Newcastle’s new number 9 is the theme this week. One hat-trick against Aston Villa and already he’s the saviour…
Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I’m still in two minds about whether to do season reviews for each club – to be honest I’m in World Cup mode now. Perhaps I’ll still get round to it though.
Back in August I played a mug’s game and tried to predict how everyone would finish. Here’s what actually happened:
Looking at the results showed I got just three clubs spot on: Man City in 5th and basement dwellers Hull and Pompey taking the bottom two places. In my defence I was only one place out with six other clubs but really this table looks like what it is, rubbish punditry.
I think if Gareth Southgate and Garth Crooks had a bastard lovechild it would look something like this predictions table (enjoy those nightmare thoughts kids).
In terms of the thinking, I had found it really tricky to split the top three when writing pre-season predictions. My loyalties to Arsenal may have played a part in placing them second while I couldn’t bear to predict Chelsea as Champions even though deep down I knew they had retained the most strength over the summer.
A similar scenario led to placing Spurs 7th – I was hardly going to predict them a Champions League spot was I?! I underestimated Liverpool’s decline and overestimated Sunderland’s improvement.
The biggest mistake was Birmingham, a full nine places out, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who had them down to struggle. Fair play to Alex McLeish (who I had as first sacking!), he brilliantly led them to a top half finish.
The bottom half was slightly better predicted clubs wise, if not positions wise. The dearth of quality is such that it’s pot luck as to where the likes of Bolton and Wigan finish. I got three of the bottom four right and on another day would have predicted Burnley to come in 18th not 17th.
In terms of the cups and other stuff it went like this:
Oh dear. Only Bayern Munich correct and I suppose West Brom for promotion. If the Premier League table was the Southgate/Crooks lovechild then this is the resulting mess when said lovechild had a threesome with Alan Shearer and Jamie Redknapp. I literally couldn’t do any worse at being a pundit. Like I said at the beginning, it’s time for the World Cup…
Quite a funny topic this week, following the revelation that Newcastle United have sold the naming rights to St. James’ Park and for the rest of the season will be playing at the sportsdirect.com@St. James’ Park stadium. Catchy isn’t it?!
I don’t especially have a problem with naming rights (how could I as an Arsenal supporter) but I think you should go either the whole way or not at all. Either call it the sportsdirect.com stadium or stick with St James’ Park. Don’t try and force it all into one joint effort. Can you imagine the Emirates@Ashburton Grove or Aon Insurance@Old Trafford. Doesn’t work does it. Typical Newcastle though, always doing things cack-handedly.
Anyway, in terms of this week’s entry, my lack of internet meant I had to do it in Paint and Word at work. I got the opportunity to redo it below but you can see the original rubbish version on the Guardian site, not that this one is that much better. Jack is Jackie Milburn, 2nd highest Newcastle goalscorer btw.
This week’s gallery can be found here.
What’s the worst thing about being a Newcastle fan today?
Tricky one isn’t it. Now I know you can’t read too much into pre-season friendlies as it’s as much about fitness and match practice as it is about results. That said it’s not a good sign when a team lining up as Krul, Beye, Enrique, Taylor, Coloccini, Barton, Duff, Nolan, Gutierrez, Smith and Martins gets dispatched so easily.
There was an article I read this morning about how Shearer still expects/wants to become manager but is being frustrated when the delayed takeover means targets such as Frazier Campbell, Chris Gunter and Ched Evans are signing for other clubs. I look at that team above and there is a real lack of pace, something which would definitely come in handy in the Championship.
I still expect Newcastle to push for promotion straight back up (probably) but it’s just quite funny when you get these kind of results.
Meanwhile the rest of the football world reacts to today’s news…
Following last week’s shock announcement that Mary Poppins himself would become Newcastle manager for the rest of the season, it was inevitable that Alan Shearer would be the next gallery theme. We’ve talked on the blog before about how often he was linked with the job but it was never the right time so it will be interesting to see if he can keep Newcastle up. Personally I think Shearer is as dull as dishwater, so whilst there was potential with his poor punditry or assaults on ginger midfielders, I went for that famous celebration…
The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here.
Alan Shearer says he wants to get into management, but when will he finally do so?
Last Friday’s latest revelation that he has turned down an opportunity to do some coaching work at Newcastle made me wonder is he ever actually going make the leap. He seems to be waiting for some kind of perfect scenario where Newcastle are a stable club, in the top six or thereabouts and with money to spend. This is simply not going to happen. If Newcastle were ever to reach that position in the next five years it is unlikely they would then take a risk on someone whose managerial credentials stretch as far as “Well I know the club inside out”.
Since Bobby Robson was stupidly sacked at the start of the 2004/05 season, Newcastle United have had five managers – Souness, Roeder, Allardyce, Keegan and now Kinnear. I reckon that Shearer has been linked to the job each time but has always said he’s not ready. He’s scared more like, scared that it might not all go swimmingly. I would have much more respect for him if he took the job now and built Newcastle back up to the title challengers of the mid nineties, or even into European contenders. Considering they’ve won nothing since 1969 even a League Cup would see the fans happy for about ten seasons. He is in the enviable position where he doesn’t even need to apply, or doesn’t feel the need to. It’s always “Well if they’re interested they can give me a call”. There have been calls Alan, so what exactly is the problem?
Ok, maybe he wants to wait for the right moment to go back to St. James Park, that of course is his prerogative. But why not take a job somewhere else in the mean time and get some experience? What was wrong with the Blackburn job that was basically his for the taking in the summer? A solid club where he’s well revered; a decent set of players including Santa Cruz, Pederson and McCarthy; and very low expectations. They’d be delighted with just a top half finish. He won’t even accept coaching roles, which essentially have no pressure at all and you can take a lot of credit for any success (see Carlos Queiroz and Man Utd).
You could almost forgive him if he was a good pundit, but he’s not. Full of cliches, no actual opinion on anything and with the personality of a fish. I’d much rather listen to what Lee Dixon or Martin Keown have to say. Even Garth Crooks is more appealing as he at least has comedy value.
So Alan, assuming this Newcastle takeover goes through by the summer AND for some reason the new owners want you as manager, will you take the job?
Or has the Match of the Day sofa become permanently attached to your rear end?