October 2008 Archives
When Joe Kinnear arrived at Newcastle United last month he did so with the task of steadying the ship.
And to this day he has done exactly that, painfully there was a derby defeat chucked into that period but his first task was passed when he hauled United out of the relegation zone.
With the injuries Newcastle United had in September, not to mention the huge problems off it, any manager in the world would have had their work cut out to stop the slide.
NOBODY will be getting too carried away with it but as far as Newcastle United's recovery is concerned the three points picked up against West Brom represent the moment that the Magpies beat the count and climbed back to their feet again.
Floored by Sunderland in their last game and sent tumbling to the canvas, Newcastle probably threw a few punches as well in the game with the Baggies - and now have the bit between their teeth once more.
And in the middle of it all was the man with so much to prove, Joey Barton.
NEWCASTLE United climbed out of the relegation zone tonight with a narrow victory over West Bromwich Albion.
It was Joe Kinnear's first victory in charge of Newcastle and the club's first win since August as a penalty from Joey Barton and a stooping header from Oba Martins clinched the three points.
United made several changes to the team that had lost against Sunderland on Saturday with Jose Enrique replacing Sebastien Bassong at left-back.
The blue Monday feeling on Tyneside ended on somewhat of a positive note at Victoria Park tonight as one for the future in Samuel Ameobi gave evidence that he could follow in the footsteps of his big brother Shola against Hartlepool United.
In the wonderfully named Totesportcasino.com Cup it was 16-year-old Sammy who kept cup hopes alive for the second string with a double blast his big bro would have been proud of.
United had to fight back from behind though to do it after Hartlepool hit back from a goal down.
So then, is it now official that directors of football in the Premier League are out of fashion?
How much can you read into Harry Redknapp's arrival at Tottenham Hotspur?
An appointment that was quickly followed by the exit of sporting director Damien Comolli and then the revelation that a traditional management structure is now the way forward.
Where does that leave us?
Certainly it doesn't leave Newcastle United's current structure looking good, especially with the club in disarray.
And even more so given that the most traditional manager of them all in Kevin Keegan, who was of course heavily influenced by figures like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Arthur Cox, was forced out by a system that has always caused havoc at football clubs in the UK.
On a video clip below we see Big Ron Atkinson waxing lyrical about only one man being in charge (before reminding us that he's still a half decent singer as well).
If some Toon fans were too young to know what losing a derby was like before the game they certainly know now after it all went pear shaped on Wearside for Newcastle United.
It certainly can't come near to being battered 4-1 on your own ground on your way to the Championship but the reality now is that Newcastle are now in the relegation zone with just six points with November just round the corner.
In a typical derby Sunderland fans partied at the final whistle after Nicky Butt's blunder cost Newcastle dearly.
NEWCASTLE United were beaten on Wearside today for the first time since 1980 as rival fans battled on the pitch at the end of Sunderland's 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.
Police struggled to separate supporters at the final whistle as Roy Keane guided his side to his first derby victory on a dark, dark day for the Geordie nation.
The two sides entered the arena to deafening noise with plenty of hostility and hatred hurled United's way by the partisan red and white home crowd.
Newcastle United's mammoth clash with Sunderland has never needed extra spice to hot things up.
But whether you like it or not several factors going into the 140th Tyne-Wear derby could make it one of the most brutal battles in history.
Sunderland fans must surely feel they will never have a better chance of beating United due to the current situation on Barrack Road, and slight concerns on Wearside about Roy Keane's contract are nothing compared to the turbulent season suffered by Newcastle supporters so far.
In all honesty, the whole country has enjoyed a good laugh at Newcastle's expense but the loudest laughs of all have come from Wearside.
Newcastle United fans will hope their side have the bottle to do overcome it all come Saturday.
Joey Barton's return to action after his long lay off was never going to be quiet and peaceful despite taking place in the sleepy surroundings of Billingham Synthonia's Central Avenue.
The plan was probably to get an hour or so of action under his belt, take a quick shower and then quickly get back on the bus home to Toon.
Yet it didn't work out that way for Barton as he stopped to sign autographs, posed for photos with fans and shocked the media by giving them an insight on his nightmare 2008 so far.
Barton's problems are well documented and nobody can condone them.
But despite his troubles, Barton - who has had more chances in football than anybody - is finally looking for a clean break.
Newcastle United may well be in the relegation zone after their 2-2 draw with Manchester City - but they won't be for much longer if they continue to fight in the way they did against the richest club in the world at St James's Park.
Joe Kinnear certainly has his critics but one thing he can't be slated for is his ability to bring teams together as one.
The crowd certainly warmed to probably the best home performance of the season.
The team spirit in the pulsating 2-2 draw against City was there for all to see and despite playing for most of the game with 10 men, United once again left the field knowing they should have picked up all three points.