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Discredit where it isn't due

By Lee Ryder on Dec 2, 11 09:50 AM

Victory against Chelsea tomorrow would hand Newcastle United a four point cushion between themselves and the big spending Londoners and leave the Magpies in fourth spot.

The season is still very much at an early stage on the scale of the big picture but even the avoidance of defeat against Chelsea puts the Magpies at least in the chase for a European spot going into the hectic December period.

Some might say that's getting carried away, others might say to rule Newcastle out of the hunt is disrespectful - I say they will be in the race with a positive result against the Blues and less.

Certainly the Magpies are getting no credit from most pundits on TV with that situation becoming a standing joke in the Toon locker room these days!

Then there's the good old turf accountants...

We always hear the bookies are never wrong, and as we are allowed to dream on this blog, let's look at the odds of winning the title!

Chelsea have lost FOUR times already this season, and the old rule of thumb generally suggest that a team that has lost five or six games is out of the title race.

But where does that leave Newcastle?

One milestone will always be the magic 40 mark and Newcastle are still 14 points away from that, so we can't get too carried away.

However, what about giving credit where it is due?

The Magpies have lost just once this season but while Chelsea sit at odds no further out than 18/1 and 14/1 at most bookies, the Magpies are as far out as 500/1 across the betting market and the lowest odds of 200/1 with Sky Bet, who seem to be paying the most respect!

At the pre-Chelsea media conference, I suggested to Pardew that Newcastle could be in the title race if they beat the Blues.

Pardew - who prefers to focus game by game - warmed to the idea of a four point cushion: "We're going into December and even a draw means nobody can get above us going into another week, that wouldn't be the worst result either."

I then mentioned the amount of games lost so far and the title race (four for Chelsea, one for Newcastle), and Pardew, with a smile: "You are talking about two different things there, and I can see how you've linked them.

"But Chelsea are miles enough in terms of squad size and funding."

He then put emphasis on his team spirit: "The quality of Chelsea's individual is stronger, but we have a strong team and we will take that into the game, hopefully we come out stronger - where we finish (in the league) is a mystery."

It reminded me of the 2001/02 season when Newcastle were in similar position under Sir Bobby Robson.

Back then, Newcastle played their chances down even though they were still in the hunt up until February!

In reality, Newcastle shouldn't get anywhere near winning the title considering the money spent so far, the league position is down to the efforts of the team and coaching staff.

In fact, with talk of Cheick Tiote leaving in the air and the board's policy in recent transfer windows of selling bigger names to bank transfer funds and clear the wage bill, it would appear that NUFC are just as interested in financial tables rather than the bread and butter of the Premier League.

Personally, I think I speak for a section of fans that would like to see Newcastle invest and speculate to accumulate in January if they are in with a realistic shout of a top four spot.

Given the board's tough policy, I don't see this happening and so it will be over to the playing and coaching staff to do the Toon Army proud.

At Old Trafford, I made a mental note of the players going over to the Toon Army at the end of the game after a hard fought draw.

Then each and every squad member and Pardew, John Carver and all of the coaching staff made a bigger point than usual to milk the applause.

It was a significant moment in the season for me because during the Joey Barton saga, during the lack of a number 9 coming in back in August and at the start of the campaign with a tough fixture list to come, it was really down to the players and staff to pick up the pieces and make such a good start to the campaign.

For that alone they deserve to be talked about as European contenders.

4 Comments

Saint Sid James said:

Since my Theatre of Laughs was rechristened the Sports Direct Arena it has been hard for me and my buddies up top to get excited about the exploits of NUFC, and to be honest I had stopped tuning in until today to see how the zebra shits were doing. Actually, a bit to my surprise, because a recent arrival Gutted who came here from The Toon had told me that the zebras had been playing out of their sozzled skins this season, it was just like old times. Despite the panto style huffing and puffing (I always like a good bit of huff and puff) the Chelsea Pensioners, the Terrier, Lamppost and Drugbar, et al, managed to win rather comfortably in the end.

Gutted has also told me that my favourite players Carol Singer, Chicken Nolan and Jailbird Joey have all gone. And on top of that the Bear Belly Dancers lost one of their chorus-line when Gutted had his heart attack. He says that his untimely demise was brought on by a Mike Ashley attempt at a joke, about qualifying for the Champions League, that sent the beer and peanuts down the wrong internal pipeway.

Any how, before I sign off I want to mention that I’ve been cheered up considerably recently by learning that there are several other Sid James Parks in the world, and that none of them are ever likely to be renamed something like Direct Buy Plaza or whatever it is my theatre is called now. So, thank you London, Edinburgh, Toronto, and elsewhere for this honour, even though as yet you do not have appropriate theatres for a performance.

Don't tell Mike A, but I'm hatching a plan to have NUFC relocated to a properly named home in Edinburgh. I like this idea because it would minimize the inconvenience to spectators and achieve my primary objective. However, these days even up top one always has to always consider financial aspects of the entertainment industry and Toronto may pip the Scottish option. Hogtown has an underutilized baseball stadium that could be converted for what they call soccer. Plus they have better beer than Newcastle. A downside of that option would be that the runway at Newcastle Airport would have to be extended, but an upside is that the punters would have 8 hours of duty-free boozing time on the way to home performances.

I’ll let all true Sid James Parkites know once once the new stage is selected.

Carry on Laughing. Your eternal mate, Saint Sid James

Saint Sid James said:

Since my Theatre of Laughs was rechristened the Sports Direct Arena it has been hard for me and my buddies up top to get excited about the exploits of NUFC, and to be honest I had stopped tuning in until today to see how the zebra shits were doing. Actually, a bit to my surprise, because a recent arrival Gutted who came here from The Toon had told me that the zebras had been playing out of their sozzled skins this season, it was just like old times. Despite the panto style huffing and puffing (I always like a good bit of huff and puff) the Chelsea Pensioners, the Terrier, Lamppost and Drugbar, et al, managed to win rather comfortably in the end.

Gutted has also told me that my favourite players Carol Singer, Chicken Nolan and Jailbird Joey have all gone. And on top of that the Bear Belly Dancers lost one of their chorus-line when Gutted had his heart attack. He says that his untimely demise was brought on by a Mike Ashley attempt at a joke, about qualifying for the Champions League, that sent the beer and peanuts down the wrong internal pipeway.

Any how, before I sign off I want to mention that I’ve been cheered up considerably recently by learning that there are several other Sid James Parks in the world, and that none of them are ever likely to be renamed something like Direct Buy Plaza or whatever it is my theatre is called now. So, thank you London, Edinburgh, Toronto, and elsewhere for this honour, even though as yet you do not have appropriate theatres for a performance.

Don't tell Mike A, but I'm hatching a plan to have NUFC relocated to a properly named home in Edinburgh. I like this idea because it would minimize the inconvenience to spectators and achieve my primary objective. However, these days even up top one always has to always consider financial aspects of the entertainment industry and Toronto may pip the Scottish option. Hogtown has an underutilized baseball stadium that could be converted for what they call soccer. Plus they have better beer than Newcastle. A downside of that option would be that the runway at Newcastle Airport would have to be extended, but an upside is that the punters would have 8 hours of duty-free boozing time on the way to home performances.

I’ll let all true Sid James Parkites know once the new stage is selected.

Carry on Laughing. Your eternal mate, Saint Sid James

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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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