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Glimmer of hope as Newcastle show some heart

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Paul Fletcher | 22:23 UK time, Saturday, 8 August 2009

At The Hawthorns.

There were moments during Newcastle's match at West Brom on Saturday when Magpies supporters could be forgiven if they briefly thought that the last few months had been nothing more than a terrible dream.

Their team were playing in a superb stadium and in front of a large and vocal crowd. Alan Shearer was there (albeit as a BBC pundit) and in the Newcastle starting XI were players that many Premier League teams would be glad to acquire.

As West Brom manager Roberto di Matteo observed afterwards: "If you look at Newcastle's team sheet, it is very strong."

Occasionally Newcastle worked the ball through the midfield area with composure and style, while the move that led to Damien Duff's equaliser was worthy of any Premier League fixture.

It many ways the game had the look and feel of a top-flight fixture, as the two teams that most bookmakers believe will secure automatic promotion played their first game of the Championship season.

But also on evidence on Saturday were plenty of reminders of why Newcastle are now playing second-tier football.

Their defending of set pieces was shambolic. The marking was at times non-existent and the visitors should have been punished long before Shelton Martis put the home team in front. The Magpies can expect to be tested time and again during the coming months and it is something they must iron out.Damian Duff equalises for Newcastle

I thought that Alan Smith was effective in his holding midfield role, while Kevin Nolan is the sort of player that can link well with the strikers. The series of brilliant second-half saves from substitute Tim Krul after Steve Harper failed to appear after the break suggested the club have good goalkeeping cover.

But the Magpies lacked pace in defence - witness the series of cynical fouls perpetrated by Fabricio Coloccini - and a cutting edge up front. Andy Carroll put in a workmanlike performance alongside Shola Ameobi, but after working the ball well through midfield the visiting side failed to provide good service to the strike duo often enough.

Jonas Gutierrez saw plenty of the ball on the left flank but he epitomised more than anyone else his team's wastefulness. His increasingly histrionic gestures as he became more and more frustrated did not speak of a man who is ready for the long slog of second-tier football. I suspect he may find Championship football an exasperating experience.

But the Newcastle players at least showed plenty of heart. Nobody really knew what to expect from a team without a manager - and one that suffered a 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient during pre-season.

The Toon supporters I encountered before kick-off on Saturday seemed in good spirit but they must have harboured serious concerns about the mental readiness of the squad. Stories of discontent have run thoughout the summer while the rumoured training ground bust-up involving Joey Barton on Friday hardly suggested a happy group of players.

Yet there was no shortage of effort from the players on the pitch and that at least must provide solace at a time of almost total misery for the club's supporters.

Quite whether the determination shown on Saturday will translate to some of the less salubrious surrounds that the Championship has to offer remains to be seen. West Brom probably wasn't the ideal fixture to underline to Newcastle their reduced status.

The north east club have not signed anyone since their relegation was confirmed with defeat at Aston Villa on the final day of last season. Shearer - working for the BBC on Saturday - has made it clear he wants to manage the club but in some respects Newcastle will remain in a kind of suspended animation until owner Mike Ashley's £100m asking price is finally met. And who can say that will be anytime soon?

In contrast, West Brom not only resemble the model of stability but are also on familiar ground.

Newcastle's relegation ended a 16-year tenure in the top flight but in recent times the Baggies have constantly bounced up and down between the top two divisions. They are in their fourth spell of second tier football this decade and have been promoted to the top flight three times since 2001.

The consensus of opinion seems to be that if Tony Mowbray had stayed at The Hawthorns they would be more or less certainties for promotion. New boss Di Matteo had a solid first season as manager of MK Dons before his summer move but he has not managed at Championship level before.

The Baggies went into the match on the back of pre-season defeats to Cheltenham and Swindon and at times during the first half on Saturday they struggled to get hold of the ball.

But they improved after the break and crafted far more clear-cut openings than Newcastle. The problem for Di Matteo was his team's failure to convert them.

"We created plenty of chances but we need to be more clinical," said Di Matteo after the game. "We have got to take some of them."

West Brom bolstered their attacking options during the close season with the signing of the highly rated Simon Cox from Swindon. He arrived at the club outlining his bold ambition to emulate players such as Teddy Sheringham and Kevin Phillips but he had to be content with a place on the bench while Chris Wood and Luke Moore started up front.

Moore has plenty to prove after scoring one Premier League goal last season, while 17-year-old New Zealander Wood did not look like the finished article on the evidence of Saturday's display.

But there is plenty for Di Matteo to build on over the coming weeks. If he can get his team to reproduce their form of last season they will not be far away from an instant return.

I'd like to say that there are also plus points for the Newcastle manager to take from the game but, of course, they don't have one.

There were signs on Saturday that most of the Magpies players are up for the challenge of this season but there are so many unknowns surrounding the club that it is surely impossible to be optimistic.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    newcastle need to get themselves sorted into a proper football club. the game today showed they are good enough to get out of the championship but only if they can get the right man in that will provide the players with a barrier to the drama off the pitch. shearer must get the job, it was ridiculous that he was at the game as a pundit. it is plain for eveyone to see how well he fits into the position, he is the right man to spearhood their promotion charge so give him the job!

    http://jumpersforgoalposts1212.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    As a Newc fan myself, I'm disappointed with just a draw today; imo today should have been a statement of intent for the rest of the season.

    We played well in the first half but all too often once we go behind the heads go down.

    Also, we desperately need signings; Ameobi was nowhere today, and as always Coloccini is dreadful; if anyone Kadar should have started.

    And bringing off Carrol for Barton? What was that about; if anything Carroll should have stayed on and Colocinni brought off.

  • Comment number 3.

    good blog ... first blog of the new season...
    and first comment!!
    :)

  • Comment number 4.

    #2 If Coloccini was so bad, why bring off Colocinni instead?

    If Newcastle want promotion this season, then there are 2 things and 2 things alone the club needs to do.

    1. Appoint a manager NOW!
    2. Get the manager to sort the wheat from the chaff ... the nucleus of the squad is fine ... apart from Mr.Collllocccccinnnniiii (rubbish, always was, always will be).

    P.S. I'm NOT a Newcastle supporter, but have always like their style of play!

  • Comment number 5.

    Where are the goals going to come from?

  • Comment number 6.

    Really happy with the draw today. The lads were fantastic. Smith has to be my man of the match, he never stopped running and put in a real battling performance. Krul was a close 2nd and Carroll was also good. I'm hopeful for the future because we won't be playing the likes of WBA (our promotion rivals) every week. Most crucially, we must win the games against so called weaker Championship opposition and I think we will brush aside many sides with the team we had out there today...

    For more. http://www.sportscene.tk

  • Comment number 7.

    Interesting post. It was a good result for Newcastle, first game of the season, away from home and against a good ex premiership side. All in all a draw was a good result.

    The only slight doubt I have about Newcastle this season and there chances of promotion are:

    1) The club is in a mess, they need to sort out not only a manager but the sale of the club.

    2) Newcastle have been a premiership side for such a long time now, every team is going to naturally raise there game when playing them, wanting to beat them. It's like when a smaller club is drawn against a big name club in the FA Cup, they always give 110%, and considering Newcastle have not got the greatest team at the moment, I feel a lot of those 110% efforts (against a premiership side in there eyes) are going to cost Newcastle.

    Time will tell but I would not be too confident of there chances of promotion and as Terry Venables said, there not too big a club to be in league one next season, although that is something I think is very very unlikely.

  • Comment number 8.

    Coloccini is never gonna last in the championship, get rid of him before transfer window closes. but with such a small squad they need to get new players in, players who actually want to play in this division and are not just there for the money.
    West Brom will have no problem, Di Matteo looks to be a good bet.
    well done to the bbc, live football on saturday nights are great, long may it continue!

  • Comment number 9.

    I think in many ways it was a false dawn for Newcastle yesterday - by playing another ex-Premier League club they avoided a "slap in the face" introduction to the Championship. I remain doubtful as to how well their less resilient players will cope with Championship football away from home, in the middle of winter, when faced with "up and at 'em" opponents.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hey all you Newcastle fans can say what you like there is no chance of a return to premier football with the team which played last night. You are not the big club you like to think you are no quality players will want to come to St James Park and you will now know how we here at the Boro have felt for the past 20 years or more. Struggle, struggle and more struggle as the frustration builds and disillusioned fans spending good money on watching over paid footballers going through the paces.

  • Comment number 11.

    Newcastle definitely have the potential to get promoted this season, I hope they do, but that performance against West Brom showed how much work they need to do. Hopefully they can make a few badly needed signings before the window is up and get things on track for a fine season.

    I'm very happy to see Duff score, he can be a great player to watch.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yesterday's result was an encouraging response to the on-going media tirade, in which Newcastle are almost expected to be facing a dogfight from back-to-back relegation. The defending was as calamitous as last year's - step forward Fabricio Colloccini. Considering he's one of the players that will almost certainly leave before the end of the transfer window (please God), i think the sooner we start preparing with a squad that is actually sustainable, the better. Kadar should be introduced as early as possible this season and i hope i'm not the only one mystified as to why Ameobi was in ahead of Nile Ranger? We need to start rearing the young talent quickly and the power of Carroll and pace of Ranger will be a perfect partnership in my books.

    As it was, with no manager, no owner, no new signings and the transfers of arguably our 3 best players from last season; a 1-1 draw was the best Newcastle could've asked for. Less forgetting that West Brom away will be one of the tough fixtures for teams in the Championship this season. It's difficult to forsee if the fight will remain for the course of the year but then again, there's certainly more players to leave and hopefully some new players to come in and re-generate things. As long as we've got players like Smith, Taylor, Carrol and Harper amongst the ranks, i can't see the squad taking this league lying down by any stretch.

  • Comment number 13.

    Bartons bust up did wonders Collocini was class(don't know what match robsep2b was watching it was his best game for a while. Smith excelled and Krul if he is not 1st choice will be gone very soon he had a great game and had he not been there Newcastle could have easily lost by 3 goals..Taylor and Carroll also had good games.
    Gutierez as always was like a headless chicken amd Nolan might as well have not been there.
    Ashley has had 40 million from transfers Milner,Given,Martins,Bassong and Beye as well as season ticket sales and when two or three more go it will all balance out for him and he will stick to his 100m and be down about 60m when he does sell,it is no good for Newcastle so the fans should be happy with yesterdays result it can only get worse this team is mid table if that.

  • Comment number 14.

    How predictable, the BBC finally having Football League coverage and in it's first weekend, Newcastle get way more coverage than any other team.

  • Comment number 15.

    Harper was apathetic and was to blame for the goal,he radiates no confidence and should move over for Krul who if not 1st choice will soon disappear..Get the kids in Houghton they can do as good a job as Nolan and Gutierrez.

  • Comment number 16.

    The three biggest things that jumped off the page for me on Saturday.

    Norwich losing 7-1 at Colchester (don't think I'm alone here). It makes a story that recently appeared on this site featuring Canaries striker Grant Holt appear a touch hollow. In it Holt suggests that he is surprised Norwich are only second favourites for promotion.

    Of the 10 Championship games on Saturday seven were draws - as was the match between Boro and Sheffield United on Friday. That perhaps suggests how evenly matched so many sides are in the division.

    The attendance of 30,644 at Sheffield Wednesday to see their draw with Barnsley. I have met Owls chairman Lee Strafford a couple of times this summer and he is very optimistic about his club's future. I'm not sure that many will turn up every week but it is a great indicator that the Yorkshire club are on the up. They averaged 17,891 last season.

    And what about the story on Sunday suggesting Mike Ashley might not sell Newcastle after all and will appoint David O'Leary as manager.....

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/8192035.stm

  • Comment number 17.

    Theres definitely some positives for Newcastle based on that performance. Alan Smith was a revelation as the holding midfielder, breaking up play and distributing the ball well. Carroll also showed a lot of commitment in getting the ball back when it was lost upfield, which is not something you normally see. However there werent enough chances created and i think they will have to try and get some better service to Carroll and Ameobi from crosses and set-pieces because their overall technical ability on the floor is not great. Also, get rid of Collochini because he is off the pace and doesnt work hard enough. A good defender will at least react to a loose ball in the penalty area, and though you couldnt blame him for the Martis goal, he didnt make any effort to get to the ball.

    I think newcastle need a better central defender and another option up front. Then theyll have a chance of automatic promotion i feel

  • Comment number 18.

    A draw might not seem that much, but all in all I was pleased with Newcastle yesterday, with the exception of Collocini and Gutierrez. Set piece defending really needs to improve, and to do this Collocini needs to go. Gutierrez should be skinning defenders and getting crosses in, but for some reason he refuses to take a touch and then has a tantrum when he gets tackled.
    We could really do with a goalscorer, as Amoebi looks short of ideas. Hats off to Alan Smith, as he did a great job in midfield and Duff was lively with a well taken goal, although he seemed to have been underused with a lot of play going through Gutierrez.
    Great work from Krul, but lets not get too excited, its a long season and until Fat Ashley gets the club sold and we can get some proper investors, it will be hard to get the stability he club desperately needs.

  • Comment number 19.

    There was a time when I wouldn't have minded O'Leary being in charge of the club but I'm not so sure now. He hasn't been in the game for about 3 years. This is of course all speculation.

  • Comment number 20.

    You would've thought Newcastle would've learned from appointed Souness as their manager...but now they're going for O 'Leary - Newcastle become more of a laughing stock every day.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think Ashley staying will be good for the club in so many ways.

    It will mean the club can begin to look to the future with new stability. It will mean a new long term excellent manager. It will mean Ashley will back the club with his own money.

    also, I don't think Ashley has ever done much wrong, other than appointing Wise to take over the buying of players.

    But he's admitted to his mistakes and will learn from them, which will only benefit Newcastle in the long run.

    He's a sensible owner and I've always thought he should stay.

  • Comment number 22.

    Interesting blog. We will see how Newcastle manage to win agains the weaker teams and how they manage to play without a manager. West Brom looked good.

  • Comment number 23.

    On yesterdays performance.....

    I thought Newcastle played very well.

    With the amount of possession they had in the first half, they should have been more of a threat in front of goal but the final ball, especially from the otherwise excellent Gutierrez, was very poor.

    Smith was fantastic in the middle of the park.

    I think they need to add a couple of goalscorers to the squad, however.

  • Comment number 24.

    I like the Championship. I often think it's a welcome release from the boredom of of the 'top 4'. The run in is usually tense and there seems to be a lot of competition. I won't be following it so much this season because in the last 2 years I have come to despise Newcastle as a club and as a story. The should just wear a grey strip to go with the monotonous consistent rubbish that is written about them. They are not getting promoted. They are useless. They can't play as a team, they have no defence, they have a bunch of players who are clueless and lack intelligence otherwise they would have gone looking for a real club before hand. This positive feeling about Newcastle is giving the term clutching at straws a New meaning.
    I think Kinnear did a solid job, I think O Leary will do a solid job if he is there, but he has shown in the past he needs money. I think Ashley is clueless. I could do a better job myself. I think it's a shame to the other teams in the championship, so much of this season will again be about the Bananas in pyjamas. They merit better as a league and Newcastle should be relegated by Christmas.

  • Comment number 25.

    Whilst its nice to see the praise of West Brom in this article. Why has all of the reporting of yesterday's match... Every single bit of it been nothing but Newcastle bias?

    For example, when Jonas Olsson's goal was disallowed for offside, Lawro said "Nearly more heartache for Newcastle"

    Excuse me? 4 promotions and relegations in 8 seasons... Newcastle don't know relegation.
    It was great to see live league football on the BBC, but please find some balance next time, it was the Newcastle love in.

  • Comment number 26.

    To follow the trend, i was impressed with Newcastle yesterday - i thought that for a club who are otherwise in limbo (notably without a manager) they seemed to get their heads down and get stuck in. Taylor is a great player and his determination is evident, and Smith played very well in the centre, although his passing is sometimes a little slack, his effort can not be questioned and his tackling, whilst bordering on reckless, was superb. Gutierrez has the ability and at times he was very good, yet he needs to release the ball perhaps a little earlier. Duff played well although he lack the pace he used to have and he is a little predictable. Krul was good but so is Harper so don't get ahead of yourselves on that one. Carroll has potential and you can tell he is desperate to do well for Newcastle, but the team, overall, lacks pace. I would like to see a fast striker brought in to play alongside Carroll as Ameobi seems short of creativity, and i would like to see Coloccini (whilst 10 million is a lot of money) dropped from the team or sold and replaced with a fast centre back. I'm a Liverpool fan but i've always had a soft spot for Newcastle and was desperate for a win yesterday - it will be tough but if everything can be sorted out off the field, and you definitely need a few signings because your squad is thin, (Ryan Taylor is a right mid, and Jose Enrique is a liability) and then you could use this division to remember what it feels like to win games, and kick off back into the premiership in style.

  • Comment number 27.

    "17-year-old New Zealander Wood did not look like the finished article on the evidence of Saturday's display."

    Did you expect him to be?! I thought Wood had a terrific game considering it was his first ever start for Albion. He looks an excellent prospect.

    It was a hard fought game yesterday, and a fair result in the end. Albion didn't play as well as we can, but Newcastle made things difficult for us and Krul was just unbeatable.

  • Comment number 28.

    Tim Krul is the most seventies looking player ever. He waas born at least three decades too late.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mowbrays_Masterplan - you make a decent point, it would be unfair and unrealistic to expect too much from a 17-year-old. But if Di Matteo is going to start him then there is a pressure to deliver - after all he plays for a team that should push hard for promotion.

    I know that Cox has not had a great pre-season but I thought he might have played from the off against Newcastle.

    Are you confident of bouncing straight back?

  • Comment number 30.

    #10, I was unaware Boro had enough fans turning up every week to spend good money?? I think I've been to the Riverside more than most of them. Obviously another football 'fan' who revels in other teams failures than their own success, spending time writing spite filled messages about other teams fans. our performance last night was quite impressive in the circumstances, especially against a side who looked dangerous at times.

    Must say the bias of Adrian Chiles and Frank Skinner was strange to see on the neutral BBC, at least Shearer tries to remain so.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am confident that Newcastle are a club of sufficient quality to get themselves out of the Championship in one season.

    In which direction, however, is another matter.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't understand the NUFCs fans insistence on Shearer as boss... he managed them for a handful of games, inheriting a team and set up that was already in place... I'm not saying that it is his fault that they went down but how can there be so much of a craving for Shearer when he is the least experienced manager in the football league. Is there any Newcastle fans who are of the opinion that he should be given a back room place - maybe head coach, or assistant manager rather than the big job. Yes, he must bring a fantastic atmosphere and moral to the dressing room but this is not enough when your team is fighting for promotion in the Championship - probably the most highly competetive league in europe, a laegue, don't forget, Shearer has no experience of.

    A club cannot run on emotions and sentiment alone.

    Surely there is a better man for the job.

  • Comment number 33.

    newcastle really need to sort out the owner status as soon as possible, i'm sure there's enough ability there to bring them back up to the premiership but as steven taylor said "its a joke" - there's just too much uncertainties with mike ashley on the helm.

    http://wedontknowfootball.com/

  • Comment number 34.

    "Must say the bias of Adrian Chiles and Frank Skinner was strange to see on the neutral BBC, at least Shearer tries to remain so."

    Interesting, as it was the only bit of direct Albion coverage in the Newcastle United Match of The Day Special. Cause the other team, the better team on the day, wasn't even mentioned before kick-off, and that part was the only comment about Albion during the half-time window!

  • Comment number 35.

    I still don't see enough goals coming. No proven scorers at the club and a still hopeless defence = ??

  • Comment number 36.

    Personally, no matter how much I like Newcastle as a club I don't think they'll be making a quick return to the Premier League this season as there defence is absolutely terible, if anything they need to sell Coloccini before the transfer window closes & bring in a well organised defender who is reliable at the back. Coloccini just makes too many mistakes!

    They also need to bring in more players like Alan Smith and Micheal Owen (Who I know is at Man Utd now) but mainly another striker who will be able to score goals week in week out at Championship Level!
    I would probably suggest Gary Hooper of Scunthorpe.

  • Comment number 37.

    does robsep2b like their style of play because it is rubbish?

  • Comment number 38.

    Cox was reportedly not quite fit for the game after being injured in the final game of pre-season.

  • Comment number 39.

    David O'Leary could be a good move for NU. Never mind the emotional Shearer/KK reflexes, it's time for NU to get real. O'Leary will have his controversial moments, but his record as a manager is excellent.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm really disappointed in the BBC's coverage of the Championship. I was very excited when I heard they'd got the rights but after this week's selection I'm starting to think it's going to be a very tedius season.

    Out of all the games that could have been selected the BBC choose the ones featuring three relegated Premiership teams and the team that got to the playoff final. Constant bombardment of the big four spoilt the Premiership, now you want to spoil the most competitive league in the world. According to The Football League Show the Championship's big story is Newcastle. No. The Championship doesn't do "big stories", it does decent honest football.

    How about promotion-chasing Cardiff Vs newly promoted Scunthorpe. How about Clough Vs Ferguson? How about a cracker of a South Yorkshire derby?

  • Comment number 41.

    Newcastle secured a good away point against a team that, by rights, should be challenging for a return to the Premier League this season. All in all, a decent start.

  • Comment number 42.

    Once again the Newcastle fans are deluded. Not a good standard game.......both teams mid table or below on this performance. Interesting to hear Shearer say he is still interested in the job so he could finish what he started.............laughable, hey? Curbishley is your only choice if you want to stay in the Championship

  • Comment number 43.

    Watched most of the West Brom game. The replacement keeper did well. I thought that Newcastle were quite impressive in midfield especially Smith who I would like to see come to Spurs as Captain in the centre of midfield! Ameobi will struggle in the championship but I thought Steven Taylor was very good yesterday while Colocini looked ok. In reality Smith Nolan Duff and Barton should be good enough to literally fight their way out of what can be a brutal division.....the barcodes to come straight back up if they can put waay the chances at home.

  • Comment number 44.


    I have supported Newcastle for nearly seventy years through thick & thin

    These two on field against West Bromwich should not get in the team Ameobi the so called striker, when we play with him we are playing with 10 men, The centre back Coloccini is a liability.

    Why oh why don’t we give Ranger chance it’s impossible to be worst than Ameobi.
    Apart from these two the team really put effort into their game

    Was really impressed with Krul the goalkeeper. Have always supported Duff he had good game.
    The midfield did well played well,
    I am not lover of Smith but he played his socks off he played captains game.

    They need Shearer as manager; he had 7 players lined up & he knew which players were surplus, what did the Chairman do nothing. Sold some of best players on the cheap
    The referee was nightmare.

  • Comment number 45.

    To comment 2;
    I agree Ameobi was poor and Carroll should have stayed on... but surely u didnt expect us to turn up and beat west brom on saturday?? i was pleased with the point and the spirit shown by the players to recover from going 1 nil down so i dont understand the point you make about heads going down - i thought we played the better football throughout although didnt have the better chances.

    Handing Kadar a debut would have been suicidal in those circumstances... Collocini is very very suspect and has never really looked like an international or even comfortable in english football.. but to throw an 18 year old into the mess that is NUFC could have ruined him (Ramage, huntingdon... where are they now?)

  • Comment number 46.

    I’m unsure whether you actually watched the game, or are in the pre-determined “call Newcastle shambolic”, no matter what they do, to keep the Man Utd fans happy.

    Seriously, we didn’t defend that badly. It’s just the fact that if Newcastle make one mistake in defence, they are a shambles. If Aston Villa make the same mistake, you don’t even report it.

    Just a media culture of preaching to the (baying) converted, to keep them reading. If you actually report on what happens, rather than what people want to read, it would be a much better article.

    Anyway, bearing in mind West Brom are probably one of the strongest teams in the league, I thought we were pretty comfortable.

    In truth, the home team barely got a touch in open play, and only threatened from corners and free kicks. I thought we were a different class for most of the game.

    Seriously – if that’s the best the Championship has (as in a top 6 team), then I don’t think we will struggle to get back up at all.

    Bearing in mind we were away from home, and had no manager, and still got a deserved draw?

    I was watching the game, and just didn’t think the standard of opposition was that good. So much space. We were keeping the ball easily, and with better final ball, could have scored 3 or 4.

    How many times did Gutirrez or Duff get to the byline?!

    Again, away, to one of the leagues best teams, and a pretty straightforward draw, with no real manager – us toon fans are hardly quaking in our boots at what the rest of the league has to offer.

    I don’t think many teams will take points from us a St. James’. Put it that way

  • Comment number 47.

    "Once again the Newcastle fans are deluded. Not a good standard game.......both teams mid table or below on this performance. Interesting to hear Shearer say he is still interested in the job so he could finish what he started.............laughable, hey? Curbishley is your only choice if you want to stay in the Championship"

    Both teams are mid table? Sad, glory supporting loser.

    Can't handle the fact that we didn't get thumped.....

  • Comment number 48.

    "They also need to bring in more players like Alan Smith and Micheal Owen (Who I know is at Man Utd now) but mainly another striker who will be able to score goals week in week out at Championship Level!
    I would probably suggest Gary Hooper of Scunthorpe"

    Your joking right? We'd still be in the premiership if Shearer didn't play owen?

    How many one on ones did he miss. About 8. Him missing sitters cost us. Not our defence

  • Comment number 49.

    When West Brom came up last time Phillips scored a fair portion of their goals. Cox really does have to hit the ground running and if he gets injured they could have problems. I'll be surprised if Moore plays a great deal he doesn't carry enough of a goal threat or cause problems in any other way whereas at this level Miller and Bednar do.
    Otherwise I thought West Brom seemed very organised and particularly moved the ball from defence to attack very quickly and deliberately - which has been an aspect of every successful team I can think of.

    On the whole Newcastle kept possession well - particularly in the first half. The most noticeable of their problems is one they've had for ages - the positional sense of the defenders isn't great. They need to get a defender who positionally not only knows what he's doing himself but can also tell everyone else where they should be during the game. I'm not convinced they need to be quicker that would just be bailing out the poor positioning. I'd be looking for experienced Championship level defenders if I was them and they need a new left back and if Ryan Taylor is their only choice at rightback they need a new one of those as well.
    I thought several of the players were trying to do too much. I don't think Carroll should be dropping back to the half way line to get on the ball and I don't think Duff should be wandering in pitch to get on the ball either - they need to stretch the width of the game and play quite tightly to their positions. Man-for-man they will be better than most other teams so they need to make those battles are one-to-one as much as posible.
    I don't know where they fit him in but they have to play Barton - as he showed in the short time he was on the pitch not only can he produce an accurate cross but also the speed with which he reacts to situations and particuarly loose balls is going to create opportunities.
    I'd go so far as to say that Newcastle don't just need a new manager they need new coaching staff. The lack of organisation at defending set pieces, players wandering out of position, the substitution that made no sense and I don't know if it's just an illusion of the banana shirts but several players looked top heavy like they'd spent most of pre-season working on their abs (additional weight that's going to make them a yard slower without adding much to their game). I'm not sure a new manager alone sorts that out.

  • Comment number 50.

    Skinner and Chiles were interviewed because they are two of the Baggies 'celebrity' fans. NOT because they both work for the BBC so it wasn't bias. I'm sure if Tim Healey had been in the crowd or Jimmy Nail or even Neil Kinnock (yes he supports the Toon)they'd have asked them for their thoughts too.

    I'd also like to know how West Brom are favourites when they finished below the Toon AND Boro?

  • Comment number 51.

    As for Ranger it's just a matter of time before Shola get's knackered again so he'll get his chance soon enough then it'll be difficult to drop him. Statistically Tim Krul is our best ever keeper. 2 competitive games 2 clean sheets.

  • Comment number 52.

    this is stupidity, loom at the players we've missed out on thanks to the lack of manager, lita, john, soon beckford, their are so many great players out their most on a free transfer, we need to get a manager anbd soon if we dont make any signings we're finished

    get some defenders in and some strikers and we'l be fine

  • Comment number 53.

    Say hello to the Beeb's coverage of the Championship this season. Newcastle vs 23 other teams who are being a bit of a pain by distracting interest away from the circus around St. James Park.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'am sick of the media being so harsh on the championship, it is not the footballing backwater it is being painted as. It is in fact the home to some large teams, and is the fourth most watched division in europe.

  • Comment number 55.

    Good luck to Newcastle!! They sure are gonna need it!!

  • Comment number 56.

    After sitting through 90 minutes of QPR v Blackpool it did feel like watching the Premiership when I watched our game in the pub. Yes Coloccini isn’t the best defender in the world, neither is Steven Taylor. Both will do ok in the Championship though and we’re stuck with them as Ashley is clearly not going to be buying anyone. On that, the sooner he sells up and moves on the better. It’s gone on too long now for any other outcome. Talk of taking it off the market and bringing in O Leary will just drag the whole saga on longer and no one wants that, least of all Newcastle fans.
    The squad is a bit thin but the first eleven is decent and they all played well enough on Saturday with the exception of the front two. Haven’t seen anything of Ranger but if he’s got pace and his second touch isn’t a tackle then get him on there in place of Ameobi who still looks out of his depth in the Championship.
    As for the manager, Shearer did sweet FA as far as our performances towards the end of the season and he hardly comes across as inspirational. If Ashley moves on I’d have Keegan back any day as getting teams into the Premier league is what he does best. For the moment though the best bet would be to make Hughton manager with Calderwood as assistant and just get on with it. The players are good enough, the support is there so lets stop whining and enjoy the season. It should be a good one where we might actually win a few games back to back and I’m looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 57.

    Mike Naylor, you are exactly the sort of one eyed, delueded Newcastle fan most people talk about. Newcastle's defence has been shocking for many, many years. I looked at the WBA v Newcastle game as a neutral, but a follower of the Championship.......I don't really care if Newcastle win, lose, draw or fold.......the game was a reasonably boring spectacel between two mid table teams

  • Comment number 58.

    #25 "It was great to see live league football on the BBC, but please find some balance next time, it was the Newcastle love in."

    I agree. It's already getting very, very boring.
    The Football League show was a little bit pro the supposed big 4 (3 of whom were relegated for being consistently bad over the season, just like Newcastle) but it wasn't nearly as bad as all the Newcastle attention has been.

 

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