January 2008 Archives


The opening day of this Blog on January 1 warned Newcastle United fans not to expect miracles during the transfer window but perhaps nobody expected absolutely nowt.

And while you might have had a hangover when you read it the lack of new faces may have you reaching for a stiff drink with the prospect of a relegation battle hanging round SJP like a bad smell.

Big Sam warned United needed to add depth to the squad at the start of the month but before he even had time to open the doors at St James's Park he'd been pushed out the backdoor himself!

That left United with two and a bit weeks to add players under Kevin Keegan but even the Messiah had a job on his hands to persuade high profile stars to come to Tyneside with team sitting in mid-table and with little or no chance of Europe next season.

Sorted from top to bottom?

By Lee Ryder on Jan 31, 08 08:55 AM


So Newcastle United have called upon three Wise men to address their torrid record in the transfer market and look into the production line that lies beneath first team level.

With United welcoming Dennis Wise, Tony Jimenez and Jeff Vetere to the black and white legion the plan, hopefully, is that incoming transfers and off the field stuff runs smoothly while KK does the business from the sidelines.

Wise would appear to be "director of football" even though his title of executive director suggests otherwise - but while the masterplan from chairman Chris Mort and owner Mike Ashley is now well in place Toon fans are wondering if a two tier management systems hasn't worked anywhere else in the Premier League, why will it work up here?

Lee Ryder reports from Ralph Gardner Park, home of football

So in the end they weren't singing and dancing on the streets of Billy Mill as North Shields were put to the sword.

A 3-0 win for the reserves but most United fans were more concerned with the lack of new faces in January and the unusual new two tier management system which is now in place.

But Newcastle United's second string handed the travelling Toon fans in North Shields something to shout about against the Northern League Second Division side who gave it a good crack.

Kevin Keegan was present along with his main men Arthur Cox and Terry Mac as they witnessed a 3-0 stroll for the kids.

Deja vu for Newcastle!

By Lee Ryder on Jan 29, 08 09:39 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED are still searching for their first win under Kevin Keegan after enduring a 3-0 defeat once again at the hands of Arsenal.

On a night of little cheer for the travelling Toon Army the Gunners went back to the top of the Premier League to leave Newcastle without a Premier League victory since December 17.

United boss Kevin Keegan made just one change to the team that lost 3-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday with David Rozehnal replacing Jose Enrique after the Spaniard picked up a knock at the Emirates a few days ago.

Just another quiet day then?

Confirmation that Jonathan Woodgate snubbed Newcastle, a new director of football and the fact that bail conditions now allow Joey Barton to sit on the bench at the Emirates Stadium.

I know the phrase "never a dull moment" is used in Newcastle a lot but this takes the biscuit!

It's getting better man!

By Lee Ryder on Jan 27, 08 11:09 AM

Newcastle's agonising wait for a trophy will reach at least the 40 year mark next season but for Kevin Keegan the challenge is only just beginning.

KK vowed bravely to give it a real go against Arsenal and he was true to his word, Newcastle could easily have been in front at half-time at the Emirates as the travelling Toon fans witnessed their best first half performance on the road all season.

That description may sound extremely specific and very much a case of clutching at straws but anybody who has spent their hard earned dosh going to the likes of Reading, Wigan or Derby (take your pick under Sam Allardyce's stint in charge) will know that the football played against the Gunners was crisp, fresh and encouraging considering the long road that lies ahead.

Forget about the national media witch hunt, forget about anybody else who wants to kick United when they are down and hardest of all block out the fact that Newcastle will end the season without a piece of silverware again - this time there won't even be a trophy-less open top bus parade around the city just because we made it to Wembley.

The only thing to remember after the 3-0 defeat at the Emirates is that there could just be some light at the end of the darkest of all tunnels.

NEWCASTLE UNITED were knocked out of FA Cup tonight as two second half goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and a Nicky Butt own goal ended their hopes of glory in the capital.

The odds were already stacked against United after being handed the toughest draw of the round but despite a battling performance by the Magpies, Arsenal’s class shone through in the second half.

Keegan included Alan Smith and Nicky Butt in his team for the clash with the Gunners as David Rozehnal dropped down to the bench and Shola Ameobi missed out on selection all together.


They say what makes you bad makes you better when it comes to most Newcastle fans' other main hobby!

And to be honest many Newcastle fans have been feeling bad ever since KK left Tyneside in 1997.

So is the re-emergence of entertaining and free flowing carpet football at Newcastle a case of hair of the dog?

Could it be that the post-Keegan era has been somewhat of a hangover period with Sir Bobby's stint in charge a bit of light refreshment?

Andy Carroll Lee Ryder reports from Billingham Synthonia

The turnstile operator was an excited man on the way into Billingham Synthonia's Central Avenue tonight as he revealed to me that Kevin Keegan was on the way.

However, with KK busy attending first team matters ahead of the weekend's FA Cup tie at Arsenal there was no sign of the Messiah to the disappointment of the autograph hunters.

What the handful of loyal Toon fans did get though was a superb hat-trick from Andy Carroll who threw his hat into the ring for the trip to the Emirates in fine style against a Boro team who pride themselves on graduates from their Academy as well as an appearance from Mido.

In the end it was a cake without the icing on top or very much the fairytale night that lacked the fairytale ending.

But Kevin Keegan's dugout didn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

And nobody woke up this morning to find that Sam Allardyce was still in charge waxing lyrical to the amount of times the ball ended up in the penalty area or pointing to the fact the ProZone stats tell everyone that 0-0 with Bolton at home was a good result.

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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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