park in the League Cup, Cabaye and Remy left out….
City then faced Championship side Leicester and then a walkover against West Ham, now they are at Wembley against you know who.
Manchester City were there for the taking that night at St.James’ Park, they looked disinterested and we had zero confidence Cisse and zero goals Shola as our main threats!
If Remy and Cabaye had started that match (Cabaye a 67th minute sub but cancelled out by fact they brought Silva on, while Remy didn’t even get on the pitch!) I think it would have doubled our chances of going through. As the 90 minutes finished goalless I think you can guess what the likely result that would have been achieved with Remy & Cabaye involved at kick-off.
Just how close we were, only needing to beat a Championship side and a desperate West Ham side who’d thrown in the towel due to more pressing concerns – and we’d have been at Wembley.
The same with the FA Cup, instead of just deliberating if we’ll finish eighth or ninth in the Premier League, we’d all be thinking of who potentially we’d be getting in the sixth round if we’d overcome the mighty Wigan at St.James’ Park.
Then we have that great unpredictability of the Cup (well everywhere but Newcastle) with Man City/Chelsea and Arsenal/Liverpool really opening up the draw and leaving others to dream.
Ashley is sucking the dreams, ambitions & hopes out of the club with his ‘plans’ on and off the pitch. The Mackems are already at Wembley and I would put good money on yet another Birmingham/Wigan/Portsmouth/Cardiff/similar also getting there in the FA Cup this year.
Once you take hope/dreams away, there isn’t much left.