All we are saying is give us a goal

By Lee Ryder on May 2, 11 08:55 AM

The big wigs from Sky TV, the prawn sandwich brigade and the new found fan from the middle classes will tell you that football boils down to money.

The traditionalists, those who used to stand on crumbling terracing drinking cold tea and over-priced pies, the thinking coach, the working class man on the street and anybody who has ever played the game will tell you that football boils down to goals.

At Anfield this could not have been more obvious for Newcastle United.

Without goals or a goalscorer, you would not have points, wins - or even £35million sitting in the bank.

For four games now this has been obvious to the observers of Newcastle United who have watched their side yield a solitary goal from 360 minutes of football.

The truth is that Newcastle fans - or any football fans - won't care if a centre-forward drops back to win headers at corners.

They won't care if he can peel off and stick in a good cross.

They won't care if he looks good on the front of the programme or sells shirts.

They probably won't care if he goes out every night and comes back on the back of a milk float.

The only thing fans care about is whether the said centre-forward can score goals and on a consistent basis.

Fans want to see a centre-forward trudging off the field after 3-0 win looking gutted if they haven't scored a goal.

For me at this moment in time we don't have one.

Kevin Nolan's 12 goals from midfield are a bonus but a more than welcome one.

Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands are one in five men while Nile Ranger hasn't been handed a stint in the team long enough to get into any kind of rhythm.

Scraps of sub appearances and a lack of experience this season can hopefully be a learning curve but having witnessed his progress at reserve level, the lad does have that predatory instinct in there somewhere.

As for Leon Best, well the much maligned striker has actually became a better player in the last few weeks and has been missed by a toothless United side.

But being a striker?

Well it's the hardest game in the world isn't it!

Never mind all of this cobblers about "the team winning is more important", true predatory strikers only care about goals.

Yes, they are selfish but you don't mind that selfish streak if your side have been crap on a rainy Tuesday night away from home and your striker is wheeling away having scored an undeserved equaliser.

Fans don't care about seeing 30-yard screamers every week from their centre-forward either, scrappy, ugly and dirty goals from two yards are just fine as long as they are in constant supply.

I always remember asking Alan Shearer on the night of his 201st goal for Newcastle against Portsmouth if he was glad it had came at the Gallowgate End.

His answer was "Not bothered, I don't care how I got it or whether it was left foot, right foot, header or in off my backside."

It may well have sounded and felt that he lacked the romance of football but a goalscorer is a tradesman who likes to get the job done.

The only problem is for Newcastle United, they don't grow on trees.

An old bloke I once spoke to in the pub in Newcastle once told me that in the old days, whenever they needed a striker they merely had to go to the top of a pit shaft in Ashington and whistle!

The question is, do strikers in the mould of Wor Jackie and Bobby Charlton really still exist?

Or are they allowed to exist in an era of over-coaching and over elaborance?

Even Andy Carroll struggled in the early parts of his career to keep his goal ratio up because he was being asked to be a team player until one day Chris Hughton told him to buck his ideas up and start being more selfish.

Newcastle United's problem right now is finding that player.

And they can do it in one of two ways but both options will be littered with pitfalls.

Option one is to buy a big-name striker, pull out all of the stops to get him and then sit back and pray he delivers.

Is a Robbie Keane or Peter Crouch the way forward - even for the short-term?

Names like Owen, Luque or even Martins are recent evidence that this route does not guarantee success.

Option two is to go underground and unearth some talent from abroad and hand them the chance to carry our hopes and dreams.

This is a gamble.

But finds such as Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Seb Bassong are evidence that unfound gems do exist.

Whatever way you look at it, Newcastle United need a solution and pretty quickly.


Geoff said:

Where history tells you that you will be typically let down, it is safe to assume the worst.
There is nothing on Pardew's CV to suggest he has any right to be in charge of a club like Newcastle. His track record tells you that at some point in the next 1-3 years, we will at best flirt with relegation and most likely go down.
Furthermore, the history of Ashley tells you that there will not be any marquee signings to replace Carroll. Any sensible fan will only expect a Shane Long or an unproven foreigner plucked from the French/Belgian leagues.
These are the only two scenarios we need consider and any rhetoric from Pardew can be safely ignored - you only need to go back to last year and his Carroll "not for sale" comments to find proof of that. Enrique will follow and the model of self sustainment through player sales will continue, until the bargain buys and rough diamonds like Tiote run out.
I only suggest that as fans, we be realistic. This is the lot of an NUFC fan. A catastrophic shame but true.

toonagain said:

good article lee. we're in so much trouble this is going to be a horrible end of season. If pardow really believes we're safe then lets see what we've got in the academy and just play them for the last few games.

Ginola said:

We had one 3 months ago....

If we do get a striker of good quality this summer, do you think he'll really be here long term? If he is consistant for 2 years then he'll be off somewhere else for a decent fee.

Just like Carroll.

Do you feel the same way that the rest of us do when we can't even look passed the next transfer window? The current regime seems to have passed you by and I can't understand how you think we'll ever be in the situation where we can unearth or buy a decent striker - no one will ever be here long enough. We'll never have another legend at the club while we are in this state.

I don;t expect a reply from you as i know you support Mike Ashley, and I'll be suprised if this post makes it to your wall.

DormAnt said:

Brian Clough turned that scenario completely on its head and laid solid foundations first, and like another well known leader, he made Peter (Shilton) his rock, the rock upon which he founded his faith. He based this on the fact that if you can't score you can't win, in the same way that if you don't concede you can't lose either, and he was a decent goal scorer in his time.

Centre forwards are wonderful and exciting to watch in action but good goalkeepers, often unsung heroes, are the foundation that supports and secures the structure of the whole team.

We need both, but you can't build anything to last on unstable foundations. Build from the bottom up is, and always has been, sound advice in the construction industry, no matter what it is you are trying to erect, if you want it to last that is.

Lee Ryder Author Profile Pagesaid:

I can see your concerns and actually share some of them especially in the light of Carroll's sale.
But what will happen is that a new striker will be signed this summer.
I think if you looked carefully enough you would find as many critical articles as positive on this site.
Especially in a week where Kevin Nolan has questioned the team in the aftermath of Liverpool.
However, your views are appreciated.


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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