November 2010 Archives
Newcastle United have landed a sensational FA Cup third round draw away to Stevenage.
The tie fires up bad memories of the 1998 fourth round meeting of the then non-league side and the Magpies in a clash that caused much controversy.
Back then United took on the Hertfordshire outfit at Broadhall Way and were held to a 1-1 draw after a row before the game was sparked when Kenny Dalglish offered to play the game at St James' Park.
It may well feel like a long hard winter on Tyneside at the moment, but for Newcastle United the Chelsea game is a chance to get back to basics.
After three successive wins in the Premier League, it all went a bit blase for Newcastle against Blackburn and Fulham - and then the bottom fell out against Bolton Wanderers.
If that 5-1 crushing at the hands of Owen Coyle's serves as a reminder that mistakes and sloppiness will be punished in the Premier League then as crazy as it sounds, the shoeing at the Reebok could turn out to be a good thing.
Like a boxer who suffers defeat, it can only allow United to come back bigger and stronger.
Remember the last time Newcastle United visited the Reebok Stadium?
I do, and my word was it painful.
With the Magpies in total disarray and then boss Joe Kinnear on his sick bed after heart problems, the realisation that Newcastle could be relegated was beginning to kick in.
Chris Hughton was in charge as caretaker boss but cut a much more guarded figure during a nightmare season that had already resulted in three reshuffles - with one more to come - in the managerial hotseat.
Fabio Capello shuffled into his seat and announced: "Andy Carroll is OK, he is fit and he will start."
And at that moment the reality that Carroll is deemed good enough for England started to sink in.
It marks an incredible two year period for the Gateshead lad who was in the reserve team just two years ago and could walk down Northumberland Street almost unrecognised.
Not now, and just seconds after confirming Carroll will start against France, a word of warning over his private life followed from the former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss.
Damien Duff will make his return to Newcastle United and probably endure his fair share of boos at St James' Park.
You can count the amount of times that Duff really shone at Newcastle during his three year stay on Tyneside on two hands if you're lucky.
Nobody needs to be told the ability of Duff and what he could do when things were going well.
So there you have it - Joey Barton steps one centimetre out of line and he's got the world on his back again and of course the ultimate court of justice aka Twitter on his case.
Make no mistake Barton was WRONG to throw a punch at Morten Gamst Pedersen but come off it, surely you've seen worse than that in football?
Or even in the street.
Had David Beckham been serving up the delicious balls into the box that Joey Barton has in recent times - TV pundits across the globe would all have been foaming at the mouth.
Barton has been causing havoc in the last third of opposing penalty areas during a period he admitted was the "best of his career" thus far.
His calculated cross from near the halfway line against Arsenal - which left Ã Âukasz FabiaÃ Âski looking like somebody trying to catch a dropped tenner on a windy day in Whitley Bay - had been in Barton's head for sometime.
Last season I had the audacity to suggest that Andy Carroll should have been on the plane to South Africa for the World Cup with England.
The suggestion was scoffed at, but those who did aren't scoffing now.
And when they were crying into their beer after the exit of England in the World Cup, they wouldn't have been scoffing then either.
My reasoning behind it, was that Carroll would offer England both something different as well as possibly providing the element of surprise after a season under the radar in the Championship.
Just 11 games into the Premier League campaign and Carroll has six goals and four assists, and is now on the brink of the England squad with Fabio Capello an interested specator at the Emirates to see him power home an old fashioned centre-forward's goal.