Newcastle United – Why is it still going wrong?

Newcastle United – The darlings in the hearts of most of the North East public once again languish towards the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

The club is run as a profitable business, which in today’s game is a magnificent achievement. Love or loath owner Mike Ashley, he’s knows what he’s doing when it gets down to the pennies.

However like every club the fans care more about what their hard earned cash is getting them week in week out. We want entertaining, free scoring football but something that the Newcastle fans more than most demand is simply effort.

They desire players to pull on those famous black & white stripes, roll up their sleeves and put in graft for 90 minutes.

Something which they are not getting nor have they been for arguably the last 3 season ever since a very impressive 5th place finish in 2011-2012. Mix the bottom half finishes with very early cup exits and you have to wonder if The Toon players / management are providing their loyal fans with anything other than anguish.

Currently they are led into battle each week by tabloid dubbed “wally with a brolly” Steve McClaren, A man who turned them down earlier in 2015. Since his decision to stay at Derby County, The rams plummeted down the Championship and missed out on the play-offs….and he still managed to get himself appointed not only into the dugout but onto the board aswell!

Steve McClaren is in current terms the opposite of Leicester City.

steve-mcclaren-newcastle-manager

In the early Pardew days (2011-12) the club had massive transfer success with acquisitions such as Cabaye, Collocinni, Ba and an on fire Papiss Cisse. The latter also won acclaim with Goal of the Season while Pardew collected the Manager of the Year prize.

The 2012-13 Season saw the Magpies struggles officially begin, the squad could not cope with the demand of Europa League football and after 10 losses in 13 games, they found themselves in a relegation battle. The influx of 5 French players in January was just enough to see them survive on the penultimate weekend of the season.

A terrible end to the 2013-14 Season (7 defeats in the last 10) was followed by no win in the 1st 7 games at the start of 2014-15, this raised calls for Pardew’s reign to come to an end.

Quite rightly as it has turned out Pardew walked out to join Palace and hasn’t really looked back since.

Newcastle decided to stick with long time coach John Carver and somehow escaped the drop again, a crucial last day victory against West Ham proved to be the vital 3 points.

Season after season, relegation scrap after relegation scrap, manager after manager and foreigner after foreigner will not change what is going on at St James Park.

Newcastle United need to go back to basics in order to climb the table and here is how they can do that:-

  • Break from the normal 2015 football fashion and play 4-4-2

2 up front will give the opposition something to think about, no holding midfielders who add nothing to the team……Goodbye Vernon Anita!

  • Buy British

Steer clear of expensive foreigners who will take time to adapt and maybe won’t even be good enough.

Mitrovic could be a gem but Austin, Ings or Rhodes are proven.

Thauvin and Cabella could have been a Matt Ritchie or Robbie Brady.

Haidara or Mbemba are no better than Matt Dawson or Micah Richards.

bournemouth-verses-newcastle

  • Replace Graham Carr

He’s done a great job in the past but that’s starting to look like more luck than judgement.

The French revolution had to end a sometime and the club are stuck paying the wages of flops to this day.

Perhaps he just prefers trips to the south of France rather than trips to the Midlands in the middle of November.

  • Get the fans involved

We know Ashley isn’t even granted the status of Marmite in the stands of St James Park but the loyal, faithful, diehards that are the Newcastle United fans know their football. They also love a local lad, Adam Armstrong is 18 and just notched his 13th of the season on loan at Coventry, get him back and in that squad.

Ask their opinions on anything and everything; they are like no other in this country simple as that.

If changes are not made soon then the Barclays Premier League are going to lose a massive club and unlike Villa for example we need a Newcastle United in the top league.

Whether McClaren will be in charge for much longer is debatable but it goes without saying the 3 home games from 5 in December will more than likely seal his fate.

All the best to The Magpies fans that make the longest away journeys over the course of a season……….You deserve better!

newcastle-united-fans

Steve McClaren image sourced from; www.theguardian.co.uk
Matt Richie image sourced from; www.sportbt.com
Newcastle fans image sourced from; www.genius.com

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Euro 2016 – Who’s All Going?

This week has seen both highs and lows for France.

The race to qualify for Europe’s premier competition next summer has been rightly overshadowed by the terrible acts of terrorism that we have witnessed.

Back to the beautiful game however as we now have a completed line up for Euro 2016.

Euro-16-Teams-Confirmed

As usual the pot seedings are questionable. I’m not sure how qualifying via the play offs means you are 2 pots higher than teams who topped the group but we are all aware that Uefa & Fifa aren’t really sure what they are doing!

But what a tournament it is shaping up to be with so many questions, new nations involved, great support for sure and perhaps most importantly the promise of a great summer of footy.

Let’s take a look at a few who may surprise or disappoint in the competition:-

Winners – Germany

Who can see past the current World Champions? They topped one of the most difficult qualifying groups it also has to be said.

With the talent at their disposal and confidence gained from Brazil 14 the “always there or thereabout” Germans will be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

Dark Horses – England

A controversial choice perhaps but I seriously believe the serial disappointers that are England have serious credentials this time around.

A 100% qualifying round and a new youthful line up could provide them with a fearless element that may surprise.

The usual problem of facing a decent side at some point will occur but the Three Lions may just have enough in the locker this time.

1st Plane Home – Republic Of Ireland

Yep, sorry it’s a home nation.

The Irish have done well to qualify but the Bosnians didn’t provide as stern a test as we had all expected.

With a pot seeding of 4 a tough group stage is inevitable and they just don’t have enough quality to compete across the channel.

Surprise Package – Austria

Came through a group containing Russia and Zlatan’s Sweden unbeaten, with 9 wins from 10, scoring 22 and conceding just 5.

Only their 2nd time at the championships and with stars such as David Alaba they can impress a few who may not be aware of them.

austria-euro-2016-football-team

This is pre the official draw which will take place on December 12th it must be said.

All in all some big nations, big players and big ego’s will be landing in early July and are sure to impress.

Difficult not to start getting a little excited unless you are Scottish or Dutch!

Let’s all hope everything goes without a hitch in a country which has clearly been targeted and roll on Euro 2016.

Euro-2016-france-trophy

Euro 2016 Pot Image Sourced From; http://www.redcafe.net
Austria Team Image Sourced From; http://sportinglife.aol.co.uk
Euro 2016 Trophy Image Sourced From; http://footballtripper.com

The Sack Race…

It’s early August 2015, the sun is shining and football is back!

Players are transferred in / out, the tactics boards have been updated and ready and the grass has been freshly cut.

Promotion chase, relegation fight or glorious cup run….who knows!

92 Managers up and down the country in England’s professional leagues are geared up for the long season ahead.

Yet sadly just 3 months into the season, over 20% of those 92 have been relieved of their duties by the powers that be in the boardroom.

On Tuesday Gary Bowyer was told by Blackburn Rovers that his time was up, he became another statistic in football management.

Number 19 sacked of the 15/16 season for anyone that’s keeping score.

gary-bowyer-sacked-from-blackburn-rovers

Swansea are close to removing Gary Monk if reports are to be believed and Chelsea may once again axe “The Special One”.

So when will it end?

How many of the 19 clubs will genuinely see their clubs finish in a better position?

  • Aston Villa – Will Remi Garde save them from the drop?
  • Huddersfiled Town – Can Klopp’s coach Wagner get a tune from the terriers
  • Swindon Town – Temporarily managed by the chairman!
  • Leeds United – Who knows?!?!?

Where are the LMA when all this is going on? The job of the LMA is to protect and support the managers who are in the association. In all honestly though what advice could be provided other than “see you down the job centre in a few months”.

LMA-Logo

It stems back to the fit and proper persons test that appears to be a sham. 2 of the most prolific clubs for sackings are Blackburn (Venky’s) and Leeds (Massimo Cellino).

Between the 2 clubs the combined foreign ownership is less than 7 years, Between the 2 clubs they are now close to appointing their 13th manager if Paul Lambert is brave enough to sit in the dugout at Ewood Park.

We all know that football is a results business but sometimes common sense has to prevail and a step back to be taken.

As a football fan ask yourself – if we sacked our manager tomorrow, who is out there that we could honestly attract? I’m betting that not many can provide a strong case for change.

At the majority of clubs stability is key for long term success. Developing the youth set up, progressing with a style of and even understanding the club itself.

The time has come for the quick fixes to stop and sensible heads required.

Here’s hoping we don’t see many more and don’t come close to breaking a terrible record of last season which stood at a massive 40!

Still a long way to go for most and I certainly would back against another 22 being given the chop.

Who’d be a football manager though eh!

Gary Bowyewr Image Sourced From; www.thetelegraph.co.uk
LMA Image Sourced From; www.leaguemanagers.com

A Round of Applause for Leicester City

Rewind to just 7 months ago and you’ll find Leicester City lining up to play against West Ham United at the King Power, a team without a win in 8 matches and certain of relegation from the Premier League.

A 2-1 win that started a miraculous escape from the bottom 3 and a run of 7 wins from their final 9 matches!

A 14th place finish with a summer of managerial and key player departures later, the dubious choice of Claudio Ranieri was appointed in the East Midlands.

Claudio-Renairi-Leicester-Manager

The Italian former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Monaco gaffer arrived after an extremely unsuccessful spell as the Manager of the Greece National team. In this role he oversaw a home qualifying defeat to the minnows of Faroe Island.

Arrivals in the relatively unknown form of Shinji Okazaki, N’Golo Kante and Yohan Benalouane would have done little to raise the hopes of the Foxes fans.

Okazaki-Leicester-City

However, all of this aside……What a start they have made to this season!

6 wins and only 1 defeat in the 1st 11 games of this season currently see City cemented in 3rd place, there does seem to be a touch of Keegan’s Newcastle about Leicester this year and that is refreshing for the sometimes too “tactical” top division.

I, for one, love the “you score 2, we’ll score 3 mentality” that has seen Leicester score nearly as much as City but yet concede a similar amount to Villa.

Leicester will need the fine form of England International Jamie Vardy and rumoured Man Utd target, Riyad Mahrez, to continue if they are to still be in contention towards the top end of the table come 2016. An extremely tough December that consists of home games against Chelsea and Man City with away days to Swansea and both sides of Stanley Park will produce difficult opportunities for points.

Special mentions also need to go to West Ham and Southampton but it’s the Foxes who have captured my imagination and long may they continue to provide us with entertainment for the rest of this season.

Riyad-Mahrez-Jamie-Vardy-Leicester

Claudio Ranieri image sourced from; http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Shinji Okazaki image sourced from; http://www.lcfc.com
Vardy & Mahrez image sourced from; http://www.express.co.uk