This isn’t a new phenomenon it’s been like that since the year dot. Black and white shirts from as far back as anyone can remember collapsing and drowning in a sea of tension.
Songs to go along with this ? David Bowie Under Pressure. The Zutons Pressure point. That’s me just getting started.
This group of players are no different . They are not the most hated of Newcastle teams despite winning as many games in a calendar year as a one of those Sunday League teams that turn up on Look North once in a while who’s goal difference is minus 1,800. But , god, as a collective team they are up there with our worst in terms of heads going down and plots lost when the heat is on (another song).
Saturday is the latest example. In the cold light of day and after collectively ripping the team deservedly to shreds on Saturday night and Sunday, its come to my attention we did have a lot of goalscoring chances before Cambridge scored. We were still awful but we would have won had we had any sort of centre forward.
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• Just how bad was this performance?
• Did the players disrespect Cambridge?
• What does this mean for the transfer window and upcoming Watford game?
• Is Howe now under pressure?
— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) January 11, 2022
After Cambridge scored, the mist metaphorically descended on the players. The fog of pressure surrounded all of them and everyone who was on that pitch AFTER the goal played considerably worse after the ‘U’s scored.
They simply couldn’t handle the stick, the pressure whatever you want to call it. It was insane. Well paid and seasoned internationals visibly wilting after , lets not forget , one goal conceded while the clock showed 35 minutes to go plus hefty injury time as Cambridge wasted time. Not many in that United team thought they were going to get back into that game. I said then, “we are in trouble here”.
Seen it all before.
Cambridge would have hated us if we had ran directly at them but League One players head more balls than most and we resorted to the way THEY wanted to play.
It was pressure . It confirmed something we’ve all known for a while. We can’t handle it, even I didn’t think it would rear its ugly head in a game we should have won comfortably by three goals.
The luck wasn’t there , I get it, but if plan A doesn’t work, these lads are lost and the more the game goes without it going our way, the rigidness cripples us and you can bet your wages we are not getting back into it.
Kieron Trippier made his debut and it was great to see young kids cheering their collective hearts out that a bona fide international star had decided to play for us.
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— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) January 9, 2022
I was the same about Shefki Kuqi all those years back .
One incident will stay in my head from his debut which was alright considering the carry on and the fact he’s had a bad shoulder for weeks.
It was him turning all Corporal Jack Jones on us. Newcastle conceded, like I say with ample time to recover against a side who would tire.
Trippier knows a thing or two about coming back. Atletico are masters at it.
For example last day of the La Liga season in May Atletico Madrid needed to win to win the title. They fell behind to Valladolid , but with nerves shredded they were grabbed by the scruff of the neck by people like Suarez, Simeone and Koke and won 2-1 enabling them to squeeze out Real to win a first title in 7 years.
Trippier must have thought back to that day as he roared “don’t panic” whilst doing that international language of breathing deeper with his hands. If we are doing a military entertainment analogue, he was doing his best Dads Army impression but the rest of the players looked more like they had been part of that scene in the Deer Hunter in the Jungle.
— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) January 9, 2022
Losing a cup game to lower opposition happens a lot to us and better teams than this, may I add, but the culture shock for Trippier must have been the look on the players faces as we returned to the half way line after the VAR check.
As Keegan said and Trippier thought: This wasn’t in the brochure.
When our new owners tried to lure Trippier I doubt they did a history lesson with him. Any look at the table can see we are where we are but it goes deeper than the Cambridge game.
Since the start of last season , this Newcastle squad have either went in front or got on level terms then went on and lost a grand total of (drum-roll) EIGHTEEN times.
This is an incredible amount of times to get nothing from positions of strength.
Call it not being able to see a game out, call it tactical problems , call it tiring in games but In can only be one thing.
This is why we are not winning games.
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— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) January 4, 2022
The Schar incidents in games when he’s been flawless only to do something in a game that is jaw dropping, the Dubravka incidents lately where he’s turned from a goalkeeper who was more than decent with the ball at his feet, to a keeper from August 1992 forced into the back pass rule kicking and screaming.
The Clark incident against Norwich. Born out of blind panic we could go one down after 8 minutes against a team who win even less than us
Woodman at Man Utd, Hayden coming on against Norwich and losing the ball around 5 times in as many minutes, Darlow against Brentford , Lascelles against Southampton in injury time or every time he receives the ball from the keeper. These are just some defensive players. Longstaff and Murphy against Watford who had personal miss of the season competitions in one game, or Shelvey’s back pass against Liverpool or his inane red card cameo against Tottenham.
You know when St Maximin is under the cosh he unwraps his bandages like an Egyptian archaeologist would do with a 3,500 year old mummy.
If it doesn’t go his way in the first twenty minutes you can tell the outcome. Joelinton has grown a pair at last, but his performance at Rochdale was hardly fire and brimstone and he was as bad as anyone else on Saturday. Willock . Tick. Almiron. Tick. Do I need to go on here?
Trippier’s signing not only injected some quality in the team he’s put a percentage of being a winner in there. We need more ,however, and we need a certain type of player.
Here’s a shock for you, Newcastle will go behind in a game again this season, I know it’s hard to comprehend , but we will.
What will keep us up is the alien feeling of grabbing the team by the scruff of the neck and getting something.
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— True Faith: Newcastle United Fanzine and Podcast (@tfNUFC) January 2, 2022
We need enough points to stay up and to do this we almost certainly will have to get something from pressure positions. Trippier needs an ally and a few more besides.
The players we need to sign now will have to not be the rabbit in the headlights, we have plenty of them already.
To be fair for all the bad stats this squad came up trumps last season after the Brighton game when the pressure was on and you have to hand them that.
You get the feeling it was more one player having the run of his life and dragging the rest through more than anything else.
The Manchester United game was brilliant and my theory is that in that game we were not expected to get anything and were free to do a bit more . Man United were terrible but certain players in our squad raised our game because of who we were playing against and a worldwide audience. Cambridge? Back to normal.
As I said earlier I’ve got nothing against most players in this team, they are likeable but also depressingly predictable.
At some point in a game they will succumb to the pressure that is Newcastle United.
If they cant hack it , we need people that can I’m afraid.