Newcastle United's End of Term Report: Barton's A God And Carroll's A Dog

It's supposed to be grim up North, but after a season of great results that ended in relative safety, Newcastle United fans could be forgiven for enjoying themselves this year. It wasn't all plain sailing though, and there are storm clouds on the horizon.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
3
It's supposed to be grim up North, but after a season of great results that ended in relative safety, Newcastle United fans could be forgiven for enjoying themselves this year. It wasn't all plain sailing though, and there are storm clouds on the horizon.

It's supposed to be grim up North, but after a season of great results that ended in relative safety, Newcastle United fans could be forgiven for enjoying themselves this year. It wasn't all plain sailing though, and there are storm clouds on the horizon.

The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?

I'm genuinely torn on this one. On the one hand Cheik Tiote's equaliser in the 4-4 against Arsenal was, in all seriousness, the greatest rush of emotion I've experienced in my time as a Newcastle United fan. It had all the late drama and impact of Bellamy's winner in Rotterdam, but we went into that game expecting a result. Being 0-4 to Arsenal at half time I think everyone was just praying it didn't get any worse. Add into the mix that I watched it in a pub in Islington in the company of three less than humble Arsenal fans, and it's a memory that's going to keep me warm at night.

Then of course we did also beat the Mackems 5-1, but we're not ones to bang on about such things.

The season ticket shredding moment?

Chris Hughton's sacking in December. Whilst it ultimately didn't have the disastrous effects we all feared it was a huge kick in the teeth to the fans who were not only delighted with the job he was doing, but starting to forgive the owner for past transgressions. I wrote at the time “You had just about managed to build some bridges this year. I appreciate it’s cold this winter, but there’s plenty of other things you could have burned to keep yourself warm. You utter t*t.” and I stand by those words now. Maybe a 12th place finish vindicates the decision, but the manner in which Hughton was disposed of will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Newcastle United fans for years to come.

Moment that just about summed it all up?

There's actually nothing that adequately sums our season up this year. Essentially, we've had a terrific campaign, but it certainly wasn't all plain sailing. If you look at the 10 days between October the 31st and november the 10th though, you get a pretty apt idea of how our season panned out. Beating the great unwashed 5-1 at home, then travelling to Arsenal and springing a shock 1-0 win on them with another terrific team display, before looking alarmingly impotent at home to Blackburn and getting beat 1-2. It's had its ups and down you might say, but certainly plenty more ups.

Add into the mix that I watched it in a pub in Islington in the company of three less than humble Arsenal fans, and it's a memory that's going to keep me warm at night.

Got the right manager?

Um... can you ask me again in 12 months? Whilst Pardew's done a good job with the resources at his disposal (essentially Chris Hughton's squad, minus their one real goal threat) he's yet to win everybody over. Much like his predecessor two seasons previous, the only way he'll do that is with results. That said, given that he's a renowned crony of the chairman anyway, I'm a lot more confident of him being able to spend money in the summer than I would have been if Hughton was still in charge.

Player of the season?

Joey Barton. Spare me your boos and rotten tomatoes, the boy has been excellent this year. Regardless of your opinion on him as a bloke, he's done all the talking with his feet this season and, in my humble opinion anyway, he's pushed Scott Parker pretty close for the dubious distinction of being England's in-form midfielder this season. As well as being the catalyst for most of our attacking play this season he's scored some important goals and kept a level head in the face of relentless provocation from opposing teams who've attempted to wind him up. He's truly (eventually) been reborn this year, I doff my cap to him. Honourable mentions have to go to Jose Enrique, Kevin Nolan and, of course, Andy Carroll.

Muppet of the season?

Karl Henry deserves a mention for the shameless attempts at the aforementioned Barton-goading as does whichever member of the Liverpool board went “£35million? Yeah, go on then”. Steve Bruce is surely a contender for this as well but, in all honesty, I was expecting some major self-implosion at some stage of the season so I'm just happy there's no outstanding candidate from our own ranks.

Oh, and this bloke I suppose.

What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?

As little as possible. We've got an excellent set of players at the moment and our worst enemy is going to be trying to change too much too fast. Departures of key players like Enrique and Barton would be a massive knock and it's doubtful we'd be able to attract players of sufficient quality to replace them, even if we are in a position to afford them. More goals are needed though, we don't necessarily need a carbon copy of Andy Carroll to fill the hole, but someone who can retain possession, unsettle defenders and bang in about 15 goals would be delicious.

Which player would you like to sign?

Doyle, Jarvis and Mijias from Wolves would be have been nice, but they stayed up and apparently we've got £35million to spend. You'd like to see something approaching a big name enter the fray, if only for a bit of excitement and symbol of intent from the owner but the last thing we need is another expensive flop. Having watched my fair share of the European leagues this season, I reckon Kevin Gameiro, who currently plays for Ligue 1's Lorient, would be a shrewd addition.

Then of course we did also beat the Mackems 5-1, but we're not ones to bang on about such things.

Best goal?

Cheik Tiote's leveller against Arsenal had absolutely everything you'd want from a great goal. Context, brilliance, shock, relief, frenzy. It's such a shame that it was only an equaliser as, had it been a 5th goal and a winner, it would probably go down as one of the greatest strikes of all time. But that's being greedy I suppose.

Most inspired chant?

Whilst certainly not the most inspired, or even the most original, “oh Coloccini, you're the love of my life, oh Coloccini, I'd let you s**g my wife oh Coloccini, I want curly hair too” has really caught on amongst the Newcastle United faithful this season and always raises a rye smile. However the winner, by a country mile, is definitely the repeated choruses of "We all live in Kevin Nolan's house, Kevin Nolan's house, Kevin Nolan's house" (to the tune of Yellow Submarine) that were aired during a certain centre-forward's time lodging with the club captain.

Best laugh you had all season?

The week that proceeded the 5-1 win over Sunderland was, for obvious reasons, quite the carnival.

How do you plan to get through the summer without football?

I'm not. For my sins I've acquired a small interest in the MLS this season and I also plan to watch as much of the European Under-21 Championships and the Under 20 World Cup as my brain will allow me.

Any other news?

Nothing too dramatic but we've got something of an exciting crop of youngsters on the fringes now. Tim Krul and Shane Ferguson have had a few chances this season and both look to be of a sufficient standard, whilst we have the likes of Fraser Forster, James Tavernier and Ryan Donaldson all returning from loan spells. Add that to Hatem Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling recovering from their respective injuries and the squad's strengthening before a cheque book's even been opened.

If I sound remarkably up-beat about all this it's just because I'm bracing myself for the inevitable excrement in the leaf-blower moment that must be around the corner somewhere...

Click here for more Fan's End of Term Reports

Click here for more Newcastle United stories

Click here for more Football and Sport stories

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook