Signed on a free, from Germany!

By Lee Ryder on Feb 8, 09 06:03 PM

If anybody thought that bringing in Peter Lovenkrands was a risky move from a desperate Newcastle United during the transfer window - they may have been surprised to hear the Dane was given a standing ovation from the Smethwick End after the Toon Army chanted his name into the crisp winter air after beating the Baggies.

The former Rangers man was only handed a start because of injuries to Andy Carroll and Oba Martins but he's now given the Toon management team a tough selection headache for the next game against Everton.

OK, let's got get carried away Lovenkrands has scored one goal and had one good game but at hard times like this, it at least gives Toon fans something to clutch on to.

Another great feature of the 3-2 win against West Brom was the fact that the whole team showing their appreciation at the end of the game unlike recent scenes at the end of games which resulted in players heading straight for the tunnel.

Players are coming back together at the moment and it's was there for all to see.

Certainly there has been no reaction from Sebastien Bassong after his pal was shipped off to Wigan while Damien Duff showed no effects after the exit of his big mate Shay Given.

This season observers close to the United squad will testify that there have been several unhealthy cliques in the dressing room.

But with new boys like Ryan Taylor and Kevin Nolan putting in performances that make them look like established fixtures in the side as well as Lovenkrands, it's looking good.

Steven Taylor seems as bright and bubbly as ever while Steve Harper knows this is his chance now.

Thankfully the only ones who matter are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Whether they make it to the end of the tunnel in time though still remains to be seen.



Tad Caster said:

"Steven Taylor seems as bright and bubbly as ever".

He scored, which was good, but he still has a long way to go as a defender - though I suspect that's because the defence still doesn't play as a unit.

Lovenkrands? Up front with Martins at the expense of Viduka and Shola and in the knowledge that Owen will probably not stay fit for long. Or centre midfield, as the adventurous, intelligent player alongside Nolan or Guthrie. Bye-bye Butt. Or perhaps in a wide role...

RAF Mark said:

Its is the same old story guys and the problem is still there. We have the players just out manager and owner cant put a 2 piece jigsaw toegther if they joined forces. For me Owen is long gone and we need to move im out of our thoughts..for me Shola amd Martins is out best upfront this season..both work hard and come back from injury quicky. Vindka and Owen are history. To realy go forward we need to get a true manager in place..the everton manager was mentioned and I have to say we could do worse. JK was out of a job for a reason he aint a premier manager and never will be.

Mac said:

"Steven Taylor seems as bright and bubbly as ever", well I would be too picking up his weekly pay packet.
It's just a shame the guy cannot actually defend like a top Premier League centre-half...

Tardonicus said:

A vital and necessary away win to get us toward 40 points. We can survive this. Brom, Stoke and Boro seem the obvious candidates to go down at the moment. Even Pompey are more in flux than US!

I know we're not expected to win 4 of our next 6 but we can win at both Hull and Bolton, so heads up, keep the prize in sight, get points where we can, focus.

Dave B said:

I've tried not to dwell on it but I can't help noticing that Shay would have got something on all of the goals Harps has conceded in the last two games.

I know I know I should move on. Lets hope premiership minutes between the sticks help Stevie become the keeper we all hope he can.

Edmond Dante said:

We've narrowly beaten the bottom side. Lets get too carried away eh? New players looked decent, but some of the old ones are woeful. The goals we conceded we're pretty basic, and we still give up possesion far too easily. At least the league table looks a little better, but we've got some difficult games coming up. We need to win our games at SJP because we still aren't going to get much from away games.

dessa said:

They couldn't even spell his name right on his shirt

dessa said:

P.S. do you think he'll leave?????

DJC said:

Looking at the fixtures we have left, I think we have to get points at Hull , Bolton and Stoke , if between those 3 games and the home game against Everton we can pick up 6 points, then our last 3 home games are against Boro, Pompey and fulham, 7 out of 9 from those will give us 40 points , any other points will be a bonus. With a bit of luck and a positive approach we may just make it, but I think new management needs to be put in place for next season . I do think we need to start looking at getting rid of some of the dead wood. Owen won't be here, Viduka can go, Smith, Geremi and Cacapa can go. that's got to be between 250 and 300k a week off the wage bill. Bring in 3 or 4 younger, vibrant players with ability wanting to prove themselves, on 30k a week , (I think most would consider that a good wage) and we've cut the wage bill by 150k a week. Anybody any thoughts.

bobbyTee said:

One swallow doesnt make a summer. Its great to get the three points - but it was a case of thier defence being worse than ours.
Everton wont be so charitable.
At least we can say with a reasonable amount of assuredness that the Spurs/cockney mafia wont have the audacity to approach Tony Adams as a stop gap manager. I havent been a massive fan of JFK - but you have to feel for him. I hope Ashley and co are feeling a fair amount of guilt given what has happened to him at the end of this transfer window week.
Get well soon Joe.

Relton said:

Is Glenn Hoddle looking for a bit of part-time work ????
Thats one spurs connection I wouldnt object to !!!!!

Jack said:

Things always look a bit rosier after an away win. But before last Saturday it was getting difficult to see United beating anybody. Now the Everton game looks like a winnable fixture for me. Weve got a decent record against them at SJP in recent years. This is good time to remind one of this years nailed on top 6 which end of the table United should be at. Anyone that opptomistic before the Villa game? What happend? Lets send Moyes and his boys back to Merseyside with tails between their legs. Hang on to your wallets.

Big Kev said:

Great 3 pts but we know we weren't great, however WBA just showed that their are teams worse than NUFC in this league. 4 more wins & a draw or 2 should see us home then christ knows what'll happen next season. All the best to old JFK the blokes been fighting one battle sfter another since he arrived. Ok he's not the greatest manager in the world (& at times sounds like an idiot)but he's the only one with the bottle to give it a go & without him we'd be down now, just remember our form before he turned up. The bloke is also having to put up with some serious family stuff which you wouldn't wish on anyone. everyone lets get behind the lads against EFC & kick this stupid protest crap in to touch!!!

Billy the fish said:

Wa gonna win the league, wa gonna win the league and now ya gonna believe us.......wa gonna win the league....come on the TOON!!!!

decca said:

lee dont you read the papers titus bramble gets top marks for wigan every week

Trickster said:

Was at The Hawthorns for the game on Sat, and the Toon Army Away support was Excellent. Great atmosphere, and brilliant Lovenkrantz chant.! :)

The team gave us 15 mins of nail biting stuff at the end. And I would have liked a couple of goals at our end in the 2nd half.!

Bit of a break now for us all, and then we can concentrate on the Toffees.

Can we do this...? YES WE CAN.!

londontoon said:

well not a bad 3 points we were obviuosly nervey but so is every other defence down there at the moment. WBA are a good team especially at home yes they're on the bottom but so were spurs and a few others around abouts.

I have to say from comments above in my opinion - shola is pants, hoddle is a waste of time and and almost finished AS off when he played for england, bramble has found his level and so has zoggy. if wigan fancy shola to replace heskey they can have him for his bus fare..

we played effectively with 4 new players and it wasn't a bad team effort, more of the same and we can only get better..

JFKs' weekend shows how hard things have really been. stick with it Joe at least till the end of the season. none of this is his fault..

Glenn said:

I agree with Big Kev (above) '4 more wins & a draw or 2 should see us home'.

Unfortunately I can see us getting no more than a draw or two from our next 7 games (home to Everton & away to Stoke). I think Newcastle being Newcastle, we'll be out-muscled at Bolton & Hull and heads wil go down when we go behind.

That'll leave us needing to win 4 out of the last 6 - which I think we'll do (Portsmouth, Smoggies and Fulham at home & away to Spurs - well we always beat them, don't we?). However, that's going to be a nail-biting end to the season and doesn't leave much room for error.

Lets hope I'm wrong & we pick up some points sooner rather than later starting with 3 against Everton.

usmag said:

saturday was a great win for the toon and hopefully the platform for our survival.

All on here keep talking about deadwood leaving in the summer and most names ccan not be argued against. However, with the likely departure of owen and viduka and the failings of xisco do you not think we could be writing of Alan Smith too early??

I know he hasnt hit the heights here but Fat Sam plyaed him in midfield alot and hes been out all season. Could his willingness to run and chase and his aerial ability proof useful alongside the pace of oba?

Surely he will play as a striker for the reserves tonight??

ronnie lambert said:

Usmag, I agree with you on Smithy though I screamed for his departure last season. Because at present we need bodies, especially proven premiership battlers, and if he ain't nowt else he's that. Yes too, like many pro's, he had a stinker season where little went right for him. He could be handy inasmuch as he can do Butt's holding midfield role, but with younger legs. I can already sense the detractors breathing down my neck on this one, but he didn't really get a chance as Allardyce, Cacapa et al were frustrating the life out of us all and Smudger drew a lot of that flak. Back to Lee's blog, very strange how the three new lads have started off well after opinions of precarity from some of us as to the expected quality of signings during the window. We also got pleasantly surprised with Collocini and especially my player of the season Gutierrez. There is a bit of deadwood needing cleared out but there is a whiff of progress in the camp after disaffected players jumped ship. Lovenkrands' goal start will hopefully get him off on a high, as indeed R.Taylor's great assist will. Steve Harper is an excellent keeper who's confidence will improve as Given's shadow disappears.

Dave Robson said:

ronnie lambert, you slated me a few times, when i said just before this season kicked off, and before smithy got his injury, that smithy givin the chance could do a good job for us, if he was played in his favourite postion.
allardyce always played him out of postion, he ain't no midfielder, but like usmag said, he would be a good foil up front for someone like oba, he is brave as a lion, good in the air, and he just has'nt had the chance to show his worth.
i would take a smithy to the viduka's, of this world anyday.
i think bassong has been the most consistent for us this season, from when he got his chance, s taylor has got to cut the basic mistakes of defending out, it is happening to often and costs us nearly everytime he drops a clanger.
stevie harper will improve once he has the confidence of knowing he is the number one.

usmag said:

good result for the reserves tonight but I was disappointed to see smith playing in the 'anchor' role.

Anybody shed any light as to why people still see this guy as a midfielder and not a striker??

Sy said:

The worst thing that's happened to us this season - on the pitch that is - was the injury to Habib Beye. He was the senior defender who wasn't getting the credit he deserved for organising and communicating with the back four. It was when he got sidelined that our defence started leaking again after a bunch of solid performances and clean sheets.

Great three points on Saturday - regardless of circumstance. Nearly every other result went our way too, which made it an even bigger win. We really need to capitalise on it against Everton though, hopefully Oba is fit to start that one as he's going to be crucial to our survival fight.

Get well soon, Joe.

Al Jardine said:

"Anybody shed any light as to why people still see this guy as a midfielder and not a striker??"
Um, because when he plays in that role he doesn't score? Because the reserves had two strikers last night. I know people had a go at Xisco for missing an 'easy' chance in his last start, but Owen missed three...


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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