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June 2010 Archives

Rarely here in Blog on the Tyne does the subject drift from Newcastle United but after the national disgrace that was England's World Cup exit against Germany I think desperate times call for desperate measures.

For a start, this World Cup has been poor and England have been garbage all the way through, tactically inept and totally devoid of ideas.

Capello was struggling before we even went out there in trying to persuade Paul Scholes to come out of retirement, and succeeding in doing likewise with Jamie Carragher because he knew the current squad is way short.

People have said that some of the England players don't care, well I'd say probably some of them do care but they've been playing as indviduals and as we all know, you won't win anything with 11 people doing what they want rather than working as a team.

Gianluigi Buffon's World Cup may look like it's all over but the Italian A-list celeb will probably never forget the day he spoke to the Evening Chronicle three years ago.

Well maybe he has already but it was Buffon who provided me with probably the most bizarre interview I've ever had.

The Italian could well pass for a Sicilian mafia member and here he was standing as cool as cucumber having just played for the mighty Juventus at St James' Park with the ultimate opportunist moment for any journo to grab some elusive words.

He's just picked the ball out of his net from Andy Carroll with the Geordie striker scoring his first senior goal at St James' Park - even the fresh faced teenager didn't look like he'd realised what he'd just done in beating the World Cup winner.

So it emerges that high on Chris Hughton's wish-list is a centre-forward as another day is chalked off heading to the new season.

Taking a break from the now annoying, predictable and boring sound of the Vuvuzela, it's certainly reassuring to know that while the World Cup is a welcome way of filling space during the closed season at domestic level, before you know it we'll be freezing our backsides off and watching the bread and butter of Geordie life unfold when the Premier League restarts in eight weeks time.

And whether we're reading headlines such as RAMPANT NEWCASTLE or WASTEFUL NEWCASTLE in terms of chances, largely depends on who we bring in over the next few weeks.

The Ignacio González files

By Lee Ryder on Jun 12, 10 09:30 AM

He showed some good touches, he worked his backside off, he looked a shadow of the lonely figure that spent most of his life in the treatment room at NUFC's Benton base but for most of us to see Ignacio Gonzalez on the pitch at all was a bit of a shock to the system.

Last night, the Uruguay graced the World Cup stage in the 0-0 draw against France and for an hour looked half decent.

Gonzalez, or Nacho to his team-mates, was infamously the straw that broke the camel's back at Newcastle and finally triggered Kevin Keegan's inevitable departure as the Messiah and little Dennis Wise just couldn't see eye to eye over anything.

After performing well for South Americans Danubio, Valencia snapped up Nacho in 2008 and no sooner had he arrived in Spain he was being loaned to Newcastle.

Unless you count the Anglo-Italian Cup, the Texaco Cup, the Japan Cup, some crappy plaque that says we won the Intertwobob Cup or our two Championship trophy triumphs - Newcastle United have now gone 41 years without winning what we'd consider a major trophy.

Today, is the 41st annivesary of Newcastle winning something worth shouting about in the form of the Fairs Cup back in 1969 beating Ujpest Dozsa.

Just a year ago, it felt like St James' Park had collapsed after relegation but in the middle of it all the Fairs Cup winning team of 1969 still celebrated the achievement of yesteryear 40 years on.

The news that Danny Simpson will miss the start of Newcastle United's return to the Premier League may well be a blow but while the popular full-back's injury misery is hard to take for fans and the player alike, it will open a door for somebody else to start the season and stake a claim for a regular place.

Simpson's efforts last season were fantastic and the fact he's played through the pain barrier epitomises his attitude at this football club, an unselfish act that deserves a lot of credit.

From time to time hacks are ludicrously accused of bumping up merit marks to those Toon players who are prepared to talk to journos after games but while Simmo is a top bloke that will always take the time to reflect and chat after games, his solid performances were there for all to see last season.

Gooch ghost is bound to hurt us

By Lee Ryder on Jun 10, 10 08:41 AM

When it comes to former players or Geordies coming back to haunt Newcastle United the list is endless.

Now after taking part in the club version season after season, how about trying the international version?

Step forward Oguchi Onyewu and the United States...

So Alan Thompson leaves his post as Toon coach after just two years.

Well, whoever comes into replace them, I hope they're good because United have just lost another good man and a proper Geordie who cares about the club to boot.

Thommo the player caused controversy amongst some Mags when he quit back in 1993 in search for first team football.

On reflection that came at a time of smaller squads, squad rotation and resting didn't exist and Kevin Keegan would soon abolish the reserves.

Thompson went on to be a class act for Bolton, Villa and then Celtic and perhaps unluckily won just one cap for England as one of the best left-footed players of his generation.

I don't know about you but getting "geared up" for the World Cup isn't easy when you're a Newcastle United fan.

Transfer investment to most Toon fans probably outweighs the importance of a tournament that is merely filling in the gaps until the pre-season friendlies start again and we can see our beloved side reshaping for what is going to be a crunch season back in the Premier League.

Well, we won't see anything in the shape of new signings for a while yet, July 1 will be the start of any serious wheeling and dealing for Chris Hughton and even then the last two summer transfer windows have seen Newcastle end up as 11th hour players in the great transfer game.

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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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