The Week In Black and White: All Referees are Rubbish. In this division anyway.
If the adage that things even themselves up over the course of a season is true elsewhere, then trying to keep up with ‘things’ in the Championship has proved beyond me…there is so much to even up that Rachel Riley would struggle to keep count.
Against Birmingham, we were rightly aggrieved that a Matt Ritchie goal was disallowed for offside, it was the wrong decision though it was very close, possibly falling into the ‘too close to call / could have gone either way’ category, so it may be churlish to make too much of it, but it was wrong all the same.
You can never tell how much an incorrect decision by the officials costs you, there are normally too many variables to take into account, but it is likely that if Ritchie’s tap-in had stood then it would have been the winning goal, or at least one of our winning goals – Birmingham would have had to have brought on the 1970 Brazilian World Cup winning squad to score on Saturday.
So many decisions are wrong in this league that the Championship is an exception to any ‘even up’ rule that exists in normal football and yet it is completely be-fitting of the division. So much of it is second-rate so why shouldn’t the officials join in?
Anyone who saw the Birmingham game and then the Channel 5 highlights later on the TV, will think they were at two different games.
The highlights pretty much showed the lack of quality in the game but if Channel 5 had wanted to show a realistic appraisal of the game, they should have shown NUFC having 30 seconds of possession that came to nothing before every section and turned the mic down so that it was played in virtual silence. The only noise in grounds like St Andrews is the sound of the wind whistling through the empty seats. Not that either team did much to entertain the fans, the lack of excitement on the pitch spreading to the stands.
That Brighton and Huddersfield both lost is a huge bonus for us and in the light of that, the point in Birmingham is a welcome one, even though it should have been three, could easily have been three. NUFC look tired now and a little out of ideas, Rafa’s need for a couple of players in January looks completely correct and the international break has probably come at a good time for the players, tired and injured alike.
Grant Hanley will miss international duty after picking up an injury on Saturday, he must be the Scottish Marcelino, two games this year and he’s knackered. What that says about Rob Elliot is anyone’s guess. He must have a note from his Mam to miss games.
‘Grant Hanley: The New Marcelino?’
I did find Rafa’s expectation statement a little strange though, “People are expecting we can win every away game,” said El Jefe. Not me mate, I’m a Newcastle United fan. I don’t expect to win any games.
Although Rafa may not have been talking about the fans in the statement, that expectation has always been a criticism levelled at us Geordies, that we expect too much.
Over the last few weeks there has been much chat at The Mag about Rafa, how good the team is and what is happening at the club, the conclusion seems to be “this is what Rafa is – successful but boring – get on with it.” There is a lot of sense in that.
A lot of people seem to think if you have an opinion that isn’t 100% positive then you are ‘moaning’, others think that if you still believe there is something good happening you are ‘deluded’. As ever, most of us are probably somewhere between the two. Me? I’m moaning and deluded, I just want to win the next game and go from there.
Currently, the award for most deluded fans in the country seems to be heading to Arsenal. We should have a fans’ swap on the first weekend of April, 50,000 of them can come up and see us play Wigan and we’ll go down there and watch them play Man City and we’ll see who has the most to moan about. Of course I am only joking, there’s no way I’d support a team as consistently successful as Arsenal, where is the fun in that?
The Arsenal fans might want to think about their support of their team, if Wenger and the players have been affected by their antics? It could be that their banners and complaints have cost them a CL place, more than Wenger and the performance of the team has. It certainly can’t help, it is a poor way to say goodbye to one of your most successful managers ever, by berating him out of the door.
Which is a bit of a reminder to us and every other set of fans, supporting your team inspires the players and makes them stronger, doing it when they need it most, doubly so. We should remember that over the next 6 weeks.
One person who does expect something is Tim Krul, he said this week that he expects to be back on Tyneside in the summer.
He’s not having a great time in Holland, benched at Ajax, like the boy with his finger in the dyke at Alkmaar, a place which sounds more like a planet in Star Wars than the residence of a football team. Krul will come back to Tyneside keen to claim the number 1/26 jersey and I for one see nothing stopping him, assuming he has regained full fitness and confidence.
‘Tim Krul: Giving the boss a shelecshon headache’
That’s not a criticism of Karl Darlow, he’s done pretty well this season. Sure he’s made some mistakes, all keepers do, he’s made some great saves too, all keepers do, overall he’s been pretty good. He’s not Tim Krul though.
I know it was a couple of seasons ago but for a few seasons Krul was one of the best handful of goalkeepers in the PL. I don’t think Darlow ever will be. I don’t think any of the players in our first team squad will be one of the best handful of players in their position in the PL.
For that, Krul deserves a season with the gloves to see if he can get back to his best. Either that or see if we can swap him for Fraser Forster.
Howay The Lads.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])