July 2012 Archives

THEY always say you can't go too far in the world without bumping into a Geordie.

Well soon after checking into the Pestana Vila Sol resort near Newcastle United's Algarve base ahead of the XII Trofeo Guadiana in Portugal last week it was safe to say I felt pretty much at home straight away.

The venue is used to host Bobby Robson's charity events in Portugal. Robson of course left an impression in this country in the mid-1990s when he managed both Sporting Lisbon and FC Porto.

NEWCASTLE UNITED drew 1-1 with Olympiakos in the Algarve tonight - and then managed to draw a penalty shoot-out
But Newcastle will win the tournament if they beat Braga tomorrow night.
They have the chance to do so against Braga tomorrow night in the final game of the tournament.

As Newcastle United arrived at Faro Airport this lunchtime amidst temperatures of 27 degrees in the Algarve perhaps one of the most positive signs is actually who is on board the Magpies' tour of Europe.

Of course, re-inforcements are still needed in the eyes of many, with a right-back, a centre-back and a striker still required ahead of a tough season and possibly long campaign.

But for Alan Pardew, it is a fair bet he'd have snapped your hand off if you offered him the chance to have all of his squad in tact by September 1.

This summer's window is certainly a two tier game as far as the manager is concerned.

The Andy Carroll saga has certainly gripped fans on both Tyneside and Merseyside this summer.

But for Brendan Rodgers it is surely a case of making his mind up on the England international, before he finds himself in an awkward position.

It was on July 9 that Rodgers told us: "Sometimes a player going out on loan - in general, not just Andy - can benefit the club in the long-term.

"I'm not going to sit here and say I will never let anyone go on loan."

Newcastle United fans shouldn't get too concerned if a deal can't be agreed to sign Andy Carroll.

Of course, the signing of the Geordie boy would be one that will get pulses racing on Tyneside and while many booed him when he made a return to St James' Park he now finds himself in a position where many of them would welcome him back.

Personally I think that the Carroll saga with Liverpool will run and run until the end of the window.

Andy Carroll would probably walk from Anfield to St James' Park right now if it meant him securing a move back to Newcastle United.

And certainly it seems he is annoyed at not being given a chance by Brendan Rodgers.

Carroll's goal record in the Premier League at Liverpool is nowhere near as prolific as it was at St James'.

It was good to hear Demba Ba talking optimistically about life at Newcastle United again during the Magpies' pre-season tour here in Germany.

The Senegal striker may not have scored since February but watching the former West Ham United man close up in training only confirms what I already thought, that he oozes his class.

It's a respect that doesn't just lie on Tyneside with plenty of German football supporters speaking to me about their respect for Ba after his days at Hoffenheim.

Newcastle United will step up their pre-season preparations on Friday as they head to Germany for the first phase of their summer plans as we prepare to fasten our seatbelts for another 10 month rollercoaster.

And as Blog on the Tyne reaches its sixth anniversary, running with a 100% attendance record in friendly and competitive games, we'll be here again for the next three matches as United tackle Chemnitzer, Monaco and Fenerbache in Germany and Austria.

Falling the fortunes of Newcastle United is never dull and if there are half as many thrills and spills as last summer's tour of the United States, there won't be any shortage of reportage once again - hopefully with a more positive feel.

If there is one guarantee for those who are privileged enough to represent Newcastle United and their incredible fan base - then it is the fact that one day that honour will come to an end.

And it is at the end of that tenure that the Geordie public will decide whether they leave with credit or leave having failed to make the most of an opportunity that many of them dream of until their dying day.

For Leon Best - like Danny Guthrie - he leaves with credit and the very best wishes from Newcastle United supporters as he starts a new chapter of his career at Blackburn Rovers.


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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