October 2011 Archives

Not for the first time in history, Newcastle United on the pitch failed to match the support to their team off it.

Before the kick-off assistant boss John Carver had led the appreciation towards the Darwen End as the Geordie punters simply took over Ewood Park.

As Gael Givet's late header was bundled beyond Tim Krul, the word "empty" was the only way to sum things up for the masses that travelled to Ewood for the Carling Cup exit against Blackburn.

For 120 minutes they had watched on in sheer disbelief as a match of twists and turns unfolded in front of them.

The fact that Newcastle had looked far from the team that had surged through the season so far unbeaten and unscathed was the first thing which seemed hard to take in.

And the fact that United may have been three or four down in the first half alone, must have been a bitter pill to swallow.

There are many different reasons why Newcastle United are riding high in the Premier League at the moment, but perhaps the main reason is the attitude of the current crop of players - not least Yohan Cabaye.

Cabaye already impressed us by getting on the first flight back from Paris just hours after France's Euro 2012 qualifying programme was over and getting ready for Spurs.

Having shaken off a knock to play against Wigan before promptly scoring the winner at the Gallowgate End, stars of the past may have headed straight for the vast array of watering holes within Newcastle's city centre.

Not Cabaye though.

NEWCASTLE UNITED today released a fresh mission statement detailing their plans for the future.

The report echoed the Chronicle's Q & A session with the board in September and once again said: "The days of Newcastle acquiring 'trophy' signings who command huge salaries for past successes on the pitch are over

Yohan Cabaye may well have left the Stade de France with a better feeling after France squeezed through to the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine and the midfielder was subbed - but it was perhaps immediate reaction after the game that will impress Newcastle fans more.

Down the years, Newcastle fans have had their fill when it comes to internationals returning late or injured or suffering from burnout.

Where do you start with that one?

Mark Viduka and his Aussie style soap opera with the Socceroos with the player often inisting on visits to the land of Oz for treatment and the snail-paced returns to Tyneside that left people questioning whether he really cared about the Toon.

It was only a reserve team game and it was only a professional footballer being paid to do what is inserted into his contract - but when Steve Harper put in an impressive performance against Bolton reserves it seemed like so much more than that.

Last week, the media was dominated by Carlos Tevez's refusal to come off the bench and help his team when in need against Bayern Munich.

Quite rightly, Tevez was hammered for his actions (or lack of them), but in Harper's display at Leyland's County Ground the handful of Toon fans who made the journey to Lancashire on a chilly evening witnessed something we don't see enough of in football.

If Tevez got the stick, the opposite should apply to Stevie Harper.

To hear Giovanni Trapattoni's cutting comments must surely have been a bit of a blow for Leon Best after the 2-1 win over Wolves.

Best missed out on Ireland's squad for this month's games with Andorra and Armenia, despite a tally of three goals from six starts with an assist chucked in for good measure.

The Nottingham lad put in one of his best performances in a black and white shirt at Wolves, despite not getting on the score sheet.

But it still prompted the following response from Mr Trapattoni...

In a nutshell, Jonas Gutierrez often gets slaughtered for his lack of final product.

In the interests of balance, this is a small bitesize article praising him for his outstanding first half display at Wolverhampton Wanderers and what has been a great start to the season for the ex-Real Mallorca star.

After helping set up the first goal by winning the corner which Yohan Cabaye swirled in for Demba Ba to head home the opener, Jonas then set off on a mazy run which left Wolves stunned and Wayne Hennessey with no chance of stopping his sizzling left-footed effort.


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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