We're not out of the woods yet

By Lee Ryder on Mar 27, 08 08:42 AM

If such a thing as time travel existed I'd certainly be tempted to go back to almost 16 years ago to March 29 when Newcastle United had just scrapped it out with Sunderland to take three points many people felt were enough to keep the Magpies in the old Second Division.

Back then there was a feeling of relief in the air on Tyneside and that with more than a month left of the season, Newcastle were pretty much safe and they'd turned the corner - but it still came down to a white knuckle ride in the last two games against Pompey and Leicester City before you could rest properly.

Before you start, this isn't a negative rant to fuel any doom and gloom merchants but merely a reality check ahead of the vital game with Spurs.

The plus points for United are that with seven games left they have breathing space with a nine point cushion over doomed Fulham but just a six point advantage over Fulham.

True, Bolton have a tougher test at home to Arsenal compared to Newcastle's trip to defensively leaky Spurs.

Basically whatever you think, just like in 1992, Newcastle could get sucked right back into things and while there's plenty of talk about signing players for next season being bandied around it could be all in vain if Newcastle don't finish of their survival task.

Spurs away is never easy and even last year we could have been 4-1 or 5-1 down before Glenn Roeder's side turned it round to win 3-2.

Beat Spurs and I might just start thinking about that sunny August day with KK's new look United running out at a packed St James's Park to get the season off to a flying start (maybe a Paul Bracewell style figure launching a thunderbolt home early in the game like against Southend in 92!) - lose it and we'll still be keeping an eye on how others are doing.



gavin said:

spus on sunday is going to be a hell of a test to team thats fighting not to be in a relegation battle but i can help to think that we aint gonna come away with anything from white hart lane ( sorry to put a downer on it ) . KK new and improved 4-3-3 might not hold up to well against a spurs side that are finding it easy to score easy to pass and easy not to give up but if theres ever a team thats gone in the right direction it is spurs that has done that. so if this club has the same level of ambition as the spurs board have then we all know it is possible to turn it around and acheive good things so lets hope for a good result at the weekend a full performance again and hopefully we can get another three points to step us further away from the dreaded bottom three ..... haway the toon !!!!

Paul Patterson said:

Spurs seem to have a great deal of guile up top in Keane and Berbatov, two players who I like, so we WILL concede.

Spur’s do leak goals and I’m backing Newcastle to score, but the overall sense of things is that we will more than likely come away beaten.

It was never going to be the game that we needed to win, it was always going to be Fulham, Reading and Sunderland, but if a point is secured at White Hart Lane, then I will be delighted.

I’m confident now we will survive and that choppy waters are now behind us, but this needs to be backed up against Fulham, Reading and Sunderland- a third of which we have achieved already with a great point against the Brummies.

Now we have a breathing space between those below us, we must not let it slip again, as we did a month or two ago- then Kevin can do his work in the summer and lets be fair, (Without putting too much pressure on him in his first full season) who wouldn’t back him to plot a return to Europe at the first attempt?

He may be looking greyer (Alright whiter) and he may be older, but he’s just starting to look the part again, like he’d never been away.

There is just something about him, him and Sir Bobby Robson, when you see them in the home dug-out, it fits, I can’t put my finger on it, it just seems right, the norm.

That’s why I’m right behind Kevin Keegan.


Charles said:

The game at Spurs might prove to be the ultimate test for the newly and much greater improved 4-3-3 formation. If we can beat Spurs with that kind of formation, certainly anything is possible.
(Mind you that Spurs have one of the most prominent attacking force in the premier league)

KK has really done it this time, 4-3-3 formation. Viduka to head and flick balls to Martins who will then pace through the defenses and get it to Owen so he could score. Or Owen would play a reduced role of defending while Martins and Viduka hold up the offense. This formations really gives us lots of options, and the full potential threat of pace, score and assists from the three strikers.

As for the summer, really hope we can offload a few players and bring in new ones. Target Fabiano, although it is highly doubtful we will ever get him, and Bentley from Blackburn to give Milner a little food for thought. If Bentley comes, Zog can go; We are better off letting Milner play left than Zog who wants to leave so much. Just remember to get a good price for him.

Paul Karter said:

Sorry to say, but after watching Spurs murder Portsmouth on saturday, I cannot help but think that this could be a no pointer for us on Sunday. Spurs are vastly improved from the side that we beat up here at St james' earlier in the season, and with pace and power, they could very well pass us to death. Lets be more positive and look at Reading and the Mackems at the two games that will keep us in the Premiership!!

Phil said:

Good luck to Shola Ameobi on his loan to Stoke City. I think the vast majority of Newcastle fans will respect Shola as a very decent lad, and wish him all the best at Stoke. Hopefully he can set the Championship alight and earn a return to St. James. If not, I hope he does well enough with regular games to earn a new contract. Now let's hope for a point at Spurs, and hopefully the clearing light at edge of "the woods" will look closer!

Cliff Anderson said:

50 years man and boy I have supported the toon through the good and dreadful times. I had thought following our return to the top flight under KK that relegation would never again be a problem we would have to face. However Sam Allardice certainly changed that. He took what was basically a middle of the table squad from GR and turned it into a relegation certainty. KK took on a massive task to save the toon but already his influence is showing in the team and I believe we will survive (just!) and that would not have been the case if SA had not been sacked. With regard to Spurs the result is irrelevant its how we conduct ourselves thats important. There are other games to come that we can secure our safety in so lets just hope for a good performance and a great game at WHL Howay the lads

M Sebastian T said:

No points to be expcted this weekend. My prediction is that Sunerland will win and the Mugpies don't an then talk of next season revolves around THE BIG GAME (we all know what that is).

But the good news is that both Fulham and Bolton will not catch Toon. Well, not unless the KK men get no more points. Lee keep it up you bring reality to bear!

My prediction has always been Shearer for next season and KK to doze on the old manager bench (perhaps that is pushing ground capacity).

dexter said:

hey Cliff

Great observation and one of the few people to recognise how rubbish we were under allardyce.

I remember when we beat spurs 3-1 at home and allardyce was banging on to the press about winning football and how this was the best start in 5 years. All I could think was we are going down cos this team is useless and can't pass.

Good skills mate and it's great to hear a long term fan give endorsement to what is happening right now. Perhaps all the doom and gloomers might want to visualise cardiff city or plymouth on a saturday arvo and realise things aint so bad


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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