Newcastle fans' 610 round trip for nowt!

By Lee Ryder on Oct 29, 07 02:01 PM

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.

The Newcastle travelling supporters made no secret of what they want.

And after a wave of the old "attack" chant swept around Berkshire it looked like United's dug-out had got the message as Charles N'Zobgia, Alan Smith and James Milner entered the field in the second half and helped fashion the equaliser.

But that was as good as it got and you could probably have written the script the second that Shane Long came on as sub.

Mind you, you would have to be quick because it took him just 10 seconds to pierce a Newcastle defence that struggled to communicate on the day (underlined by Cacapa's close shave when he almost beat Given with a backpass).

Now though we have to dust ourselves off again.

And should we pick up three points against Portsmouth we'll be sitting on 20 points after 11 games.

That wouldn't be the worse situation for United to be in because if they can keep up that points return every 11 games we'll be on 60 points after 33 games which would give us a great chance to get into Europe with five matches left.

But that's not much consolation to anyone who was at Reading as Newcastle failed to get over their away day blues.

They'll have to get it sorted for the next away game though, won't they?


Paul Patterson said:

This blog seems about as lonely as the ride back from Reading


Ryder's reply: Liven it up then Paul!

g.mastaglio said:

This is the last away game for me, its utterly depressing,its obvious Sams tactics are to crowd midfield and supress any form of football and try for a draw. Owen looked more depressed than the fans, starved of any service, devoid of any width or attacking formation.

Paul White said:

Just a reflection on the season so far:

Last year we played at home to Portsmouth on 26th November with two wins from thirteen games and ten points.

This year we play them at SJP on 3rd November on the back of five wins from ten games and with eleven points

This shows a significant improvement. Remember, this time last year we were worrying about whether our team was good enough to survive the drop.

The turnaround under Allardyce has been terrific, a few dodgy away displays apart and it gives us something to improve as well as maintaining our excellent home form.

Keep the faith.

dexter said:

Living in Australia I get to see every game live on Cable. I am a bit bemused by peoples comments on our recent wins. Personally I think we have looked rubbish at home but the scorelines have masked our performance.

My biggest concern is the quality of our passing. We seem to knock the ball in to players waste high. It then takes two touches to control the ball and when a player does get control he has two options. Hoof it up the pitch or backwards. A lot of our goals this season have been conceded by losing possesion in midfield and I believe this is because our movement is sterile.

Against Spurs we had two little fellas and Geremi kept knocking in high balls. Nicky Butt seems to get on the end of most loose balls in the attacking third meaning that if it breaks down our defence has no cover. We look very predictable.

For me the defence looks solid but if midfield keep handing possesion to the opposition cheaply then we will always be in trouble. Milner has looked great and his energy is a big miss. Martins and Smith look a very good partnership and Butt has been efficient. I'm happy so far with what Big Sam has done and I believe once the new defence is bedded in we'll see a few more risks in Midfield.


Hi Lee.The game at Reading as far as United were concerned was a no game,it reminded me so much of the miserable way we have conducted ourselves at away grounds over the past few seasons { in fact ever since KK left} I am surprised and disapointed at the way the team was structered and the positions the team were asked to play in, Why do we have such a pacey and potent strike force i.e. Owen,Martins,Milner,and Zoggy when Sam fails to capitalise on their strenghts. The way the lads were asked to play at Reading was criminal and I dont blame the lads for the defeat- but I do blame Sam.Reading were their for the taking conceding some deplorable defensive displays prior to our match and what does Sam do ? In my book he did a Roeder trying to pack the midfieldand asking the team to play under orders and having no chance at all to express themselves,one would have thought we were meeting Arsenal with a weakened United team.This game was a serious turn off for the toon army and if Sam thinks we are going to watch this kind of football he had better think again. Steve Coppell must have been over the moon when he saw Sams team and in sheer ectasy when he saw how the team was asked to play. Martins and Owen looked entirely forlorn and completely lost ,some of the other team members looked confused and unsure.Sam is a highly paid manager of a great club and his tactics ,team selection and positional deployment of a team of very good footballers was pathetic in every sense last Saturday.He must know by now you cant fit round pegs into square holes,even Nicki Butt who has been totally impressive this season did not seem to know what his job was and he was not the only one. I hope the playes are big enough and Sam is big enough to talk this over and I hope it will never happen again. I thought after we got rid of GS and GR to see the last of this amatuer tinkering and trying to be clever stuff but obviously I was wrong. Can we please get back to basics Sam with a proper back four,midfield and some width so as our very capable strike force can get some goals ,as we all should know GOALS WIN MATCHES .Then perhaps the players will be happy and we the long suffering travelling toon army become even more happy.It would be so nice Sam to have a shot on goal,a couple at least of goalmouth skirmishes and the odd away goal with dare I say it the odd away win to celebrate on the long journey home.PLEASE SAM NO MORE FANCIFUL IDEAS ABOUT NULLIFYING THE OPPOSITION . THE OPPOSITION SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT FACING OWEN,MARTINS MILNER AND ZOGGY- NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND SAM.

supporter sth tyneside said:

the reading performance illustrates the folly of not playing with wingers. in my previous post to you i said Sam seems to favour a system that seeks to stifle centre midfield. the problem is that the team then has no width. statistics show most goals in football come from balls delivered from wide positions. he does seem more willing to play with wingers at home, i just wish he would do it away from home. we will never know but my guess is we would beat teams like reading and derby if we did. his present away policy means that as soon as the opposition scores the match plan is in the bin.

Andrew Davis said:

Hi Lee,

I did listen to the game at reading as i could not manage to see it on my laptop, and when we scored i really thought we would snatch it and then all i hear after that are wave upon wave of attacks from reading, and we still need the old newcastle and with an improved defence it should be possible........

I also agree that even home and away we need wingers and that gets the other teams nerves on edge as we always win with wingers.

But we also need a big man and if vids is not fit for sat i would bring in ameobi as he has his moments and i believe this week he will be the man.

Up to you Lee to tell big sam mate.


Ryder's reply: I'll pass on the message...

Mark in Washington DC said:

Guys, lets not beat about the bush here. Big Sam made a right hash of the team. No shape, no idea and not sense in the initial starting 11 and then less when it came to the subs. Let have you opinion's (and Lee that includes you) and you all have to be honest.

1. Owen is a spent force. I don't want to hear he does'nt get service, do you see Martins waiting for the Ball. For the last 2 games was he on the pitch (heard a whisper he was sighted by the corner flag but un supported info)

2. If you have two really good young wingers, so who do you play, a player you should not be in the starting 11 now..El capitano Geremi?? and then play Emre who played well against spurs with Butty in the middle on the other wing????

3. Why when you are struggling do you take your best striker off and go defensive.

4. Why do we have the only manager who can't stick with a winning 11. Against Spurs it was spot on. The starting 10 (oops missed Owen again, must look and listen harder), 11 worked well and created the goals then the timely intervention of a few more players work a good victory.......So why change it totally against a team with -10 goal difference. This home team advantage ain't that big adeal with the toon fans on the road supporting.

Come on Big Sam you have agood squad but how about you stop messing around, play you best players (in the right positions) and stick with them for atleast a couple of games and get a little run going both home and away. We had a good team performance against spurs, so what did Big Sam do rip the winning team sheet and scribbled down another episode in 'cluedo the Big Sam' version, with the Subs being the majic bonus card.

Give the lads a chance to play together and stop changing whats not broken.

JJ said:

I never understood why everyone got so excited about the win over Tottenham. We beat them 3-1 last season and they were a much better team back then. We are simply too defensive away from home. We should throw everything at a team like Reading not have the manager coming out with comments liek he would be happy with a 0-0 score! Lets just bring Keegan back - ok we won nothing but at least it was fun. It is a very tight league and if we manage to pick up a win a few more away games the 4th place spot is really up for grabs this year.

Mark in Washington DC said:

Total agreement with JJ, we have the squad for a top 4 but can BS play War Games or is it just Chess. Sadly I can't see us coming through. I hate to say it but most of the problems are coming from above and not the players and I have a fear that Big Sam is not as big as he makes out. Why is Owen and Geremi playing if there are better options...I really hope we are not getting the big player influence again. Milner and Zobs on the bench and then taking of Martins off, our best player up front....not pointing any figers but its food for thought.

I said it before, we need our best team out for a few weeks in a row, and I mean our best team not BS favourates.

Sorry MO but that includes you, you may have scored for England but you still are a far cry from proving you are worthy of the B&W shirt you wear.

Adam Curry said:

lee, sort me out a ticket for sunderland man!


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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