September 2008 Archives

Now that the dust has settled (for five minutes at least) Newcastle United fans appear to have given Joe Kinnear the warmest welcome possible given the difficult and complex circumstances at St James's Park.

Kinnear has admitted he is not the choice of the people but will block out any negative feedback in order to do the best possible job while he is in charge.

He's supposed to be in the manager's chair for six to eight games (even he didn't seem to know) but you do get the feeling this could rumble on longer.

With confidence at rock bottom in the Toon dressing room going into Joe Kinnear's six game stint in charge, you have to admit that the former Wimbledon boss has nothing to lose when it comes to his St James's Park experience.

He's got a lot of work to do though and after shaking his head in disgust at the way United went 2-0 down against Blackburn, he will clearly be having words with his defence.

Secondly he will probably have to question United's battling qualities after Blackburn won almost everything in the air.

JOE Kinnear's arrival at St James's Park failed to inspire Newcastle United to victory against battling Blackburn Rovers today.

Two first goals for Rovers from Christopher Samba and Roque Santa Cruz caused the damage for United with Michael Owen's second half penalty not enough to prevent a fifth successive loss.

The 44,935 crowd for the game was the lowest Premier League attendance at St James's Park since the expansion of the stadium in 2000.

Flabbergasted Toon fans will be pinching themselves after the latest twist in the Toon saga after Joe Kinnear was appointed as Newcastle United boss today until the end of October.

The former Wimbledon and Luton boss is renowned for building up team spirit on little or no resources and continued the fantastic work of the crazy gang long after the miracles worked by Harry Bassett and Bobby Gould.

Yet the news sent shockwaves around United's training ground today as players and reporters absorbed the news.

Terry Venables' snub to take the Newcastle United job on a short-term basis may not come as a surprise to many but if anything it shows just how much of a no-no the manager's hotseat has become at St James's Park.

With an uncertain future in the boardroom hovering above any incoming manager's head, many bosses will be wondering just whether it is worth the hassle to have their copy book blotted and spoil their coaching CV for the sake of a couple of games.

Venables may have an inconsistent track record with success and failure coming in equal measure throughout his career, but he's no mug and he knows that he could be out on his ear within weeks of taking the Toon job.

The last time Tyneside staged a Carling Cup tie, Mike Ashley partied in the Bigg Market until the wee hours and almost had the freedom of the city.

That game against Barnsley seems like a lifetime ago now but the defeat against Spurs left a sour taste in the mouths of the Geordie nation.

This time around, Ashley's seat was empty and Newcastle United were dumped out of the only competition they had any real shout of winning this season in front of one of the lowest crowds of the decade.

Most of the 20,000 plus crowd had long gone by the time Michael Owen netted his late strike and many of them will be wondering just what the short-term future holds for their side.

Winning silverware probably sounds like a sick joke to Toon fans at the moment but going into the Carling Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur it's clear that for 90 minutes Newcastle United's players and fans must come together as one just to get a sniff of making it into the hat for the next round.

Yes, all connected with United have no option but to put unrest, uncertainty and downright anger to one side and make sure the Mags are in the hat for the next round of the Carling Cup as Tottenham Hotspur arrive on Tyneside for round three.

Not that any of that will be easy following weeks of turmoil that has left team morale at rock bottom.

And while time is supposed to be a great healer, there is every chance that such a monumental test of character has arrived too early.

Hammer horror for Newcastle United

By Lee Ryder on Sep 20, 08 07:22 PM

Diminutive Italian Gianfranco Zola had penned in his first programme notes as a manager today that "it would not be easy" against Newcastle United.

Whether the friendly little former Chelsea chappie was being polite is something we'll never know but sadly for Toon fans the truth is, it was far too easy for West Ham to see off bewildered Newcastle.

The game was over as a contest with 52 minutes on the clock.

West Ham 3 Newcastle United 1

By Lee Ryder on Sep 20, 08 06:13 PM

NEWCASTLE United's misery continued today in the capital as classy West Ham swept the sorry Magpies aside at Upton Park.

The game kicked off amidst a party atmosphere as Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola took his place in the home dugout for his first game in charge.

United were under pressure straight from the kick-off and Steven Taylor had to be at full stretch to block Matthew Etherington's left-footed effort from 18-yards before Newcastle survived the resultant corner.

AND so the soap opera arrives in the East End to show them all how it's done properly.

We've had plenty of twists and turns when it comes to Newcastle United in the last two weeks but if we are to expect the unexpected once more would it be beyond the realms of fantasy for caretaker boss Chris Hughton to lead his bewildered troops to an unlikely win at his old club?

Well, if that is to be the case then certainly this week at the club's training ground it has been a case of facing facts and setting new goals.

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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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