September 2006 Archives
ItÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s right up there with going to the dentist or going to visit the in-laws on Boxing Day, yes itÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s that time of year again ÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ time to go to the so called Theatre of Dreams.
You know the place we all least enjoy going in the Premiership.
And you canÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢t be a spring chicken if you were there last time we won, yes way back in 1972, when Supermac and Bob Moncur were pulling on a black and white shirt and hippies were popular (probably).
Because thatÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s just it, isnÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢t it?
It might not have the sparkle and the glamour of the Champions League but should Glenn Roeder guide Newcastle United to the UEFA Cup group stages tonight it can only be described as a minor miracle.
Too often United are a victim of their own high standards which ultimately leads to bitter disappointment come the end of the season or the end of a venture in any of the cup competitions.
But look where Roeder found United when he was asked to take over as caretaker manager last February.
Flirting with relegation to the Championship, thatÃ¢ÂÂs where.
What was the expecation level then?
We were a million miles away from Europe!
It might not have cost Newcastle United all three points against Everton but the red card for Titus Bramble against the Toffees has certainly left the Toon defender in a sticky position.
The reaction of Glenn Roeder after his second yellow then red said it all as the United manager simply blanked Bramble as he trotted down the tunnel.
It has to be said, Bramble has shown in the past what a strong tackler and imposing defensive figure he can be on his day, so why does he keep doing what can only be described as footballing suicide in Toon colours?
Everton at home then and it isn't to be taken lightly either.
The Toffees are unbeaten so far this season and United go into it after a sticky night against Liverpool - the team that Everton took apart 3-0 on the same day we lost 2-1 at home to Fulham, the team that lost 2-1 to League Two outfit Wycombe at home in midweek.
I know that it's never logical to read football games like that but I think out of that little sequence it suggests it is not going to be easy against unbeaten Everton at St James' Park.
But it's still the sort of game we should be winning at a canter at home, right?
If ever you wanted to look for the textbook method of holding a grudge then the best person to speak to is Mr Craig Bellamy, formerly of this parish.
It's been said on this blog before that it could be argued that Bellers has been missed on the field of play since being shown the boot by Newcastle United last year.
He got too big for his silver boots at Newcastle and was shown the door.
Something he is still clearly cheesed off about on the evidence of his raging last night.
His style at running at people, scoring goals, making goals and generally getting right up the nose of the opposition has been missed at St James' Park.
And last night we got a dose of it ourselves at Anfield.
Spare a thought for Shay Given at the moment.
United's super keeper was hurt in a pure act of bravery at West Ham and will now miss six weeks of the season after he sustained a one-centimetre tear in his bowel when he slid in for a ball with West Ham's Marlon Harewood.
There is nothing in the public domain to suggest Harewood has said sorry or plans to say sorry to Given as yet, but perhaps the Press office at West Ham should make efforts for at least the Hammers striker to pass on his best regards, even though he may not have meant to hurt the Toon keeper.
It might be an idea eh Marlon?
What a difference a win makes eh?
This time last week United were branded a pub side and the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear.
Newcastle were hammered by the Press and the fans but perhaps now is the time to give credit where it is due.
Let's be honest Glenn Roeder guided his side to an amazing victory at West Ham yesterday, didn't he?
Funny game football isn't it?
This time last year we were looking forward to Alan Shearer's farewell season alongside England star Michael Owen now we go into today's game against Levadia Tallinn with Antoine Sibierski leading the line for Newcastle.
OK, it is not the big-name signing everybody wanted.
But can you blame the Frenchman for nearly snapping Glenn Roeder's hand off?
The Toon Army rolled into Tallinn today determined to wash out the nasty taste of that defeat against Fulham from their mouths - hopefully by witnessing a good win against UEFA Cup minnows Levadia.
A handful of fans were present at the Le Coq Arena this afternoon along with members of the UK and North East Press as they watched the team get put through their paces by Glenn Roeder, Lee Clark and Terry McDermott.
This took place at the home of Flora Tallinn with Levadia Tallinn's Kadrioru Staadion not big enough to stage such a game with just 4,700 spaces on offer.
It has to be said though there has already been a few talking points before a ball has even been kicked, I mean where else would you be able to buy a Mart Poom board game other than Estonia!
Wouldn't it be nice to give Shay Given the night off in Tallinn?
No I don't mean drop him, I mean give the man a bit more protection.
It has to be said that in terms of value, Given must be up there with Alan Shearer when it comes to contributions in a United shirt.
If Shearer netted 206 goals for United then how many goals has Shay prevented at the other end?
Given was livid after the Fulham game with his defence - branding it worse than 'Sunday League' defending in the Chronicle - and who can blame him?
No marking, no clue, no idea and finally no points in terms of stopping them from going in the onion bag.
It can't be the same against the might of Levadia Tallinn can it?