December 2006 Archives
There's never a dull moment in the world of Newcastle United and 2006 proved to be no different.
I mean how many teams do you know that have managed to squeeze in two relegation battles and a European campaign into one year?
It could only happen on Tyneside and it did in 2006.
Graeme Souness had reached the point where he had to go and in came Glenn Roeder who has steadied the ship.
Oh and by the way one of the greatest strikers in English football retired, smashed a long standing club record and raised the roof on an emotional night in one of the best testimonials in the history of football against Celtic.
And don't forget 2006 will be the year that his former England strike partner Michael Owen shattered his knee and played just 29 minutes in a black and white shirt sparked off by a broken foot injury sustained 12 months to the day.
So Newcastle United are interested in Peter Crouch.
And why not?
After all he did become a cult hero during the summer and he would be the perfect foil for Oba Martins and Michael Owen when he eventually comes back from injury.
And with the big man benefiting from crosses more than most, James Milner will be rubbing his hands at the prospect, not to mention Nobby Solano who played with Crouch at Villa and the pair remain close pals.
Crouch - who stands almost as tall as the posts - flirted with skill and success throughout a journeyman career.
He was deemed not good enough by Spurs as a kid and then went on to QPR where he caught the eye and then he moved on to Pompey and forged a fine relationship with ex-Croatia star Robert ProsineÃÂ?ki.
Newcastle United rounded off 2006 at St James' Park with an excellent display against Tottenham as Glenn Roeder's side put in one of their best performances of the season so far.
It has to be said United did manage to squeeze in their odd silly patch to allow Spurs a chink of light after flying into a 2-0 lead but after arguably killing off the game before the interval, Roeder and Co know that their festive period at least started in the best possible fashion.
True, Spurs went for it for a while after the break but at 3-1 down they had to and United could have easily added to their tally in the second half.
So was this a sign of things to come?
Well it may well be Christmas but the clash with Chelsea has actually knocked the stuffing out of some of us already.
Blowing one of our big chances of finally getting some silverware in the cabinet to go alongside the Intertoto Cup, The Japan Cup and a dusty looking 1969 Fairs Cup has resulted in somewhat of a hangover before the festivities really begin - and it's a Carling one at that!
Even the larger than life Steven Taylor looked like he'd been beaten up (in the emotional sense that is) on Wednesday night which showed exactly what progress in the competition meant to Newcastle - he's assured us though in the style of Arnold Schwarzenegger....he'll be back.
And let's hope that's against Spurs tomorrow, along with his team-mates too.
UNITED MUST AVOID CARLING HANGOVER TONIGHT
So here we are at the last eight stage of a competition that is there for the taking - if we can get past Chelsea.
Down the years United have wasted the chance to win the League Cup in the many different formats it has been played under and of course the many different names.
Now we go into this Carling Cup quarter-final tie with whole country looking on us.
And against a team who have the competition at the foot of their priority list.
Not so long ago the capabilities of a certain Obafemi Martins were being questioned by this blog and the rest of the media that follow Newcastle United because the ÃÂ£10million man did not appear to be producing the goods in the famous number 9 shirt.
I wasn't the only who wondered if Martins was about to join a list of overseas mis-fits.
But after four goals in his last three Premiership outings and eight now in total in a Toon top, Martins is is starting to justify why Glenn Roeder wanted him so much after his latest brace against Watford.
Brave battlers at the home of the champions
It's hard to make losing 1-0 sound positive but could injury hit Newcastle have put anymore into their defeat at Stamford Bridge?
The team is well and truly down to the bare bones and things have now got even worse thanks to Charles N'Zogbia's knee injury which means he is unlikely to kick a ball again until 2007.
BRING YOUR BOOTS TO CHELSEA - YOU MIGHT GET A GAME!
Newcastle United will be more than grateful for the three points picked up at Blackburn but boy have they come at a cost.
With the injury crisis at United already into double figures three more Toon players went off hurt during the 3-1 win.
Antoine Sibierski and Nobby Solano both went off but the knocks didn't look too serious but Emre left the ground on crutches after being stretchered off after a nasty challenge by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Trip to face Rovers is not the mouth watering prospect it once was
Once upon time a visit to Blackburn Rovers was a big deal.
Newcastle were flying high under Kevin Keegan with Andy Cole, Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark the main men for the Entertainers while moneybags Rovers were on their way to becoming the best team in the land with Alan Shearer, the late Jack Walker and Kenny Dalglish firmly steering the ship.
Any game involving Newcastle United is still a big deal - not least the need for points by both sides tomorrow - but what I mean is the Rovers from Lancashire taking on the mighty Magpies once meant as much as Chelsea v Liverpool or Arsenal v Manchester United does now.
Because even though as recently as the 1991/92 season both sides were scrapping it out in the old Second Divison - this encounter was once the clash of the titans!
Waiting to welcome both sides tomorrow will be rows of empty seats and certainly no live TV crews with the game overlooked by Sky in favour of Arsenal-Chelsea and Man U-Man City.
Oba needs a strike from open play but there's plenty of proof he can still do the business in Toon
It can't be easy filling Alan Shearer's shirt can it?
But today's question is: Will ÃÂ£10million striker Oba Martins cut the mustard at St James' Park?
Some observers say that he is starting to show signs of living up to the pressure of leading the line for Glenn Roeder's side.
Yet so far we've seen only glimpses of what he can do, Reading being a good example of this.