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The defining moment approaches

By Lee Ryder on May 23, 09 05:17 AM

In the build-up to Newcastle United's conclusion to a season that has so far been the ultimate nightmare for Toon fans everywhere, some observers have suggested a nail biting day awaits on Sunday at Villa for anybody connected to a club steeped in tradition but haunted by spectacular failure.

Well, sorry, but for some there are no nails left the majority of Toon fans moved on to toe nails weeks ago before starting to climb the walls with anxiety.

Sunday can't really come quick enough and by 6pm we will see exactly how much lasting damage some catastrophic decision making throughout a season of trauma will make.

Even a win might not be enough for Newcastle United against a Villa side that have suffered in the second part of the season.

But if failure for them is finishing sixth, just how do you sum up the possible outcome of Newcastle's season if the worst case scenario unfolds before our very eyes tomorrow?

One thing is for certain, if Newcastle are relegated at Villa Park then it's not down to what happens at Villa Park.

No, it will be other games that got away, think back to Stoke City at home (2-0 up ended 2-2), Wigan (2-1 late on to 2-2) and Manchester City (2-1 late on to 2-2), there are six points already that would have meant Newcastle could lose 9-0 at Villa tomorrow and be OK.

There are poor refereeing decisions to boot, but every team in the league has suffered those this season, no every team in the land.

But the management situation has been serious.

People feared that Kevin Keegan doesn't take much to upset and ultimately it doesn't take much before he cries off - it's his or way or no way.

And while I'd take his way everytime, it was only a matter of time before little Dennis peeved him off.

Getting Dennis Wise was a mistake that stems from sheer naivety.

With hindsight Mike Ashley would might have been OK if he'd put his hands up booted out Wise back in September and KK meeting him on the eve of the Hull game handed him every chance to do it.

Chris Hughton was never cut out to manage this club either side of Joe Kinnear regardless or not whether he is a top coach (so say the players) or the fact that compared to some ego driven loonies in football, he is the perfect gent.

And as for good old Joe, well nobody can't say he didn't give it all he had can they?

I mean, trying to succeed almost killed him.

Kinnear was another wild choice by Ashley and another decision he will look upon with regret.

To bring in somebody to salvage the situation was writing off the season in September anyway was it not?

Alan Shearer arrived too late in the day for many of us.

However, if he does he deserves all the credit he gets.

It's expected he will be put in place shortly after the season ends depending on the package that Ashley can put together for him, while there are also rumours of a consortium, but we've heard plenty of those down the years.

If Newcastle go down and Shearer doesn't stay then you have to fear for the club.

But while there are still 90 minutes to save it, you have to keep to the faith.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

13 Comments

boy of oz said:

I will be gutted if we are relegated,since i live in australia it is a world away from newcastle but how i wish i was at the villa match to cheer the toon on!.staying up will mean a lot so COME ON NEWCASTLE!!.

Dave Owens said:

Sadly, due to various poor management decisions over the last several years - not merely down to Ashley but certainly exacerbated by his ludicrous antics - we've got a squad of players - barring a handful - who aren't really fit for the premiership. We've played poorly all season. Fingers crossed for tomorrow, but I've had them crfossed for some time now!

jacko said:

Sorry Lee but I think the defining moment for this season passed last September!

Even if we do stay up; and I'm praying that's the case, we will be in for a hell of a battle again next term. And if we go down; with or without big Al in charge next season I really don't want to consider the prospect if Ashley remains at the helm.

Lets be clear: this club of ours has been run like a low class brothel for a number of years, with many 'so called' custodians screwing the fans for what they could make. I go back to the days of Stan Seymour and the pirate; nothing really has changed. However Ashley has truly created a new level of mismanagement and alienation. He must go in order to enable this club to even consider moving in the right direction.

And by the way Lee; wasn't a certain SBR sacked because 5th wasn't considered good enough?

Dave Hardy said:

this season took the tradition of total Toon pantomime to a whole new level, how has this man achieved what he has in business? He hasn't a clue, every decision he's made has been a disaster. relegation would be a huge trauma, but, just maybe, it could also serve to save our club in the longer term. We've wasted millions on below average players to attempt to buy success. time to build a young, british side again.

BigAL said:

Jacko's summation is spot on. The demise started a long time ago with the awful treatment handed out to Sir Bob for only finishing 5th! Perhaps the decision causing most damage was bringing in Big Sam! Forget about his appalling tactics, the lousy results, just look at his player legacy: Barton, Smith, Geremi, Cacapa, Rozehnal, Abdoulaye Faye. He introduced all this dross! Thank god he got one right - Habib Beye!


I genuinely believe it was these ridiculous signings, most on over £50K a week, that not only sealed Big Sam's fate but led Ashley to lose confidence in his manager's abilities to conduct transfers and it was this that led Ashley to conclude a director of football was needed for this role. Next massive mistake - enter Denis Wise, what an absolutely absurd appointment which has only served to accelerate the decline. As for Kinnear, the fact he was the only manager willing to take on the role speaks volumes for how low we have sank.


Despite this horrendous demise, I am not countenancing relegation because I have hope. Not deranged optimism through rose tinted glasses but genuine belief we can and will pull it off. Why? Well consider this:


* Newcastle have gained more points (57) against Aston Villa than any other club in the Premier League.
* Villa no longer have anything serious to play for, as their Europa place is guaranteed. Only one place higher in the table is possible, currently occupied by Everton who are a point ahead with a superior goal difference. Is that really a big motivating factor?
* Newcastle have already beaten Villa 2 - 0 this season, when Villa were arguably playing at their best, having won 6 and drawn 2 of their previous 10 Premiership games before visiting St James Park. One of the two draws was against Liverpool & one of the two defeats was against Chelsea, an excellent set of results ..... before losing 2-0 to Newcastle.
* If you look at Villa’s recent record, they have only won 1 of their last 10 games (scraping 1-0 against Hull) having drawn 4 & lost 5. Newcastle’s last 10 games is similar having won only 1 with 3 draws and 6 defeats but our 6 defeats were at the hands of Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Fulham & Spurs – that is 6 of the top 8 teams, maybe not totally shameful in the bigger picture.
* We thought we got well & truly stuffed off Liverpool when we were beaten at Anfield 3-0 but only weeks earlier Villa got beat 5-0.
* Even Middlesbrough beat Villa at Villa Park earlier in the season.


So the Toon can do it, it really now depends simply and solely if the players step up to the table on Sunday and show just a shred of the grit, determination & conviction, that Shearer exudes.

Jonnie said:

It's really sad that it's come to this. Once pride of the north east and everyone's second favourite team, the entertainers. Now we're the laughing stock of football. Everyone's laughing at us from the pundits to the papers. Not only does everyone *think* we'll go down but they *want* us to go down.

I still believe that the Kevin Keegan walkout has hurt us. To have a situation and a management team that was totally unworkable and undermined the football managers role was a fundamental mistake and that cloud over our heads was too much. The rest of the premier league must have had a field day looking at what was happening at this great club.

What better incentive for us to stay up but to silence them and to deny them what they're baying for?

Some people think we deserve to go down. 4 managers in one season and a comedy of mismanagement.

But I thought that a team should be should be judged by their final position in the league table. The league table doesn't lie and we're not in this mess for nothing. As Lee said we've dropped points from teams we should have beaten and beaten well.

But if it's true that the league table doesn't lie then why not judge us after the final whistle on Sunday?

If we Beat Villa and Stay up then we deserve it. Equally if we hold villa and stay up we deserve it. If we cannot get a result at villa and go down. We deserve it.

At the end of the day, at the end of the season we get exactly what we deserve and we have one more chance to show that we deserve to play Premier League football next season.

Come On United!!!!!

jay from singapore said:

gutted i wont b able to watch the match on tele as i would be 30000 feet above the gound, but i wished and believe tat we will have good news when i finally touch down!
Howay the lads!
we love this club!

lambic peach said:

i just put my jersey on.. touched the badge, and felt really sad. its 3pm here and the match will be on at 1 in th morning. please big Al... Say it aint so.

Simon the villan said:

Interesting to read on your blog today that you never rated Martin Laursen. Sorry, but you know nothing - Martin was colossal for Villa, both as a central defender, skipper and goalscorer. Villa's post-Xmas slump in form was directly related to his absence. And even in a suit he could outplay Coloccini... Coming from someone supporting a team whose central defences have resembled the Chuckle Brothers in recent years (Titus Bramble, Boumsong anyone?) criticising Laursen is a bit rich. You'd bite the hand off anyone offering a player of his quality right now. But now they won't want to come, will they?

Simon the villan said:

Interesting to read on your blog today that you never rated Martin Laursen. Sorry, but you know nothing - Martin was colossal for Villa, both as a central defender, skipper and goalscorer. Villa's post-Xmas slump in form was directly related to his absence. And even in a suit he could outplay Coloccini... Coming from someone supporting a team whose central defences have resembled the Chuckle Brothers in recent years (Titus Bramble, Boumsong anyone?) criticising Laursen is a bit rich. You'd bite the hand off anyone offering a player of his quality right now. But now they won't want to come, will they?

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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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