May 2007 Archives

Hammer time?

By Lee Ryder on May 31, 07 09:41 AM

Scott ParkerScott Parker looks to have kicked his last ball for Newcastle United but the big question for the Toon Army has to be: Will we miss him?

Alan Shearer's retirement at the end of last season did not leave United with too many options in terms of a ready made replacement skipper.

And even when Glenn Roeder opted for the Londoner to follow in his and Robert Lee's footsteps as cockney captains, many were left wondering whether the decision was correct with Shay Given overlooked.

Parker impressed many of us with his energetic performances from the middle and bursting runs which often left him bordering on the point of exhaustion!

But there were some fans who couldn't see what else he had in his locker.

Beckham in the Bigg Market?

By Lee Ryder on May 28, 07 09:07 AM

David Beckham is once again flavour of the month and it appears he could yet return to the Premiership next season, possibly in a black and white shirt.

With England in dire need of a shot in the arm to keep alive our hopes of getting to Euro 2008, Beckham is back in favour with Steve McClaren who has had to go back on his decision to axe the former captain and Three Lions hero.

Not only that but Fabio Capello has also had to recall him in recent months with the La Liga trophy perhaps Beckham's legacy to all at Real Madrid.

Not bad for a bloke who couldn't get a game for England or Real Madrid a few months ago eh?

But what are the chances of him coming to the Toon?

Farewell Sir John Hall

By Lee Ryder on May 25, 07 03:06 PM

Sir John HallHe took the club from the gutter and left them in one of the best Leagues in the world.

Now that the dust has settled, finishing 13th is still nothing to get excited about.

But from Hall's point of view, he leaves the club in a much better state than it was when he first arrived on the scene at a crumbling St James' Park back in the early 1990s.

And before this season we've had a host of really GOOD memories to with the Hall era as well, despite the fact we still haven't got a trophy!

But where do you start?

Not long after 2pm today the black and white world was significantly shaken by news that another new era was about to dawn at St James' Park.

Sir John Hall and his son Douglas sold their shares in the club to sports tycoon Mike Ashley, the 25th richest guy in the country according to the Sunday Times, meaning he now owns just less than 42% of Newcastle United FC.

He said today: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to invest in Newcastle United.

"The club has a fantastic infrastructure, for which Sir John and the board must take much of the credit.

"I am pleased that Sir John has agreed to remain as Life President of the club.

"Newcastle United has a wonderful heritage and the passion of its fans is legendary. I am sure that, like me, they are already excited about the prospects for next season under the new manager's stewardship."

It all means a A £133m takeover of Newcastle United which has now kicked off.

Sibi bows out with respect

By Lee Ryder on May 22, 07 01:48 PM

SibierskiSo it's the end of a short road for cult hero Antoine Sibierski.

The man that Man City couldn't even get 50p for back in August and who was laughed out of the City of Manchester Stadium leaves Newcastle with a lot of respect.

A contract wrangle in which Sibi wanted two years and United could only offer the 32-year-old just one, means it's all over for the tall striker who cost us nowt!

OK, he never did and never was going to hit the heights of Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand or even Craig Bellamy.

But when he arrived he appeared destined to join the same infamous list as Silvio Maric, Fumaca. Rob McDonald or Lee Payne.

Now he leaves on par with a Temuri Ketsbaia, a Stephen Glass or a Clarence Acuna, not world beaters but all of them knowing exactly what was expected when a black and white shirt was pulled on.

Owe yes or Owe no?

By Lee Ryder on May 21, 07 12:52 PM

Michael OwenWhen Michael Owen arrived on the scene at Newcastle United suddenly we went from a team that had just ended the previous season in 14th place to a team that could return to the Champions League.

Or so some of us thought!

Because no sooner had the 20,000 fans who filed in to greet Owen way back in August 2005 filed out again, it appeared to be downhill.

Yes Owen's start to life in a black and white shirt was decent with his hat-trick at West Ham showing we had a match winning striker on our hands.

But the injuries mounted up after that, breaking his foot at Tottenham to see out 2005 in agony and then his shocking knee injury at the World Cup last summer with the player having appeared for just 30 minutes in a black and white shirt before heading to Germany.

Now with just two and a bit games played - his last appearance resulting in Owen being stretchered off at Watford - the talk of the former Real Madrid is strongly in the air.

Surely the departure of Owen would be a body blow for Newcastle but by the same token the club shouldn't have to get down on their knees and beg him to stay, after two years of looking after the player in the treatment room - surely Saint Michael owes the Toon Army!

Changing rooms with Sam Allardyce

By Lee Ryder on May 15, 07 03:35 PM

Latest reaction to Big Sam's arrival at St James' Park

Sam Allardyce

The last time Newcastle United's Press room housed so many journalists Glenn Roeder's side had just lost 2-0 to Blackburn, season tickets were being chucked on to the track pitchside, groups of fans had started to form outside the Milburn Stand to shout for the manager and the chairman's heads and the slight chances of qualifying for Europe had just gone up in smoke.

The next day Sunderland romped to a 5-0 win over Luton to rejoin Newcastle in the Premiership, Roy Keane's wry smile made a mark on cameras all over the world and the team United famously chucked away a 12 point lead against in 1996 were spraying champagne all over the place 11 years after the Toon clung on to their coat-tails.

Today, and 12 months to the day that Glenn Roeder was installed as full-time boss after guiding the Toon Army back into Europe - a new man was in the same seat facing the world media.

Welcome aboard Sam Allardyce. A new man. Some new hope. And a new era.

A new era has dawned

By Lee Ryder on May 15, 07 09:59 AM

Messiahs and helicopters appear to go together hand in hand.

Kevin Keegan left the hallowed St James' Park as a player by one and across the fine Tyneside skies this morning emerged another chopper - hopefully containing the man who finally sorts out the mess that is Newcastle United.

Sam Allardyce touched down at St James' Park today with the reputation of a man that who can inspire and get the best out of players.

In El Hadji Diouf alone - Allardyce managed to pick the African player up from the floor when his career looked like it was over and turn him into a genuine threat in the Premiership.

First up for Allardyce will be to meet with troubled stars Oba Martins and Charles N' Zogbia as well as Michael Owen - who seems to be keen on returning to the North-West.

What a pair of clowns

By Lee Ryder on May 14, 07 12:25 PM

Oba MartinsTheir poor performances were two of the reasons that Glenn Roeder is no longer in a job.

And now they have more or less thrown the towel in on their careers with Newcastle United.

Oba Martins and Charles N' Zogbia's petty strops ahead of the final game of the season at Watford summed up just what is wrong with this crazy club.

It seems that the players are calling the shots here and it's going to take a big hard man to sort them out.

But haven't we been here before?

Sam's Toon

By Lee Ryder on May 12, 07 11:26 AM

So all that can happen now appears to be that Big Sam turns us down.

That’s something that has happened before (twice actually) but since that snub Newcastle United’s desperation to re-join the big boys has intensified, Sunderland are about to overtake us and Sam Allardyce simply outgrew Bolton and the Reebok Stadium.

Nothing wrong with ambition is there?

And if Sam is the man, then he must have it in bucket loads if he is keen on getting the good ship Magpie back on to the water.

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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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