Happy Monday

By Lee Ryder on Apr 21, 08 08:46 AM

It was far from a classic performance by Newcastle in the end but for many it didn't half hit the spot.

Basic things that had become impossible in the dark days of Sam Allardyce are now becoming second nature again for Kevin Keegan and his side with a 2-0 win over Sunderland making it five wins out of five for Special K in derby encounters.

Not only did Newcastle look so comfortable on the ball but their hunger to get black and white noses in front showed with Michael Owen's goal after four minutes.

And is there a better way to slap out the spirit of the opposition than netting a second right on the stroke of half time?

Owen's penalty was badly struck but it found the net and summed up that when it's going for you - it's going for you.

Newcastle could probably have had a few more in the second half but the Toon Army settled gratefully for 2-0 in the end.

It's six games unbeaten with three games left and Newcastle United aren't fearing any of their last three games even though West Ham and Everton away lie in wait.

And if Newcastle can start next season in the same way as they are finishing this one, exciting times are certainly ahead.

It's easy to get carried away but one thing worth remembering is that Premier League survival was only secured thanks to the 2-0 win over Sunderland and 41 points is still a pretty poor return over a season.

KK though, after a slow start, has turned it round.

The squad he's got to work with needs reshaping but no major surgery with the likes of Owen, Butt, Barton, Viduka, Martins, Beye, Taylor, Enrique, Milner all players to build a team around.

While the likes of Geremi, Faye, Harper and Given are also rock steady professionals.

And then you have players like Alan Smith, Damien Duff, Emre and Charles N'Zobgia all fighting to be part of this too.

Don't forget the youngs guns like Carroll, Edgar, LuaLua and Forster - all of them great prospects for the future.

KK has repeated a few times that three, four or five "quality" signings will also come in.

Whether they will be big name signings or players who will come in and do a job remains to be seen.

Unlike last summer though it doesn't look like it's a summer of false expectations like 12 months ago.



STEVE said:

Exciting times ahead indeed,KK has put the spirit back into tyneside yet again and with a few top signings things could be looking up after years of having to endure rubbish football under awful,delusional managers.There is a common idea amongst the media that KK is tactically inept,if this is true,then yer can keep yer allardyce etc....the man at the helm right now is THE ONLY man that could have had the effect that we are experiencing now,its such a turn around that halfway through this season after some of the performances,such as the lets defend and try and get a 0-0 draw at home to liverpool shambles that i did actually think that we would be relegated.But now i feel after another solid performance against a physical/dirty team like the mackems,that we have nothing to fear against west ham,everton and yes,even chelsea.Seen it all before of course but in a way KK is not just our manager hes an inspirational figurehead for the whole city of Newcastle.I sit dead centre in the gallowgate,lower tier,and fortunately for me,saw all the action,great save from stevie harper,poor penalty,but absolutely awesome movement and great header from a world class finisher,the sooner we tie him down with a new contract the better,the same goes for oba.I thought enrique and beye had great games,butt and owen were the best on the field,harper safe as houses,taylor and faye surprised me at how well they dealt with jones,geremi(apart from the cross)poor,too slow and wayward passing.I would hope KK is looking to replace him with a quick playmaker.All in all a decent performance,but excellent win.....ive never seen so many miserable mackems....on the way back from the game,listening to radio newcastle,mackems were calling and texting in calling for keanes head!!!!! and i thought us mags were supposed to be the fickle ones.Unbeleivable atmosphere also,i bet some of our lads have never heard anything like it,as for the mackems,a couple of them such as macshane physically wilted in the cauldron of st jimmys.Never mind happy monday,i am gonna buzz off this for weeks,GREAT DAYS TO BE A MAG....i dont want the season to end...

Egya said:

Definitely a happy monday. We didn't play very well but we kept a clean sheet and scored 2 goals. The youngsters who came on (Edgar and Carroll didn't do badly either. The backline has never looked so comfortable - they are communicating and no one is laughing at us now. If anyone can attract big names to Tyneside, Keegan can. I can't wait.

brian t said:

You're correct Lee it wasn't our greatest ever performance but it gave us three points and takes our tally to 42 points for the season which is just over a point per game and with that total you are only ever going to be stuck in mid table mediocrity. The system of play at present is like the little girl when its good it is very good and when its bad its horrid.

Its great to be on this unbeaten run but lets consider the teams played apart from Pompey have all been from the bottom half of the table and we should expect to not lose against these sides.
Progress is being made and getting in some class players who must have hunger and desire will help to take us to the next group of sides in the league. It is only the top four who are a million miles from the pack and it is not wrong for the toon to expect to be between 5th and 8th next season.

Paul Patterson said:

Having had time to digest the total battering that was Sundays derby game (I jest) it’s clear we still need a rock solid centre half and a creative midfielder- I game changer, in the second half, when Sunderland were toiling and dragging Newcastle down to their level, we needed a player that would throw caution to the wind and be brazen enough to attack the pretty shoddy Sunderland back line. (Wasn’t McShane awful?)

Martins should have tested him far more often than he did and we might have been on the right end of a truly famous victory.

I’ve been watching Moutinho of Sporting whenever I can get my eyes on the overseas leagues and feel, if the club really wants to bust a gut and bring the best to St James’ Park- he would certainly fill the ‘Game Changer’ role, the creative midfielder we need.

I’ve seen (And agreed with) the stories about Thierry Henry being linked with a Keegan revolution, and lets be fair, if anyone could tempt him to join Newcastle Kevin could, but he’s 30 and we have three quality strikers in Owen, Viduka and Martins, so he’s not priority- maybe Peter Crouch would give us a different option and probably cost £10m less.

The left wing is Stewart Downings I’m convinced of that, he was a special talent at Sunderland on his loan spell there and has been coached out of existence by McLaren and now Southgate- £12m would sort the left hand side out, as I’m sure Kevin could turn him into a flyer down there.

I’m lost as to what to do with the defence (Like many managers we‘ve had) but we have a good defence at the minute, just not a great one, so whatever Kevin could get in at the back would be great as Habib Beye and Jose Enrique are two players I love seeing bombing on past the midfield.

Finally, I’d like to re-iterate what we’ve all know for quite some time- we have two fabulous goalkeepers, Steve Harper only ever lacking in match practice, which he’s now getting, then we have Krul and Forster as great youth back up- no worries there as usual.

Whatever happens Kevin Keegan has my trust. . . Over to you Kevin.. . .


harpo said:

In Kevin I believe.

He has made us UNITED again. Instead of a bickering, moaning bunch we're once again all together. Players and fans appear to be in harmony.

I teased Lee a couple of weeks ago for getting carried away. I take back my words.

Duncan Baines said:

Well done to the groundsmen! The pitch was beautiful yesterday as it has been all season. Even the goalmouths looked perfect (from Level Seven).

Snapper said:

A month ago I was dreading this fixture, we were without fight, shape or hope, whereas the Makems, although not particularly skilful were at least showing the stomach for a derby. (Where on earth did Keane get that ginger "right back" from) he kakes Carr look good. But four weeks later bolstered by the KK motivation, we found the 3 up front worked, probably by accident, due to Milners injury, but KK stuck with it refined it and it works fine, also the old saying of "you defend from the front" has also made us defensivly stronger, I am not pretending that we dont need another centre half, we do. But Sunderland, my word they are awful, the only player they had that would get into our squad was Jones, and if thats the best support he can expect from his collegues he will soon be on his bike. I would not mind him in Black and White. Incidentally if you have never seen a referee give a decision to rule out a previous error, it happened on Sunday. A corner was awarded the players objected, the corner came over the ginger RB headed into his own net, the ref ruled it out, why? Becasuse of his previous error. HTL

tony cro said:

From far away I am saying, there is not better public than gourde's to support there Tim yet alone to doubt it self. Keegan..well man is mans man so for theme who did not his world first time coming, I can say mesayer is alive.
For all Newcastle supporter's I say happy new belief in your self, because we are the best
regards Tony

yiannis mazis said:

Four days ago i said 3-0 and with the own goal from Sunderlands defender who was the best out of all of them i was wright.Kevin KEEGAN for ever and only good days are coming.Can we buy DECO please i think he is the best with and without the ball in his feets.2 players like him will give us the big lift we need.NEWCASTLE FOR EVER .YIANNIS MAZIS AGHIOS NIKOLAOS KRETA GREECE

brian t said:

Hello again toon fans.
I forgot to say earlier what a masterstroke that was having that geezer sing the blaydon races afore kick off. It got everybody going. It must be a permanent fixture. Reminded me of liverpool and You'll never get a job.

indian toon said:

how did we end up with 41 points?
good times ahead for sure

Markus said:

I think it was incredibly brave of Keegan to move Owen to a deeper role, when it was obvious the 4-4-2 formation Keegan prefers wasn't working. Name me which manager would do the same thing knowing their previous history at England and realising that Owen was where he was going to get goals. Sam A also tried various formations with Oba, Viduka and Owen but couldn't get the necessary formula right. I have never known a manager come under so much pressure and ridicule as he did but K2(squared) showed he is made of better, stronger stuff than his so called reputation. Let no one be in doubt we were heading for relegation (6-0, 4-1, 3-0 x 3 and 1-5 results do not lie) and this was turned around. The Mackums were very poor but so were Derby and they got 4 points off us this season including their only win. K2 is a man to trust, we all know that, so my last comment is... "if he builds it, they will come"

Pete said:

I work in sunderland and boy was today good!!!! Not the greatest game but a great atmosphere and I am so happy that KK is putting them smile back into tyneside. Let the good times roll

mag in boro said:

Dont they say its only the result that counts in a derby not the performance and no it wasnt as good as spurs....after the first 2/3rds of this season does anyone care
its a measure how far keegan has took us that we can dominate a game keep a clean sheet (even though it was against the halfwits)then say we didnt play that well..ITS GREAT
and to mr patterson you know we agree on a lot of things but the one person we dont want is downing he couldnt be trusted to give his all not to mention the jibes from my local unwashed giving it the large plus as he only signed a new contract few month back he would be totally overpriced and think we would be better served looking towards the continent and hope jiminez connections are as good as we have been told


Charles said:

I'm sure the 4-3-3 formation isnt much of an 'accident' but more of an opportunity to me.

Even if Milner was injured back then, it was Viduka's coming that sparked off the formation where KK can finally utilize the front three. His decision to play the three strikers together couldnt have been an accident due to Milner's injury because Geremi would have been there to replace him. (Not too good a replacement)

it wasnt our best performance but we were playing with three midfielders and occasionally two midfielders, a striker, and a chicken runner (Geremi)

Geremi has been my talking point for more than 5 games and he keeps making the same mistake. The same corners, freekicks and running doesnt seem to be top to me. In fact, Beye was the one playing most of Geremi's position, running into positions, passing and occasion well crosses as well. Would love to see Milner back in frame, but West Ham seems a little too fast, maybe as a sub on at half time?

Regarding Newcastle's defense is due to midfielding. Barton and Butt have been magnificent in supporting the back four and possibly the one responsible for four clean sheets. From the start I stated the midfielders must be consisitent and able to support the back as well as the front but under Big Sam was the poorest midfield startup I have ever seen in more than 15 years...During Big Sam's drowning, Milner lost form, Butt got his bottom in salt water, Smith ? Need to say it? and Zog who obviously showed very little passion from the start.

My advice to KK is to sell Zog as he dont seemed to want to fit into Newcastle. If Lennon wants to leave, we can switch him with Zog as Lennon shows far more skill and touches than Zog could. If not, consider a move for Bentley, could be the one we've been waiting for.

Crouch could fit in for Viduka as he is always injured but I'd rather go for Asthon. Shows more physical than most strikers and can score goals too. With Owen in for the job, headers would not be a thing I would worry about for the foreseeable future.

Howay to the lads and may the Mackems stay next season. Rather have a rival to improve on than looking at them in the championship soaking the glory.

Bill said:

I have gone from despair to shiny happy face in space of about four weeks! I did not believe we were capable of a five game unbeaten run, having clean sheets and scoring more than one goal in a game! And now the icing on the cake. We beat the old enemy! I don't care that the performance was disappointing, nor that our penalty was a tad harsh, or they had injury probs at the back. We won, we have the bragging rights, we will be above both Boro and Mackems in the league; in short KK has turned us around and we can look forward to next season in a way I did not think was possible. Time to splash the cash Mike!

Duncan Baines said:

I too loved the guy singing Blaydon Races but wouldnt want it every week.

Phil said:

It's time fabio Capello had a good look at Steve Harper. He's probably the steadiest English goalkeeper out there right now, and has a great temperament for a goalkeeper. He's got his best years ahead of him, and barring injury should have five or more good seasons left. I can't help but admire Harper's quiet dedication. He would do well for England, and would thoroughly deserve the call-up. Notice the wee man Kev has woven his magic again - making everybody feel good? He did it as a player, and now as a manager. He is realistic about our chances of attracting world class players, but if anyone can, it will be Kev, especially when word gets out that it's fun to play in the Toon.

jon said:

who cares about the performance?
who cares that the teams in the past 6 games unbeaten run apart from portsmouth are in the bottom ten?
under big sam i would expect us to lose every single game...but at least we hv defeated them and scored goals!!..something i have not seen for a long long time...kudos to keegan....let the gd times roll dude

p.s. keep MO

Snapper said:

Charles, In the main your post is accurate, but Geremi is a better defender that Milner, and Milner is NOT the greaest crosser of a ball I have ever seen. Notwithstanding, I am amazed at your remark about Ashton, the most injury prone player since Dyer, something we dont need.

Charles said:

To Snapper who retaliated my comment...

Geremi hardly came back at all. He maybe a better defender but I prefer one who has the passion and speed to come back and defend.

Milner is more creative than Geremi in many ways, much better spot kicker than he is, a much,much,MUCH better corner taker and can score from yards away. Geremi's crosses are good as you say but how many times can he go on having so much time to ponder and think before he cross. Its like using an ancient semi-automatic rifle on the days where machine guns are invented.

And about Asthon...yes he gets injured like Dyer does so credit to you for spotting my mistake but I merely suggested Ashthon as an alternative because it is clear that he'll become a sub. Newcastle united's history of injuries comes in form of M.Owen, Bellamy, Shearer, Duff, Viduka and Dyer, yet Shearer and Owen got pass their injuries quite fine. My thoughts are, no matter how good their fitness are, I doubt they can stay fit forever.

This is not Roeder's age, so injuries might not be serious...


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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