Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 18 Match 2017 3pm

We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle:

Paul Lyon:

“From the Newcastle end today I thought the lads on the pitch, though solid enough, didn’t do enough to win the game.

“Same goes for the fans, excellent on the concourse but no way did that transfer to the stands and towards the pitch.

“Point towards promotion? The way we’re playing it’s becoming a long hard slog.”

Ben Cooper:

“This race for the premier league is like watching a man with a broken ankle limp towards A&E and at times just as interesting.

“Luckily we are most of the way there now and most of the limp is over. Deep breath, 4 or 5 big strides and all will be healed.

“We should have won this one but if the last 8 games are played with such defensive ease then our attackers should get enough goals to make it comfortable.

“We never really gave this a good go which is a bit sad and I hope to see a bit more pressure next time.

“We never really looked like winning today despite being much the better team.

“Which wasn’t difficult to be honest, Birmingham were awful.

“Over to Leeds then for a bit of marching on together!”


“A point closer to promotion. 

“Just need Brighton to slip up.

“Two week break but got to up the ante in next two home games.

“Gotta bag max points from those games.”

Leazes Park Ender:

“A point on the road then, on a day when the team selection raised a few eyebrows.

“Some changes enforced but Mbemba overlooked.

“Out on the pitch the linesman has denied us what looked a perfectly good goal in the first half, which is a story of this season – officials in most games are hopeless.

“The two week break gives the players a chance to recharge their batteries and work on the anxiety issue, which is natural as the finish line approaches.

“Huddersfield slipping up won’t give us promotion by default. Yes it’s useful but we have to close this out.

“We’re at the sharp end now.”

Jamie Smith:

“I had a great day out at White Hart Lane a couple of years back as Tim Krul produced an unbeatable performance in goal to mug Spurs.

“Not quite the same extent from Kusczack today but reminiscent as a one man show prevented a side taking a win they thoroughly deserved.

“The point gained may not be the end of the world after Huddersfield’s battering leaves a 7 point cushion that shouldn’t be surrendered given remaining games.

“Be nice to see Brighton drop points too this evening though.”

Toon Bano:

“A frustrating game all round.

“Rafa can’t be criticised for our position in the league but he does hold the reins with his approach.

“We’re scraping over the line.”

Nat Seaton:

“Should have had the three points.

“Credit their keeper for getting them a point.

“One point nearer the Premier League but I’m leaving the Midlands feeling it was two points lost…”

Paul Patterson:

“Pleased to reach an international break to be honest.

“We are starting to look lethargic and one dimensional.”

Jamie Swan

“Looks like we have ran out of a bit of gas towards the end of the season.

“A point away and a clean sheet is no disgrace, but on possession and chances against a team who are on their backside – it’s yet another game we should have won.

“Rafa should have been allowed to make 2-3 quality signings in January to prevent exactly what’s happening here.

“Still heading towards the finishing post in the position we want, only we just seem to have our laces tied together and on a bit of a stagger instead of a swagger.

“On to the next one.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0

Possession was Birmingham  35% Newcastle 65%

Total shots were  Birmingham 9 Newcastle 17

Shots on target were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 3

Corners were  Birmingham 3 Newcastle 5

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Colback, Gouffran (Atsu 82), Perez (Shelvey 78), Murphy (Gayle 63)

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic

Crowd: 19,796 (Newcastle 3,300)

  • Simon Ritter

    Three shots/headers on target from 19 attempts tells me why we didn’t score. A bit of marksmanship practice in the next two weeks might be useful.

    • Jezza

      A new striker in January would have been a lot more useful but of course fatman had other ideas. The chickens are now well and truly coming home to roost from that blank transfer window.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        spot on

      • Marveauxless

        We already have 3 top quality championship strikers priced collectively at £27 million (all of whom were in the matchday squad today) and we’ve signed 12 players this season, more than any of our promotion rivals. To say that we needed extra players in January is an admission that Rafa’s summer signings weren’t good enough. Rafa is the right man for the job but that doesn’t make him infallible.

        • Guilttripjunkie

          We Also have the eighth highest wage bill in English football. This team should be sitting comfortably at the top of the league.

          • Jimblag23

            Yeah money ALWAYS means success, hey villa? Hey Norwich? Hey Man City? Hey Chelsea last year? Hey Man U with LVG & Moyes.
            Rafa is an idiot and any numb skull could have got us to top spot in mid march.
            OBVIOUSLY we’re Newcastle!!!!

          • Scottpaige

            Clueless some people!!!

          • Marveauxless

            The Premier League table correlates very strongly with teams’ respective wage bills, the only major outliers being Sunderland, Bournemouth and Burnley. If money hasn’t resulted in success then it has been invested incredibly poorly (see Sunderland).
            And it’s possible to support and back Rafa without thinking every single thing he does is a work of genius, he isn’t infallible and makes mistakes just like everyone else.

          • Damon Horner

            “Rafa isn’t infallible” – It’s quite obvious because even the most successful managers make mistakes and bad judgements, not sure why you need to keep repeating it?

            My view is a manager and the players should be backed in these moments and only scrutinised if there no signs of repeated errors improving.

          • Guilttripjunkie

            Man City and Chelsea are the two most successful clubs in English football in the past six year and both have spent huge amounts. Man U have also won trophies despite being in a rebuilding phase. The money Rafa has been given should be enough to ensure promotion is a cert but the team hadn’t been convincing. Houghton has spent nowt yet is one point behind NUFC.

          • Damon Horner

            The lack of respect to our competition fuels are fans bad reputation of delusion and sense of entitlement, in a uniformed world you’re right but if this was all uniformed then we’d never win anything because there are always teams bigger and richer so what’s the point of it all?

          • Guilttripjunkie

            Fair point but in terms relative wealthy NUFC are in the top ten of English football yet have contrived to get relegated twice in seven years and are limping over the line this season. The attainment on the pitch should be so much better.

          • Damon Horner

            without doubt. When you look at the success achieved by others it’s hard to take too, done right this club can thrive.

            When it comes to this season and this league though you have to remember we have just been dropped in and needed to transform and adapt quite a bit, some of the pack chasing us have been building over years so gradually acquired players and understood their opponents better so whereas wealth would soften that blow and probably in Villa’s case fast track them to the top, it would be naive to think we should be comfortable this year, i just feel lucky we didn’t suffer this year.

          • Scottpaige

            Are you still banging on about wages???? . Man Utd have one of biggest wages bills in the world. They ain’t exactly setting the place alight.

            So your point is. I really don’t get it !!!!

          • Marveauxless

            And no Man Utd fan is happy with their current league position or their performance over the past few seasons. I’m sure you would be equally as positive, upbeat and obnoxious had Pardew or McClaren had taken us to where we are now.

          • Scottpaige

            Clearly you don’t get my point. You honestly I’d want them clowns in charge?. And for one I wasn’t talking about managers!!!!

          • Guilttripjunkie

            It may have slipped your notice that Man U have won a trophy this season and are three points off a CL place. By their very standards they are not as successful as they were but are light years ahead of NUFC in terms of player quality.

            Newcastle are limping over the line and failing to beat poor teams like Bristol Birmingham and Blackburn. For the money invested in wages and transfer fears the returns are at best satisfactory.

        • Jezza

          I think we’ve only got one top quality Championship striker and the number of goals scored by each of our strikers this season would tend to back that up. Murphy is halfway decent but not top quality and Mitrovic has been utterly useless this season. I think it’s fair to say that some of the summer signings weren’t good enough but the real problem was we didn’t get enough up front in the summer and we failed to rectify that in January. If it wasn’t for Dwight Gayle we’d be lucky to be mid table now.

          • Marveauxless

            Murphy has scored 1 goal every 115 minutes whilst Mitrovic has scored once every 200 minutes, both very strong goalscoring rates. It’s difficult to score when you are given almost no gametime whatsoever. Besides, Rafa said the only player he was looking to bring in in January was a replacement for Atsu so an additional striker would never have been signed even if Ashley had been more willing to spend

      • Scottpaige

        God man january has gone !!!!!!. Wish fans stop banging on about it. We are still top. We are still top. We are still top. God how many more times doesn’t matter how we get there

        • Jezza

          January may have gone but the lack of any signings in January will come back to haunt us in May.

          • Damon Horner

            Where do you see us finishing and if in the playoffs, how do you rate our chances?

          • Jezza

            I hope we can finish in the top two but I’m not taking anything for granted. If it comes to it, I think we have got zero chance of winning the plays offs and that is no reflection on Rafa and the players. I base that purely on 45 years of supporting NUFC and knowing that when it comes to the big occasion they always let you down without fail.

  • Steve Smith

    Hopefully the struggle of today keeps the team switched on and in work mode rather than holiday mode over the break.

  • Scottpaige

    God what a load of doom and gloom !!!!. Would you have took being top of league at beginning of April regardless of how we did it???.

    Well if the answer is yes shut your moaning take it for what it is and move on.

    You moan about negative tactics?. That’s been a bit hypocritical when the majority of fans are negative. I stopped going to the Chronicle website for the same reason it’s getting the same on here.

    Why do most expect that we should be walking this league?. I never expected it. Hard work and grinding out wins or draws is what gets you out of this league. Yes it might not be pretty but we are top that’s what counts

    • Andy Mac

      Scotty calm down for a moment. We’re not walking this league, we all know that but we have a world class manager who seems to want to rotate some players but not the onescwho need rotating ?

      Right now I wouldn’t have any concerns about bringing in Mbemba and Sterry for Colback and Anita or two plastic co cones would be an improvement

      • Damon Horner

        Sterry? Do you know much about him or picked his name out because he is not Anita? the lad has no experience, madness to pick him in the business end when we have both Anita and Gamez doing enough.

        • Andy Mac

          He’s a right hack and he’s got pace. ATM that’s enough to get him past wor Vurn

          • Mal

            He’s injured at the moment

          • Andy Mac

            Even more of a reason to take Mbemba at RB then ? It appears his face doesn’t fit ?

          • Mal

            Agreed Mbemba should be in there somewhere, particularly given the current injury situation. I have argued for a while that he would be worth trying at DM?

    • Guilttripjunkie

      Newcastle have the eighth highest wage bill in English football. In truth they should be walking it!

      • Scottpaige

        Plenty of clubs have high wage bills. Doesn’t make them world class. Yeah I agree ours is high compared to rest of the championship. But doesn’t give the right to be walking the league. By your theory it means if you have high wages you should walk the league you are in.? Never heard such rubbish

        • Guilttripjunkie

          There is a strong correlation between wages and success in football . There are obviously statistical anomalies such as this club who have the eighth highest wage bill in English football but are limping over the line to gain promotion after yet another relegation.

          The championship is of a poor standard and in my opinion Newcastle should be well clear of the chasing pack given the vastly superior financial resources at this club.

  • Andy Mac

    OK I wasn’t at the game before the rabid parrots squawk as one “Dyou go to games”? “Pieces of eight” “Who’s a pretty bo……” You get the picture

    Some of us don’t go to games but still remain fans and as Toon Bano and Ben Cooper as well as others have said we are limping towards the Premier League.

    Yet certain players arent getting a look in while others who should be put out to grass are still playing regularly.

    Take Rb for example. No Yedlin so an underperforming. Anita gets the nod over Mbemba who has pace, can cross a decent ball and above all is FRESH.

    Please dont get me started on Jack Passback and Diame in the creative midfield slots with JJ rested.

    We all love Rafa who has won blah blah blah etc but that doesn’t make him immune from criticism.

    • Scottpaige

      Some have short memories. The same lot who at some point are gonna turn on Rafa. He could have took his money at end of last season left and stuck two fingers up at us

      • Andy Mac

        How do you get “Turn on Rafa” from “he’s not immune to criticism” ?

        Too many fans seem to be walking on eggshells atm

        • Scottpaige

          Wasn’t saying you were turning on Rafa

        • Geordiegiants

          He isn’t perfect no, Fergue wasn’t either, but he got more correct than wrong. Have a look at the league table and you will see Rafa is cut from the same cloth, the only difference being, Fergie had the full backing of his superiors.

      • Guilttripjunkie

        Rafa is getting a lot of money for staying. He is not managing this club for altruistic reasons.

  • Mrkgw

    Another point closer to what will hopefully be a return to the Premiership.

  • gallowgate26

    This was the fourth time we had played B’ham this season, they had perhaps lost some of the ‘respect’ for us and seemingly like a lot of teams, are starting to suss us out. The second half of the season has been a bumpy ride and is not over yet. We can’t land soon enough! As long as Rafa touches down successfully, it will be mission accomplished. It could be worse I suppose, look at Norwich and Villa!

  • Grahame Johnson

    I’ve been to 3 away games and have sat closer to the pitch then I normally do as the previous 2, the effort and commitment by the team has been a joy to watch, I know this season at times we haven’t been at our best. The one thing that brum game showed was a manager steadying the ship and keeping us on track, since the 2nd half v Bristol we have put some graft in, I’m full of aches and pains after my trip to brum so god knows how much the travelling over the last 4 away games have taken out of the lads. Rafa is our best chance, what he has done in year is make a connection between fans and club something that has been done with the unholy trinity still hovering over us