United a world away from last visit to Planet Reebok

By Lee Ryder on Nov 19, 10 08:21 AM

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.

With Newcastle struggling to find a goal for love nor money, United slumped to a 1-0 defeat.

Some sections of the United fans chanted "You don't know what you're doing" at Hughton but in this season's return to the Reebok, there is every chance they'll be chanting his name in unison.

To be fair to the disgruntled Toon fans that day they had a valid point.

With the likes of Geremi, Oba Martins and Nicky Butt barely breaking into a sweat against Bolton it was always going to be an uphill task - and this was painfully summed up when Mark Viduka was asked to stop talking to a Bolton fan in order to enter the field and try to somehow find an equaliser.

Before the game in an interview on TV I'd claimed that Newcastle were in trouble and it pained me to say it.

After the Setanta reporter Darrell Currie had asked me to scan down the fixture list and give a verdict, if we didn't beat Bolton we'd struggle to find a win in the next seven games with the likes of Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal all on the schedule.

TV pundit Steve McManaman had mocked such a negative response but then Macca hadn't been watching Newcastle all season and struggle to even get the simple things right.

I was wrong.

We didn't win for another 10!

By which time with Alan Shearer in caretaker charge beating Boro 3-1 left us with two games to go and we all know what happened next.

Relegation had been mooted by some as early as November in the 2008/09 season.

But I think that day at Bolton it became obivious the team were heading the wrong direction.

That's why no matter what happens at Bolton the journey back from the North-West this time surely can't be any worse.


The Rutz Nutz said:

The Club ie players, CH and fans are all pulling in the same direction and as a club, we are making steady progress in the right direction.

Think back to those dark day in early 2009 and the players who were playing at that point. Those who are gone have been replaced with lads who wear the shirt with pride and those that are still here, well they have turned their NUFC careers around and are looking like "proper" players.

Yes the side maybe lacks that little touch of guile but one or two careful additions (Ben Arfa inc) will add the the steel and grit we already have. Good times ahead, a little patience required. In Chris we trust. HWTL

Relton said:

Lets hope we get something from this game as we have a few tough ones comming up - in fact it could be another month before we see any more points at all over the next four weeks.
Get men behind the ball and wait for JB to get down from the naughty step is our best bet Lee - otherwise you'll be having exactly the same experience as two seasons ago.

Bill Booger said:

Go for two wingers to stretch them. Guthrie replaces Tiote; Nolan replaces Barton. Hopefully Shola will be fit.

Dan Foye said:

The only upside with travelling to Bolton away last time was seeing Peter Reid in the executive box smack behind us....getting spotted by ALL the geordies....and therefore spending the next 10 minutes arguing with the fans and being pelted with chewing gum!!

toonagain said:

jeezaz Lee, I'm away to cry into my pint with a canny bag of tudor...

p.s. have a great weekend :(

marcusTOON4LIFE said:

Surely a dreadful thought regarding that day. Those fans who chanted C.H. did not know what he was doing must be embarassed now, and so they should be. But that's now in the past and this is present now, and we are in a good moment, long may that continue. When we got relegated the lads held a meeting with Harps and Nolan on the forefront of it. They said whoever wants to leave the club should leave and those that want to stay we will be in it together. So we owe a massive debt to the lads who stayed, those who knew what this fantastic club is all about and now are reaping their rewards. WELL DONE LADS!! We trust in all of you!!


alex said:

What a turn around Chris Hughton has made. He was slated by some fans and this very blog described him as "Hughton is pigeon holed as a coach".

Chris has done superbly in the last 18 months and deserves full credit for changing fortune in the club.

Gone are the days of "Hughton was never cut to manage this football club" or "Under the supervision of Hughton and Colin Calderwood, things don't look good".

Now lets see full support for chris and the offer of a new contract he fully deserves.

Jonny Boy said:

So, in the space of a week, no-one has commented on how ridiculous the above article now seems?

Except they have. It's just a totalitarian blog, this 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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