Saturday finished Southampton 0 Newcastle 0.

A game where Newcastle United didn’t have a single shot at goal in the entire match.

Not a game that will live long in the memory.

The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.

Here goes…


We didn’t lose

I know it might be difficult to see how scraping a 0-0 draw without having a shot on target against a dreadful team of no-hopers is a positive but at Newcastle United we’ve been here many times before and it feels a whole lot worse when you have lost.

A point is better than nothing and against Southampton it also deprives one of our relegation buddies of three valuable points.

If Newcastle are going to stay in this league then there can be no losing to the other teams at the bottom and this week we didn’t. The point also gives the players some reward for their efforts. They tried hard today, they always give it all they’ve got, it is just that “all they’ve got” sometimes isn’t that much. This week at least they won’t feel that it was pointless and I hope that gives them a bit of confidence.

The final bonus of not losing today was that it hacked off misery guts Mark Hughes. He’s got no sense of irony, the old blue-rinse swirled his broomstick long enough to spit this out post-match:

“I thought on the day we were the side trying to win the game and Newcastle came here to try and frustrate.”

He’d know, he’s spent a whole career trying to frustrate the opposition. Every team he’s brought to SJP spends the warm-up practicing wasting time. His post-match moaning is a welcome bonus.

Rafa’s right, there might be three worse teams than us

A point may not be a lottery win but at least we know now that there are some rubbish teams at the bottom of this league. We’ve just played one and I’m sure we have it in us to finish above them this season. We might not, but we can. Throw in Cardiff, Huddersfield and Fulham and by jingo we might just do it. As US author Jim Butcher once said:

“You don’t have to run faster than the bear to get away. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you.”

I would back our chances of being able to run faster than three of those to stay up. Whether there is any point in staying up I don’t know but I do know it is better than getting eaten by a bear.

No white socks

Honestly, you might be getting bored of me banging on about the socks week in week out but I have supported this club for a long time now and we never win when we wear white socks at home.

Whoever made the decision to play in white socks at home should have been made to watch the first eight games of the season when Ruud Gullit was in charge, with his “all great teams wear white socks” nonsense.

Does no one at the club know our history? Well, no, that’s one of the many problems. For now, let’s just play all of our games away from home or go back to wearing black socks again.


There’s no pace in the team. Or on the bench.

In the last twenty minutes against the Saints you would think that it was set up for us to score a goal on the counter attack. 0-0, they had thrown on some strikers and were pushing men forward. Rafa made what looked like sensible substitutions, removing Perez was like playing with eleven men again, Diame was knackered and had to come off (as he always is now after the first half) and Muto, well he was a victim of the first two subs making us worse.

With Rondon up top and Muto dropping in to number 10 I thought we’d counter attack well but we didn’t. The obvious and correct substitutions somehow made us worse, Shelvey never got the ball, Muto, Kenedy and Atsu when he came on ran with lead in their shoes and kept giving the ball away before we got out of our half.

Our players have all got slower. Last season we set up to play deep and counter attack. Now we can’t even do that, all we can do is sit deep and invite the pressure and hope we don’t concede. If we do, we’ve lost, because…

There’s no goals in the team

The lads we have up front have never really scored goals anywhere but Rafa has had teams like that before as well, he knows how to get a team winning without strikers who score 20 goals a season. The problem isn’t just that our strikers are not going to score though that is bad enough, now United have players who scored goals last season like Ritchie, Kenedy, Perez and even Lascelles who look like they spent their World Cup summer at Stephane Guivarc’h finishing school.

Then you’ve got players who scored goals at their previous clubs like Shelvey, Diame and Murphy and those goals have disappeared now the black and white shirt is on. Shelvey is playing well but I can’t remember the last time he scored. We used to score goals from set pieces, free kicks, corners and open play. Not loads, but some. Now we never look like scoring, we don’t even look like shooting most of the time and ……..

It’s just awful to watch

Watching this match was the football equivalent of watching Theresa May dance her way onto the podium at the Tory Party conference. There is no justification in embracing such a lack of quality, just accept it for what it is, a grim attempt to hang on to survival by any means necessary.

It’s awful to watch, desperation always is.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Southampton 0 Newcastle 0 

Possession was Southampton 50% Newcastle 50%

Total shots were  Southampton 22 Newcastle 6

Shots on target were Southampton 4 Newcastle 0

Corners were  Southampton 7 Newcastle 2

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame (Ki 76), Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez (Rondon 69), Muto (Atsu 80)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Schar, Joselu, Manquillo

Crowd: 30,736 (NUFC 2,450)

(Sorry but Rafa talking nonsense after this shocker of a match – Read HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Southampton match HERE)

(Mark Hughes not happy after the game – Read HERE)

To feature like Ben Cooper submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here

  • Kenny

    Look on the bright side, “Things can only get better”
    Maybe not

    • panther

      itll all be over by may

      • Angelswithdirtyfaces

        It might all be over by the end of January

        • Paul Patterson

          If we don’t have 20 points by mid December it may be a run race ..

        • panther

          I mean the club

  • Paul Patterson

    3 Positives-
    Clean sheet
    Away point
    Rondon got 20 minutes fitness

    3 Negatives-
    No shots on target
    10 games and no win
    28 games to get to 35+ points

    • Kenny

      this season will see the lowest points required to survive because there is at least another 4 teams that are shyte like us

      • Paul Patterson

        Agreed. At the minute, it’s a long way to 20 points never mind 30. We’ll know more by the time santa comes down the chimney . .

  • Peaky

    “No White Socks”….??? I’m lost for words to be honest…….think I’ll go for a lie down.

  • Mrkgw

    Must admit, those white socks look to have been an afterthought for whoever designed the current kit. They don’t really go and need to be ditched. That said, they are the least of our worries.

  • mactoon

    The only stat I am interested in is not one shot on goal. It beggars belief we have sunk to this level.

    • Kenny

      The writing was on the wall the minute the summer window closed.
      i said then we won`t win a game until November, could be December with our lot

  • killymag

    FFS we are dropping faster than Jordan,s knickers and people are bothered what colour socks we wear !

  • mentalman

    We didnt spend £20million on kenedy
    The defence may just manage to keep us in the league
    Rafa used the subs

    Atsu got on the pitch again and murphy was nowhere to be seen.
    Rondon definately isnt the saviour many people expected.
    I found myself thinking in the first half we may do better having joselu on instead of perez.
    Theres a load more but i thought I’d stick with 3

    • Kenny

      Hoss or Perez, that alone scares the schit out of me

    • Clarko

      ‘Murphy was nowhere to be seen’ – Should be on the positives list.

      • mentalman

        I’d rather see murphy on the pitch than atsu

        • Clarko

          What’s Murphy done in his time here?

          • mentalman

            What has atsu done in his time here

          • Clarko

            Look, Atsu shouldn’t be on the pitch either but he has did a hell of a lot more than Murphy for Newcastle:

            Atsu – 3776 minutes played, 7 goals and 5 assists, a goal contribution every 315 minutes

            Murphy – 1599 minutes played, 1 goal and 1 assist, a goal contribution every 800 minutes

          • mentalman

            5 of those goals and 3 assists were in the championship, the same season murphy scored 9 goals and 2 assists in a struggling team in the same league

          • Clarko

            We’re taking strictly about Newcastle and their ‘time here’ not their time and what they have done at other clubs…

            In the Premier League, for Newcastle:

            Atsu – 1968 minutes played, 2 goal and 2 assist, a goal contribution every 492 minutes

            Murphy – 1363 minutes played, 1 goal and 1 assist, a goal contribution every 682 minutes

            Atsu has did more.

          • BanJones

            Atsu has did more? Asset stripper did ate more? Clarko did spoke bad.

          • 45709

            Surprised that’s not in euros….

          • theoriginalbomberman

            Atsu a player who couldn’t get a game in the championship because let’s face it Gouffran was better.

          • Clarko

            It’s a good job the argument isn’t about Gouffran then isn’t it?

  • REv

    Positives … one day this will end. Negatives … the three negatives … and the buck stops with the owner and the current manager, both of whom are to blame for the way we play. Ashley’s faults are public knowledge. There are now too many cracks to paper over Rafa’s failings, he is managing a team who based on every survey under the sun should be miles ahead of where we are now. Slaughter me all you like, it will be the same week in, week out while he is here and in charge of ‘tactics’. The table, our average possession and the number of shots on target dont lie. Are the players really so much worse than those at Watford, Brighton, Southamton? No? Then it must be the managers fault!

    • molend

      Are the players really so much worse than those at Watford, Brighton, Southampton? Yes, they bloody well are

  • Foggy

    Try a couple of the young lads Rafa. Freshen it up. They certainly can’t do any worse than Perez, Atsu Joselu or Murphy. Diame is slow and appears to just want to get rid of the ball shirking any responsibility. At least the kids would have some pace and enthusiasm.

    Come on Rafa, shake the bag FFS.

    • 1957

      It will never happen, he has never trusted or had the courage to give his young players a run in the team wherever he has been

      • mentalman

        I can’t remember a time where we’ve had 3 or 4 young players who could be quite close to being involved in the first team and yet none of them will. Not only will it slow down their development but it will also make the likes of woodman decide to leave the club

        • 1957

          I’ve said for a while Woodman will be off, the talk at the u23 games I’ve attended the end of last / beginning of this season is he is disillusioned with the way he is being treated. He is aware of Benitez record with young players and doesn’t see a way forward to the first team. He wanted a full season loan and didn’t get it, isn’t getting much football at all… he really will be the one who got away.

          • mentalman

            I don’t see why we needed to keep him elliot and darlow this season, either sell elliot or darlow and keep woodman as third choice or send him out to a championship team for the season. You can’t blame the young lads for looking elsewhere when they’ve got little chance of getting near the first team and its not as if the facilities are outstanding and something to stay for

  • robbersdog

    So, to sum up…we’re sh*t, but if we’re lucky, there might be 3 sh*tter teams than NUFC.

    What’s so frustrating is that if we do stay up, then Ashley will feel vindicated, and won’t have an incentive to invest in the squad; and if we go down, he’ll assume that the squad is good enough to get promoted (particularly with the addition of Gayle), so he won’t invest in the squad. As long as our current owner is in situ, we’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the glass will always be half empty.

  • Billmag

    After witnessing the Cardiff and the game yesterday I’m not too sure there are 3 teams worse than us, take Cardiff they’ve scored 5 goals in their last 2 games ok they got tanked yesterday, but apparently they played quite well that’s according to the crisp man on MOTD. So take your pick between us Huddersfield, Fulham, Saints, Cardiff, and maybe Burnley.