Hysteria – ‘Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement’.
The last 24 hours or so has brought an embarrassing reaction from so many Newcastle fans.
The injury suffered by Rob Elliot is a blow but with hysteria gripping the fanbase it has been badly blown out of all proportion.
The way some/many supporters have been going on, you would think that two things were happening.
Firstly, that Newcastle were losing a superstar who would be capable of single-handedly keeping the team up and…
Secondly, the club had thought the right response was to bring out of retirement Kath the tea lady and ask her to go in nets for the remaining eight matches.
I agree that up against what is admittedly a very poor set of alternatives, Rob Elliot could well be seen as Newcastle’s player of the season already, though personally I think Chancel Mbemba has shaded it from him, with the rest nowhere.
However, whilst he has done well in difficult circumstances, I don’t think Elliot is really that good.
Yes I agree that those in front of him have been mainly worse than useless and he has made some canny saves BUT I do think a really good goalkeeper (Shay Given…or even maybe Tim Krul in 2011/12 form) would have saved a fair few of those that have gone in.
Rob Elliot has conceded 37 goals in 21 Premier League matches this season and one more in the FA Cup at Watford.
He has made a lot of saves but I do think his lack of mobility and agility (compared to a Shay Given or the other top keepers who are around now) leaves him well short of the superstar status so many Newcastle fans are bestowing on him.
Yes I think it would have been much better to have had him available for this relegation run-in but there is really no need for the extra level of doom and gloom that came with the news of Elliot’s injury. It is a personal tragedy for him at both club and country level and naturally we all sympathise with him and wish him a speedy recovery – but missing him doesn’t automatically equate to less chance of survival.
In his 22 matches this season, Rob Elliot only kept four clean sheets, with scoring goals being such a problem it didn’t exactly point to many points coming Newcastle’s way if this season’s form continued at both ends of the pitch.
It might set off another bout of hysteria but I would suggest that Karl Darlow going in goal might even have increased Newcastle’s chances of staying up…
Looking at this season, Tim Krul conceded 17 goals in his eight PL matches, plus also the goal that saw United knocked out of the League Cup by Sheffield Wednesday reserves.
In contrast, Karl Darlow has conceded one goal in open play from three hours of first team football for Newcastle this season – the 1-0 defeat away at West Brom, plus the 4-1 League Cup win against Northampton when Tiote gave away a stupid penalty.
The doom and gloom/hysteria all appears to stem from that one game and goal against West Brom, quite bizarre.
I have even seen pathetic polls asking whether Freddie Woodman or Karl Darlow should start against Norwich…
What is worse is that at least one of them had the votes roughly 50/50, why would anybody think it is a good idea to throw in somebody who only turned 19 this month and hasn’t got a single minute of first team football above League Two level?
I have no doubt Freddie Woodman has every chance of making it to the top but if people are going to so aggressively consider Karl Darlow’s supposed shortcomings, then you do have to also consider the fact that on loan at League Two Crawley, Woodman conceded 22 goals in his 12 appearances.
Crawley’s defence may well be rubbish and it doesn’t mean he is a bad keeper but it doesn’t suggest either though that he is the perfect option to come in at this stage of his career.
On the other hand, Karl Darlow is 25 and has three years of solid Championship football under his belt before finally making his move to Tyneside after last season on loan.
He has played well over 100 Championship matches and it is a totally different circumstance to when Jak Alnwick was given an impossible task – he was only 21 and didn’t have a single minute of league football behind him, only to then have to step into the Premier League bearpit.
To condemn him for one match where admittedly he looked to lack confidence and should have stopped Fletcher’s winner, is plainly ridiculous.
It doesn’t/shouldn’t need saying but we all just need to get behind Karl Darlow (and is team-mates) for the next six weeks.
Darlow was thrown into that West Brom match and knew whatever happened that Rob Elliot would get his place back for the next game.
This time Karl Darlow knows he has these eight matches to make his mark and has no need to worry about making a single mistake and ending up out of the team.
All we need to do is take the medicine, quieten the hysteria, and save our emotions for backing the Newcastle goalkeeper and the rest of the team on matchdays.