New Year, New Us?

December the 30th – one of those days everyone makes a shit joke about on twitter : “I had to google what day it was this morning, its like no mans land between Christmas and new year.” And that’s exactly what today was – a shit joke. I’m certainly not laughing.

The Boxing Day sales had already been pillaged, there was nowt worth buying left in any shop, & it hardly felt like a matchday walking down northumberland street. No buzz. No half cut geordies en route singing in small sections, no real rush or hassle on public transport, I had taken my little cousin to buy a PlayStation game before the match, and I had bought him a Newcastle shirt already as his Christmas present, (the gift or the curse? You decide..) my chat of ‘it’ll be mad in town today, you’ll see all the lads’ couldn’t have been further from the truth, it was tame. But then again, We’ve been abysmal over the past 15 games, and we’re playing Brighton at home in a relegation scrap. It’s hardly Hollywood stuff.

The Christmas fun was well and truly over, and tomorrow is NYE, so really everyone was saving themself for that. All the pretty (but poorly timed) snow from the 29th had melted, & it was just abit wet, slushy and…. shite. It certainly wasn’t a picturesque wonderland you saw on Instagram the day before at 2pm in Newcastle, and when the starting line ups came out, I was in wonderland for a different reason. Where the fuck was Jonjo Shelvey? Has he actually been mistaken for a Bond villain and Daniel Craig has had his way with him? No, there he is –> on the bench. Aww poor bairn, he must be done in from touching the ball 6 times vs Man City on Wednesday, and obviously the 3 games rest after a red card before Wednesday weren’t enough for him. Best rotate Rafa. No point trying to dominate possession at home against …. Brighton.

Surely Joselu can’t start another game? Surely. Has Mitrovic sent Rafa’s wife a nude or something? Does Joselu have compromising documents & or information on Mr.Benetiz? The mind wonders. Isaac Hayden? Don’t get me started. This kid has got to be a fluffer for Merino and nothing more.

Mr.Brightside – back 4 looked balanced & solid, & we have got that little Spanish magician in CM, he’s better than Fabregas like (or so I hear) Mikel Merino. The side was clearly set up for him to shine. #inrafawetrust. .. I’ll take it. I was en route to SJP, and my black & white genetic composition just oozed optimism – so Fuck it, 2 up top, mike basset, 44 fucking 2, lets have it. Geordies!

opinion disclaimer / smal print : Rafa is a world class coach and means infinitely more to the game of football than I do. My criticism will only ever go so far. In Rafa We Trust.

At least the fans inside the ground were up for it, well at least that’s how it seemed from where I was sat. The back corner of gallowgate, you lads that sit there week in week out – I salute you. Big Up the singing section & TF massive. It was so refreshing to hear song after song, you’re everything I love about our club. Everything I grew up believing going to football matches was about. Some furled by booze, others sheer passion. Flags, banter, primal screams, Geordies. But after a while it became apparent that we were a tribal minority. The rest of the ground were apparently eating prawn sandwiches and drinking pimms. Do you absolute taities not realise how much we need to win this game? Get up for it man. 48,000 Helmets.

After a while the football we were cheering on was simply draining, it just felt like we were singing out of pure Duty rather than passion. Going through the motions, just like our team on the pitch. but we were Relentless, something which the players can not claim they were.

I did make a massive list of notes annotated with the minuete of the game they occurred, about the chances that nearly became goals, the little triangles down the left, the feeling around conceding free kicks and nerves when they had corners, but it’s all pointless. You saw it, you know what I’m on about. This isn’t a match where we discuss the fine Margains & brilliant football. It was a brutal, boring, draining, disheartening, 0-0 bore draw. It was a Championship game with premier league branding. It was embarrassing.

the only thing worth talking about was the substitutions, and why they didn’t affect the game. So firstly – Perez came on as a right winger, although Richie was dink, Perez is not a right winger in a 442. Simple. He should have come on for Joselu. Stevie Wonder could see that. Underwhelming to say the least.

And then, one of the only credible premier league players from either team came onto pitch – Shelvey, but unfortunately it was for the only other credible premier league player in either side – Merino. And it was toolittle too late, which is becoming a habit of Rafa’s, we need to start changing things earlier when it isn’t working. Shelvey coming on in the 77th minuete is like when you’ve ordered a dominos, and the driver gets lost. So after 2 hours you stick a frozen Chicago town in. Then at midnight, the driver turns up and your like , ‘mate – seriously? It’s been and gone.’ Pointless. These 2 simply have to play together, our 2 best players, fit them in somehow Rafa. we can dominate games with both of them on the pitch, play Shelvey with any other CM & Merino in the 10. Simple. It’s getting beyond a joke now.

Finally, Murphy on for Joselu – whaaaaaaaaaheeeey. But Murphy cost 15 million £ and is literally about the same standard as some of the northern league lads I’ve played with. He makes me disillusioned with the game of football. Oh aye Rafa, now we will stick Perez up top, where he was supposed to be in the first place.

To be fair, the manager is working with what he’s got ( except from mitrovic, and saivet? MOM vs West Ham then off the edge of the earth without explanation? The biggest mystery since The Phil Mitchell shooting) and the subs are ineffective because the players are shite.

Individual Performances :
Darlow – Erm aye he was alreet. The things he did that annoyed me like not playing the ball quick enough were clearly instruction from the manager.

Yedlin – this kid is there to be got at for every team in the league if he plays like that. And believe me, there wil be video analysis at training grounds all round the league after that performance. Naive as fuck, he gave away possesion, corners, free kicks, you name it. I actually described him to my mate as a defensive liability while watching from the galllowgate. Basically this man is a professional sprinter who is burgling a career as a football player. I know this might be perceived as harsh, but this is premier league football and he needs to switch on immediately. He’s being paid a yearly salary on a weekly basis to play right back. Pay some attention to your craft. I don’t care if DeAndre reads this, I grew up watching David Ginola & Laurent Robert, he’s not exactly on my signed shirt list.

Lacelles – I actually said yesterday on twitter @lacelles knows what it means to you pay for us. I still believe that, but He wasn’t himself today. Didn’t look fit to me.

Clark – meh. Alreet.

Dummet – didn’t look fit, which begs a question of the manager if he’s resting players on Wednesday for Saturday – then surely he should have done this with dummet? 2 games on the bounce back from long term injury? Mind boggles.

Hayden – I would actually let him go out with my sister, he is the softest most harmless kid I’ve ever seen In a Newcastle shirt. Void of testosterone, no desire to be on top of anything. Virgin, 100% geek. Nice Arsenal coached academy first touch, & that’s it. Pointless. Backwards, sideways, just go home mate.

Merino – Alex Hurst said : “played like he’s just eaten a full roast dinner ” I can’t beat that. He can do so much better, with a little help from his teammates. Even at his worst – he still had a wand of a left foot and got balls into final third.

Ritchie – not himself, but always tries. When he plays badly, so do we. Very important to the team. We need you on Monday lad.

Atsu – People love him, and he has had good performances for Newcastle, but yesterday wasn’t one of them. For me he didn’t look interested. And I just feel like there’s a reason he couldn’t get a club for love nor money before us, just like Joselu.

Joselu – No change. Shocking. He’s not athletic enough to warrant being a naturally shite footballer, he’s neither here nor there. Spanish segunda liga player. Don’t know what he’s doing here. Surely we would be better investing playing time into one of our own like Adam Armstrong than this lump? He’s literally, Dink. I expect no more or less than he gave yesterday, hasn’t got it in his locker. He’s a Stoke reserve and always will be.

Gayle – Not really worthy of being a NUFC number 9 for me, but then neither have the few before him. You can thank Fat mike for that. I think he’s decent and always tries, but 3 PL goals this season Isn’t good enough. For us to get out of this mess he needs to find the form we know he can produce, go and play on the shoulder of the last defender an pie off the build up. Play on scraps, get ayoze or someone in a 10 behind him. We can’t afford to have him and Joselu in the same side.

Sub performances :

Didn’t have enough time on the pitch for me to comment.

Verdict :

I’m sick of teams coming to SJP and not breaking a sweat, then walking away with points. 442 works if you press, which we didn’t do. Unacceptable that Brighton had more possession & passes than us at SJP. Rolling over against Man City looks abit silly now doesn’t it? Personally I think he’s doing things the right way like a martyr. We haven’t got the depth in squad to rotate, we need to play our best 12-13 players and run them into the ground. Take a risk, play something attacking and unbalanced, because this isn’t working.

Would you have taken 4 points from these 3 Games? – yes? In fact no, no I wouldn’t. You’ve just won 1 in 11 before this run, and you’ve got to build on the wet ham result by beating your next direct relegation rivals. The cliche of ‘Relegation form’ has never been more appropriate. Burnley have not got a better team than us man for man – look at what they are achieving. Wake up. Drop the excuses, have a go at teams.

1 point from 2 games against a promoted side : welcome to another relegation battle.

Lets just hope – 2018 – New Year New us…

Having Said all of the above, we didn’t actually lose, And if we win against Stoke then it’s actually been a good festive period in terms of results. (Not performances) funny how this game works. He knows what he’s doing. Rafa never promised it would be pretty, he just promised we would stay up. I still, somehow believe him. Blind Geordie optimism 4 life… & of course, True Faith.

SIMON MOONEY – Follow Simon on @chubbsonthetyne


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