Did that just happen?

By Lee Ryder on Jan 18, 07 03:44 PM

Humiliating, demoralising, gut-wrenching, shocking, awful, heartbreaking and desperately disappointing.

Those are just some of the words to describe Newcastle United’s painful 5-1 hammering against Championship side Birmingham City.

I mean, where did that come from?

We knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk but 5-1? Howay man!

Not only is it the end of yet another chance of silverware out the window and into the dustbin but just what type of psycological effect will it have on the kids that so many of us were singing the praises of just a day before the cup game?

Let’s just hope that Paul Huntington, Matty Pattison, Peter Ramage and Steven Taylor can shrug that one off and be positive.

But let’s be honest, while the non-performances of the kids stuck in the mind of most fans last night, they weren’t alone.

In fact everybody apart from James Milner were garbage and that hurts to say.

However, while we stumble through the next couple of days perhaps it is a time to highlight a couple of points.

Firstly you cannot be too hard on the youngsters.

All of them, including Ramage and Taylor, are still learning their trade.

Everybody makes mistakes in their job and unfortunately everybody made theirs together all in one game against the Brummies.

Secondly, is booing the team going shake a response out of the lads?

I don’t think it is.

And at 3-1 down with 10 men not enough of the 26,000 fans got behind the team in the hour of need.

More worryingly some people headed for the exit gates.

Come on! It can’t always be milk and honey even though I appreciate many people’s patience was stretched to the limit.

So where on earth do punch drunk United go from here?

Well, basically they go back to the scene of the crime at SJP and they have to take their frustrations out on West Ham.

It’s all about pride restoration now for Glenn Roeder and his team.

And instead of a team talk all the manager needs to do is perhaps pin up the papers on the dressing room wall after the Spurs game and the Birmingham game and simply ask what his players pefer.

We all know the answer to that one.

Let’s hope the real Newcastle United stands up on Saturday.

And if they don’t



Geordie (NI) said:

just been reading your blog mate and thought i would let you know its a good read and i just about agree to everything you say about the issues at SJP.

oxboy said:

Simply - thats kids for you!
All the more important that while they learn and mature we sign reinforcements very quickly. In fact they are long over due.
For the increased premiership revenue from next season alone we must not be relegated and that is still a real issue. What if we have more defenders / strikers injured /suspended?
We are still suffering from last summers inept dealings and sad to say the signs are that we are in for another repeat but at what cost?

Ian Teasdale said:

The Birmingham result had been coming for a while. If it had happened when we first fielded a team of kids everybody would have said well we expected that, but because they all pulled together and had a few good games everybody thought it would never happen.
Well, it had to happen sooner or later.
I'm more disappointed that so many people left the ground during the match. Are these people real supporters or do they just support the team when they are winning?
Personally i could never leave the ground early just because we are losing, that's the very time the players on the field need to know we are backing them through thick and thin.
Its just my opinion and i don't want to offend anyone who did leave early but i couldn't do it.

Ryder's reply: It was a hard thing to do for those who stayed but backing the team when they are down is the best time to do it.
It's easy to sing when you're winning.
A classic example has to be at 3-1 down against Leicester in 1997 St James' Park pumped up the volume to win 4-3, Shearer hat-trick.
It doesn't always work like that but nobody threw the towel in that day and look what happened.

Adam said:

There's two ways to look at it. On one hand, you could say it was one game too many for the kids and fringe players and we had it coming, and also that we were very tired after Sunday. In which case we simply move on and forget about it - we've had terrible luck with injuries and it was only a matter of time before the bubble burst.

On the other hand, you could be rather critical. What exactly did Roeder say it half time? Where was the passion? And could the tiredness we showed be down to the excessive partying I know that our players had been doing after the Spurs game? It's one thing celebrating a great victory, but let's not over-do it. Complacency is not welcome before a crucial FA Cup match and preparation is vital for every match, both physically and mentally.

From here, Freddy needs to take it as a wake-up call and find some money from somewhere. We need a centre-back to play alongside Taylor, a left-back to replace Babayaro and a striker who the ball will stick to, such as Viduka. Howay Freddy, dig deep son!

ZORRO said:


Ray said:

unfortunately, for the (cynical) folks that make it to the games on a regular basis, this has been a long time coming.

sure, its not what we want to hear but the press have always made light of the problems that we've faced. how long have we seen the team play poorly but get a result and the press have talked about the heroic victory etc?

a major problem is the distribution of play. big boot up front from mr given, and suddenly we're under pressure again -- perfect example was the 2nd manc utd goal on NYs day. this style of play just stinks and bypasses the midfld totally. but we've also seen that when we get the ball down, we're not a bad team but we end up hoofing the ball up front.

when is roeder going to spot this and sort this out? we may have problems in defence but constant pressure (via big boot ) strategy doesnt help.

Terry said:

We completely underestimated Birmingham, everyone I spoke to was saying we'd wipe the floor with them, and they'd be nothing to worry about, something I heard a few times was "We'll take them to pieces inside St. James' with the fans behind us". Well, that's what happens when you become complacent. We've rode our luck for a bit and climbed the table again, now we have to grind out a result like so many top teams do (Chelsea, anyone?) and get 3 points against West Ham otherwise we may find ourselves in freefall again.

Terry said:

Also I wanted to say, watching the game on TV, where was the atmosphere? The commentators said as well that the place was dead, I could hardly hear anything from the fans until the half time whistle blew (to a rapture of boos), and then the full time whistle blew (same result as above). I don't see why you'd go to the game to just sit there and boo your team, you can do that in the comfort of your own home, if you go to the ground then make some noise! We're supposed to be the most passionate supporters in England, if not some of the most in the world! What's happened, fellas?

George Anthony said:

After the 5-1 loss Newcastle need to get up dust themselves off & try to score goals


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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