January 2012 Archives
Newcastle United went into the transfer window on January 1 looking for a defender and as we go into the final 24 hours - their brief hasn't changed.
True enough, the addition of Papiss Cisse has to be a welcome one with few expecting - including Mike Ashley and the United top brass - the Senegal star to become available this month.
Don't forget, it was United that decided to sell their number 9 this time last year, sparking the unsettlement of Joey Barton and Jose Enrique.
And so Newcastle United fans will get to see the partnership of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse much earlier than expected following Senegal's shock exit from the African Cup of Nations.
In unlikely circumstances, Equatorial Guinea's late, late winner on a waterlogged surface in Bata sealed a 2-1 win, sending Senegal out and sending Ba and Cisse back to Tyneside.
The duo could be back to face Blackburn but even after being assessed by Toon medics, many would have been delighted with even the prospect of the duo back for Aston Villa in the next home game would have been gladly accepted by most United followers.
A crowd of just 889 witnessed what could be the future of Newcastle United tonight at St James' Park in the FA Youth Cup against Watford.
The build-up to the game had resulted in interesting insights from former players Ian Bogie and Joe Allon as United once again locked horns with the Hertfordshire outfit in the competition they won back in 1985 for the last time.
But there is hope that the current Toon young guns can at least reach the latter stages after marching on during a chilly night on Tyneside.
Goals from Michael Hoganson and Dennis Knight inflicted the damage on Watford in a 2-1 win for the Toon.
The challenge to Mike Ashley was simple earlier in the season.
Should Newcastle United still be the hunt for a European slot when it came to January, then invest in a player that could help achieve that in the second half of the season.
In Papiss Cisse's arrival from Freiburg, you have to say the elusive Toon tycoon has responded by delivering Newcastle's new number 9.
True, enough given past disappointments, many United followers will wait until the closure of the transfer window before making a full assessment of the situation by making a quick head count to see who, if anybody, has been sold.
As we hit the mid-way stage in the January transfer window talk of Eden Hazard being spotted at the training ground sparked an expression of sheer disbelief from Alan Pardew.
He didn't say it himself, but Pardew has as much chance of signing Micky Hazard this January!
Mackem Micky wasn't a bad player in his day with Spurs, Swindon and Chelsea and while Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes have rolled back the years, it would seem he is the only Hazard in with a chance of coming to SJP under the current wage structure.
Of course, the Lille ace's incredible form in recent years has hardly gone unnoticed by United's scouting network.
However, his reaction was straight to the point, Pardew said: "The guy's worth about £36m - he ain't coming here."
Most Toon fans can quickly use a simple process of elimination when it comes to transfers, is he young? Is he cheap? Is he coming to the end of his contract?
If the answer is yes on one or two of those questions, he'll be in with a chance of coming here.
They say for some the light will never go out, and for Andy Carroll and Newcastle United I think it's safe to suggest that will always be the case as long he's on the professional football circuit.
We're well into football's silly season now as far as the transfer window is concerned, and after waking up to a round of speculation that Carroll is to be offered the chance to head back to Newcastle, no sooner had many of us finished off our cereal, the claims had been denied by sources at both Liverpool and United.
It hasn't been a bed of roses for Carroll at Liverpool.
Football has a funny way of spouting out unwritten rules - not least in the wacky world of sports journalism.
Not for the first time, I found myself involved in a conversation of just who gets the priority of being called United when two Uniteds play each other in the same game.
And not for the first time, the recurring discussion erupted in the Press room during a game between Newcastle United and Manchester United.
It was six years ago when I was first asked to begin blogging about Newcastle United with the Evening Chronicle.
Back then going digital was still regarded as a bold and brave step as quite simply no Chronicle NUFC reporter had ever done it - but six years on, we're all still here in a world that uses technology more and more to bring news to football fans even quicker.
I have to say those six years have flown by and through it all the popularity of this little blog has been nothing short of overwhelming.