From the Ritz to the rubble

By Lee Ryder on May 18, 09 09:14 AM

The party is almost over for Newcastle United unless a team that appears to lack fight and appetite to remain a top flight team can pull something big out of the bag at Villa Park.

We've partied in football's biggest nightclub since 1993 but like a mortal chav who's had too much the bouncers are starting to make their way over to eject Newcastle.

And in the words of the Artic Monkeys, getting kicked out of the big league will come with a humiliating high price, indeed Newcastle will have "to walk back past 10,000 eyes in the line" as they tumble back into the Championship.

Man United, a team we were once 12 points clear of, will smirk the most.

Sunderland could end up having a field day with Newcastle's loss of five points in the Tyne-Wear tussles this term, a major factor in the current situation.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham - sides we were once streets ahead of, probably won't miss us with a long away trip chalked off.

Man City and Blackburn will be Premier League forces but we'll be going to nowhere towns to watch nowhere football in a nowhere division.

Oh yes, it's an easy enough division to get out of, ask Charlton, Norwich, Leeds and Southampton about that!

And in keeping with the harsh reality of supporting the much maligned Mags, every team will be desperate to beat us - it will be their cup final.

Peterborough United winning at St James's Park?

My word what has the world come to.

How did it all go so wrong so quickly, losing to Partizan Belgrade on pens doesn't seem such a disaster now does it?

All the anguish of dropping fourth to fifth under Sir Bobby seems like nothing.

Beating Barcelona at Gallowgate seems like a weird dream when Tino was on song and even last season the night when Kevin Keegan returned against Stoke City has all paled into insignificance.

Our hero, our legendary number 9, one of the true Geordie sons - looks like he will be the man to take us down!

A cruel some would say sick script that you couldn't write if you tried - and anyone reading it from afar would probably say it was too far fetched.

Even we can't believe it and we were there!

Four managers, a combination of shocking management and naivety at boardroom level leaves us completely on the brink.

Yes, Newcastle can STILL stay up.

Yes, the feeling of relief will be amazing if they do.

But while fans will be buzzing if they do, there will be no party.

It isn't a sign of success staying up, it's a sign of failure.

It's a mark of a team that haven't been good enough.

Somebody asked me the other day who could we sign next season to sort it out.

Well it's a case of who would you keep and would they want to stay anyway if better offers came in.

Bassong, Beye and Steven Taylor are the three who you can make a strong case for.

But anybody else, on this season's evidence, may well be free to go.

A complete overhaul is needed.

Which division that's in, who knows?

We've got so much to lose at Villa Park and it's beginning to slip away.


Big Si said:

We aren't down yet but if we do go down then Ashley and the players deserve it but the fans and big Al don't. How sad and bitter it will be. We've been here before and we'll bounce back at some point but that point could be a long way off.


Did anyone see Stephen Taylor's interview on Sky Sports before Saturday's game. He summed everything up about our performance on Saturday before a ball was even kicked. He was all smiles, lording it up that he had scored the biggest goal of his career against Boro etc etc, What Stephen and the rest of the team ( maybe bar Beye and a couple others ) failed to realise that the hard work had only just started by Beating the smoggies. Now I don't mean to sound negative but can anyone see us getting anything against Villa at Villa ? I sadly don't. It will take a monumental performance to get something, a performance like the one put up against them at St James earlier this season.
One connection though Leicester 1992 the game where we stayed in the old second division on the last game - well Leicester is in the midlands ( or very close ) and so is Villa - here's hoping for a repeat.

Ashley out - Shearer to Stay - New owner PLEASE

Carl said:

I cant believe its came to this, needing something at Villa and counting on Man U to save us in the process. I seriously doubt Sir Alex will give the Toon a second thought before their game at Hull, and he could well play a field full of kids which the champs league final on the forefront of his mind. So many mistakes over the last four years at boardroom and managerial level has left us with a bunch of overpaid clowns gracing the black and white shirt. As usual they were all talk during the week after the boro win "we want it for the fans" "we wont let this club go down" blah blah blah give it a rest. They couldnt give a toss about which division NUFC are in next season, they will all be off counting theyre pounds while we are left to pick up the mess theyve left.
So without further ado, I would like to thank the following bunch of players for theyre unquestionable effort and passion this season.
Fabricio Collocini(what a tackler), Jose Enrique(6 million?!?!) Nicky Butt(was past it 3 years go) Kevin Nolan(is this the same one from Bolton?!) Jonas Guiterezz(SHOOT FOR GOD SAKE!) Damien Duff(keep those circles coming) Shola Ameobi(at least he gave the crowd some laughs) Mark Viduka(fair enough hes quality, but wheres he been!) Michael Owen(makes Kieran Dyers injury record look phenomanal).
A true bunch of Geordie heros if ive ever saw them.

P.S. I hope someone remembered to turn the light off at St James' on the weekend.

Jonesy said:

'Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham - sides we were once streets ahead of, probably won't miss us with a long away trip chalked off'

Knock it off Lee.

Harping on with that drivel does no one any favours.

keir waugh said:


The team for finger pointing and blame comes AFTER the season is over!
Can we blame Howard Webb if we do go down...NO! its 38 games that decides the fate.
my heart AND head say hull wont get anything against a man utd team that will be strong no matter who he plays.

my faith is being tested and yes against fulham it was awful but the faith we need to keep!

But one thing for certain is no matter what league ASHLEY HAS TO GO!!!!

keir waugh said:


The team for finger pointing and blame comes AFTER the season is over!
Can we blame Howard Webb if we do go down...NO! its 38 games that decides the fate.
my heart AND head say hull wont get anything against a man utd team that will be strong no matter who he plays.

my faith is being tested and yes against fulham it was awful but the faith we need to keep!

But one thing for certain is no matter what league ASHLEY HAS TO GO!!!!

brian from durham said:

Lee, can you confirm or not, as a previous blogger says " Ashley has cleared the club debt" As I understand it he LENT the club £100m, to be recovered in the sale, or over time.NUFC as a club still owes £100m.

pedi said:

I also think we blew our survival chance on saturday and as others have predicted it'll probably be milner that finishes us off.
We have been dreadful this season.
Hull were fighting to stay up last saturday, we thought we'd done enough against boro and took it easy.
If we were to shift most of the useless squad we have, we couldn't rake in much. I reckon come monday we'll be back up for sale as the heat decends back onto ashley. He's the gordon brown of the football world!

Is it right that on monday we will technically have no manager as shearer's contract runs out after villa, but does jk's aswell? Is all this in the 5 year plan?

Stephen said:

Shepherd is not going to return. At the time of Ashley's take-over, he said he was surprised when he heard that the Halls had sold their shares even though everyone knew they were desperate to sell up for months. Freddy craves publicity which is why he is in the Sunday Sun every week. What happened to the Real Mallorca buy-out?

stevie said:

Ashley stated he was going to carry on running the club 'sensibly' after he failed to sell it - i.e. keep employing the same cretins and spend nowt on players.
Quite a few buffoons have made a tidy sum out of pay offs, while the club looks like it is relegated.
What a pity that 'sensible' didn't mean employ a decent manager and buy a few decent players in order to protect his investment. He had his (last) chance in January. The man is an idiot.

Austin said:

"...we'll going to nowhere towns to watch nowhere football in a nowhere division." You must be stotting mad Lee - you missed a word out.

Are you kidding though, or have you just lost the plot entirely? I know you're upset but that is arrogance beyond belief and sums up why increasing numbers of people seem to think NUFC fans are stuck up, precious, deluded fools.

Do you think, if the worst happens on Sunday, that you'll get a warm welcome in said towns (and cities) next season if any supporters of their clubs have read your article?

With writing like that, you do yourself and NUFC supporters no favours at all.

And as it happens, Man Utd folk won't smirk the most if we drop - they've barely noticed us for years.

It's not over yet and tonight's result at Portsmouth adds another potential twist in the tale. So hang in there until tea time on Sunday!


Lee - you must have attended the Hans Christian Anderson School of Journalism - why should Man Utd care less about NUFC being relegated? NUFC are an overrated, hyped up, basdly managed football club....get ready for League One....

DavidK said:

Don't get me wrong Lee, I'm feeling as bitter and twisted about the Toon's plight as you seem to be, but I feel that your comments about "nowhere towns" were, at best, ill advised.
Unlike our under-performing sawdust superstars, the players in those "nowhere" teams have largely reached the Championship by their commitment and application to their respective clubs. The Newcastle first team will have nobody to blame for their relegation to this league but themselves, end of story. A fair proportion of them will be away in any case so probably don't care.
They have one final chance of redeeming themselves a certain amount for the grief they've heaped on us long-suffering supporters over the past season or so. Agreed, some of the decisions of our owner haven't helped the situation, but he's not the ones who have been trooping out onto the pitch week patently looking for excuses not to live up to their telephone number salaries.
Nobody can deny that should every member of that squad play to their potential, (that includes you, Mr Owen), they would have a good, if not better, chance of ensuring they remain at the top table. I don't think Sundays game will be pretty, desperation rarely is. I expect over the top tackles and squeaky-bum defending to be the order of the day much as it's appeared to have been all season. However, a little part of me hopes that out of the protracted suicide that this season has been so far, a little bit of sparkling magical football can come through and we see a team that is working together to safeguard the hopes of an entire city. Workmanlike Villa are beatable, on occasion it would appear easily so, let's hope that's the case on Sunday, then Lee, you might have a bit more time to apologise to the towns and teams you derided in your blog.

john clay said:

I heard a whisper from a reliable source
that shearer is seriously considering
putting his football boots on for the
end of the Villa match.

Relton said:

I listened to the Hull game on saturday, they played like a fighting team - and got the result that they wanted, unlucky not to have beaten bolton - and finally put us out of our misery.
To be fair - it sounds like thier guys are hungrier and more capable of getting a win against ManU. can we honestly say we are cabable of winning that crucial - win at all costs match - no. We have choked all season, we will choke again on sun.
Lee - you should drop this obsession over what people think of us. Austins right - anyone of any note havent noticed us for years. As for us being better than Arsenal - well the first game my dad took me to was against arsenal in 72 - it was 0-0 - and I cant ever remember us consistently having a better team than them since. They did us in the FA Cup final - they helped turn the entertainers' season sour and they nicked SuperMac.
We failed to beat Hull four times this season - do we honestly think that we deserve to stay up and see them down?
We failed to beat Hull four times this seaseon - does that make us feared, even by the Championship sides?
We failed to beat Hull four times this season - so why would Man U or anyone breathe a sigh of relief that the mighty mags are down.
Sorry - time for self delusion to end - and finally reality to kick in, then when we are finally over ourselves - we can build a football team again.

RomanWarrier said:

second class writing - second class club.
YOu should give it up son for the homo-erotic ramblings of ToonRock hudson - at least his grammer is better
"Chavs in discos ?"
"it will be there cup final"
"but we'll going to nowhere towns"

Tardonicus said:

As this torturous season draws to a close I'd like to thank Lee for the column and all the commenters here for their generally honest, well gathered and respectful thoughts.

I wish the lads courage this Sunday. We need it... and some luck. I'll support the club years from now, regardless of which division we play in. The goal is to get healthy and I'm not sure which surgery is the best - survival as a pre-season relegation candidate from the Premiership in '10 or take our lumps and go down now, when we clearly deserve it. Has any team been more awful the last 18 months or so? If we stay up, it will be a feeling of mercy, not of triumph. Next season we won't be eying any silverware, just survival.

I am an optimist, and I believe that we can pull off the win on Sunday. I'm counting on Man U swatting Hull aside like a fly cuz they're three teams deep over there. I'm even counting on the Mackems to lose so that we can finish ABOVE them (after all this, that would surely be the ultimate laugh!!!)...

So there's hope. Real hope that this season is a nightmare we can wake up from in the nick of time. Fulham did it last year. We can do it this year!!!

Then again, this year feels like such a race to the bottom. So if we don't stay up, we can't say we didn't deserve this fate. Let's take our punishment, travel to these fine Championship destinations, play some quality football and EARN our way back into the Big Show.

Either way, I'll still support NUFC. Howay the Lads!

bob harvey said:

A lot of people on the blog seem to be taking for granted a defeat at Villa Park. The reality is that they might win, they might draw and they might lose; just like the other two candidates. It's 'cup final' time on Sunday!
Just hoping that we don't end up as the club with both the highest average gate in the '2nd division' [over 56,000] and the highest average gate for relegation [about 49,000].

Leonard Osbourne said:

Well Lee,
I'm an exiled Mag living in Plymouth. I may live in a nowhere town but at least I can write.
Our fate was in the players' hands and they blew it against Fulham. I'm off to the bookies to lump on Milner scoring on Sunday.
See you all at Home Park.

Doon the Toon...

Al Jardine said:

"Four managers, a combination of shocking management and naivety at boardroom level leaves us completely on the brink."

It's taken you long enough to acknowledge it!

Andrew Davis said:

Lads and Lasses,

The truth is that all geordies and fellow supporters all over the planet can do is pray as we all know is that nobody but the 11 that are playing on sunday will know how we go about how we plan on sunday.

Will we up for the challenge???????

Nobody knows until that 1st thumping challenge Steven Taylor does and Edgar does.

At least as geordies we know they will give blood...

What about the other 9 eh.

bobbytee said:

so does that mean Wigan, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Stoke, Bolton, Hull, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are not "nowhere" towns? I don think so. Good grief.
Are you modeling yourself on Mick Dennis now Lee ??? Swapping the Magpie for a Canary next. Lets not assume cos a side doesnt have a team in the premiership its a nowhere town, as anyone who has been to the eight places I mentioned above will testify !!!
Come the day - and I sincerely hope it doesnt - these Championship teams will come at us like banshees - trying to rip our faces off - and comments like yours will make them try and taste success against us all the more harder.
Lets not take any team for granted - that is - after al - why we are down ere in this mess.

kw said:

I agree with most comments here, I agree we probably don't deserve to stay up, but if its Hull or us I know which id choose.

I'll be watching on Sunday with that glimmer of hope that the lads can finally do us proud, it wont be an easy watch (how many games have been this season?) and I take my hat off to those away supporters who will be there to witness our fate next next season.

londontoon said:

think you're right paul, as much as we are bad away from home the pressure will be off in many ways. i think SJP has seen a lot of good players and managers come in that just can't do it in front of 50 odd thousand supporters. nerves play a big part. i also think that we missed MO at the weekend for the same reasons, hes not phased by the big occassions as much as some.. why people are not backing our best player is beyond me.???? he is a newcastle player, you woul dthink he player for the macums!!!?! we should stick with the players through everything. Shearer had bad times, nobody ever gave him a hard time. ok the goals aren't going in for him, but i cant believe he wont get 1 before the end of the season.. MO to score the winner, my money is going on him tomorrow.

londontoon said:

one thing i like about newcastle supporters thou, no matter how much stick we get from other supporters around the country and the press and the skysports muppets, i've never heard anyone rise to it and slag them off aswell, we dont get involved in the sh** not even a twitch.. thats good sportsmanship. if we go down we'll go down with respect..

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

I hear there is a nice Chinese restaurant down that way Leonard.

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

Did you mean grammar?

dave said:

just been reading some of the utter tish some of the mancs have posted on the message boards, they are full of it that they should field junior players just to send Shearer & the toon into the Championship and how many of us would follow the the lads to Blackpool n the likes, what a bunch of tos***s, can you imagine how many would be crying over their prawn sarnies if say Liverpool where level on points if Spurs decided to field juniors you'd never hear the last of it from them or fergie and as for how many of us will travel to away games if we were in the Championship, we'd still probably still take more away support from Newcastle than those muppets do from manchestar!!

Shell said:

Truly horrific and arrogant article.

Heaven forbid, the mighty Newcastle might go down for not winning as many matches as the other teams. For having less fight, less passion in the team, less business and management sense at the top and relying on a complete rookie to dig them out of a relegation battle, simply because he knocked a few goals in for them a while back.

If you go, believe me, you will not be missed by anyone.
They will however miss the opportunity to come to Circus St James and take 3 points.

Good bye, and good riddance.


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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