After yesterday’s article by Jane Clark, which gave what I thought was a decent critique of the Newcastle defence in the wake of Manchester City away, I went into nostalgia mode.

It happens every time we hit a grim and depressing patch (so semi-frequently then) where I and I’m sure other fans, look at seasons gone by and think of how good things were.

Moments of brilliance, games that made you delirious walking back to the bars on a Saturday afternoon, or away from the pub after spending a good 90 minutes with your mates. Genuine matches that you remember what was going on in your life because the football made things seem all that much better. Monday mornings were easier knowing you had enjoyed the weekend- a feel good spirit bouncing into work, win, lose or draw, knowing you’d enjoyed what had happened only hours before. Football does that.

(To feature like Paul, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

We all know that we aren’t going to win the league, Champions League qualification an unrealistic target and the Europa League as something to aim for, which we might not achieve, but we can have a right good go at. In and around this are the cups, two competitions that offer an ‘easier’ option than getting any other silverware, even if you class ‘silverware’ as a Europa League spot (I don’t, but it would be a wonderful achievement, as it was in 2012).

At Newcastle we do none of this. That’s not how we roll here. There is plenty pessimism on this site, much deserved because we have an owner running the club with an appalling attitude to football, but a great one for personal wealth. After all, if someone gives you £70m+ with a no strings attached contract to provide a service for it, you’d do the same if you had no emotional connection to the service you’re providing.

Against Manchester City we had a bad match with which to compare the service provided by the two teams. One club has a bad game in every 10, the other has a good game in every 10. The match was always going to be one sided (Jesus Navas and Wilfried Bony cost more than the whole Newcastle United squad and they were on the bench).

Breaking the squad down in no particular order, I’d like to use Jane’s article and my bout of nostalgia to compare squads, Newcastle United squads of 2015 and 2002.

Take Krul, the equal of Shay Given? I think so.

How about Cisse? Alan Shearer maybe? Give him service and he’ll score. Cisse has 10 goals and has been used sparingly.

Jack Colback for Gary Speed? Tough tackling, great engine and chips in with a few goals. You can say that about both.

Perez reads Craig Bellamy. Doesn’t score as often as the main striker, but causes problems and makes pacey, tricky runs.

Sissoko and Kieron Dyer- Not like for like, but their inclusion in the sides make a difference and cause havoc for the opposition.

The next two are merely comparisons. Take Cabella and Obertan with their limitations. And then remember Solano and Robert.

The sight of two balanced wingers in the side always pleases me and with these two, we make up a good solid seven players to make up the starting eleven. Then we come on to the defence.

Are our much maligned back four (Janmaat, Colo, Williamson and Haidara) really worse than Hughes, Dabizas, O’Brien and Elliott? The simple answer is, they are not. They are at least the equal of Calamity Defending 2002.

The difference? In 2002 we were set up for Shearer, Bellamy, Robert etc, to pull us out of the clarts. And they did. Often. And mixed it in the cups. And qualified for the Champions League. And entertained the 50k that turned up. Even if the result wasn’t always what we wanted.

And now?

  • Conman

    Good effort Paul but I lost it when you almost matched shearer with cisse. Not a chance.

  • Paul Patterson

    Conman  Oh I fully agree, but Cisse has scored 10 goals this season from limited starts and service that can be best described as infrequent.
    I wouldn’t normally use his name in the same breath as Alans, but goals win prizes.

  • Paul Patterson

    Conman  Also a quick glance at the top goalscorers list shows Cisse has the same goals as Van Persie, and more than Silva, Hazard and Rooney.
    Bony (Who came on against us on Saturday) has LESS than Cisse and he cost £25m.

  • dont believe the hype

    Cisse vs Shearer
    You’ve been drinking too much nostalgia mate.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Barmy statement regarding Cisse. We all have to wonder how we would fare in a like minded and equipped side.
    You closed the article well though and that’s really all the sane of us hope for once again, isn’t it?

  • Brownale69

    Shearer was a leader and an example to all around him. We havnt got that in the team.

  • Paul Patterson

    Sickandtiredstill  Alan was (And still is) my favourite Newcastle player, but 10 goals, in February, in a poor, uncreative side is decent enough.

  • GaryRobertPotter

    Paul Patterson Conman It’s a fair point regarding Cisse. His goals this season have almost gone unnoticed. Incidentally though Hazard and Silva, brilliant players indeed, are midfielders.

  • Paul Patterson

    1957  And lets not forget the owner.

  • Paul Patterson

    GaryRobertPotter Paul Patterson Conman  True. Midfielders at top clubs score more than strikers at lesser clubs these days. I would like a striker of ours to get more than top midfielders. If we could get one that scores the same as Frank Lampard in his prime we’d be laughing.

  • mentalman

    The owner who didn’t pay for players, didnt strengthen the squad when it needed it, gave players ridiculous contracts, took out huge loans against everything he could, abolished the youth system and scouting system and leave us in a position which was attractive for a fat billionaire to take advantage of

  • Heaton Mick

    I’d agree there’s not that much of a difference if you looks at the teams on a man-for-man basis, but there there are many more things to consider.

    Biggest thing is that we had a proper manager. Perhaps the most salient head-to-head comparison should be Sir Bobby vs John Carver- a much bigger gap in abilities than any of the players.
    Also the riches available to a lot of the other clubs around us mean the same ability of player now makes you mid-table. 
    In 2002 there was only Man Utd that spent the type of money to attract the real cream of foreign players (even Arsenal & Chelsea were mainly buying big names on the way down)
    Nowadays the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea & City can outbid any other club. Even Southampton have a rich owner!

    And we’re left buying middle of the road Frenchman nearing the end of contracts!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    mentalman  A fat Billionaire who could see another fortune to be made. We couldn’t have been in as bad a shape as you are trying to make out then?

  • Hez

    Is this a bit tongue in cheek or have I read it wrong? Your saying that these are equal in terms of ability etc Shearer/ Cisse (no chance) Perez/ Bellamy (no chance) Colback/ Speed (no chance) Cabella and Obertan/ Solano and Robert (no chance).

  • alreet

    The main thing that hasnt been compared is the manager. So besides a few odd ones here and there but neither pardew nor carver will ever hit the heights that the grand master took us to all them years ago.

  • alreet

    We do have one of the youngest squads in the league and i can see us turning into villa soon.
    We need a loud mouth in the dressing room and a majestic roar on the pitch. No one shouts anymore besides krul on occasion.

  • mentalman

    He saw a cheap way into the premier league, if we’d been financially sound he wouldn’t have come near us.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    mentalman He had the opportunity to buy a club, in the PL, with the third largest gates in the country and a whole lot more people prepared to buy merchandise.
    Just so happens that came around at the very time he became a cash Billionaire thanks to SD floating on the stock market.
    No other club of our size or with our fan base was for sale.
    His sole aim was nothing to do with football or NUFC. It was SD, football retailing and advertising.