April 2009 Archives

Fiends of Anfield Road!

By Lee Ryder on Apr 30, 09 10:14 AM

There aren't too many Toon fans that can say they have been to Anfield and watched their side win and that unwanted record is looking likely to still be in tact come the end of Sunday's trip to Liverpool - unless there is a miracle in front of the Kop.

It's too painful to start going into it all again at Anfield, 4-3s, sending offs, last minute winners for the Reds, Steve Harper being chipped from Stanley Park, floodlight failures - the lot.

Personally I'm "lucky" to have watched Newcastle win at Anfield, the last time they did it in 1995 when Steve Watson's wonder goal beat the Reds in the League Cup.

I wish I'd made more of it, in the knowledge that 14 years later we'd still be waiting.

Newcastle United - the future

By Lee Ryder on Apr 28, 09 09:27 AM

In the end Newcastle United's "must win" turned out to be a 0-0 stalemate with Pompey that left the Magpies in a precarious but recoverable position - even though the odds are stacked against the black and whites to avoid playing Championship football.

It looks bleak at the moment, make no bones about that, but the key now has to lie with Hull City.

Yes, Newcastle are relying on others and their future is well and truly out of their hands.

But if the Tigers continue to sink like a stone, it will throw Newcastle a lifeline.

I was reporting live from St James's Park for the visit of Portsmouth on what turned out to be a disappointing evening for the Toon Army.

Shearer and the players knew the weekend's results meant a win was vital to stay in touch with the teams outside the bottom three.

But despite a battling performance and a good start in the first half, United could only manage a 0-0 draw with the side from the south coast.

It means there are just two home games left for the Magpies to secure their Premier League safety, with tricky trips to Liverpool and Aston Villa on the agenda as well.

Click below to watch a replay of my coverage from St James's Park.

Shearer sounds Toon battlecry

By Lee Ryder on Apr 23, 09 03:29 PM

ALAN Shearer sounded out perhaps the most important battlecry ever in Newcastle United's modern history when he urged everybody to make a monumental effort to get behind the lads against Portsmouth.

Big Al admitted straight away that Newcastle "were always" asking for more from their fans and the facts are that the Toon Army have NEVER ever let their side down.

True, the players who don the black and white shirts have done it time and time again but for the current crop of players, they now have to give the Geordie public something to respond to if they are to help us get out of this mess.

So hold on a minute, Michael Owen goes on a barren run, loses his England place and then has a bad game in London and suddenly he should be dropped for Newcastle United's game against Pompey.

Make no bones about it, Owen is suffering at the moment and is playing way below the level we all know that is locked away inside him.

But then again, name one Newcastle player who is pulling up trees at the moment?

The answer is nobody because the team has been drained of confidence and belief.

Desperate times for Toon fans

By Lee Ryder on Apr 20, 09 09:04 AM

Just how much damage did Newcastle United's 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur exactly cause?

Make no mistakes there are once again more questions than answers for those who still have hope Newcastle will be playing Premier League football next season.

The R word is no longer one that is hushed at St James's Park, it has now become a very realistic possiblity unless Newcastle can turn it round in the last five games.

Blog on the Tyne was watching as Darren Bent condemned Newcastle United to defeat at White Hart Lane.

Spurs took all three points as the Toon failed to cause Tottenham any major problems, and United must now face the real possibility of dropping out of the Premier League.

Click below to read my live report from the match and replay the banter with the fans as we tried to stay positive despite the blow of the 1-0 loss.

Mention the name Mark Viduka in these parts nowadays and the response by most Geordies probably couldn't be printed on this blog - but whatever your feelings are about the big Aussie he will be in the squad for Sunday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Without a shadow of doubt, even if Viduka scored in every game between now and the end of the season, he will still leave Tyneside this summer regarded as a major flop but what he can do is leave with a bit of pride.

That's the least the Toon Army deserve.

His stats tell the story since he arrived here as a free transfer having reached the end of his contract with Middlesbrough, just 32 appearances and seven goals.

There have been injuries for the striker but the question has to be, just how much has he wanted to play for this club?

ALAN Shearer was in the stands tonight at Whitley Park as Newcastle United's young guns dumped Newcastle Benfield at the semi-final stage of the Northumberland Senior Cup.

The Toon kids triumphed 2-1 on the night as heavy fog descended on the bumpy pitch in the shadow of United's training ground.

Shearer has already been impressed with Nile Ranger since taking charge of Newcastle but had to watch United fight back from a goal down.

There was a positive vibe in the air on the way out of the Britannia Stadium but it could still have been so different had it not been for the hunger and desire of Geordie boy Andy Carroll.

The big striker answered our prayers when he leapt off the bench then climbed higher than anybody else to power home a big, big goal that could yet spark a great escape for Newcastle United.

Carroll was clearly up for it and is determined to succeed where plenty of others have failed at St James's Park.

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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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