After a barely believable game last weekend, to midweek joy on Merseyside. Home comforts for a middle Sunday and Nick Clark has your preview as NUFC welcome the side at the bottom of the table.
Newcastle United v Southampton Premier League
St James’ Park
2pm, Sunday 1st May 2023
A rarity these days, but not ‘live’ on any terrestrial TV stations.
Tale of the tape…
NUFC 3rd, GD +32, Pts 62
SFC 20th, GD -30, Pts 24
After adding a well-placed coffin nail into the Scouse mackem’s survival hopes, it’s back to Barrack Road this Sunday for the visit of basement boys, Southampton.
As annus’s go, this has been a pretty horriblis one for the south coast outfit. They began the season with Ralph Von Twistyhüttl at the helm. My friend & fellow previewer, Freeman Mag long held a torch for him; but I felt this to be as questionable as them not peddling him in the summer. He’d done an ok-ish job there but was looking well past his ‘sell by.’
The joire de vivre had left the building a long while ago, and no one wants an overtly aggressive Austrian as your leader for too long. It never ends well. Check your history books, children.
The next Incumbent choice was erm interesting. I’m gonna be honest, I rather liked Nathan Jones. Ok, it was mainly cos he was particularly gracious in defeat following the League Cup Semi-Final drubbings. I realise that I’m discussing him in the past tense. I should make it clear, at this juncture he’s not dead; his career however may well be.
Having done a decent job at Luton, the Saints board were convinced they had the right boyo to turn around their fortunes. One win from eight games followed by classic post match presser Partridge style musings* convinced them they’d made an almighty blunder. Next.
They recently plumped for a third manager of the campaign**. I’m gonna be honest, I had to do a bit wiki work with this one. You’re dying on your arse. Plummeting towards the Championship. I know, let’s go and get the ex Valencia under 18’s manager, Rubén Sellés Salvador. He’s absolutely bound to work.
To be fair to the lad, having watched them a few times recently, they’d managed a point apiece from the North London giants, playing with some vigour and verve. Hard to bear though; Thursday’s South Coast Clasico v Eddie’s exes ended in defeat and they’re still bottom, cut adrift and looking ‘terminal.’
The current Southampton team are captained by James Ward-Prowse. I don’t know about you, but I’ve long been suspicious of people with double barrelled surnames. It’s completely unnecessary. I mean, if I’d married Alan’s daughter, I’d clearly have taken her name. I’d be Nick Shearer-Clark and she’d never be allowed to divorce me, but this would a massive exception to the rule. Just Google ‘Double barrelled tossers/Jacob Rees-Mogg.’ You’ll see what I mean.
Peter Rhodes-Brown once treated a 1980’s NUFC appallingly at Stamford Bridge in a 0-4 howking. He then probably went out to a dreadful nightclub called ‘Chalet’ or ‘Chasers’ or something. In Miami Vice pastels. And followed it up with a fucking coxless paired rowing stint. Whatever that means. The posh get.
The Saints’ skipper bucks this trend and challenges my above argument. I’m a big fan. He’s a midfield schemer whose work rate even puts Wor Sean’s to shame and is possibly the best set piece taker in the league. If he signs for us in the summer, I’d see that as an interesting purchase. I think I shall just be calling him James Ward, though.
There will be many of a red & white persuasion praying that their current vintage can get something out of this weekend’s arduous journey. Matt Le Tissier will no doubt be one of that desperate number. Whilst visually, he always had a whiff of the ‘gap toothed simpleton’ about him, the Saints legend was one of the best players of the 90’s, and a serial abuser of NUFC.
If you’re young and reading this whilst queuing for your sleeve tattoo (with some meaningful message, or Elvish involved) get on YouTube and check out his goals. He’s got a more than decent back catalogue. After retirement, he became a Soccer Saturday stalwart alongside Jeff and everyone carried on appreciating his work.
He’d clearly learnt to hide his nefarious side, however. Following a stint at the David Icke School of Media Enhancement he steamed straight in to becoming a Covid denying, Farage-friendly nut job. If/when his beloved Southampton exit stage left, he’ll naturally blame either the Wuhan Province, the LGBTQ+ community or the Red Baron.
Anyway, enough of our visitors. Onto the Mighty Mags….
We’re basically in some sort of parallel universe where NUFC are a competently ran club aren’t we? It’s all a dream. It’s got to be? Having absolutely dismantled Tottenham on Sunday, we then went to Goodison, rarely got out of 2nd gear and dusted them 4-1. I don’t know what was best out of Callum’s curler, Isak’s Messi impression or the tiny-armed mackem’s increasingly puce dial. I do know that I loved watching it all.
We enter the fray on Sunday knowing that victory will take us to only requiring 6 points from a possible 15 for Champions League qualification. And that will only needed if some of those teams closest behind us win all their remaining fixtures. Unlikely.
All is good in the world. We can’t wait for the weekend, and surely the bottom club cannot upset the atmos? Certainly, not for me. Eddie knows the drill. Take each game as it comes. Don’t get ahead of yourselves. We’ve achieved nowt yet. Eyes on the prize.
We’ll win healthily. Expect goals from Alexander & Callum followed by smiling, happy peeved up faces in NE1.
United are back. And some.
Nick Clark @Clark5Nick
*This mirths me every time I read it. Take it away, Nathan. “……..And I could have stayed in a mining community, been a PE teacher and had a nice life, married a nice Welsh girl. Beautiful. I didn’t. I want to test myself on every level. And that’s nothing against Welsh women….”
**FFS. Just look at those West London basket cases. They’ve done the same thing. Message to football club owners. If you can, don’t have three (or four!) managers in one season. It really doesn’t work.