Wednesday, March 30, 2011

United wise to shop in the bargain bin??

There are plenty of premiership players who will be free agents this summer. Domestically there are Seb Larrson, Johan Elmander, Zoltan Gera and Nigel Reo Coker. These lads are all solid premiership players with bags of experience. I would see Elmander and Larrson improving our team and Gera and Reo Coker bring handy additions to our squad. No doubt there are also many quality players around the world that will be free agents this summer

I have no problem with Pardew looking at these lads - and any other free agent this summer - so long as it means we are also buying other players. It is smart business to look at the free market and save money wherever we can if that then means we have more cash to spend on the high quality players we need to take the team to the next level.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who is Moussa Sow??

This week Newcastle have been linked with a 40m summer move for two of Lille's stars - Gervinho and Moussa Sow. 

We will have all heard of Gervinho and have probably seen his lightening pace and keen eye for goal during his time in France and while on international duty for the Ivory coast. However Moussa Sow is a different story. I doubt that your average Newcastle fan - myself included know much about Mr Sow.

I decided do some research. Sow is a 25 year old forward who was born in Senegal. He has an inpressive goal return this season with 17 goals in 25 games in League un. At 5ft 11 he is a big lad and from what I have seen he uses his physical presence well.

Sow fits into the transfer ideology of Mike Ashley - he is 25 years old and looks set to improve as he matures as a player. 

There is no chance we will part with 40m for Gervinho and Sow, however it would be good to see them both arrive at St James park this summer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is it a mistake for Pardew to dismiss making a move for Connor Wickham this summer?

Wickham has been on the scene at Ipswich for a few years now and has show great potential at such a young age. He really is a man in a boys body which has put him, literally high above anyone in his age group due his 6ft 3in body.

He has made 59 appearances for the tractor boys and scored 10 goals - not bad for a team that has been struggling around mid table in the Championship for the last few years. Wickham has also been a England regular at all the different age groups.

As with any player with huge potential come a big price tag - look at the Andy Carroll deal. Therefore Wickham is likely to cost anything between 10m-15m. I agree this could seem a little risky for a 17 however I think Wickham is worth the risk. He is way ahead of where Carroll was at 17 - Wickham is almost at a Rooney level in his development.

Again we are likely to face competition for his signature if we were to pursue a deal - but I really think we could be missing the boat if we do not try and get him now.

I can liken this to the situation with the likes of Dawson at Spurs, Lescott, and Jagielka as in everyone knew they were good players playing in the championship but until some one took the risk on them no one truly believed. Look at where these players are today because someone took the risk and spent money on them.

Wickham is only going to get better and better - one day he will be the leading forward in England and will play at any of the top clubs. Why not go for him now, benefit from his service over the next few years then make some money selling him on in the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Players we should sign: Charlie Adam

Charlie Adam the Blackpool captain is someone who we should break the bank to sign. 

Adam has had a fantastic season for the seasiders and was very close to moving on in the January transfer window. Newcastle would face competition from clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham however our main selling point should be that he will walk straight into our team - he can run our midfield whereas at Liverpool and Spurs he would have to play backup to players like Steven Gerrard and Rafael Van Der vaart.

Adam has the creative spark we need in the centre of the park, he is deadly from set pieces, and he has the heart and passion to drive the team forward. He really is showing his quality even in a poor Blackpool side and he no doubt could make the step up to the next level.

Adam: the extra quality we need?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pardew at fault (again)

Alan Pardew got it wrong again on Saturday with his tactics and selection.

All week he was talking to the papers saying how we would play our game as normal and not worry about Stoke however when it comes to match day he springs a tactic change and selects a 3-5-2 formation. In my time following NUFC we have never been a 3-5-2 team and Saturday showed exactly why. To then add insult to injury he made Sol Campbell the lynch pin at the back - the key position in a 3-5-2 formation even though Sol has not played since late 2011.

Steve Harper must also take some blame for this heavy defeat as he looked shaky all afternoon gifting the second goal and getting no where near the first or third - an all around bad day at the office.

We are hitting a bad patch of form at the wrong time of the season. I do think we will be OK, but to do that we have to win the up coming 6 pointers against team in and around us like Wolves and Villa.

Hopefully the international break will allow us to get some players back to fitness and get can put an end to this poor run. For this to happen Pardew needs to make some wise choices as I really do feel he has been off his game over the last few weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Players we should sign: Stephen Warnock

Continuing with the list of players we should sign this summer I want to feature another full back Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock.

Warnock learned his trade at Liverpool before moving onto to Blackburn in search of regular first team football. After a successful spell at Ewood park he was signed by Martin O'neill at Aston Villa and became part of a young, promising, and exciting team.

Warnock has since fallen out with Gerrad Houllier at Villa and have been frozen out, now training with the young team. He is a talented full back with has England caps. He could be either a replacement for Jose Enrique or cover, either way he would be a great signing for the Toon. He is young, hungry, and has a point to prove. He knows the league inside out and would add something to our thin squad.

Warnock: The kind of player we need at the Toon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Players we should sign: Wes Brown

Sol Campbell will no doubt leave the club in the summer, or maybe even move into the coaching staff so that will leave us one centre defender down.

My choice to fill this position would be Wes Brown from Manchester United. Brown came through the youth ranks at Old Trafford and has been a solid squad member for the past 10 years, but has never really been a constant starter. Brown has bags of experience and could help our younger / less experienced defenders learn the game. You do not spend your entire career at Man Utd and pick up England caps if you are not quality. 

A move away from Man Utd be the new lease of life Wes needs, a lot like Phil Neville who has flourished at Everton since his move a few years back. He would be a great asset for the United squad.

If we went into next season with Colo, Taylor, Willo and Wes Brown as our centre halve options then I think we would do just fine.

Brown: Great asset for NUFC?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Players Newcastle should sign

Over the next few weeks I am going to offer my opinion on the players I think we should look to sign this summer. We have been linked with many of these players in the press. I am going to try and be as realistic as possible. 

I will be starting at the back and work through the team. Today we start with a defender as I do not think we need to do anything with our keepers. Harper, Krul and Forster are all talented keepers and we a very lucky to have these options.

If Jose Enrique is to leave Newcastle in the summer then I think we should target Evertons left back Leighton Baines. We should expect to receive a sizable fee for Enrique and this will all need to be invested in Baines as Everton would want a decent fee for the England international. 

Baines is naturally left sided and will help us to keep our shape, and allow us to continue to use the left side of our team as a main attacking weapon. He is deadly from set pieces - both scoring freekicks and supplying crosses for the strikers.

Since joining the club from Wigan Baines has gone on to reach the next level and he is now one of the top left backs along with Enrique, and also a regular in the England squad.

I would rather see Jose say with the club, however if he is to leave then I would like Pardew to make the call to Goodison park and make an offer for Leighton Baines.

Baines: Enrique replacement?

Kevin & Joey for England?

Alan Pardew today hit out at England boss Fabio Capello as he continues to overlook United stars Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan for the England squad. Pardew has accused Capello of constantly looking to build for the future rather than picking the form players.

Unfortunately for Nolan he is not in the right age group as far as Capello is concerned - he is looking for players who can be in and around the squad for years to come. I can see the merit in this, however the squad should be picked on current form. Capello suggested he would leave the door open for any play who is doing the business, however this has never really happened and we continue to see the same old faces represent England - and they continue to let our country down.

Nolan is currently the highest scoring midfielder in the premiership and he deserves a squad call up. Joey Barton is a different story as he is being overlooked for his past problems - a lot like Lee Bowyer who would of surely collected many caps during his years at Leeds if it were not for his off field issues.

Carlton Palmer, Seth Johnson, David Nugent, and Steve Guppy

All lads who have England caps - it is almost laughable that Kevin and Joey are over looked. We can only hope that future England managers are not so short sited and then maybe we will have a team that can seriously compete on the world stage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Take Over - Yes or No?

This weekend we woke up to headlines in the Sunday papers about a Indian Businessman planning a 200m plus offer for Newcastle United. Anil Ambani is the man said to be interested in buying the club. Ambani is the head of the large Reliance ADA group and he is one of Asia's richest businessman with a estimated worth of around $8.8b. He was previously linked with buying the club back in 2008 after our relegation.

Is this good news for the club? Is the feeling amongst fans that we are better off without MIke Ashley regardless of who comes in to replace him. We know very little about Mr Ambani however he is a top businessman, but the same can be said about Mr Ashley. If Ambani turned out to be a Geordie Abramovich then I am sure we will have questions about his background or if he actually is follower of footballor even a Newcastle fan. If Ambani was to purchase United then we would become the second English premier league club to have Indian owners following the venki families purchase of Blackburn.

Other than the obvious benefit of being rid of Mike Ashley and having a mega rich owner there are numerous other benefits this could bring to the club. With the new financial regulations that are set to be introduced next season which restricts clubs to operating without the generated revenue, being able to tap into the massive Indian market could greatly increase our revenue and give us more room to operate. Indian has a population of around 1.18 billion people with Ambani's business knowledge Newcastle could become the team for Indian fans to follow - the potential growth seems limitless.

Of course fast following this news came the clubs denial - which we all expected - however I believe their is never no smoke without fire. Ambani has been linked with us in the past and will no doubt find Newcastle United a much more stable investment thanks to the trimming of our wage bill and the immediate return to the Premiership.

Now the negative impact some would agrue could be the upheaval that we would go through. Would new owners like the unknown Pardew? - then again would many fans shed a tear is Pardew was to leave the club?

I would love for this deal to go through and look forward to a bright future with Mr Ambani at the helm.
Ambani: New NUFC owner?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

NUFC FA Cup Champions

Its another FA cup weekend where we have to watch other clubs compete for the famous old trophy.
In my life time we've reached two finals where we played fantastic Arsenal and Manchester United sides. However the FA really was a good trophy for Newcastle back in the 1950's

Below is a video of Wor Jackie leading the Magpies to FA glory in 1955 against Manchester City. Hopefully in my lifetime I will get to see a Newcastle captain climb the steps and life the FA cup at Wembley.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Champions League memories

After seeing Spurs and Arsenal play their Champions League games this week it made me think back to the years when we were also playing in the Champions league - it really was not that long ago.

Enjoy the videos below of our two most exciting CL games.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nile Ranger: Shape up or ship out

Nile Ranger this week received a stern public message from his manager Alan Pardew which basically said shape up or ship out.

Nile Joined the club as a free agent in July 2008 as part of the Dennis Wise push to bring in young talent. He arrived with a bad reputation after being released by Southampton for a breech of club discipline. Southampton had already given Nile a second chance after he was sentenced to 11 weeks at a young offenders institute for his involvement in a robbery.

Nile arrived at NUFC with the chance to rebuild his young career at a massive club. Many thought that the move out of London away from all the bad influences would be a ideal move for him. This looked like it was the perfect move and Ranger settled in well at Newcastle. He scored a bag full of goals at the junior level and was quickly promoted to the reserve squad. This promising form led to him being awarded the 'Wor Jackie Milburn trophy' in 2009 which highlighted him as the clubs best up and coming player.

This also signaled the arrival of Ranger into the first team squad - the United fans were not aware of this young hot shot and expected big things in the future. Newcastle's relegation meant the likes of Owen, Martins and Viduka left the club. Andy Carroll was our new goal scorer and Nile was promoted to the bench behind Carroll and Ameobi. His debut came in August and he went on to make 25 appearance (mostly from the bench) and scored 2 goals in Newcastle's championship winning season.

Ranger remained in the first team squad as the club returned to the premiership and he has continued to be used as an impact player who can come on for the last 15-20 minutes and cause havoc for defenders due to his physical strength and pace. Many have commented that Ranger is further along in his progress as a footballer than Andy Carroll was at the same age. That remains to be seen, however I will add that Ranger really needs to start hitting the back of the net. He has the raw potential, but as a striker he will be judged on goals.

However Nile needs to become more professional and really get his act together off the field. He long needs to look around the club for good examples to follow - Kevin Nolan, Shola Ameobi - both great professionals. Team mate Peter Lovenkrands has these words of warning for Ranger:
"Nile has a lot to learn, especially in training," There are a lot of things to work on and things he needs to listen to. "The senior boys can only do so much. You can say so many things - you just don't know how much he listens to us. Hopefully, he'll take it on board."

He is just a young lad and I am sure he is no different to any of us at that age, but he really needs to knuckle down and take his career seriously. We would all give our right arm to be in his position and I just hope Nile does not blow his great opportunity because I believe he has the ability to go far at Newcastle - we really could have a big player on our hands.

Ranger: Get it together son

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A look back in time. Ten years ago - Newcastle United 2001

It really is interesting to see where the club has been over the years. Today lets go back 10 years and look at the 2001/02 season.

Bobby Robson was our esteemed manager who worked for the man you either love or hate - Chairman Freddy Shepherd. Alan Shearer was our captain and along will Gary Speed he led a promising up and coming team. The Summer transfer activity marked the end of one era with the likes of Rob Lee and Warren Barton leaving the club and the beginning of another as Craig Bellamy arrived from Coventry and Jermaine Jenas from Nottingham Forest. Along with these arrivals we also brought in Laurent Robert and loaned Sylvain Distin. Ironically this season really saw the birth of the Brat pack at United. Our exciting young players were great, but off the field they joined the growing breed of premiership Bling boys - young lads with too much money. However these were exciting times for United as we added a youthful excitement to the side - the future looked bright.

The season was a huge success and saw Sir Bobby lead his team to 4th position in the Premiership and qualified for the champions league which was a fantatic achievement  - a million miles away from where we are 10 years laters in 2011.

These really were high times for United - the most exciting since the Kevin Keegan years, and the highest final league position for 4 years since KK left the club. Robson had turned Newcastle into a title challengeing team and he will go down in Newcastle history for doing just that.

Stats for the 2001/02 season
Premier League: 4th
FA Cup: 6th Round
League Cup: 5th Round
Top goal scorer: Shearer 27
Average attendance: 51,373

Robert: Left foot rocket

Monday, March 7, 2011

Does Pardew have to take some blame for defeat?

Let me just say that after watching Newcastle's defeat to Everton that I do not think many of the players performed anywhere near their ability with the exception of Best who took his goal well and the young Shane Ferguson.

That being said I do not think Alan Pardew helped his team at all with both his selection and his substitutions. Yes we were missing several first team players through injury and suspension but Pardew decided to put round pegs in square holes and this backfired big time rather than put the trust in the squad players, or even youngsters.

Pardew decided to shuffle his pack and selected several first team players who played out of position. Stephen Taylor at right back could have worked - no doubt he has played there before at some point in his career, however this did not seem like a smart move as Taylor is just returning from injury so it would make sense to play him in his most comfortable role. Stephen was embarrassed all afternoon and was caught out of position many times, including during the build up to the equalising goal. Now Stephen needs to take responsibility for this, but i do not think his manager helped him out.

Secondly and probably more noticable was the selection of Danny Simpson on the wing. For me this just threw out the whole shape of the team. Danny has fast developed into a solid right back, but he is not know for his quality attacking ability. The question comes to mind 'If Simpson was playing at right back what difference would it have made?" I say this as I thought Arteta was Everton's best player and he seemed to have all the freedom he wanted as he operated from left midfield. The combination of a centre back and a full back really negated the whole right side of our team. Again not the best decision by Pardew.

Once Jose Enrique was forced to limp out of the game I am sure many of us thought that either James Perch or Shane Ferguson would be a straight swap as they both have played in the left back position. Perch has not settled well and I personally do not like him playing at left back, however Ferguson has impressed during his cameo appearances this season and once again on Saturday he give a another solid performance. Shane should of been the replacement for Jose Enrique - no question. Pardew did not agree and Shola was the replacement. This meant yet more shuffling of the team and more players playing in foreign positions.

Everton are a quality team and the premier league is very unforgiving. You cannot just expect lads to pick up a position and compete at the highest level. I am not letting the players of the hook at all, however taking that into account I really feel that Pardew let his team down. Maybe he learned something about his squad, who an do a job for him, who cannot.

3 points were lost but we move on to Stoke were we will face a battle, hopefully we have a few of our big guns back and we can get back to winnings ways. This season is all about survival and we need to avoid slipping into a relegation battle.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stephen Ireland

Stephen Ireland is poised to make his Newcastle debut tomorrow at home to Everton if he can shake off a knock he picked up in training this week.

In this article am going to look at Ireland and offer my opinion on just what he can offer Newcastle United.

Everyone who follows the Premiership can remember Ireland at Man City where
his performances made him the most exciting young midfielder in the country. He joined the Manchester City as an 18 year old and made his way through the ranks before making his debut in 2005. He ended up playing 138 times for City and scored 16 goals. He really flourished in 2007 when he became the main attacking force in the team lead by Sven and then Mark Hughes at the beginning of the big money revolution at Manchester City.

Following the sacking of Hughes Roberto Mancini arrived at the club and immediately splashed the big bucks on players such as Nigel De Jong, Vincent Kompany and Patrick Viera which would limit Ireland’s opportunities especially as the Italian prefers a more defensive formation and often deploys two holding midfielders.

Ireland fell down the pecking order at City and was eventually moved on to Aston Villa as part of the deal that took James Milner to Man City. Ironically for Ireland he was the victim of managerial changes yet again as Martin O’neill – the man who wanted Ireland at Villa resigned 1 days after the deal was completed. Gerrard Houllier was never a fan of Ireland and again he found himself not wanted at his club.

Irelands arrival at Newcastle almost went unnoticed as the club was still reeling from Andy Carroll’s shock move to Liverpool. Stephen also arrived injured which meant his debut has been delayed until this weekend – the first weekend in March.

Controversy has followed Ireland's career and he has the reputation to be one of footballs ‘Bling boys’  - Pictures of the Pink rims on his Range Rover or his Full size Angel wings tattoo on his back not help him at all.

There was also the incident with the Republic of Ireland squad where Stephen lied about his reasoning to leave the squad. He was proven to had lied to the then Ireland manager Steve Staunton and he is yet to play for Eire since that incident.

However even with all this Stephen is still a quality player who will add a extra dimension to the Newcastle team. He can operate anywhere across the midfield and will most likely start off on the right side if Joey Barton fails to recover from his latest knock. His creativity will blend well with the steel of Tiote and the positional awareness of Nolan. 

Stephen has claimed that he and Houllier do not get along due to personal reasons and maybe a change of clubs is just what he needs. Alan Pardew seems like a real man manager who will know that if Ireland is to perform he needs to be loved. Pardew will have no problem with putting a arm around Stephen and telling how much he is wanted at United.

If this can happen then we have a really good player on our hands. This loan deal gives us the opportunity to have Ireland on ‘trail’ and if this works out we should be able to pick him up at a very reasonable price in the summer. He is only 24 fits in with the clubs long term transfer policy. Stephen would easily have been rated at 15m in the current transfer market only if he can show any of that form from just a few seasons ago. The business side of this deal should appeal to Mike Ashley.

I would love to see Ireland play some part this weekend and hope that this
is only the beginning of what will a bright future at the club.

Ireland: Great potential at NUFC

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All time Newcastle United 11

I have decided to put together my all time Newcastle United 11. This team is
made up of my favorite players that I have personally seen wear the Black &
White. Unfortunately I am too young to remember such players as Gazza,
Chris Waddle, and Kevin Keegan playing at Newcastle.


Beresford      Albert           Woodgate        Venison

         Ginola               Lee               Beardsley

      Ferdinand          Shearer                Cole

Shay Given - Shay arrived at St James from Blackburn Rovers where he was the understudy to Tim Flowers. Kenny Dalglish paid a nominal fee for the Republic of Ireland keeper and
this has been proven to be a great investment as Shay kept goal for United for 10 years and has gone on to become on of the best keepers in Premiership history and a long term Republic of Ireland international.

Left back
John Beresford - Bez was an early KK signing and he really grew as a player in the Black & White. For me the shift he put in during the successful KK years went a little unnoticed. He had no help at all as David Ginola spent all his time terrorizing the opposition defenders all day long. Beresford was a talented attacking fullback who also possessed the enough defensive quality.

Right back
Barry Venison - Traditionally a centre back I would ask Barry to play at right full back and I have no doubts he would do a great job. Barry is a leader and added some steel to NUFC during the early 1990's as we gained promotion to the premiership. After a successful 6 years at Liverpool Barry went on to make 109 appearances at Newcastle before heading off to Turkey to play for Galatasaray, we can even forgive his years playing for Sunderland.

Centre Back
Philip Albert - The gentle giant from Belgium excelled at the 1994 world cup which prompted Kevin Keegan to bring him to the North East. Philip was a classy defender who had the skills to match many attacking players and he had a eye for goal. Who could ever forget the delightful chip Albert scored against Man Utd at St James in the 5-0 win. Philip became a Bedlington lad and I even saw him on the Golf course a few times.

Centre Back
Jonathan Woodgate  - The Middlesbrough born defender had his personal troubles early in his career at Leeds but there is no doubting his class. Woody was only with United for a short period of time, before he was sold to Real Madrid, however he showed his class in that short period of time and did enough to convince my that he is the best defender I have seen play in the black & white shirt.

Left Midfield
David Ginola - The flying Frenchman was pure class during his time with Newcastle. He was a relatively unknown when he arrived in England, but became an instant hit with the fans after putting in some amazing appearances which help Newcastle reach the heights of the premiership. The most talented player I have ever seen at Newcastle

Right Midfield
Peter Beardsley - Toon legend and magician. No player has give me more joy over the years than Pedro. He really could do anything with a football. What a fantastic career he had, and what a fantastic example to young footballers everywhere.

Centre Midfield
Robert Lee - A bargain signing from Charlton at the start of the KK revolution who went on to become a vital part of our team while we took the premiership by storm. He forced his way into the England squad through a run of fine performances and a good goal return from the middle of the part. A great captain for United.

Les Ferdinand - He did not stay on Tyneside for very long but Sir Les become an instant hit after a fantastic scoring record for the club. Never have I seen a player be so dominant in the air than Les. He was such a powerful player that you really could see him creating a scoring opportunity every time he was on the ball. Such a shame that he stay at the club was cut short by a move to Spurs.

Alan Shearer -  Goals, goals, goals - this man is a goal scoring machine. Alan is far more than "just a sheet metal workers son from Gosforth" - he is the Lion of Gorforth. They all time leading scorer for United and absolute legend to the city of Newcastle United.

Andy Cole - He gets the ball, the scores a goal Andy, Andy Cole. The ultimate goal predator, who hit an unbelievable 42 goals in one season for Newcastle. The partnership between Cole and Beardsley was so impressive with Beardsleys creativity linking perfectly with Cole's finishing.