The fizzy pop league so far for Newcastle United

By Lee Ryder on Nov 12, 09 12:58 PM

When Newcastle United were relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship there were many who thought that the Magpies could quite easily go on and do another Leeds.

Depressingly, talking to Leeds fans who had suffered the drop from the big time to what many of us will always call the Third Division resulted in a warning of "get ready, because you are in for more pain".

But so far, the Championship experience has been much less painful than expected.

Without doubt a club the size of Newcastle United should not be in the second tier.

But that's where they are and while the political side of life at Newcastle still requires major repair - you can't take anything the way from the players who have worked hard to keep Newcastle top of the table.

At times, I have felt sorry for the players this season who did stay to fight on, simply because whatever they achieved on the field was overshadowed by events off it - all of it beyond their control.

A look down the list of Toon stars does not display a team that started the 2008/09 season on the first team stage.

It is not entirely the team that went down, with exits for Owen, Viduka, Martins, Beye, Duff and Edgar.

At the start of last season Andy Carroll, Steve Harper and Nile Ranger were all regarded as reserve team or back-up players, Alan Smith was injured, while the likes of Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands and Kevin Nolan weren't even at the club - a big chunk of the team.

Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas were also still getting their feet under the table in a new country never mind a new league or club and all hell broke out (Keegan-gate) with Danny Guthrie also a new face who could not have predicted what has unfolded in the last 15 months.

Yes, you do have players like Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique and Nicky Butt but they have already proved their worth at times this season and will go on to do so in my opinion.

This is not painting a picture that presents life in Newcastle as blissful at the moment, far from it.

Just simply giving the players credit where it's due, so far this season.

True, there are still 30 games to go.

There is also major work required to improve the squad for the second part of the season and more worryingly for potential promotion back to the top flight.

The politics at Newcastle are still a million miles away from being sorted out but while 44,000 fans keep turning up, they job of the players must surely be to keep on winning.

Yes, we've had our share of upsets on the field this season, Blackpool, Scunthorpe and Forest - all three of which were well documented - not to mention the Carling Cup exit at Peterborough.

But with fans backing the team to the hilt and the players responding to that incredible support, the nightmare that many outsiders predicted for Newcastle in this league and the fears that United would sink like a stone are yet to be a reality.

So then 16 down, 30 to go and all's well on the pitch at least.


yiannis-agios nikolaos kreta greece said:


William J. Powers said:

In watching Championship games I see a more pressing style of play, more physical contact and a more lassize-faire attitude by the referees. When I see NUFC being able to keep the ball on the ground, make short quick passes, move the ball out of their own end with control and brush off the rough stuff, it makes me feel more optimistic about what happens upon promotion. The players are developing poise amidst the chaos, and that will serve them well as the team moves on.
The coaching staff seem like real managers, not sideline ego trips, which also bodes well for this club.
What I don't know, but hope is or is being put in place, is a Benton Base that is a magnet for young world talent, a place where football and education are top rated and the signees are taught English and the UK customs.

toongonebad said:

its obvious but its great when we're winning. miss the prem but don't miss the egos and bad press. If i didn't have to listen too DL and see his smug mug on tv or in the papers it would help alot too!
I would really like to see the youngins come through, get promotion first time and make a mark next season. i believe we really need some solid buys in jan. keep simpson, great future ahead of him. I hope if we go up MA doesn't put the big for sale sign up again, there really isn't any need now, everyone knows he wants to sell and if he was any good at selling he should know that hes more likely to get a better offer if he looks like he doesn't want to sell! how do these people make millions????

frank said:

It's all nonsense I'm afraid. We are in a false position and have only the other teams lack of shooting boots and misplaced respect to thank. Mindless optimism is not the answer. The only way to avoid a Leeds is to rid the club of the cancer by boycotting so he sells up for whatever the NUST can muster. Their bid might not work but at least they are trying (unlike the appeasists who pay Ashley to stay by turning up each week). I've been watching the toon for years and the support is always great but we've never won anything so don't delude yourselves that mindless support has got them to the top of this league(see second sentence above)

Rob said:

Ashleys plan is as follows.

Take club up, dont invest in players, get religated bank the parachute payments, lead a promotion campaign, fill the ground, repeat cycle 3 or 4 times until people realise what is going on.

I actually think this stratergy could work with crowds of 20,000 say at Shef Utd, it will be an absolute money spinner if you can get 40,000 plus in at Newcastle.

This is what Ashley will do. YoYo club here we come, and it will be by plan. I can only suspect this has been his plan all along and appointing Keegan only to sack him and turn the fans against him was part of it.


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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