Leicester v Newcastle FA Cup 3rd Round
Leicester 1 Newcastle 0 Saturday 3 January 3pm
Well where do we start…
The day started ok with a swift 3 hour drive to the hotel I was staying in on the outskirts of Leicester, on arrival it was clear that the hotel had a large party of other guests from Newcastle who had stayed the Friday night, namely the Newcastle United squad!
A quick check-in and into the reception bar for drinks, the plan being a taxi to any bar near the ground. However, with the team being there I wondered if an opportunity existed for a word with any of the team (Peter Beardsley went to my school so I thought I could use that).
However, hotel security was in place so I settled on watching to see who was there rather than make a plonker of myself.
First through were the coaching staff and I could not resist loudly asking John Carver the following question from a few feet away, ‘I hope we are picking a team to win today?’ He did reply with what I thought was a, “yes of course”, maybe I misheard.
Over the next 5 minutes the players filed through and signed a few autographs for a few very young kids.
Hold on, who is that? Went through my head a few times, then the penny dropped, no sign of Coloccini, nor was there any Moussa Sissoko, no Janmaat either, Ayoze Perez, where is he?
Oh look here come Tiote and Anita so we should be ok, more about them later!
The cynic in me thought about Newcastle United not wanting to cup-tie players in the event of outgoing transfers, but hang on John Carver just said we were going to win, so that really could not be the case ….could it?
The bus departs and our taxi arrives, the friendly knowledgeable driver took us to an excellent pre-match drinking den within a minute’s walk of the ground, the strangely named Symphony Rooms!
Despite the venue looking like it was an Indian wedding reception venue, the beer and service was excellent, The large proportion of Newcastle fans suggesting that the away following was larger than I expected.
Texts came in confirming the team and lots of changes had been made, despite this I still thought we would be ok, except the lack of substance on the bench did worry me a bit, oh and where was Jack Colback, he had walked past me 20 mins earlier!
Into the ground and my initial thoughts were right, Newcastle did indeed have a huge following, of course the £13 a ticket helped but does this club deserve it? Not on your life! Such was the size of the away support that it went behind the goal and into an area normally reserved for home fans.
The match, well it’s hard to report on such a non-event, lining up 4-3-3 I thought we were the better of two poor teams for the first half hour, and our one piece of good football was rewarded with an excellent finish by Cabella and then further rewarded with a late flag from the linesman!
From our end we couldn’t see.
Normally texts then come in with either robbed or not robbed etc, but no live TV or illegal broadcasts meant an air of radio silence, the fact the linesman was proved to be subsequently wrong is annoying as what followed bordered on the cynical side of comical.
Within a few minutes the Leicester fans were further celebrating when a forceful cross bounced off the head of Leanardo Ulloa, flashed over Jak Alnwic,k hit the bar, and for a fraction of a second I thought we had survived …..wrong!
Half time came and went and I thought I would be reporting on a new found vigour and an intent to pour forward and save our season, but nothing, really nothing. Jak Alnwick was forced into save after save as Leicester threatened to run riot, one free-kick apart we did not have a single shot on goal.
Off the field things were turning a little nasty, as mass chants of attack attack attack were ignored as Newcastle United exited the FA cup with barely a whimper, anger turned from one player to the next and finally the coaching staff.
On full time it was clear the players were scared to come and applaud the magnificent travelling support, slightly unfair on one or two players such as Callum Roberts, but some of the rest deserved the huge venom directed at them.
John Carver then arrogantly took the initiative by coming as close as he dared, but he was rightly roundly abused to such an extent that he looked visibly shocked! What did he expect?
John Carver is surrounded by Newcastle people who allegedly know what we want, The legend that is Peter Beardsley, legend as a player but one who defends Mike Ashley at talk-ins! And also Steve Stone, an above average player who got a couple of England caps, is he a qualified coach?
I find it hard to slag off people from my own city, but these three need to get their act together now before the abuse that was evident at Leicester returns to the home matches.
A word about the players and in particular Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiotie, two of the more experienced players picked for the shambles, both appalling, totally appalling – Cheick Tiote is more of a threat to us than the opposition. I have defended Anita often, his background suggests he is a good player, totally appalling performance, failing to trap the simplest of passes and constantly either losing the ball or giving it away.
As for the rest, well apart from Cabella who at least tried to find a way through, or possibly Vukic who at least was strong enough to hold the ball, the rest of the STARTING line-up can hang their collective heads in shame, shocking and embarrassing and Brighton all over again.
The anger that was felt at full-time dissipated outside the ground as the masses seemed to reach a a sense of resignation.
The fact a decent night out in Leicester followed did little to appease me, quite a few Newcastle fans had stayed over and most I spoke to were of the same opinion.
So where next – Chelsea, a team sniffing out revenge……. can it get worse?
One final word.
In a matter of 17 days Newcastle United have managed to take our fans from the brink of real hope to total despair, and for the first time in 45 years I am considering taking the hard walk away. Football is not fun anymore and Mike Ashley is killing our club, he is a nasty cynical evil tyrant, not liked and definitely not wanted, and I can’t find the words to express what I am feeling toward him.
Team: Alnwick, Santon (Satka 59), Williamson, Dummett, Haidara, Tiote, Anita, Vuckic (Roberts 79), Cabella, Riviere
Unused Subs: Alnwick, Anita, Armstrong, Riviere
Ref: Lee Mason
Crowd: 23,212 (4,319 Newcastle)