Never mind this being Blackpool's FA Cup final - if anything it's an FA Cup final replay!

By Lee Ryder on Sep 15, 09 05:42 PM

We're not even out of September and some of us are already sick of hearing about all of Newcastle United's games being a "cup final".

It's been an easy tag for many people to slap on our latest fixture against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.

But I can see why some Blackpool fans see that as an insult to be honest, especially the ones who are old enough to remember 1951 and all that went with it an FA Cup victory for the Toon with two goals from Wor Jackie at Wembley!

Obviously it was way before my time but I can still recall my late grandad talking about the match at Wembley in '51 during his time.

And how one of his favourite players was one of the opposition in Stan Mortensen, a couple of years later Mortensen bagged a hat-trick in the "Matthews" final in a seven-goal thriller against Bolton Wanderers.

There have been limited high profile meetings in recent history as far as this fixture is concerned but fans of the Gazza era may recall a two legged League Cup tie were Newcastle lost the first leg 1-0 before beating the Tangerines 4-1 at St James's.

Other than that you'd have to go back to the 1960s, or one occasion in the 1970s, when these two teams locked horns in the old First Division on a regular basis.

In 50 years time it's difficult to imagine talking about Nile Ranger's sparkling performance against Ian Holloway's side!

But getting back to the nagging theme of "cup finals" rather than actual FA Cup finals, it's interesting to see in Blackpool's local paper tonight that Holloway has actually been encouraging his side to act like a big club.

And I can see why.

After all surely with their history they are very similar to Newcastle.

Years of fine tradition followed by mismanagement, neglect, crumbling terraces, dodgy pies, crap players and boardroom scandal.

After 16 years of flirting with success, we currently find ourselves parked alongside three of those factors so it's a good job we've got a few decent players.

In recent times we've watched a team that is learning to dig out results, work hard and probably show some of the attributes that a Milburn or Mortensen would be looking down at with pride.

A hard work ethos, a bit of brains on the pitch and a few old school challenges to show the Championship that we aren't going to take any nonsense from the opposition.

In some cases, and making a special comeback, we have also witnessed the return of another football tradition in loyalty.

True, the Mortensens, Matthews and Milburns earned peanuts compared to the bling brigade of today.

But whether you agree or not, there are some players like Alan Smith, Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan, Steve Harper, Nicky Butt, Andy Carroll, Jonas and Fabricio Coloccini who could have all demanded to go.

If you believe the players though they will tell you they had wrongs that needed to be put right.

Well, let's hope that they continue to demonstrate that tomorrow night at Bloomfield Road.

*PS Anyone who has any great away day tour pics from our Coca-Cola Championship tour feel free to send them my way at and we'll give them a show.


Jackie W said:

Concede two goals and we loan a defender from Blackburn !! I would be concerned with the fact we couldnt finnish them off late in the game , we desperatley need some fire power . Jackie W

Bob Haskell said:

We took plenty of nonsense from the opposition - mainly in the middle of the park.

Claw Stumbles said:

It is a bit rich, Lee, to complain about other people saying every game for Newcastle is the other teams cup final when your own writing style is cliche ridden.

You, yourself, incessantly talked up how other teams would raise their game against Newcastle because we are a big scalp now.

"In recent times we've watched a team that is learning to dig out results, work hard and probably show some of the attributes that a Milburn or Mortensen would be looking down at with pride."

Commentators curse?

As for those players that did not demand to go, I am sure you know full well they would not pick up the same wages elsewhere and if they did demand to go they would not have had their contracts paid up.

It is a nice attempt to portray the ones that stayed as loyal but come on, they are hardly going to demand to leave when on 3m a year and getting to play second division football on that wage.


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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