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October 2007 Archives

Getting out of bed at the crack of dawn was bad enough for anybody who made the long trek to Reading.

But having woken up and focused on the task in hand, Newcastle United fans had every right to expect their side to go for the throats of Reading.

In fact up against a side who had leaked seven goals at Pompey and four at Blackburn, it could be said that Newcastle should have been the team dishing out another hiding despite the Royals decent form.

Yet that didn't happen and instead the black and whites appeared shot shy and once again incapable of keeping a clean sheet.

United beaten by a Long shot

By Lee Ryder on Oct 27, 07 04:52 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED went down to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Reading today as the Berkshire side halted their mini revival.

The dejected Toon Army trooped out of the Madejski Stadium with nothing to show from their long journey as a late Shane Long goal won it for the Royals.

I don't want to get carried away but part of Big Sam's revamp at St James's Park has been to get the defence sorted out and so far it seems he is going in the right direction.

That of course will well and truly be put to the test at Reading on Saturday but at the moment Cacapa and Abdoulaye Faye look like giants capable of finally ridding us of the dodgy defence tag.

We haven't quite reached the class of Kevin Keegan yet and we might never do that but if we can keep on churning out results like Spurs and Everton and get the away form sorted or at least show more fight unlike Derby and Man City, there's every chance we'll all be smiling as we head into the winter.

Barton return Spurs on Geordies in Toon victory

NEWCASTLE UNITED continued their superb hot streak at St James' Park by taking care of Tottenham Hotspur.

The Magpies had started the night slowly but an Oba Martins goal lit the black and white touch paper before strikes from Cacapa and James Milner cancelled out Robbie Keane's strike.

United began the game with Emre in the middle of the park alongside Nicky Butt but returning star Joey Barton had to be content with a place on the bench.

The reshuffle meant that Charles N'Zogbia began wide on the left and Geremi wide right with James Milner dropped to the bench.

Well something certainly has to give if we are to believe the vibe coming out of the respective dressing rooms as we go into the big one.

And I'm not talking about the egg chasers in Paris either!

We don't need egging on whatsoever when it comes to having the odd drink in Newcastle so I'm sure the rugby world cup final won't be any different.

But for us it's really all about Monday night and Tottenham Hotspur.

He might be feeling pretty dejected at the moment but it will be all black and white eyes on Michael Owen again come Monday night against Tottenham Hotspur.

The St James' Park clash with Spurs will see United continue their best start to a season at Gallowgate since the 1995/96 campaign when Newcastle almost won the Premier League.

Those days seem long gone now but despite a couple of shocking road trips to Derby and Man City, the home form has been encouraging and Michael Owen's form is now vital to maintaining that.

I'm lucky enough to have lived and followed Newcastle United around the world at a time when everybody loved us.

I was privileged enough to be able to speak to the one and only Peter Beardsley this week and I asked him to reminisce the Entertainers period when the nation took us to their hearts.

He acknowledged it was a great time to be a player but for fans it has to be the best era to have been supporting the team.

He'd just played 65 minutes of Newcastle's reserve game against Wigan, spurred on the rest of his young team-mates in the second string and then stayed to sign autographs for some kids until every one of them was satisfied.

However, the reserve scene was nothing new to Barton - after all he had been to the rest of Newcastle's second string games to cheer on the future of the club and had played in their last game at Man City at the start of his comeback.

Then in his only interview with a newspaper - because none of the others bothered to turn up - Barton speaks of his hopes and dreams as his return to Premier League action gets nearer.

His words were exactly what Newcastle fans wanted to hear but clearly met with disapproval from the rest of the country.

Michael OwenYou can't blame him for being sensitive but Michael Owen should know better.

The Toon Army would never go as far as to boo their star striker and you have to go some length for the Geordies to get on your back - don't forget Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer got a standing ovation a few days after their disgraceful punch up against Villa in 2005!

Owen's fitness of course has sparked a national debate today with many insiders believing there has been a major disagreement about the player's involvement in the two Euro 2008 qualifiers with his manager Sam Allardyce.

But Owen was clearly uptight after heading home the winner against Everton, perhaps in the knowledge that he was booed on to the field.

Yet this was never the case as Blog reader Eds says: "The Press are saying that Owen's goal celebration was down to the fact that he was booed - that is complete nonsense.

"Nobody booed him - if he thinks anyone did he got completely the wrong end of the stick.

"People were booing the fact that a potent match winner in Martins was coming off when clearly the man whose legs had gone was Geremi."

"Owen is a hero and would never be booed at SJP."

Yes, the pocket of travelling Everton fans were jeering the former Liverpool man - and I'm not surprised considering how many times he scored against them - but the disapproval that met his arrival on to the field was indeed aimed only at Big Sam's decision to withdraw Oba Martins from the action.

It might not be everyone's idea of a Monday night out but at Kingston Park Joey Barton closed in on his target of being in Sam Allardyce's side for the clash with Tottenham at St James' Park two weeks tonight.

Barton once again showed some great touches and played 65 minutes of the 3-1 win over Wigan as the most senior member of Lee Clark's squad.

Over 600 punters turned up to cheer Barton's latest steps on the comeback trail after he shattered his foot at Carlisle back in July and he was afforded a warm round of applause when he came off mid-way through the second half.

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Profile

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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