Is this the biggest week of the season?

By Lee Ryder on Mar 28, 11 09:16 AM

Newcastle United continued to prepare for their huge clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers today with the stakes high going into the first of eight crucial matches in the Premier League.

So far this season there have been so many twists and turns and important weeks described as "pivotal" or "vital" by many Toon stars.

Defeat against Wolves though is unthinkable with Mick McCarthy's side just four points behind the Mags and in the final relegation place that took Newcastle down two years ago.

Unlike two years ago though relegation does not seem as inevitable as the ill-fated 2008/09 season where, if we're honest, nobody connected with the black and whites ever knew where they stood.

The managerial changes ranged from Keegan to Hughton to Kinnear back to Hughton and then Toon legend Alan Shearer.

Under KK, lack of transfer control eventually sent him over the edge again while Hughton twice knew he was only holding fort.

Shearer, only had eight games as manager before the club was put up for sale during one of the most uncertain and unpleasant periods of the club's history.

The backdrop to the 2010/11 campaign is different.

The club isn't for sale and despite just one managerial change compared to four, the second part of the season has been about Alan Pardew laying foundations at Newcastle.

The return of John Carver and the retweaking of the backroom team, plus installation of new video technology means that time is required to allow the new systems to have the desired effect.

Yet lack of results in recent weeks means that pressure has intensified in the past month and a run of one win in 10 means Pardew has plenty of work to do in terms of winning over fans.

The thinking fan (usually the silent majority) knows this will take time.

While others have already let off steam at some of Pardew's decisions and in the aftermath of the departure of the popular Hughton earlier this season it has been no surprise with the Londoner admitting it would happen the day he took the job.

Certainly, hopes of a "Hollywood ending" to the season appear to be over just a month after disuccsions of a late tilt for a Europa League place.

Now a respectable top 10 finish seems to be the order of the day.

First, United must shake off the dreaded R word and beating Wolves in a six pointer would be the right way to start going about it.

With hard games away to Villa and then at home to Manchester United to come, the run-in will not be easy with trips to Liverpool and Chelsea also left on the fixture list.

Thinking like that when looking at the seven fixtures to go after Wolves simply underlines the importance of Saturday.

Which makes this week for me, the biggest week of the season.


Ian said:

Wolves at home. West Brom at home and Birmingham at home. Two wins needed. If we can't get two wins off these teams then perhaps we deserve to go down!!!!

TheGallowgate said:

Honestly this week feels like it is make or break for NUFC. Pick up either all 3 or even a single point against Wolves and I think this will spring us to 3 points at Villa with a hard game against Man U I expect little to nothing (but Man U are NOT the unbeatable team they normally are). I think we'll scrape by but only just, the repercussions of selling AC still there for all to see.
Roll on the end of the season, this has been a hell of a ride again!

Skull said:

Pardew has done a great job of laying the foundations as you put it Lee by selling out best striker and most promising player of the future! Carver is not a permanent signing either and how is video technology going to improve on the signing, develping and retention of players defies logic.

As you also put it we were talking Europe after Christmas but all Ashley, Llambias and Pardew did was weaken an already threadbare team and possibly finally broke that team spirit we all admired! A few players in to bolster the squad and offer cover for injuries and suspension in January would have made all the difference.

Instead we have a must win game against a team who are playing better and on the up whereas we are the opposit.

The 'thinking fans' know all of this, are sick of the same old drivel from the board and Pardew since his arrival and are righlty worried we will be relegated again as predicted by the pundits before a ball was kicked. It is Ashley, Llambias and Pardew's fault if this happens, no body else!

toonagain said:

As mentioned above, I think we can all see now what the effect of losing carroll has had on the team and the fans. we were full of joy 2 weeks ago talking about europe now the reality has kicked in and we're facing a scrap to stay away from the drop zone. we might not go down but the closing part of this season is going to be an ugly test if we don't start winning at home... ps. please let stepen ireland go back to villa its got nightmare written all over it.

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

*I can't remember saying it was a good idea to sell Carroll
* John Carver has signed a five year contract,

Mal said:

The reality is that Ashley, Pardew and Llambias all took a massive gamble by selling Carroll. They thought we had enough points to get to safety and they may be right but the situation we now find ourselves in should have been avoided. Back in December Pardew talked about needing 2 or 3 extra bodies in and in the end we finished up with less numbers than we started with and in the process sold our top striker. Only NUFC would sign a player on loan who 8 weeks later still hasn't turned out for us - except at the local night club of course.
Having watched Wolves a few times in recent weeks they look a decent side and we are going to have our work cut out to get out of this mess - all of our own making through bad planning and poor decisions. The foundations are far from being layed - they aren't even there following the January shambles.

toonagain said:

Lee no one said you did; we're just pointing out Alan Pardew hasn't really done a good job at all. when it comes down to it you need star players across the board that have that little extra something, all working and feeding off each other. if you allow the chain to be broken you can spend as much money on technology, as you want it won't change things on the pitch. has big Sam Aladyce not proven this. All thats simply happended is that the people in charge have made very poor decission once again. nothing new its like ground hogg day! i think you can sense a breakdown in team spirit now, which may be due to certian players coming and going -so who made those choices? is it on purpose to force out other high earners, as has happended over the last 2 seasons? questions the EC should be asking...

DormAnt said:

Newcastle United continue to prepare for the huge clash with Wolves. They did exactly the same for the huge clash with Stoke and what a debacle that turned out to be.

The club is for sale, it's just that no one has met the asking price yet or is unwilling to sign a draconian non-disclosure agreement which is a requirement of the present owner.

If Alan Pardew is laying the foundations at Newcastle, who is he laying them for, what are they made of and just how much weight can they support in the long term?

One win in ten isn't a lack of results, it's nailed on relegation form, check it out.

A respectable top ten finish, a late tilt at a Europa league place, sounds more Bollywood than Hollywood to a simple soul such as I.

Villa away should be our best chance of three points (away from home) as they have the only other manager in the PL as tactically inept as A. Pardew, his motivational skills are also of a similar level too.

Can Wolves beat Newcastle United? It's a very real possibility so we had better get used to it ASAP.

I'm thrilled by the prospect of the installation of new video technology at the club.
Is that a CCTV system in the changing room or the Bigg Market?

As one of the silent majority please understand. We are silent because we are hoarse with screaming in the in the vacuum of night at the dark forces in control of our club.


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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