Newcastle End Of Term Report: Total Rubbish; But Still Ahead Of Sunderland...
The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?
There have been very few highlights this season, Cisse and Pardew ending up in the stands celebrating after Papiss’ 93rd minute winner at home to Fulham was a contender; but without doubt the one stand out game was the victory over Chelsea at home in January. 2-1 down thanks to a Juan Mata pearler, the home side, buoyed by their raft of new recruits, and in particular the outstanding Moussa Sissoko, dug deep to snatch a late victory and send the St. James faithful in delirium.
The season ticket shredding moment?
The lowest point of the season undoubtedly came in late April. Back-to-back demoralising and gutless home defeats, first to bitter rivals Sunderland, and then the horror show against Liverpool which saw the club’s biggest home defeat for nearly ninety years. It really doesn’t get much worse than this.
Moment that just about summed it all up?
Reading at home. A 2-1 defeat to one of the worst teams in the league highlighted perfectly how our squad was simply not big enough, or good enough, to juggle the demands of both the league and the European campaign. Mike Ashley’s penny-pinching in the summer had come back to bite him (and us!) well and truly on the arse!
Got the right manager?
In most fans eyes, no. Pardew has failed to get the best out of his squad this term, he has failed tactically and he has failed with his selections. His lack of tactical nous and his inability to change a game have been badly exposed this season. His selections have been puzzling with players regularly played out of position as he attempts to shoe-horn his favourites, like Gutierrez, Tiote and Sissoko into the side regardless of form or system.
Player of the season?
Erm no one! Thanks to a combination of injuries and poor form, no one has stood out this season. For the first half of the season Demba Ba was easily our best player, after he was shipped off, the form dipped and no one came out with any credit. Even the usually impeccable Coloccini was not at his best thanks to off-field problems. The best of a bad bunch? Marveaux, the French winger is finally coming to grips with the premier league and showing genuine, if sporadic, quality.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?
Where do you start! Under Pardew Newcastle have no game plan, no style of play and are incapable of playing well for more than one half. We come out, play well, pass, move, look energetic in one half; then show up 15 mins later with all shape gone and hoofing long balls. There is quality there, but it needs real organisation. Newcastle need a tactician; someone to install a structure into the team, a philosophy and a notion to buy into so everyone knows their jobs and the wheels don't fall off as they have done so many times season.
Which player would you like to sign?
There are many fans that wouldn’t want him back, but for me the return of prodigal son Andy Carroll is the one signing I would like to see this summer. Since Ba’s departure Newcastle have had no real presence up front, and the back end of this season has seen Andy’s form return at West Ham. On his day Carroll is a monster, it is that kind of unplayable, raw power I would like to see back at St James’ Park next year.
After finishing fifth last year Newcastle needed to strike whilst the iron was hot and bring in hungry new recruits, ready to help make that next step. Sadly for us, once again Mike Ashley tried to ‘do it on the cheap’, spend the bare minimum and hope that lightning struck twice. With only one senior player (Vernon Anita) signed in the summer, the club left themselves woefully short of numbers. Malcolm X once said that “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”, well guess what? Newcastle didn’t prepare, and right now tomorrow belongs to Swansea, West Brom and Everton.
There are a few. The Mackem Mussolini sliding on his knees on the derby nearly took the award, but for me the biggest of our season goes to linesman Matthew Wilkes. Mr Wilkes was the official at the heart of the McManaman/Haidara debacle who apparently saw the horror tackle, but did not even deem it a foul! With Wigan stealing a last minute winner thanks to a Maynor Figueroa handball (also missed by the officials), this decision really did change the course of our season for the worse.
Christ, I shudder to think just how bad this season would have been had the wonderful and ever-reliable Chicken Balti Pie not been there to help get me through!
Given the fact we haven’t scored a single goal from a corner all season, “Score a corner, we’re on the pitch” did get a few chuckles on the last game against Arsenal; overall however, it’s not big, and it’s not clever, but “Jimmy Saville, is Cattermole’s dad” never failed to raise a smile!
Player’s tweet of the season?
A relatively recent one this, but Sammy Ameobi’s recent photo tweeted from captain Coloccini’s house with the hashtag #ColosParty, showing the Newcastle united players sat enjoying the skipper’s hospitality did more to dispel the claims of dressing room disharmony than any carefully worded club statement ever could. Rather marvellously, it also revealed Shola sitting head of the table like Don Corleone!
Best laugh you had all season?
Being crap and still finishing ahead of Sunderland! After their first win at St. James in God knows how many years, they all crawled out of from under their rocks and were insufferable for a fortnight. Thankfully it wasn’t long before Paulo’s bubble to burst in spectacular fashion at Villa Park driving them all back into their shells. Sixteenth in the league and still top dogs, hilarious!
How do you plan to get through the summer without football?
It’s generally not much fun being a Newcastle fan, but even by our standards this season was a horror show. To be honest, at the moment I’m just glad it’s over, we’re safe and that I don’t have to worry about it all again until August!!!