Mackem Kilgallon's loss can be Big Mike's gain - as Newcastle go from Woodgate to Willamson

By Lee Ryder on Jan 22, 10 12:02 PM

When Jonathan Woodgate signed for Newcastle United in January 2003 nobody connected to the Magpies back then could have predicted just how far the black and whites would tumble in just seven years.

Mike Williamson is the latest signing for Newcastle United in what has been a painful transfer window, it's a window that you would struggle to write a script for with Chris Hughton's top target ending up at Sunderland just days after revealing he wanted to stay at Sheff United.

Former Torquay and Wycombe defender Williamson, at 26, has been handed an incredible opportunity with Newcastle that could arguably be the biggest of his career.

Going back to Woody, at that time with Sir Bobby in charge and United in the Champions League it seemed like Newcastle could only build on their top four place but as we all know, they could not have drifted any further away.

What went wrong?

Many things but one was certainly the ambitious transfer policy.

Kevin Keegan once said: "You have to give the fans what they want at this club" but that policy is long gone at St James' Park.

Woodgate's signing fitted in with that idea, but he was also a good player and a big name as part of the bargain.

OK, he went on to be injury prone but to many he was one of the most talented defenders to have appeared for the Magpies.

Listening to the fans seems to have gone out of the window at St James' Park.

Consequently, in my opinion, this had made Toon fans miserable despite being top of the league.

And after stumbling across a bunch of media colleagues, who claimed that you should not give Newcastle fans what they want in a city that eats, sleeps and breathes black and white, I found this logic somewhat strange given that Newcastle United is the biggest thing in the city and the introduction of good players attracts big crowds which ultimately makes the club money.

The last time we were in this division, fans partied their way around the second tier and landlords nationwide rubbed their hands with glee whenever they spotted the masses of coaches coming into some of football's backwaters.

Keegan handed them stars like Lee, Cole, Sellars, then Beardo to Ferdinand, Tino to Shearer and then beyond under different managers.

This season, Toon fans have probably needed a drink on away days just to lighten the mood as they've plundered through with borrowed players and a free transfer.

But going back to Williamson, our second cash signing in the space of four days no less, he still arrives at the biggest club he's played for so far.

And while fans are unhappy, they know It's not the fault of the current players and I'm quite sure that Williamson will be given a warm welcome to Tyneside.

Good performances will make or break his Toon career but even he may fully appreciate that a grandstand arrival to St James' Park like an Owen or a Shearer is totally beyond him!

His understated arrival means that the only expectation is that he gives 110% in a black and white shirt.

If that coincides with promotion then all the better, and by the time May comes, he could find himself unable to walk down Northumberland Street.

And should Kilgallon and Sunderland - on the same 23 point total as relegated Newcastle last season - find themselves in the Championship again next .season and Williamson is heading the other direction with the Toon, it could well be happy ending for Big Mike (Williamson that is)


davidk said:

Hmmm We were interested in buying Kilgallon, we're a Championship Team looking to bring in a proven Championship defender.
What's PL Sunderland's excuse?
Lining up a squad for next season?

I do wish Williamson every success though, he's done himself no harm coming to a club with prospects :-)

Jonny said:

What a nonsense article !!!

I can't believe you get paid to write this rubbish - the article rambles on and on without making a decent point !

- Are you saying Williamson is a good signing / bad signing ?
- Are you comparing him to Woodgate ?
- Are you saying you can / can't give Newcastle fans what they want ?

I really suggest you re-read the article and re-write it so people can make sense of it !

Ryder's reply: What a nonsense reply, it's an off the cuff piece of banter.
No clearly it's not comparing him to Woody, it's saying we've gone from signing an England defender to an ex-Wycombe player who nobody has heard of.
The article goes on to say he's been handed an excellent opportunity and without being able to predict the future, the answer is nobody knows if he'll be a good signing.
I'm saying you should give Newcastle fans what they want.
So put the toys back in the pram.

Chuck said:

Sorry, but you should really go find a job somewhere , preferably nothing to do with writing or football.
I`m afraid you cant write and what you know about football could fit onto a stamp.
Please just Feck off !

Ryder's reply: Oh, temper, temper.

Frank said:

poorly written article, if I wanted the incoherent ramblings of a delusional man I would speak to the nutjob at my local park.

Ryder's reply: Has Kenwyne Jones left Sunderland yet?

Ozmag said:

What is going on, for goodness sake this is a blog not war and peace!!!

Jordan said:

cannot believe people are writing him off! i saw him several times for watford last season and he was IMMENSE! he is a solid signing, for a low fee in an area that we need cover for especially if the rumours about taylor are true. a good bit of business for hughton.

Ginola said:

Lee, i don't mind this piece, i think it makes sense and if these people could tell the difference between a story and a blog then life would be much easier.
I will say though that people ask you questions all the time on here, but you never answer them, you don't partake in a discussion that you have started - the only time you reply is when people have a go at you and thats why i stopped reading to be honest.
Maybe if you interact a little bit more with the public then you'll find yourself in a more pleasant situation.

Anyhoo...lets hope the lad can do something, i think Killgallon has seemingly shown quite a poor attitude anyway so i think we have been let off the hook. We're starting again, just like we did when Keegan first took over, players like Cole and Lee were not that renowned back then, they made their name in the black and white. Lets stop living in the past, its all we ever seem to do, lets look ahead and live for now. Were we are now, is where we are. How can we expect the management and players to look forward when we dont?

Ryder's reply: Some good points and you are right you should not live in the past.
But some people can't stop thinking of the good/better times and I'm one of them.
As far replying, I do try my best and usually the best time to get questions answered is via the live blog on a match day or you can always send me an email at - if we get any really good comments from the blog, they might even end up in the Chronicle!

jack said:

One word: momentum. How we do next year is a write off for Mike. He's taking a massive risk. As for players signed, getting knocked back by players in the third division is the real barrometer of how much the stock of NUFC has fallen. Can you blame them. Chris and players are doing an amazing job to be top despite the fact this idiot has sold off any player with any pace or attacking threat. If we do manage to finish in front of West Brom and Forrest then it will be a blind stagger into the premiership and a total wasted opportunity. Look at Birmingham. Forget that thought, if he's not gone by the summer then relegation is a likelyhood. Twice in three years may prove to be the knockout punch for this once proud football club.

Ginola said:

Cheers Lee, appreciate it.

davidk said:

I might be cynical, but does anyone else think that the non-news about the extent of Steven Taylor's injury and the inferences of something serious that would sideline him for a significant period, might be resolved or downgraded to a knock once the transfer window closes?
Perhaps CH and his staff aren't quite as much the puppets that some supporters take them for?

After the lies and double talk we've all heard from the Ashley/Llambias double act it would be poetic justice in my opinion.

BillyButlins said:

Probably just bad PR like it has been since day one.


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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