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December 2007 Archives

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BLOG ON THE TYNE

The calendar year of 2007 actually promised quite a lot as far as Newcastle United were concerned - but not for the first time in history it eventually conjured up absolutely nowt!

This time 12 months ago we were within swinging distance of the top six, still in the FA Cup and still in Europe.

And going into 2008, a lot of Geordies are already starting to wonder - what next?

Freddy Shepherd has gone and Mike Ashley and Chris Mort are in which delighted the majority of Toon fans yet sadly results on the pitch have not changed a great deal and United are pretty much in the same position they were in 12 months ago - apart from we aren't in Europe this time around.

And although the up and coming January transfer window is a chance to change things as far as Big Sam is concerned there is no golden promise of cash so far from the Toon board meaning, as ever, the next three games are crucial.

Newcastle United's battling performance in the capital today wasn’t enough to ease the pressure on Sam Allardyce as his side were beaten by a controversial late goal.

Salomon Kalou’s goal near the end bagged the points for Chelsea in a 2-1 win for the Blues but Newcastle could have picked up all three points.

Newcastle headed for Stamford Bridge looking to become the first team in 73 Premier League games to beat Chelsea against a patched up Blues side.

United usually don't do well at Stamford BridgeAnybody who went to Wigan will know that Newcastle United surely can't do any worse than they did at the JJB Stadium when they head to Stamford Bridge.

Or can they?

I don't want to be negative but you have to fear the worst.

For starters United couldn't win at Chelsea when they had a good team, Keegan and Robson included.

In truth we have been terrible at the Bridge and it doesn't look like it will get better does it?

Joey BartonApart from the occasional controversial outburst about playing for England, United's vicious supporters and reflections on mistakes he'd made earlier in his career at Man City, Joey Barton has - by his own standards - had a pretty quiet opening to his career with Newcastle United.

That was until Barton - who is already waiting trial for a training ground incident with a former Man City team-mate - was charged with assault.

It's no good going into exactly what happened at 5.30am in the morning yesterday - when most of us were either tucked up in bed after the dismal defeat of Wigan or the revelers amongst us still burning the midnight oil or tucking into a low standard kebab - because until the latest drama unfolds we can't speculate too much.

Certainly Barton's reputation walks into the room before him and there will be plenty of people with things to say right now.

But Sam Allardyce must be wondering just what he got himself into when he decided that Newcastle United was the next step up the ladder in his managerial career.

It was the bloke that was dressed as a hot dog that I felt sorry for the most after Newcastle United's latest failure in Wigan.

Seriously, all of the effort he'd made to watch that.

He and 4,999 others as well of course - but to go all the way to Wigan on Boxing Day, pay the money to hire a crazy outfit, buy your ticket, have a few pre-match drinks with friends, sing your heart out and then sit back and watch your team struggle against a team that will struggle to get out of the bottom half, it's enough to push most people to the limit.

It certainly wasn't the top day out that most people had anticipated and not for the first time the fans snapped towards the end, but I can't blame them - I was feeling bad enough myself yet my heart really did go out to them.

NEWCASTLE UNITED were gunned down by Wigan Athletic today as Steve Bruce played the role of party pooper for the 5,000 strong Toon Army.

It was United’s fourth straight loss at the JJB Stadium but Wigan were full value for their 1-0 win as Ryan Taylor bagged the only goal of the game.

Big Sam did not hesitate to wield the axe following the inept performance against Derby County with the Toon boss making FIVE changes to the side that drew 2-2 with the Rams at St James’s Park three days earlier.

Toon owner Mike Ashley watched from the away section as Newcastle supporters lost their cool at the end of a deeply disappointing day.

Mark VidukaA VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL CHRONICLE AND BLOG READERS!

Even the Derby fans were chanting how bad they were during Newcastle United's latest twist in a season which still promises nothing but inconsistency and mid-table mediocrity - unless something changes dramatically.

In fact Derby fans were ridiculing us because they were that bad and they'd still taken four points from six from us, which makes up a big bulk of their dismal tally of seven!

It would be easy to come out with lots of seasonal flavoured phrases and try to make a joke out of things but this is well beyond that.

It's five games in a row we've handed the visitors the lead now and it's actually quite amazing that we have 26 points in the bag.

Toon suffer Christmas Ram raid

By Lee Ryder on Dec 23, 07 03:58 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED survived a real scare at St James's Park today after leaving it late to save their blushes against doomed Derby County.

United had to come from behind twice against the Rams but even Mark Viduka's late equaliser could not stop the boos ringing out come the final whistle against the Premier League's poorest side.

The Magpies made just one change the side that won 1-0 at Fulham last week with skipper Geremi dropped to the bench and Mark Viduka promoted to the starting line-up.

Let's face it Sam Allardyce is on a hiding to nothing against Derby County but he'll be hoping for a convincing win when the doomed and relegation haunted Rams show up on Tynside come Sunday.

Big Sam has already told us not to expect miracles in the transfer window next month or said as much when he revealed that he isn't a big fan of panic buying in the January sales.

But for 90 minutes on Sunday it's all about the players that Newcastle have at their disposal right now.

Newcastle can't get carried away

By Lee Ryder on Dec 16, 07 04:06 PM

In the end it was a win.

But that didn't stop many Toon fans expressing fears that the late victory at Craven Cottage has merely papered over a few wide cracks.

Had United failed to beat a woeful Fulham side in the capital on Saturday, those with doubts over a squad that is lacking depth and is about to get smaller next month would have been heard loud and clear come the final whistle at the Cottage.

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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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