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Toon fans still haunted by relegation ghosts

By Lee Ryder on Feb 24, 08 01:43 PM

Newcastle United actually invented the term "12 point cushion" back in 1996 which was of course the advantage they had over Man United in the title race a dozen years ago.

Now after being publicly undressed by Man U again at St James's Park, 12 points is actually what they need to stay in the Premier League.

Kevin Keegan admitted that's what they need and didn't shirk away from the fact Newcastle are in deep trouble.

History shows you cannot rely on other teams to keep getting results and the most successful survivors in the Premier League have always been teams who do their side of the bargain as well.

In fairness to KK - who is still the right man for this job - he has inherited a team with confidence at rock bottom and a team of players who are possibly traumatised by Big Sam's odd tactics that were basically based round a posh version of Championship Manager in the ProZone system.

Allardyce's haul of 26 points in the first half of the season isn't looking too bad at the moment to be honest and it looks like ironically they will be the points that save Newcastle.

With 11 games to go the only way out of it for Newcastle is in Keegan's own words: "Four wins or three wins and three draws."

Failure to do that means we are heading back to the Championship - simple as that.

It means that Blackburn on Saturday becomes the biggest game of the season and those "home bankers" with Reading, Fulham and Sunderland the key to staying up.

Don't even look at the away fixture list, it's terrifying and will only cause you nightmares.

People who were saying "we're too good to go down" aren't saying too much now and anybody who has tasted relegation knows that there is simply no such thing as Forest, Leeds and Blackburn fans will tell you.

It's actually the worst thing you could think.

The reality is Newcastle's 13th place position is fake and two more defeats pushes them into the thick of things especially if those below start picking up points.

This reminds me of a couple of scenarios in our Premier League history.

Firstly in 1999 when Sir Bobby took over with Newcastle second bottom of the table.

But back then there was plenty of games to get out of it and that's what happened with arguably a poorer but Alan Shearer inspired team.

Secondly in 1998 when Newcastle went into the game with Barnsley late in the season needing to win the six pointer on a day when Shearer saved the team again.

It would be easy to say we miss Shearer but the truth is the current team has nobody anywhere near as influential.

Nobody has told the fat lady to get warmed up just yet but if we don't win soon an appearance could just be in the post.

Battered, bruised and worried are all words that describe my current state of mind.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

32 Comments

Will said:

"In fairness to KK - who is still the right man for this job...."

Will you be so fair when relegated I wonder? You still feel time will see NUFC safe,but once that panic starts...

And remember, LUFC were relegated with Viduka, Smith, Milner.

micepie said:

If Blackburn beat Bolton, we'll still be 13th through amazing luck (instead of lower down).

No one can blame KK though except perhaps for team selections. I know BSA did his best, but months of draws and losses under BSA that should have been wins have lead to the way things are now. KK has, oddly, stuck with BSA's favourites like Butt and Smith, and even adopted his tactics of playing Nzogbia at lb. I can see that we're trying to get over the finish line with a cautious approach, but I often wish we'd just be bold. Bring in Emre, Carroll, Enrique, play only Duff OR Zog etc etc.

If nothing else, there are small signs that our offensive play could be a lot better given time. We're at least trying to play, even if it isn't succeeding for lots of reasons. We didn't even have that under Sam.

Like all Toon fans, I'm just praying we can stay up and build afresh.

Matthew Page said:

I can't be;ieve the mauling we got last night. I thought we would lose with some pride but it njust turned into another nightmare.

One or two questions remain about team selection - and what has happeend to Mark Viduka/ Was he injured for this game? I can't understand not playing a player with his experience in this situation. Only plus point - Andy Carroll. His pace and height gave the Man U centrebacks a few problems in the last half hour.

Paul Patterson said:

I think the influence thing is very important.

And who was our captain against Man United?- Michael Owen no less- who has looked about as interested in this club as a Sunderland supporter since his arrival.

Kevin has the same task as he had when he first took over, he has a very short run of games to save the club for a similar kind of oblivion and the games are not easy- in fact they are positively terrifying.

The club in the past has had a small band of players you could ALWAYS hang your hat on- Sir Bobby Robson infamous ‘Blue Chip Brigade’ this can’t be said of the current shambles of a squad.

Where are the Gary Speed’s, Alan Shearer’s, Warren Barton’s, Robert Lee’s and Nobby Solano’s of the current squad? Substitute those exact names for Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, Stephen Carr, Joey Barton and ahem- Geremi, players I wouldn’t let near a subutteo team- as they are just about as static.

I stated elsewhere that the person charged with our downfall in recent seasons, won’t be Kevin Keegan, it would be easy to lay the blame at Sam Allardyce’s door, which I do- partly, but I also chuck the blame to Glenn Roeder and Greame Souness in equal measure.

But the bulk of the blame, managers apart, must be heaped at the influence the man that ties them all together has had, and continues to have on the club- anyone remember his name because I’m sorry I can’t even bring myself to mention it, it makes me that annoyed that such a buffoon can be placed in charge of a football club.

This clubs epitaph at the end of this season, if that is the way we go, will be at his - very rich and opulant Spanish Villa's door.

The way things are going- See you all in the Championship.

Lots of Love

Paul.

Duncan Baines said:

I think it's so different now to when Robson came in 1999. We don't have anyone like Dyer, Solano, Rob Lee etc.now. Robson won his first home game 8-0 - yet we can't even beat Derby home or away!

Andrew said:

It's the same old story about how we need to sweat blood and tears and fight for the cause and then it doesn't happen. There are sides like Man Utd when it probably doesn't help much anyway because they are a class apart an ultimately it shows but too many times this season there hasn't been the class or the will. Add a lack of confidence to the mix and it's a sorry state of affairs.

gary said:

I am fed up of watching this team they are **** and it feels like none of them want to play for us
so im giving up on newcastle they are just soo embarrassing to watch it's hurt my pride i once had for supporting them and i could go on and on about it but i wont this is 1 fan you have lost thanks for nothing

Carl said:

Tottally agree with you Lee, Battered, bruised and worried is also how im feeling at the moment. Only 6 points off the drop with 2 very hard games to follow. Blackburn have just thumped Bolton 4-1 today, I honestly cant see us beating them, even at St James'. Then of course Liverpool away, we all know the writings on the wall for that one.
Theres 4 games that really stick out for me, Fulham Reading and Sunderland at home and Birmingam away. All winable fixtures but confidence may be so low by this point that we may not take advantage. Obviously Sam Allardyce is too blame, he brought in most of the current squad, his buys were horrendous. But no matter how crap we think they are, we have to back them until we hit 40 points.
I know im not the first to say this, nor the last, but how the hell did Alan Smith play for man u. Hes slow, has bad control, clumsy, and cant really win much in the air. Please please please drop him KK.

And lastly can i just wish Eduardo well after his horrific injury, Ive just seen the replay before on the internet, it really was horrible and could be career threatening. He looked a top class player and goalscorer too, lets just hope he can play again at some point in the future.

Ryder's reply: I think everybody in football wishes Eduardo well after his nightmare injury.

JImmy said:

Do you know what it is i hope we do go down to get rid of part time fans like gary above. mate you would be better supporting man u or chelsea. Yeah were in the brown stuff yeah were lookin to go down but get a grip eh. We have sat through good and now its time to sit through bad. thats the way football works. Ok you stop supporting if we go down then in a couple of years when we do come back up and make a challenge which will happen then you can all jump back on the bandwagon. your a discrace as fans..I am dissapointed as anyone but you need to get behind the team and support not criticise.

Malcolm said:

Before the game I sent text to friend saying with Smith and Barton in the side we have not got a cat in hells chance of doing anything against the mancs. On reading the Sunday Sun no surprise two players were marked with a score of 4 guess who?
I blame keegan for team selection Carrol and Viduka are way ahead of Smith Emre is way ahead of Barton. Enrique is as good a full back as Nzogbia and Duff is now living up to his name.

Yusrer said:

Yeah,I totally agree with Jimmy...


Shame on you Gary..

craig said:

Why do people feel Kevin Keegan is the right man for the job? Since he arrived, have results improved, have team performances improved. I go to the matches home and away and it is hard to justify why,its the hope that keeps you going and that is the one thing that we still have left this season,the hope that their will be 3 teams below us at the end of the season. Time will tell if Keegan is the right man for the job but for me football has moved on a lot since he was last here and some modern day footballers are more interested in money rather than playing for a manager who was at his peak of management over 10 years ago.
Will we stay up.I think so but only thanks to 3 other inept teams.

Bill said:

Yep, we are in the brown stuff and that is when you are tested as a real supporter. Agst Blackburn we have to frighten them to death and if we don't get the win we try do it to the next team we play. I think it will be close regarding relegation but the small glimmer is that the teams below us are not picking up many points - only B'ham(1) and Wigan (3!) this weekend - so our input at SJP might be the difference.

Aditya said:

Lee,please convince me one thing..
No matter who we play in the midfield none of our attack happens through the middle of the park..
All we try to do is to give the ball to wingers and fullbacks to provide crosses for shorty Owen and no headed goals in ages-Smith.KK having a stature and string knowledge repository of about the game can't he spot that?
Can't he spot that we do nothing almost in the final third?When he gets 2 weeks off for the training only..wat were the other basic aspects he was working on?
Defensively we are as woeful as anybody..so why can't KK improve our attacking credentials..I think 2 months in a job is sufficient time to get players playing through a proper pattern & a system.Hasn't KK got this wrong?

Roger said:

The stand out games for some time have been Reading, Fulham and the SMB's at home plus Birmingham away. These are the must win games...anything in all of the others will be a bonus.

Agree with the previous comments in relation to Gary's post...we do not need you. Now is the time for all supporters to do exactly that...get 100% behind the team no matter how each match is going. I recall going to a game at QPR in the mid 90's when we were 3 nil down after about 20 minutes and our support for the remainder of that half was awe inspiring...that's the sort of thing we need.

Get behind the lads, even if you do not like a lot of them, and keep the faith. I am sure that the summer will prove very interesting in terms of the players that we sign.

Ted Kane said:

Another dreadful game.

If Enrique's fit, he's got to play. Failing that, why not Edgar? Nzogbia should be wide left or at least left of centre in the middle so we have someone who can bring the ball upfield and feed the forward(s). Duff is poor. When he beats a man he either leaves the pass too late or stops and goes back, giving the opposition time to regroup.
If Oba or Viduka aren't fit, why not play Shola up front? Or Carroll? Surely to God they're both better than Smith?!

There are still too many long, high balls being played out of defence. Did you see the look of frustration on Milner's face when Taylor whacked one such 'pass'?

You have to question KK as to why Given played. He clearly wasn't ready and when we put on Harper, there's a sub wasted.

Aren't Barton, Smith, Butt and (the fortunately absent) Carr some of the worst players we've seen at SJP?

Tony Poolan said:

If we win our next four home games - all winnable with the players we have even if right now they look like they have never played in their lives! - we stay up - if not we don't deserve to! As for United reeling at the absence of Barton for the Merseyside games - I am reeling that they even care given his performances since he arrived - no loss!

Ray WILSON said:

I wish People would stop blaming KK for the mess we are in. Shambles bought a load of over the hill players looking for a last pay day and the club is paying the price.Can any one say that Viduka has looked the slightest bit interested in a black and white shirt since he came-Yes he can be a very good player -but when has he shown that since he came to us?Barton has had a horror season compared to his form at City he is a pale shadow of the player he was. Duff is the most overated player I have seen in years-He can not score goals-gets pushed on the floor every other minute -gets to the corner flag juggling the ball and every one is expecting something to happen -what usually happens is he loses the ball or attempts a cross which is invariably blocked-why the hell he cant fizz a cross over first time is both baffling and annoying and is certainly of no benefit to the team-his shooting is also woeful to say the least.If we stand any chance at all we must play Enrique-and give the wide berth to Charlie- Emre must replace Barton- Viduka needs a kick up the backside and put in and if he cant be up for the fight -then Carrol should be in -he may only be 19 but he did more when he came on last Saturday than any one to unsettle their back four-who had a stroll in the park before the lad came on-also lets stop blaming Owen -What has he got to work with? he again spent the game chasing and forraging for scraps because of our lack of midfield invention-contrast that with the superb through pass from Carrick for one of Ronaldos goals and there you see the difference between us. I have said all season the two players billionaire Mike needs to purchase to make us even half competitive are Berbatov and Bentley -I know they would cost a mint but are we serious Mr. billionaire or are we playing at it this is Newcastle United one of the best supported teams in the world -not just the premiership. We should only ever have people at the helm who are interested in taking us up and not down. Kev will get it right next year -if we stay up and I know we have signed some talented kids -but our security is at stake and if we stay up the kids wont be ready next year will they? We need to sign quality -not last day pay merchants -quality costs big money today-the alternative -watching second rate players putting in half hearted performances and ending up walking the tightrope as we are at the moment. The club has re-structured its boardroom management -can we now see how this re-structured management is going to stand with the manager whether we stay up or go down and tell us how the new operational board is really going to take the club forward. I think we have the manager -we certainly do not have the players -and the board -well jury is still out.

Ben said:

You touched on a point Lee about influence, And its something I have mentioned in this Blog before. we simply dont have any!! and we are missing Big Al for his influence off the pitch as well as on it.I honestly dont think we have replaced him on that front as well. I had a look around at the players once we had conceded the first goal, And I could tell from that moment we had no chance, The way we fold is shocking!! it really is.
The defense for me- and righlty so gets slated but I would also look at how inept we are in the middle of the park! I think Nicky Butt has had a great season and gives his all(and should have the arm band) but it concerns me that he seems to be the only person in the middle of the park occasionally entering into they other teams half!! surely thats what the likes of barton Emre, geremi and so on should be doing, I think out of the players I have just mentioned they have only scored 1 goal from open play all season!(cant think of 2 many defence splitting passes they have made either!)

What a huge game on Sunday all we can do is hope we finally turn up and get behind the team becasue if we dont pick up 3 points we ARE in huge problems,Problems that I dont think we have the players with the Character to get us out of, Think Oba coming back will be a huge lift hopefully, he has a good record against rovers.

One last thing if we do go down one positive will come ov it we will get rid of the hangers on like Gary, Do us all a favoour Lee and ban him from here and give him the web site for some Man u site, he will be well suited there.

Big Boro Bonga said:

Hello bonny lads.
I noticed the touching ceremony on Sat when Sir Bobby Robson unveiled a bust of himself
I just thought Bobby Robson needed commending for his dignity in doing this, it must stick in his throat when he sees the track NUFC's team has taken since he was relieved of his duties.
And for all the lads posting about Viduka's non-appearances etc if it's any consolation it wasn't a whole lot different at Boro. He had several hot spells for us when he couldn't miss but seemingly innocuous injuries (eg calf strains) would last for weeks, and if KK is giving him the cold shoulder I wouldn't go pinning your hopes on Antipodean heroics. He's getting paid a fortune by your lot and at this stage of his career you wouldn't think he'd be too bothered about winning anything - your boy Carroll seems a much better long term bet.

Anonymous said:

Craig- you can’t seriously blame Keegan for this mess- theres one man you can- he’s fat and rich and living in spain right now and he ties Souness, Roeder and Allardyce together in a nice neat package

Paul.

Sy said:

Lee, apologies for this one being a bit longer than I usually like to leave.

Firstly, Mark Greenwood has just said exactly what I was thinking while watching the Carling Cup final yesterday. Tottenham's desire, effort, grit and determination wasn't far short of heroic. They didn't get much after Chelsea went one-up but they kept working and found that when you do that, more times than not you get your reward - a penalty out of nowhere which changed the game. This type of attitude is exactly what Newcastle need and I hope the players were watching.

Secondly, to those who are saying there's been no improvement under Keegan must be watching different games to me. Throughout November and December I was just desperate to get a clean shot at goal during an entire game. Since Keegan returned, the football has improved, we get into the last third and on Saturday we forced some good saves out of Van Der Saar and scored a goal. We may be talking baby steps but this is a significant improvement in my book.

But my main point today is to echo the lads who've shot down Gary for his stupid comment. I've said for a good few years now that SJP isn't the same place it was when we arrived in the Premier League. I remember games like the 5-1 against Villa, 3-0 against Liverpool and 3-0 against Norwich in 93-94 when Newcastle made its nationwide reputation for having the best fans. The crowd applauding some of the most basic passes, cries of "Man On!" when a home player looked like getting caught in possession, and huge roars of encouragement if visiting teams took the lead or were getting on top of the game.

Then the glory-hunting likes of Gary started going to the games and the downward spiral began, even to the point where this new breed home fan seems to delight in seeing our players making mistakes and being punished just so they have something to jeer about.

Booing the team off at half time just because the score is 0-0 is absurd, regardless of whether the half has been classic football or not, and this has happened on numerous occasions.

People who cling to the notion of Newcastle fans being the most loyal and patient fans around are kidding themselves. There are two breeds of Geordies; the original loyal and patient ones and the new breed like Gary. The very fact that Sky Sports are asking Alan Shearer if Keegan's job is safe proves the point that too many of our fans aren't loyal or patient. Loyalty for me is more than just watching the game every week. It's about supporting the manager and giving the players the chance to shine. We all have our opinions about who should play and where, but at the end of the day, we have to support the team that's put on the pitch. I still believe that our original fans still do this, regardless of their frustration at times or post-match opinion.

While I could never bring myself to say "I hope we go down" as Jimmy said, I understand where he's coming from. The sooner these glory-hunters defect somewhere else, the sooner the general atmosphere around our club will improve, as well as our now dreadful reputation around the country.

Good riddance.

Paul D. Kay said:

It was frightening how easily we were beaten by a Man Utd side, that only moved out of first gear after we pulled one back, and had then restored the three goal advantage within a couple of minutes. We are light years away from competing with the Big Three (note that I don’t include Liverpool in this) at the present time.

Like many have said, we’ve got to unleash N’Zogbia on the left wing, and get rid of the utterly useless Duff. David Edgar is probably one of our most talented defenders at the club, so let’s use him at left back.
Smith? Makes Ameobi look like a world beater, and I never thought that I’d wish for his return.
And as for Barton, I can only hope that he is shortly detained at HM’s pleasure in the near future.

We’ve got to play two of either Martins, Carroll and Owen on Saturday, and I’d be tempted to opt for Martins and Carroll. At least Martins can run from deep, and link our midfield to attack.

I sometimes wonder whether our players are willing students of the game, and have a hunger to become more technically capable and tactically aware. Will they look at Saturday’s video, to see how Man United pass, move, defend and attack as a unit compared to ourselves? Because I can’t understand how we can continue to make the same elementary mistakes week after week after week.

If we get relegated, we can blame no-one but ourselves, as our performances have been pathetic this season. The litany of replacing third rate managers every couple of years, and our appalling purchases over the last few seasons may well have caught up with us.

With BSA, we’d have got relegated. No doubt about it. Keegan can still bring us hope, but it’s GOT to start on Saturday.

craig said:

I am not blaming KK for this mess that we are in. Normally when a new manager comes in results normally pick up, but under KK even the most biased supporter cannot say we have improved any. We are in a mess and it needs sorting out quickly. We have Terry Mac, Authur Cox and now Chris Hughton to help sort it out, does that instill confidence in you.
We need to look forward in football and not back to the past. KK did really well for us but eventually fell just short of what was required then, so why should it be better now,motivation and hard work only gets you so far.
Are we too good to go down. On present form no.
KK please sort it out

Myron said:

Totally agree with you Ray WILSON!! I do believe the team will be safe under KK.. We will stay up and fresh start again next season.

STEVE said:

Hopefully martins and emre will be fit soon,our centre mid is shocking,slow and cannot pass,dont offer anything going forward and dont help the back 4.We need martins pace,movement and unpredictability,we lack all 3 all over the pitch apart from nzog who cant stamp his authority on a game from left back,he should be left mid cos duff is finished(and he told keegan to keep carr cos hes his mate!!!!)with enrique at LB.I am usually a Taylor fan,but he seems more and more to backpedal when attacked until its too late when he should be tackling or at least closing down(not easy against ronaldo i know)When we get to summer having kept our prem status i hope to see the back of many of the overpaid crap that weve managed to accumulate....with some creative signings coming in.......AND THAT BIG BORO SPAM FRITTER WONT LET IT LIE WILL HE......

Lee said:

I just can't see where the next win is coming from. I can take a loss to Man Utd but not such a heavy loss. No one on the field seems capable of dragging us through to a half-decent performance. I watched Reading v Villa on Sunday and even though Reading are in the mire they looked like they cared and the players fought for every ball and seemed to believe they could get a point even when they were two down with 10 minutes left. Newcastle go two down and lose interest so concede a few more. Normally I'd expect to beat Blackburn at home but who will lead the players on the pitch? Owen was never a captain and there's no one in the dressing room who seems like they can command respect for the rest of the players. It would do KK the world of good if Shearer would agree to work with the players for the rest of the season, the players seem to respect and even fear Shearer a bit. Derby and Fulham are gone but the last relegation place is up for grabs and at the minute we are the worst team in the league. It's time we accepted that.

Dave Russell said:

Understand where Gary is coming from in a way. I am 56 and have followed Toon all my life, my eldest son (25) is a diehard and my youngest (11) is the most committed of us all.
However I am just getting tired of watching this lot that we have at the club now,between what's on the field every week and what's on the bench there must be £500k a week in wages and that's what has undone KK. He can't motivate his way out of this one because they don't care, it needs tactical nouse to set up a team to avoid defeat (I hate to say those words!!) and we all know he hasn't got that, I hope Hughton makes some difference in this area but Tottenham under him and Jol were hardly the best defensive team in the league were they?!
I think we simply have to beat Blackburn at the weekend or we will go down, we are freefall and need to stop it now.
If it happens the blame lies fairly with the fat controller and his brothel creeping mate Douglas Hall, they moved Bobby out without any succession plan and we have suffered ever since.
I hope we stay up but am not convinced this lot even care.
I will continue to support them and rail at the telly and radio when commentators and ex players criticise the fans for being impatient. In my time I have seen some rubbish interspersed with some decent stuff - Joe Harveys late sixties and seventies team, KK first spel and Bobby last 3 seasons. The bad stuff was really bad - Gordon Lee, Richard Dinnis, Bill McGarry, Jim Smith, but you lived with it because the players at least were trying and weren't earning a kings ransom for doing nothing - Viduka, Owen?! God I think of that lot and Smith, Barton then Sourpuss, Roeder BFS and my blood boils.
They simply have to stay up and then KK or someone who knows what they are doing can get rid of this lot and start again.
I live in hope.

RAY WILSON said:

Hi lee -First lets congratulate Spurs on their cup final win yesterday-Makes you wonder really -could have been us -of course they beat Arsenal en-route which we failed to do -if I remember corectly- Ramos is now being hailed in the press a a wonder man and KK gets derided -oh how some of our journalists love twisting the knife -there is only 4 points difference in the table between Spurs and us -but where as KK is now the merchant of doom -Ramos is a god -admittedly Spurs have a game in hand -but no talk of crises or relegation at Spurs is there How the press love their day out. Well saturday will soon be here and I will make my 375 mile round trip again to my beloved St. james park -How I wish we could for once put on a real show and send Sparky and his crew home with nothing. I always live in hope -lost my voice completely last Saturday - Hope it comes back in time. The Scousers all around me are all having a go - How I wish of going to Anfield and getting 3 points- They all tell me this is the worst Newcastle team they have ever seen and how we are going to get battered - Of course I say just like you battered Barnsley EH- just goes to show there is nothing certain about the beutiful game. A win Saturday would be a great help and I hope the lads can do it-though its not going to be easy. The most important thing is we stay up and let KK get down to business for next season. His signings last time around were the best i.e. Cole, Ginola, Shearer, Sir Les, Rob lee, Bes, Venison, -could go on couldnt we -so please MA keep him here and lets hope we survive -KK will not sign spent forces like the big shambles has done -so we need to give him the time to re- build and not get rid as some parts of the media suggest- Yeah they go on about him being out and the game has changed -what drivel as far as I am aware we still play eleven versus eleven and the best eleven usually win -also KK knows goals win matches and good players get moderate players playing better-something shambles never understood -he was boring as a player and more boring as a manager KK has never been boring as a player or as a manager-Its time the team stood behind him though and really got their sleeves rolled up we are desperate for a win-I just hope the team is as desperate as we are.

Phil said:

There are only two ways we can escape Freddie's legacy: one is if 150 million is put into the club to buy 7-8 top new players. The other, more likely scenario, is that we sign "solid" premier league players and aim for gradual mid-table repectability, when we can at least hope to attract decent footballers. Some of our current players are actually hurting our club. I would love to be a flie on the wall and hear what they really think about Newcastle. Sorry to say that, but the commitment just isn't there, and they seem to be just in it for the money. They don't care, and don't have the ability. I don't blame Kevin Keegan at all, and appreciate him taking on the job. We need to get rid of a lot of players at the end of the season - they are expensive rubbish!

Ronnie Lambert said:

Freefall...Keegan's got no choice but defend the c*** he's got. We'll be very lucky to get a win against Sunderland this term, who are a much better team than ours. We can't even be tribal in our defence with the pile of shite we have as first teamers, this will be a slice of miracle if we survive the drop. I am a veteran supporter but we don't even have a David Kelly to get us out of this mess. But if we go down, at least I'll get a season ticket when this bunch of prawn sandwiches start supporting Man. U. again.

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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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