The first step to safety?

By Lee Ryder on Mar 20, 08 09:47 PM

Doom and gloom merchants have had a field day at Newcastle United this season but enough has to be enough.

Surely the time has come to stick it right up those who have been revelling in the club's demise of late and make that first step to security.

Yes, Newcastle United shouldn't be talking about the words relegation but the cold facts are that this is a club going through a period of change (the umpteenth period of change maybe) and that a new owner, new managerial appointment and a clutch of new players signed by the previous manager, were always prone to struggle this season.

But enough of why we are in that position, the next step forward is getting out of it.

And against a team that have struggled on their travels this year and who are only better than Derby in terms of position, Newcastle have a great chance.

Beat Fulham and the pressure could be off because a nine point gap between the two clubs come Saturday night could mean it's curtains for our friends from the south.

And that would mean that the likes of Birmingham, Sunderland and Bolton would then have to go on a magnificent run of form to overtake us.

It might sound complicated but the lowdown is win two or three home games and we're safe.

End of.

And with the performance at Birmingham to build plus the return of attacking football with the three man attack on Monday, things could be looking a lot better.

Remember that? Three points, a smile and having a pint to celebrate?

Well it could be just around the corner for the Toon Army.


STEVE said:

THAT celebratory pint sounds good,a distant memory maybe,but youre right,a win against fulham and the pressure will ease,the players will feel that also and against reading,makems and chelsea maybe well see some fluent football instead of the more recent panic football.We wrote this season off long ago and the aim of late has just to get points to stop up,hardly an ideal situation for NUFC,but given all the upheaval at the club its maybe the best we can do just now.The sooner we can get a bit of breathing space between us and the bottom 4 or 5 the sooner everyone associated with the club can look forward with typical geordie optimism to next year,new players,new season,fresh start,KK will show what he can do,and we WILL stick it up all the journos who only want to report on any negativity(a lot of it fabricated)at our club.It wont be easy against fulham,they are battling to survive also,they have some half-decent players and they deserved their win over everton(who were poor)but having said that i think the only thing to beat us will be complacency and KK wont allow that...i think a 2-0 win to the toon and many celebratory pints....HOWAY THE LADS..

JImmy said:

Spot on mate agree with everything you said, i am always the eternal optimist but i think this wked is the break we need, three points and much needed restoration of confidence. On monday i thought the lads done ok, showed a bit of passion which was good, thought big Vid was impressive his touch is still second to none. Midfield wasnt great and i think this needs to be improved but think big oba is back in the frame is good and i think he will terrorise the slow and weak fulham defence...well fingers crossed anyway..come on the toon!!!!

Paul Patterson said:

Back into the breach lads, tin hats on, bayonets fixed to rifles, copy of London-based newspaper and matches at the ready- lets go!

Yes everyone’s had their giggle at Newcastle and indeed the North-east this season, a lot merited, a lot not, so the only thing we can do short-term is to make sure we even the score and give ourselves a chance to win the war in next and future seasons campaigns.

Anyone thinking this match will be easy, will accused of gross complacency and shouldn’t be so silly, especially when I expand on your point about Fulhams away form this season- One startling fact- They haven’t won away yet- Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

Still, play like we did against Birmingham City (Second half) and the result just might materialise that we all crave, no draw will do, just a win, three points, which puts clear, clear daylight between us and the Al Fayed brigade.

Then over the horizon, things should look, that little bit clearer, a chance to make the season look that little bit, well crap, but not as crap as it turn out it has been- we could still realistically finish 12th/13th, which would look decent considering.

That’s not the issue, just surviving is paramount, and yes I hope the other two survive also, calm down- mind you, if it’s Newcastle OR one or both of the other two, then I make no apologies- Bye Bye Sunderland and The Unlean.

Lets hope there are Premier League derby games to watch next season (And games against Middlesbrough as well)

If (And it’s a big if) any, two or all three stay up, massive restructuring is needed, probably involving more money than you can throw at Heather Mills and lots of coming’s and goings, bootings up back sides and demolishing of over-inflated ego’s.

From my own personal point of view maybe, just maybe Newcastle can get it together better than the other two.

In the meantime, there’s a relegation battle to focus on. Company- Advance!!

Good Luck everyone!


Sandy Love said:

I can't remember the last time I felt confident about a match. With the three man attack and the performance in the second half of Birmingham I am more than confident that we can win it. Though we can't underestimate them and I can see Jimmy Bullard being a real danger man with his free kicks. As long as we don't give away silly free kicks I think its likely we can get a win. It could only be 3 points we need to stay up but I don't want us to be relying on other teams below us.

James 09 said:

Yes there's been a huge amount of flak directed at Newcastle United this season. Alot of it is pure turd - especially the stuff written and believed about our supporters.
But come on Lee, a whole heap of it is understandable, indeed deserved, and not just about this season. NUFC are the butt of many jokes and with decent reason. We all should realise that.

Onto Fulham. A wee goal run from Owen would come in very handy right about now. A win (a possible cleansheet too??) would be a massive boost to our survival.
Lee, go easy if this is too doom and gloom for you pal, but this team is still well capable of losing to Fulham so my confidence levels are not exactly ticking over.

John Best said:

A lot really depends on the team selection. Those players who have performed repeatedly badly; need to be taken out of the equation. Any one of the back 4 is likely to drop the compulsory clanger, gifting a goal away, so we will need to think of scoring at least 3 to be sure of the 3 points being secured.We dont enjoy the perfect record against Fulham and we dont really have a reliable captain to muster the troops; when the chips are down. The thought of wage cuts and fond farewells might just be enough to rally the beleaguered 11.

Carl said:

Same formation, and same players again tommoro please KK. It looked really threatening in the second half against Brum, and we had the majority of possesion. 3-1 win for us tommorow I think, which would certainly ease the pressure on KK, the fans, and the City. I fancy Owen to get a couple, its England v France next week remember(just kidding), he has looked really committed in recent weeks and has put in a few decent performances so long may it continue.
Lets hope that Sunderland lose at Villa tommorow aswell, id LOVE IT if they go down.

Siomi said:

I agree with you Lee, this should now be the turning point at then end of a stressful season.

I reckon that if we can get an early goal against Harrods (and Obafemi is playing), it will be a rout.

I am predicting 3-0, but it could be more!! And if we agree to a celebratory pint for every goal scored, I could be in for a great night!

Ryder's reply: I'd be happy with a 1-0 rout myself!

Duncan Baines said:

I'm looking forward to going more than the last few games now Martins will hopefully be starting. However, I'm worried if we don't score in the first 20 minutes it will all get a bit nervous and we'll not win. Is it a must win game for us to stay up?

Paulie'sWalnut's said:

I think We need to reign in Our optimism a bit, Am hopeful We'll beat Fulham but lets not count Our chickens, They've been a bit of a bogey side for Us and when We had a decent team too, so Am taking nowt for granted, that said Howay The Lads, lets have the place rocking !

vic said:

Do not be under delusion about 3 forwards. They performance is unpredictable with lack of quality in midfield.
We can ease drop 3 points without NZog, Milner & Emre who are able to deliver a ball.
Smith, Barton and probable Butt shoult not be use against Fulham.
To survive we need quality in midfield.
This is paramount at this moment.
Good luck everyone

Ronnie Lambert said:

Stevie said it all for me, especially about the mischievous southern press who will again publicly love us when we finally turn this club around. A win tomorrow is not as crucial to our safety as some are making out due to our rubbish peers, but it would relieve the nerves if we got three points instead of one. I only hope that Nicky Butt's comment about " seeing it in their eyes..." of his team-mates' determination to battle it out are the signs of a glorious end to this crappy campaign. Fulham with Bullard back are dangerous with free kicks, plus the Yank, so the three-prongued attack will have to be cautious if employed. I used to have a blase opinion about Fulham until Souness' last season when we entertained them at home. I couldn't get to the match but listened to it on my car radio, and shock of shocks they stuck four past us and we went into free-fall after that match. My falsely elevated confidence in everything Toon was never the same after that result. I personally need us to stuff them with four goals tomorrow to heal the damage I suffered that day. Howay lads!!



Revo said:

Lets not get carried away here Fulham will put 10 men behind the ball no doubt about it.
Tactically can we afford to let them have the ball a bit and counter attack dont think that one gets coached at NUFC but MUFC have built a empire on it.
Need to be patient fellas.

jes said:

Wishful thinking methinks.

damo said:

This one's all in the 'gel'.

Firstly, the green shoots of improvement are there (in flashes) as we have all seen - and I feel hugely encouraged by signs of Keegan's ideal's at last bearing deserved fruit at Brum, as various partnerships started to gel together. How many have said Owen and Oba could never play together? I beg to differ. Between them they should just about have the speed and channel-running nouse to run any moderate defense loopy. It's not exactly there yet, but it's not an unthinkable weapon in the right games (like tomorrow).

Secondly, we've got the hair gel - as in against Fulham we need to forget all about image and looking well-groomed and pretty. If ever a game needed won ugly, this is the one. It's MASSIVE - and make no mistake, Fulham have enough players capable of sticking one away if, like Lee said, we don't take them seriously and complacently think this is all about us. I reckon those London boys'll be treating this one as Last Chance Saloon (and hoping one of our famous Wyatt Twerp-moments shows up, or Steve Taylor gets shot and we all go west) - so will have little choice but to die for the cause. So let's be realistic and give 100% vocal through thick and thin until the 89th minute moment of ecstasy, when Oba and Owen gel in the greatest display of sexy football since Ruud Gullit (not)for the 1-0 winner - and we can all trash our respirators, take a long hot shower, and feel cleansed of this nightmare season once and for all.

And finally, my legs - they feel like JELLY. Hope the lads are made of some sterner stuff the morra!

Pray for 1-0.


Cor blimey - you Geordie boys need a reality check!!!

WHEN Kevin Keegan was appointed Newcastle manager at the start of the year, his boss Mike Ashley said: “This is the man to make this club great again.�

Excuse me? Again? Because I can’t remember the first time they were ever great â€â€? and I’m pushing 70.

I hazily recall them winning the FA Cup with Jackie Milburn in 1951 when I was still a boy in short trousers. But since then? Bugger all.

This whole idea of the North-East being a so-called soccer hot-bed is a complete myth.

The combined achievements of Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough don’t even begin to compare to Manchester, Merseyside or London.

So why everyone got quite so excited when Keegan returned to St James’ Park was simply beyond me.

Unlucky Allardyce
It was blindingly obvious that it was never going to work out.

Newcastle panicked when they sacked Sam Allardyce and now they are paying the consequences because things have gone from bad to worse ever since Keegan took his place at the helm.

Without a win in nine games under the man they like to call the Geordie Messiah, they have got to end that miserable run at home against Fulham today or they’ll be right in the brown stuff.

Considering that Fulham haven’t won away in the league for more than two years, Newcastle could not have picked more beatable opponents today.

Fulham have worked wonders to survive in the Premier League for so long but it looks as though their luck is about to run out.

Newcastle will probably do just about enough to stay up â€â€? even if they don’t deserve it.

But please don’t kid yourselves that things will be any better next season if Keegan is still in charge. Because they won’t.

By the way, now that Northern Rock has become a nationalised company, does that mean us taxpayers are footing the bill for the sponsors’ logo on the front of the Newcastle shirts?

If so, I’d like my money back. Now.


Ronnie Lambert said:

YABADABADOO!!!!! What a send off to my 7 days in Tunisia men, hope this week's snow forecast isn't too dismal on top of this great result. Maybe we'll still have derby matches next season too after their great Chopra victory, I knew he'd have to score a goal this season to keep them from seeing through his black and white blood.


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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