I’m writing this the day after our best players in this country failed to qualify for next years Euro Finals.
Am I bothered, are you bothered ? I’m not sure how much I’m bothered. I was glued to the telly, getting slightly worked up when the 2nd goal went in, hoping they would get a 3rd and so virtually put us through, so maybe I was more bothered than I think. I used to watch England a lot, when I worked down South, in the late 1970s and early 80’s, and saw them as a 2nd club, after NUFC of course, but not getting anywhere close to NUFC which goes without saying. I enjoyed going to Wembley watching England, who played good football, with flair and intelligence, under Greenwood, and led by Keegan and Brooking. Greenwood may not have been the best choice, but he did a good job, although he bottled it when it came to the big tournament in Spain by reverting to a more negative line up. Things are different now though, very different, so far as England and their players are concerned. What I despise about the current England team, and some of the players, is the way some of them tell us every other week it seems, that they are sorry for letting us down, must make sure this doesn’t happen again, appreciate the loyalty of the “fens” and ask us to “get behind them”. And other such stuff. I also despise the southern press for their hypocrisy – I won’t even go near their natual hatred of NUFC, borne out of a fear that we one day get our act together and beat all of their own particular southern darlings. Think about the way they way they slated Keegan – how dare they – for “walking out” of the England managers job, yet scream out on their back pages for Eriksson, Smuggins McLaren, Hoddle etc etc to go when they cling on like grim death to the job. What would you prefer ? A man with integrity and the balls to stand aside hopefully for someone better, or one who clings on until he is sacked despite the realisation that they know deep down they are not getting anywhere, or have lost the plot, or the support of the fans, or any other reason ? Can you imagine what it must take to stand in front of a camera and tell the whole country that you feel someone else can do better than you as manager of England ? McLaren after the match was reported as saying he had no intention of walking away, I didn’t see the interviews, I went straight down to the pub. The FA took the matter into their own hands, good for them, for once. See McLaren last night ? The idiot repeated what he did with the smoggies ie played a negative “system” then reverted to a positive line up that he should have started with, except last night he didn’t get out of jail like he did managing the smoggies in europe and reached the UEFA Cup Final. Such actions only admit he got it wrong in the first place. And credit even to the smoggies, even THEY had the brains to boo the hopless smug knacker. He said after the Russia game he should be judged after 12 games, not 10. Well you were judged after 12 games Stevie lad, close the door on your way out.
Aside of that, Croatia were the best team, they are a quality team, and the way they play, forcing their own pace, keeping their composure, shape and their instant control, was great. As we have nobody to support next summer, I would consider hoping they would win this cup next summer, if they didn’t play in red. So. What does this have to do with Newcastle ? Well, our manager in waiting – so we are constantly being told – was reported last week as saying he would take the England job if offered. Is this a good thing or bad ? Does it mean if he does a great job then NUFC will never get the manager we’ve been waiting for for decades, apart from Keegan of course. On the other hand he could be an utter dud, in which case you could make the point that international football management is different to club management, if it suits you. Or Alan Shearer will disappear into the MOTD studios and the comfort of the TV studio like all the other failed and hopeless managers. Quite a lot of them are ex managers of ours. Who said they were experts ? Alternatively, as our current manager was very keen on the England job in the past, and is supposed to have got close to getting it, will he get another chance ? A fair number of people of the black and white persuasion would like him to, it would seem. Shame as he’s only been here for barely half a season. Would Shearer step into Sam’s shoes if England come calling ? Will England even consider him if they look closely at the start he’s made at Newcastle ? Is Allardyce suited to international management, are his methods suited to international football ? Close scrutiny of his signings and strategy since moving into our own hot seat would give anyone misgivings. We are playing with a lack of flair, pace, and creativity. One thing I saw quite clearly from my days watching England, is that at that level, you play with intelligence, you move the ball, you hold your head up, you look around you, make good decisions, and have pace. Last year we had more of these qualities than now, but we have lost 2 players who were very important, and have brought in lots of defenders and midfield fighters and steady types. Does Allardyce have the footballing nous to bring in talented footballers, and get them playing high level quality football ? The higher you go, the more important this becomes. Long ball, physical stuff is extremely limited. It may be fine for clubs like Bolton – but won’t go down too long here, unless he is winning games. I’m not one personally for this “entertainment before winning” myth, but it has been proven to be the case that managers at Newcastle who bore the crowd don’t last, the moment they stop winning the crowd turns on them. See Kenny Dalglish for proof. We lost the FA Cup Final, and 2 league games later he was sacked. What if we had won ? He wouldn’t have been sacked when he was, that is a certainty. There is a link between Allardyce and McLaren’s misfortunes. McLaren made a mistake from day 1, when he decided to assert his authority on his squad – nothing wrong with that – but he chose the wrong option. He binned Beckham. He should have binned fat arse Lampard. The effect would have been the same, he’d have stamped his authority on the team, shown he was his own man, but making the decision he did meant he carried on putting square pegs into round holes, in order to accommodate Lampard. His predecessor also played Gerrard and Lampard. These 2 just don’t work together, how many more well paid professionals won’t see what humble fans like us who know nowt, can see. England’s best performances have been recently when Gareth Barry partnered Gerrard. Partnerships always work better than individuals. And playing Lescott at full back, whats that all about ? Likewise, playing Carson in goal last night ? Robinson – and James – may not be the best keepers England have had, but to choose to play Carson in such an important game, with such high stakes ? It could have worked, but such decisions for such games is madness, and rebounded on him big style. I feel sorry for Carson, he deserved better treatment and a better chance on a different occasion to stake his claim. What was that all about ? Allardyce has played Milner and Zoggy on opposite flanks, now what’s THAT all about ? The first time he did it, I thought they would at least spend the game alternating, but they didn’t. Is there something I’m missing here ????? Zoggy is our only midfield player with pace and dribbling – not a good situation in itself – but playing him at left back when he’s paid 6m quid for a left back, what about all that too ? He needs to pull his finger out, and fast. I personally would give him time, but I won’t deny I have found some decisions worrying, and some of his buys worrying, particularly when we let Dyer and Solano go on deadline day and went ahead with the bringing in of 2 more defenders and no more forwards to replace Dyer and Solano ? What was that all about then ? A mistake, without a doubt, that he and we are paying for now. The situation needs to be rectified in January, if we are to have any hope of a season which started with such new enthusiasm isn’t to end long before we have got used to in recent years. Finishing off, after the Blackburn game, an improved performance, but another defeat. A performance and positive approach like this in some of our earlier games could have paid dividends. It is all too late ?
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