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December 2008 Archives

Another year, another 12 months of broken dreams and another topsy turvy ride on the black and white rollercoaster - 2008 even by Newcastle United's sky high dramatic standards has been another white knuckle ride in Toonland.

For genuine Geordie folk they could not have experienced much more raw emotion if they tried.

It all started with the beginning of the end for Sam Allardyce when he somehow avoided defeat with his ProZone tactics at Stoke in the cup before Kevin Keegan's sensational third coming that started with tears of joy and ended with tears of despair and then Joe Kinnear emerged from football's wilderness to take the wheel of what looked like a sinking ship - yes it's been that type of year.

TOON owner Mike Ashley has announced that Newcastle United are no longer for sale.

Just hours before the clash with Liverpool at St James's Park, Ashley revealed in a club statement from the match day programme: "I am happy to end the uncertainty fans may have had about the future direction of Newcastle United.

"I know just how important that is to you.

It's a shame that Wigan and that Heinz factory down the road from the JJB Stadium has yet to rub off on Ryan Taylor.

For if variety is meant to be the spice of life, and the good folk of Wigan do have 57 to choose from, then why does Taylor keep on saving his best work when he faces Newcastle United - there are plenty of other teams to score against!

Taylor has netted six goals in his career with four of them coming against Newcastle United and showing black and white shirts to the Scouse Wigan star seems to be like showing red rag to a bull.

Toon floored again at Wigan!

By Lee Ryder on Dec 26, 08 05:04 PM

NEWCASTLE United's late fightback at the JJB Stadium could not rescue a point for Joe Kinnear's side on a frustrating day for the Magpies at Wigan.

Danny Guthrie's late penalty had set up a nervy finish after goals from serial menace Ryan Taylor and Zaki had put Wigan in control.

On a troublesome day for Kinnear perhaps the writing was on the wall for United when Jose Enrique was injured in the warm up meaning Mark Viduka started the match after a reshuffle.

Michael Owen's complex Newcastle United career has never been short of twists and turns in a script that has always left Toon fans wondering exactly how much he wants to play for the Magpies.

But the fact is that the latest decision means he will have honoured his contract by the time he makes a decision in May whether his time on Tyneside will be extended, certainly it looks like there is little or no chance he will leave in January as was widely predicted.

In an ideal world the ink would be dry on the three year deal that was offered last week and Owen would be looking at finishing his career at St James's Park.

We haven't experienced it on a regular basis on Tyneside but the wild side of Damien Duff is something I think most Newcastle United fans hope to see a bit more often in 2009.

OK, it was only a brief example of the damage Duff is capable of causing to teams and at the moment it's Joe Kinnear's choice to keep the Irishman on the bench, but letting him stew on the sidelines was either a stroke of managerial magic or we just got lucky against Spurs.

Either way, you have to take it and given that Newcastle have simply got unlucky or just down right nervous in the closing stages in recent home games - the goal against Tottenham was a welcome boost that most Toon fans will take very gratefully.

Super sub Duff wins it for Toon

By Lee Ryder on Dec 21, 08 05:10 PM

TOON super sub Damien Duff won the day for Newcastle United against Spurs after netting a dramatic winner against the Londoners.

The Irishman struck right at the end of the contest with Tottenham to keep Joe Kinnear's promising run going at St James's Park.

Oba Martins failed to shake off his groin trouble meaning there was a start for Shola Ameobi who partnered skipper Michael Owen in attack.

Interesting times certainly lie ahead for Newcastle United with the transfer window now just a couple of weeks away from swinging back open and after comments from owner Mike Ashley today, it would appear that the black and whites are set to let Joe Kinnear strut his stuff.

One of Kinnear's greatest qualities in football is his ability to wheel and deal and while he has been unable to do it due to the closure of the transfer window, United seem likely to benefit from the man who has proved he can pluck players from the basements of football and make them into Premier League stars.

United fans could never have guessed that Kinnear would be in charge going into Christmas but despite the turmoil at the club many supporters have not directed anger at the former Wimbledon boss.

Crisis? What crisis?

By Lee Ryder on Dec 15, 08 09:42 AM

Newcastle United are still far from Premier League safety this season but if ever there was time for a top notch away performance then it had to be away to Pompey.

Relegation fears were eased at Fratton Park and amazingly with the tight nature of the top flight this season another win against Spurs at home this weekend and suddenly fans and players alike can start to think about higher ambitions.

Newcastle's away form this season hadn't yielded a win before the long haul visit to Fratton Park but thanks to some creditable draws on the road this term, things aren't looking nowhere near as bad as they were seven days ago.

NEWCASTLE United climbed out of the relegation zone after a deserved win at Fratton Park today thanks to goals from Michael Owen, Oba Martins and Danny Guthrie.

The victory was United's first away win of the season and the first triumph at Portsmouth since 1991 when Kevin Brock snatched the winner.

And while United rode their luck in the first half Joe Kinnear's side fully deserved their road trip success after a polished second half performance that choked a Pompey side who had squandered a hatful of chances in the first 45 minutes.

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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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