East Enders' script is nothing compared to Toon soap opera

By Lee Ryder on Sep 19, 08 08:43 AM

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.

Gone is the Keegan dream on Tyneside.

That has been replaced by talk that we are destined to become the next Leeds United and with ghosts from Elland Road past and present reportedly about to link up at St James's Park, morale in the pubs and clubs of Newcastle is far from good.

Yet the Geordie Nation will arrive at Upton Park just in time for the party that welcomes Gianfranco Zola to the Premier League.

Last week's home game with Hull City was proof of people power but the feeling after it left most fans gutted and fresh uncertainty about the future of the club was thrown into the mix.

Can Newcastle find a new owner? What if they can't? Will Mike Ashley get a new manager or just tread water? Where will that leave Newcastle? Are they really in danger of being the next Leeds?

All of it extremely worrying.

But looking at the now, there was a suggestion that Newcastle have nothing to lose ahead of their trip to Upton Park.

A game away from the raw, angry but understandable atmosphere at Gallowgate.

And despite trips to London usually churning up negative thoughts about the past for Toon fans, West Ham has been different in recent years under three different managers.

Michael Owen's hat-trick and Alan Shearer's 199th goal back in December 2005 on the day we said goodnight and god bless to the print edition of The Pink which was put to bed with a 4-2 win.

This was followed up by another good win in September 2006 when Glenn Roeder returned to stun his old club in a 2-0 win, with goals from Damien Duff and Oba Martins.

And just when it was looking like a home win for the Hammers last season as they stormed into a 2-0 lead,
goals from Martins and Geremi secured a 2-2 draw.

With psychological memories in good shape for most of Toon players they will also arrive amidst a party atmosphere, you could say Newcastle have a lot of things in their favour despite the usual haul of injuries.

The party will be in full swing for Gianfranco Zola by the time kick-off arrives but there is certainly a fear for home fans that those in the East End unconvinced by the little Italian's appointment will make their feelings known if the game isn't going there way.

Shay Given - who hasn't got nice memories of the Boleyn Ground after a painful bowel tear - will take his place between the posts at Upton Park for the first time since the Marlon Harewood incident.

The scenes that day will live with this writer forever as Given was stretchered past reporters in agony after collapsing in the dressing room following the horror clash which left his team-mates visibly upset and wiped away the gloss from the 2-0 win back in 2006.

Three points tomorrow though will be massive for Newcastle and would certainly bring back a bit of confidence following the traumatic events of the last couple of weeks.

Once again the Toon Army can only watch, and wait and hope.



Sav said:

Might be a respite from troubles at home but with with uncertainty over the new manager (and new owner) hanging like a bad smell, I doubt it.
However, another couple of defeats against a beatable WestHam and swift exit from the cup against a struggling Spurs could see things turn very ugly.

From Messiah to Pariah. Why, oh why, when there's nothing but sniping and chaos at Gallowgate would we want to be associated with that managerial pariah, O'Leary? Reviled for spilling his guts on behind the scenes troubles for his latest books, he is the last person the players want while Shay is blowing his top or we're dealing with Guthrie's sending-off. Like a still-warn CSI crime-scene, O'Leary will get a whole, fascinating chapter poring over events at the Toon. You couldn't make it up, but I hope someone has. Its a nightmare.

Bert Shaft said:

What Ashley is failing to bring into account is that if he fails to sell the club, a lot of the players WILL WANT to move on.

The gagging of the players by the club can only work for so long and it is obvious through past comments in the local papers that a lot of players are no longer happy with the set up of the club, and they will want out - quick sharpish.

Phil Alexanders said:

I think it's an incredibly tough game for us. I think if the Hammers score the first then we're doomed - heads will go down and thoughts will drift from the task in hand towards what the hell am I doing here?

And if the Hammers go one down I think they'll really get behind their team and new manager and have a real go. And I don't think we have the ability to keep a clean sheet.

I'll be happy with a point.

Sorry it's a bit doom and gloom, but it'll take a lot to lift the cloud.

God bless the travelling support.

ronnie lambert said:

We really need the rub of the green and a ref who hasn't had a kicking from the old thug fans in his youth. It took KK a good few games to get his ideas across to Sam's team, hopefully the same for those bubble -
blowers in East Landan. Oh for at least a fit Gutierrez, Martins and Dukes never mind our proper manager/coach KK. I think we'd all be happy with a point.

Kisuke said:

I think all fans must be prepared for the worst. We could be relegated next year and we could be laugh upon but we know what Newcastle is build on - our support. We must not lose our faith.

Whatever that can possibly happens, we must be able to accept it except the fact of the club dissolving and going into history. Be optimistic, show the other fans that even if we do get relegated(hope not), we can accept it gracefully. Once we hit the bottom, the only way we can go is to go up.

M. Sebastian T. said:

Well Bert Shaft, if you really think it is a case of IF THIS OR IF THAT "... a lot of the players will want to move on", you must have been living on the moon recently. Reality is that the few who could actually move have already gone and what is left are the over paid dross.

Think Lee hopes for the impossible this weekend, my prediction is Zola Ham 3 - 0 Toon.

Things will get far worse around Gallowgate before they get better. Fans should be hoping to get all the pain over as soon as possible. The thumb in the dyke approach will simply mean that when the dam breaks NUFC will get washed away like Leeds did.

Without Ashley taking a big loss, which he shows no signs of wanting or being able to do, then Toon will simply end up in receivership!

Perhaps there needs to be a competition to pick a new name for whatever entity replaces a defunct Toon. The Sid James United might fit the bill!

James 09 said:


Don't want to sound too pessimistic but - lose and we are well on the way of being the next Leeds United.

Sean said:

Having players leave because of the regime, may not neccesarily be a bad thing - particularly those who are not good enough. That will give the board the opportunity to continue what i feel is a sound policy, of recruiting up and coming hungry potential, signed with a fee we can afford, wages to maintain their hunger and status which is low and therefor they see playing for the club as an attraction and privelage - instead of signing big names on big salaries who see arrriving on Tyneside as a backward step - which it is - we are an unsuccesful football club at present, so lets go back to basics and refocus on what success is for us and build from there. So fans, get real, broaden your mind, forget about so called King Kev and show more intelligence when supporting and analysing our club.

Jack said:

This is a good game for us. Away from the Mad Max Thunderdome with enough hard core away support to impress and no where near a sky camera. Lets try and be possitive. The next few games are going to show us which players on the books are realy that arsed when this football club is losing matches. We all except that the Danny Guthrie incident last week was ugly. Seriously though, am I the only one who before they realised the seriousness of the challenge let out a bitter cheer at his straight red leg breaker. Surley we all want to believe the players are as fustrated as all of us at the current plight of the club.


grim reaper said:

Is ashley taking revenge on the fans now, pricing the club way beyond what its worth, not turning up to meetings and maybe not actively seeking a manager or someone that could help us stay in the league.
I think someone else has made this point but ashley could systematically destroy the club if he wanted to.
The longer we go with no proper manager and if the next transfer window comes and we dont bring people in or sort out the contracts of owen etc we are definite relegation fodder.
What as fans can we do? If we buy the merchandise, ashley will shove it in his pocket while laughing.
The club will be run on more of a shoe string now ashley has been made to look foolish globally by us. I feel abit helpless as to what can be done by us to keep the club from dropping divisions.
If we do drop, will kk be held by some as a catylyst for our downfall? Could some blame be put at his door for not sticking with his team?
Because ashley didnt invest more, our tiny squad is feeling the pressure even more now we have injuries all over the pitch. I forgot viduka was with us, he never plays!
That mike ashley look-alike that got swung at has backed up ashleys claim he wouldnt be safe at games!
Forget eastenders bring back byker grove!

Andrew Davis said:

Hi Lee,

Well i dont know what everyone else thinks but i got early to watch the game here in the USA and i always knew that west ham would win and today the players did not play and its now 2 goals from zoggy's side as he is better at midfield as he causes problems.

Taylor had a nightmare and nobody played as a team today and can it get any worse.

It will unless we have a new manager by monday as spurs are useless and we will gift them a win in 90 minutes.

I pray ashley sells so we can get out of this mess......


Geordie German said:

Text entry was wrong. What’s text entry was wrong? Spelling, different view to yours? Can’t you be a little bit more explanatory?

So I’ll start again.

Newcastle has once again lost. Hard to imagine, if we’d had the guidance of King (kid) Kev. It’s not the players fault. It’s not the supporters fault. They/we are mushrooms. Kept in the dark and fed on sh*+ manure. The players have too much on their minds. Is it Ashleys Fault? Partially. He doesn’t really want to sell. He wants to hold us to ransom. When he wanted to sell 3 million would be realistic, but 4 and a Âœ? Know way. Mostly it’s Keegans fault. From within, he could have done a lot more but from outside. Nothing, I personally don’t want to see Kid Keegan back. As a player he was a fighter. As a manager he’s a runner.

This is a personal request. Mike, sell up or stay. But get rid of your cronies; bring Shearer in as a manager and not a trainer. The Players would be happy. The fans would follow him to Hell and he is Newcastle, he loves Newcastle, he breathes Newcastle


Hi Lee-Well the Hammers did not have to try too hard to beat us-players who looked good just a couple of games ago were distinctly awful at Upton park -Taylor and Collochini being two of them. Charlie gets caught wrong side of his man every game and I just think its ridiculous to pretend he is a left back. As for our predicament-Its only going to get worse.Ashley is so stubborn -all he has to do is get rid of Wise and Llambias then bring Kev back -after all what the hell does it matter to him now -he wants to sell. The club wont be worth a toss in a couple of weeks so he might as well get it in his thick head now that he needs to act.How coulkd any one with such a huge business let their business suffer because of some misplaced loyalty to a board who have not got a clue-well mark my words he is going to lose a lot more money before this saga ends-for a business man he aint got much sense to let Wise and llambias stay -when it really is going to ruin the club. I fear the terraces will be empty next week for the cup tie and we are going to end up relegated -watch the players leave a sinking ship come January. Unless some new owner rescues us quickly we are doomed -the London gang dont care -they have shown themselves not to care one iota about Newcastle United. What a way to run a business and a football club.


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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