Jesus Christ is the star of the show at Donny

By Lee Ryder on Jul 27, 08 09:04 PM

It may have only been a friendly but Newcastle United sucked at Doncaster on Saturday.

In the aftermath of the defeat Kevin Keegan announced Joey Barton will be handed a last chance at Newcastle - and on this evidence - love him or hate him - Newcastle probably need him.

You can't get carried away with friendly results either way in football and Newcastle are down to the bare bones when it comes to players, but when a Toon Army chant directed at one of the stewards, namely Jesus Christ's lookalike at the Keepmoat, you know it's been a long day.

That boy Bassong also caused much amusement in the away end at Donny too with none of the Toon fans having a clue who he was due after Keegan surprised everybody by giving him his chance.

And the game itself?

Well who could deny Donny their big day?

After all they worked their backsides off and wanted a scalp at their impressive new stadium.

But Newcastle United should beat Doncaster Rovers at any level, friendly or not.

And the sad facts are, apart from Charlie N'Zogbia, nobody seemed like they were interested in breaking the deadlocl enough which opened up the door for Rovers to perform a smash and grab raid at the end.

That occured due to the pub team defending from Bassong and Jose Enrique who must have had a communication breakdown which allowed Stuart Elliott the freedom of the Keepmoat to notch a memorable strike.

Nobody outside of Doncaster will remember this game though but the Toon fans will never forget Jesus Christ!


Jezza said:

Yet another sad sorry debacle from Newcastle United. If this is the team we're going to be seeing next season, not only will we go down, but we're likely to challenge Derby's record low number of points.

Friendly or not this was a disgraceful performance. Duff was incapapable of going past a defender, Ameobi and Smith offered absolutely nothing up front and it's easy to see why they've gone a combined 4 years of football without a goal between them. By God Ameobi was awful, but next to Smith, he looked like Maradonna. Smith sported yet another new hairstyle but put in absolutely zero effort and this sums up his attitude. He is without doubt the worst player I've ever seen playing for Newcastle United, and he should have no future at the club. Unfortunately we have very little prospect of getting rid of him. Nobody will buy him, our only hope is that somebody like Stoke or West Brom might take him on loan.

I wasn't even that impressed with the trialist Bassong, he looked suspect in the air, and should definitely take some blame for the Doncaster goal. Our defence was wide open and Doncaster could have had 4 or 5 goals in the second half. If you'd just come down from space, you'd have thought Doncaster were the Premiership club, and the most galling thing is they even looked a lot fitter than our lot.

I'm also increasingly concerned about the continued absence of Gutierrez. If we don't have his playing registration, then he's not our player, 5 year contract or not, and there's obviously more going on than we're being told. To be truthfull, I can see this transfer falling through and wouldn't be surprised if he never turns out in a black and white shirt.

If yesterday doesn't force Ashley to get the chequebook out, nothing will. Sadly I fear we will be facing another relegation battle next season.

James 09 said:

Lee mate are you not packing yourself yet for next season?? We have a sub-standard squad at best - and it's not small but tiny. That is no over reaction to the abysmal showing in the weekend either.

If we don't considerably strengthen our squad extremely quickly - we ain't getting anywhere near a European place spot this coming season. And yes I recognise the obvious risk in hasty buying...but it's getting desperate. I could honestly see us flirting with relegation again without significant signings - and if we so again, it's only a matter of time before we actually get relegated.

We have finished in the bottom half for something like 7 out of the last 10 seasons - simply embarrassing given our support and cash. Given the woeful start we've been served up in our fixtures, panic could well settle in very quickly - the past has a real habit of lingering at NUFC.

At the moment the only positive is we have Kevin Keegan.

Darren NZ (Singapore) said:

Guys, we should probably stop pushing the panic button just yet. The lack of transfer activity from all clubs really doesn't make us out of place and pushing the panic button might lead to panic signings. Most importantly, flashing the chequebook for big name signings doesn't necessarily guarantee success. Think Boumsong.

We have to be realistic. Newcastle's lure is no longer that of 5 or 6 years ago and the only reason why big name players have come to this club in the past when we couldn't offer Champions League football was the big fat paychecks Freddy offered. What happens? Big players with big egos with no real ambition. When they don't perform as expected, they start becoming disillusioned and actively seek a way out. Think Luque.

What this football club really needs is hungry players. Of course, they have to be of a certain calibre to begin with. Just look at what Harry is building at Pompey by signing fringe players from England i.e. David James, Glen Johnson, Defoe and now Peter Crouch. What he has done is to give these hungry players a stage to prove themselves and to the England manager that they have the ability to perform. He has won the FA Cup with such players and this is the sort of success the Toon army have been waiting for. In a way, Keegan and perhaps Ashely understands this. He has brought in Gutierrez, a player who has just broken into the Argentinian set-up with plenty to prove. Similarly, Guthrie surely fancies putting in good performances to catch the eye of Capello in future. The fact that a reputed £2.5m was needed for his signature probably shows that Liverpool had held him in high regard. Diouf, someone who has plenty of EPL experience is going for the same price.

Anyway, those who are worried about the lack of transfer activity need not worry as over the weekend we have been linked with a host of players namely Coloccini, Burdisso, Baptista, Warnock and Senderos. We probably shouldn't also forget renewed speculation regarding a move for Goekhan Inler who has also interested Arsenal. Ideally, should 3 or 4 of the names mentioned don a Newcastle kit next season, we should be in good stead for a few surprises. I genuinely believe a young player like Guthrie might just take the EPL by storm like how Micah Richards or Bentley have done in the past.

As the owner of the club, he has to do what is best to ensure the survival and stability of the club. It has been reported that Ashely has cleared the club's £100m debt most probably incurred during the Freddy era. What he has done is to give Newcastle a clean slate to build on instead of worsening our financial woes by bringing in a Berbatov or David Villa. There has to be a progression to things and there are plenty of lessons to draw from i.e. Leed's fall from grace. There is no point rushing for immediate success without any concern for the long term future of the club. Newcastle fans are who we are and we will still be with the club no matter what happens. We must be prepared to wait if we want success. Similarly, the board, the manager and the players must have the similar passion and hunger for success for the club to move forward.

Feel free to comment.

Snapper said:

I'm afraid the writing is on the wall to some extent. The wage ceiling imposed by Ashley, I have heard £50'000
a week, by our standards unbelieveable, but in todays wage climate will only get us either up and coming talent,or "on the way down" players. Keegan's silence is worrying me more than that, the man who makes sports editors purr with glee and the easy lineage, has taken on the guise of trappist monk. His famous statement of years ago of "its not what the brochure said" has come back to bite him.

Anonymous said:

I see Smith was our team's spokesman in The Guradian. Why on earth Louise Taylor didn't ask him the pertinent question of what is it exactly you you do for your reputed 62 thousand a week is indicative of the kind of cowardly reporting that dogs football.

john gilroy said:

The only thing that can be read into this result is that Newcastle has not enough strengthin depth in the squad. Very worrying with a long season ahead

Brad said:

I cannot understand why so many people are reading so much into this defeat, it was a friendly and yes it did show we need more players but a friendly game is all about building fitness. The only friendly games i think we should try and do better in are the games against hertha berlin, mallorca, valencia & psv, only because it would build are confidence up.

As with the transfer situation, look at everton, tottenham and man. city, evertons squad is the size of ours, if not smaller and have made no signings, tottenham are on the verge of losing their two front men who will be incredibly hard to replace, and man city have only bought in a brazilian striker from russia for an incredible amount of money who will miss the start of the season. The transfers will pick up, just because were not signing many players at the moment doesnt mean we wont start soon. Over the course of the weekend weve been linked with names such as baptista, coloccini, burdisso, warnock and being consistantly linked with gokhan inler. We not the newcastle of old and cannot get in the likes berbatov and villa. Were building towards these days again.

dave w said:

Darren NZ they are the most intelligent comments I have read from a NUFC fan. Your comments were to the point and different from the usual calling for someone's head, be it Big Sam or currently Mike Ashley. It seems patently clear to an outsider that he is not prepared to pay the 5th biggest wage bill to finish lower half of the Premiership. He has installed a manager that you all seem to adore and patience is all that is needed. You might think that you belong in the top four but NUFC still have catch the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Portsmouth and Man City who quite clearly have a better group of players than the one's plying their trade at St.James Park. How many of Newcastle's first team would get a game at Tottenham or Portsmouth? I'm sure Keegan will bring in two or three new faces as MA is a successful businessman and will not want to see his investment fail by falling out of the Premiership. NUFC won't finish below WBA, HULL, STOKE, FULHAM or BOLTON but mediocraty is the immediate future until Keegan has the team he wants. It's a much harder league than 10-15 years ago as most teams in the Premiership can pay £50 000 a week to a few players so the paychecks now have to be £100 000 for the good finished Premiership product. Keane and Southgate are both finding this out. A sweeping generalisation I know but the foreign players generally want to join London or South East clubs, maybe for the infrastructure, the money or even for something as simple as the weather. Man City wanted to pay RONALDINO £200 000 a week but he basically didn't want to go to manchester, as he didn't when Ferguson tried to buy him from Paris St.Germaine. Patience is the ingredient. But you lot never have been patient have you?(ask Sir Bobby)
PS my sympathy to Oba Femi Martins.

Michael Nee said:

It's a friendly for crying out loud. I've seen better team's beaten in game's like this. All pre-season is for is fitness, obviously players playing well brings out confidence but we had 1/2 of a team out with still 4 more games to go

We had our 4th & 5th strikers upfront. 2/3 out of the 4 in midfield probably won't be the first choice next season apart from guthrie & maybe charlie. Another 2 top defenders expected to come in the next few weeks along with the much needed playmaker and striker (if we shift the 2 slackers, especially smith who is the worst footballer i've seen).

Viduka, Owen & Martins if they stay fit, can fire us 50+ goals next season.

What would you want, a big squad with no quality, or a small one with quality.

And I have to say, 50k a week is very generous to other clubs around us. Spurs have a very tight wage budget, same with everton, pompey and aston villa. Our problem lies with not being in europe, which is estential to do next season even inter toto.

Andy Ferguson said:

Really quick question.

If we don't have the finances to buy new players what is the point in keeping the champagne Charlies in London looking for new players ?????.

Ashley is supposed to be wanting to cut overheads but seems to be solely focused on the players and playing staff. At the end of the day the things that happen on the pitch will actually increase his turnover through success !!!! doesn't seem rocket science to me.

We are not asking for the likes of Keane,Ronaldo,Lampard etc (but it would be nice) but our lack of activity in the transfer market is turning into a sham and I believe it is going to seriously backfire on Ashley.

So while Ashley concentrates on mobile phone bills and tailor's accounts we have had yet another inactive transfer window, but at least he is guaranteed the gate receipt every week (or will he)

PS Has our new chairman made any recent comments or is he still trying to finish the FA's guide to the game of football book.

RAF Mark said:

Dave W and Darren NZ, you obviously don't know much about the B&W passion or the actual team so I suggest that you read up alittle more about the premier and NUFC before you start making comments. Dave W, Owen, Milner, Zob's Martins, Given to name but a few would all get in the teams first team you mentioned. Darren NZ, as for your comment about not buying any players a small squad is not good enough in the premiership and the top for already have a squad to be up there. We have a small core of premier level players however since Ashley came in and made is announcement that he was a football fan and had high plans we have seen nothing but a tesco shopping spree i.e if there is nothing on the reduce bargin shelf we ain't going to get it. While I am not happy about it, in the premiership (the biggest league in the world) you need to pay the going rate or walk away. The other thing that makes me annoyed is this rubbush about the freindlies meaning northing. Sorry, but against sides like Doncaster if we play badly we should still win, to hear the comments well they did okay...did okay they should be winning comfortably not losing and it is obvious that the back for didn't work and never will. Lets face it in todays game your either premiership standard or your not. If friendlies don't mean anything then why waste money on them.

As for Ameobi well we need to off load him asap. We can't raely get rid of Barton when paying Ameobi his wages is surley a bigger crime.

Unless Ashley starts letting Kegan loose with the cash to get real players in who will get us into Europe then he not only is under mining his ebb to just make money but also will slowly, as he is already doing drag out beloved club down. OW and just to reiterate all of those out there who have no decent club to support if you don;t have any real and genuine educated and infomred comments to make ....don't bother.

Keith Hutton Africa said:

The writing is on the wall and Ashley either can't read or doesn't care I think it must be the latter. Yes it was a friendly and the result isn't the issue, what is the issue is the struggling team of last year will play at the start of the season, unless Wise and his mate are working furiously behind the scenes to bring in players. Barton is not being booted because they need the phycopathic bully he surely will disgrace himself his family and the Club in future but that doesn't seem to worry anybody certainly not him.Ideas are required I can only assume KK has his hands tied through lack of funds or their is no belief or ambition for the upcoming season last year was poor will this be better ask Doncaster

M. Sebastian T. said:

Poor old Toon because whatever magic KK ever had it is surely all gone now!

It will be a hard, hard season next time and the only thing to be thankful about will be that there are the likes of Hull and Stoke in the division. It will be a fight with WBA, Wigan and Bolton to stay up!.

Gypsy said:

I really think we should stop stressing ourselves out by complaing and worrying about nothing. We aren't the only club struggling to find players, it's a huge problem now for everyone not playing in the champions league. In my opinion we should trust in Keegan and Ashley, because they're laying the foundations for something really exciting and long lasting. Last season has given rise to panic and a belief that we have a squad full of bad players. Have they become bad players overnight?? Of course not! We still have a squad better than most clubs in contention for that 5th place spot. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Man Utd's success and global empire certainly wasn't built over the course of one summer. Just think how many mancs back in July 86 believed they would win 10 league titles, 2 European cups and 5 FA cups over the next 20 odd years. Also, many NUFC fans should remember that it has been worse than this before. The club's previous regime gorged itself on the money this league has been throwing around, and I think we're maybe a bit spoiled, and I'm sad to say that the local press have been more spoiled than any of us... come on lads, we should be sticking together in the face of the slagging we get from the south every day! So, this season lets descend on SJP with confidence and determination in our step... can you think of a better way of annoying the national media?

Keeping the faith!

Anonymous said:

They may have been our fourth and fifth slackers, but Smith got his fair share of games, even under Keegan (who, I suspect, was trying to build his confidence) and we have to assume he'll not be four or five players short of the first team next season - which is frightening because I agree wholeheartedly with your judgement of his (lack of) form. Why on earth can't we flog him?

Topher said:

Great comments from Darren NZ.

Amazing that no-one can see the wood for the trees. Ashley is being slated left, right and centre and yet he has cleared £100m worth of club debt from his own pocket!

Bring back Freddy thanks. We might be here long after Ashley but whenever he does leave, I get the feeling that the club will be in a better financial state than when he arrived...

Me said:

'Why on earth can't we flog him?'

Because everyone knows there's no point flogging a dead horse....

Darren NZ (Singapore) said:

In reponse to RAF Mark's comment:

'Darren NZ, as for your comment about not buying any players a small squad is not good enough in the premiership and the top for already have a squad to be up there.'

I think you have either misunderstood or made a rather skewed inference to side your own point. I never mentioned that we should not buy players nor that a small squad is sufficent.

What I did mention is that paying big money to get big-name players (expensive price tags don't always mean quality returns) would not work. Now, according to you and your comment 'Unless Ashley starts letting Kegan loose with the cash to get real players in who will get us into Europe', you have made the assumption that has been proven wrong on many occasions that spending money equates success. How many expensive flops in the EPL have there been? How many Newcastle players have come with big reputations only to leave Newcastle fans calling for their heads? Mike Ashley is a businessman and a very successful one at that. The only people qualified to judge his business acumen are those who rank higher up on the rich list. He did not become a billionare and one of the richest men in Britain by taking stop-gap measures whenever he finds himself in a predicament. Letting Keegan lose with the cash without first considering the long term future of the club is plain dumb.

What I did mention in my previous comment that probably wasn't picked up was that we should sign players but they have to be quality hungry players. You are probably like any other Newcastle fan who wants the club to succeed. However, the success has to last and maintain seasons after. In order for this, the owner and the club have to make careful and wise decisions. Decisions that fans clouded by the desire for short term gratification cannot make and agree with. I am a Newcastle fan and I want this club to be challenging for honours on a consistent basis but I also understand that without the assurance of a steadied club, success would be short-lived. Would you rather your club win a FA cup, go into administration and become another example for others to tread away from? The chances of this happening if a short-sighted fan was put in charge of the club would be high, worryingly high.

Also your comments:

'Dave W and Darren NZ, you obviously don't know much about the B&W passion or the actual team so I suggest that you read up alittle more about the premier and NUFC before you start making comments.'

I would believe they are wide of the mark. We know about the passion and more than it, our hearts burn with it.

What we also know is that blind passion is naive and dangerous. I hope you do.

Feel free to comment.

Anonymous said:

gypsy wrote "We still have a squad better than most clubs in contention for that 5th place spot"

delusional comment. Newcastle have not added any quality to the squad this summer. Portsmouth, Villa, Everton and Tottenham all have quality and more importantly a functioning team of players.

What's the obsession with the national/Southern media?

Ben said:

I really hope we tie up th Coloccini deal, quality centre half and thats what we need, plenty of experiance, and a genuine quality defender, But lets hope we dont lose him like the rest due 2 haggling over the price and then somebody else will cum in and close the deal, We are desperate for another centre midfielder,and I mean desperate but it seems after Ahsley`s reluctance 2 be competitive in the transfer market we have missed out on our top targets i.e Aimar and Modric, I really cant understand why we havn`t put a bit in for MAlbranque???a creative midfielder who looks like he will end up at the Mackems,

Lee I notice you hav`nt really commented on Ashley blatently going back on his promises to the supporters when he took over, and when he appointed KK, and its seems to be a huge gripe from most fans in this forum it would be very interesting to no your views.

mutley2012 said:

Ashley hasn't cleared 100m of the clubs debt, its merely moving money around as he owns the club and the debt was his.

We need to spend big money to get the good players in, who is going to sign for a north east club not playing in europe when they can go to a London club or one playing in europe?

Mal said:

I cannot believe the negativity of some of the fans on this board. Why do you all believe everything you read in the papers? Which nufc rep gas said there is a 50k a week wage cap? This is nonsense. Why all the criticism of MA? He has put several million of his OWN money into the club (unlike our previous chairman who took several millions OUT). For goodness sake have some patience. A lot of you will be eating humble pie by the start of the season. I'm confident KK will have the necessary new signings by then and that we will be pushing for a top 6 spot next year. Keep the faith.


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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