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Focus loses the golden touch

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Dan Walker | 15:57 UK time, Wednesday, 15 September 2010

It's official - our good record has completely gone in the last few weeks. Last season, when we took Focus on the road, we seemed to act as a lucky omen to the home side - just ask Manchester City, Fulham, Tottenham, Burnley and Bradford fans. This time round we are 2 and 0 (as the Americans would say).

We went to Leeds on the opening day of the season and saw them humbled - and exactly the same thing happened to Newcastle last Saturday.

Now, I know a lot of people were miffed at my praise for Joey Barton last week so I promise not to talk about him, but I will be concentrating on our trip to the North East.

Whenever we go out and about these days, we always try to shout about it in the local press. I organised for Lawro to do an interview with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Thursday and he also went on BBC Radio Newcastle's Friday night preview show.

While he was doing that, I was about 100 yards away in the enormous TV studio talking about Focus with Jeff Brown from BBC Look North. Friday was actually a little hectic, so when I eventually got back to the hotel, I think I had broken my record for 'longest period of time without food'.

I'd gone stupidly early with my lunch at about 1030 BST and hadn't eaten since... a whole 10 hours later! I even considered raiding the hotel mini bar but £6.50 for a miniature bag of peanuts and a Crunchie is too much - even when 'caveman' mode kicks in.

The rest of the Focus crew arrived by train at about 2030 BST and it seemed that everything was in place for the programme... until Graeme Swann called!

We had booked Brother Swann only for him to pull out on the previous Monday because of an England training session. However, after beating Pakistan in Friday's one-day international match, they'd all been given the Saturday off. Swanny was ringing to see if he could still come on. We had to shuffle a few things around but - I don't know if you agree - it was well worth a last-minute fiddle because he was a great guest.

The next day, we only had one wobble during the show when we had a microphone failure in the press room. We were all in there ready to go when director Ian Finch spotted the problem and gave it the old Hollywood "ABORT! ABORT!". We played '60 seconds in Focus' early and had to mix the next few things around. Eventually, there was a quick dash up two floors to the directors box with Colin Calderwood just behind me. If you look back carefully at the online version, you can see me gently perspiring!

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Other than that, everything went super smoothly but whenever we cover Newcastle we always get the same response from other football fans: a combination of 'why are you bothering with them?' and 'why are you pandering to their belief that they are a big club?'

It seems there is nothing more annoying to the average football supporter than a 'deluded member of the Toon army', as one Chelsea fan put it on Twitter. I suggested that to Mr Swann after the show and his response was to produce a seven-inch smile and declare that it's just the way it is.

"Two things will always remain true in football," he proclaimed with his trademark wit, "the Toon are always on the brink of world domination and everyone else can't stomach it." I think he might be right and Saturday saw the perfect demonstration of that.

Outside Shearer's Bar before the game, a group of Newcastle boys were genuinely talking about the prospect of beating Blackpool 12-0 after pummelling Villa. On Saturday night, there was scarcely a fans phone-in or forum across the land that didn't feature somebody sniggering about the Magpies' 2-0 defeat by the Tangerines.

'I thought you said you where going to win the league,' I texted Mr Swann on Saturday night. 'Next season, pal,' came the response. 'We'll take Champions League this time round.' Some things never change! There are more optimistic anecdotes from the world's best-rated spin bowler in this week's Focus Forum, which is worth a watch.

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Happy to hear your views on Newcastle, the show or how long you've lasted without food but let's try to keep it friendly this week.

We are back on at 1215 BST this Saturday with another beauty. Harry Redknapp talks about Tottenham's lively debut in the Champions League proper and we have a special report on Iraq's national team. Martin Keown will be picking his favourite five Premier League goals for Arsenal after they notched up number 1000 under Mr Wenger last week. I'm sure he'd appreciate your thoughts on that!

Also... calling all Leeds fans! Get your questions in for Simon Grayson, who will be legging it from Doncaster to join Martin and Lawro in the studio.

Don't forget, the best place to keep across the build up is on


  • Comment number 1.

    Can you ask Simon Grayson if he enjoyed banter with the Derby fans at V festival and has he got one of Dion Dublins 'The Dube' at home?

    We spotted him with Dion Dublin at this years V festival, where we started singing '2-1 to the Derby boys at him

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog once again little man.

    I have always been at a loss why the Newcastle fans are so deluded. To my knowledge, they are probably the 'biggest club never to have done anything of note'.

    Rolando Bianci

  • Comment number 3.

    Well one of the best Arsenal goals of all time has to be the legendary goal scored by Dennis Bergkamp against Newcastle. Skill, Precision, Control and the finish only one word to sum it up really....Perfection.

    Also 17 hours in response to your question about length without food (or Water)

    Great job on the blog and looking forward to the show on Saturday

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Glad to see you focus on the north-east especially Newcastle. I think the only people who think the Toon Army are deluded about where we stand in the pecking order are you and Graeme Swann (and Graeme was obviously pulling your leg). The Chelsea fan who said we are deluded is obviously deluded. I would tell him to stick to supporting Chelsea. He might actually know something about that.

  • Comment number 6.

    Longest time without food?

    5 days although that was forced upon me whilst in hospital when I was nil by mouth.

    Luckily my grandparents and sister help me through it by turning up with grapes and malteasers, then eating them, slowly, in front of me. If snoopy hadnt have been on tele I might have gone mad!

  • Comment number 7.

    Any Arsenal goal is a good goal as far as I'm concerned... unless its an own goal of course.

    Plenty to choose from by Bergkamp and Henry, but some (non Premier Ship/League) favourites for their importance would have to be in the League Cup back in the 80's when Charlie Nicholas scored two in the final against Liverpool. It was the first time that Ian Rush scored for them when they lost. Arsenal did manage to lose to Luton Town the following season, but it helped to show Liverpool weren't completely invincible. And of course, the Michael Thomas goal to win the 1990-91 season in the final match against Liverpool to win it on goal difference was also another memorable goal.

    Some people might also remember when John Jensen finally scored for the first time, quite a number of games into his Arsenal career.

    Also remember Ian Wright scoring a few good goals when the mural was up at Highbury during renovation/building work. He may be an idiot these days, but he was a great scorer for Arsenal.

    Gus Caesar

  • Comment number 8.

    Enjoyable blog, as ever!

    I'm obviously addicted to the blog, as I had to, just had to, open it up, even though I knew it would mention food! Just about to start a fast, i.e. no evening munchies - for the purpose of a cholesterol test tomorrow - so about 14 hours by the time my thumb is pricked in the morning! And probably as an indicator as to what the result is likely to be - just finished a jam danish and double decker. Them Danish will be the death of me yet. Would love to hear your favourite (mine would be the ones with sweet mince meat).

    Back on topic - seeing as Newky is near the border - as is Gretna Green - I'd love to see a future feature on the possibility / likelihood of another non-English team making it into the Football League. (Where the feature doesn't dwell too much on the hoary Celtic / Rangers parachuting in issue). More based on the acceptance criteria at a lower level - i.e. would Gretna ever be accepted if they wanted to follow geography, would Newport or Wrexham be welcomed back with open arms, would there ever be a likelihood of a Nor'n Iron team being accepted - and maybe a comment on just how realistic was the Dublin Dons idea many moons ago?

    John Trewick

  • Comment number 9.

    Am a united fan so one Arsenal goal that I remember is thierry henrys flick turn and hit!

    Obviously a fluke!!

    But, and im hoping a gooner will back me on this, didnt Nigel winterburn once smash a 30 yard screamer. I seem to remeber a stunning strike from the left and then having to double take to see it was winterburn!

  • Comment number 10.


    Its got to be the massive pastrys from Costco!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Chelsea v Arsenal 21 Sept 1997 was when Winterburn smashed his 30 yarder in, in the 89th minute.

    Stewart Robson

  • Comment number 12.

    And Dan, what is your favourite food of all time?
    Perhaps the bacon butty, simple, yet a biblical snack.

    Jose Antonio Reyes

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh and

    BOOOOOO Newcastle.

    Not the city, just the football club!

    I like the city. Great laugh!

    That is all

  • Comment number 14.



  • Comment number 15.



    100 YEARS OF MY DEATH hahahhahaa

  • Comment number 16.

    Best arsenal goal ever? Bendtner's o.g. against spurs in the carling cup semi final. ;)

    Dan, what did you finally break the food hoodoo with? A nice curry? A pastie?

    what is the perfect food after starving yourself? Methinks bacon will come into it...

    Longest I've gone without food is 2 days whilst at uni. I ended that with a milky bar

    Andy Sinton

  • Comment number 17.

    #14 you're very welcome!

    #15 sounds optimisic to me... although maybe they could manage that in Rugby Union!

    Dolph Lundgren

  • Comment number 18.

    I don't understand the Geordie...... people

    Temuri Ketsbia

  • Comment number 19.

    Arsenal... c'est magnifique

    Jack Wilshire

  • Comment number 20.

    I really thought that focus being at Newcastle might have given them a chance to finally and firmly ignore the deluded stereotype, sadly you've done nothing but perpetuate it further. Graeme Swann's tongue was positively superglued to the inside of his cheek, while i think all you need to do is go on the Newcastle 606 boards to see that it's a minority of charvs/similar idiots who's general lack of common sense (/education?) prevents them making sensible comments. As for other fan's perceptions, i really would like to know why it's only Newcastle with this stereotype, i'm pretty sure i see/hear fans from all over the country being overly optimistic at the start of every season, Liverpool have been winning the league for something like the last 15 years! (although i would say that they haven't been too bad this year!)

    From where i'm sitting, more fans have been dispiritedly negative (prior to the Blackpool game) than have been deluded, and really, we know where we stand, anything higher than bottom 6 would be a miracle, and while i'd probably be slightly disappointed with 17th this year, i'd take it in an instant.

    Basically, every time i see this hackneyed old cliche in the media these days i groan, because really, it's lazy and uninformed, while it also reflects unfairly and negatively on the people of the area. (Not that all Geordies are angels, far (far) from it, just that we don't deserve such a press.)

    _ _ _ _ _ _/_ _ _ _

  • Comment number 21.

    Dan, can you ask Simon Grayson how he has time to be appearing on Focus when he could be on the training ground teaching the players how to defend?

  • Comment number 22.

    Aside from Bergkamp's untold goal at Newcastle I would go for Van Persie's volley at Charlton in 2006 for best goal under Wenger. Not bad at all!

    Longest without food - 18 hours when at Uni, mainly due to a lack of funds. The starvation was finally ended with a lemsip. Best. Meal. Ever.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ask Martin Keown if he can include all three of Bergkamps hat-trick against Leicester (he could cheat and class them all as one of his five cos it's pretty tough to choose between them all.......)

  • Comment number 24.


    I'm pretty sure that Mickey Thomas goal was 1989?????

  • Comment number 25.

    there isnt a single newcastle fan who thinks we will win the league, utter tosh. of course we expected to beat blackpool, its blackpool in the premier league? but we are all aware its a season of relegation battling. its the media who target the simpletons outside st james' that you get these ridiculous comments from. we havent been a big club since robson was disgracefully sacked. weve never recovered from that, souness to replace a man of his calibre was a joke. unless we get an extravagent billionaire we wont be charlie big potatoes ever again which we are fully aware of

  • Comment number 26.

    #24 you're quite right - typo error on my part!

  • Comment number 27.

    Hello Dan,

    I'm not a Leeds fan...but have a question for Grayson. Jermaine Beckford has signed for my team Everton. I'd like to ask him if he believes he has Premier League quality and is able to make that step up, or does Grayson think he would have benefited from proving himself in the Championship...although not necessarily at Leeds

    Best Arsenal Goal? My favourite has to be Kanu at White Hart Lane in 1999, flick over the head of Luke Young - powered home past Walker

    Gordon Gecko

  • Comment number 28.

    As for best goals for a gooner under Mr Wenger what about Van Persies vollvey against Charlton a few years back at the Valley? Right out the top draw.

    Cant go wrong with a few rounds of cheese on toast to beat the hunger!

  • Comment number 29.

    Dan, can I suggest you pack a little lunch box for future away days?..go easy on the sweeties though okay;) All the work that went into the Geordie trip - seems a shame we only got 35mins out of it - no room in the schedules for extended highlights even on BBC3 or 4? Who do you vote as the best 'hold the doors open for you' club so far?

    Greatest Arsenal PREMIER LEAGUE goal - Big Tone's goal against Everton to wrap the title up in 1998.

    ...Longest time without 'solid' food has to be the 4 to 5 months just after I was born ;)

  • Comment number 30.

    HI Dan,

    Really enjoyed the show from Newcastle this week. Thought it genius that you asked someone with an outstanding court date, about sports stars having a moral compass! Great work! Keep it up!

    Lee Todd

  • Comment number 31.

    Surely, in American scoring terms, you are "Oh-and-two", not "two-and-oh".

    Unless the intention is to defeat the home side.

    Which would be cruel.

    Yours etc

    Irving Nattrass

  • Comment number 32.

    Two things, seems easy to confuse optimism with confusion does it not? Surely every fan wants their team to win games and do well do they not? Why is delusion even seen to be a negative quality? Obviously I'm a Newcastle fan, and I want the best for my club of which I am rightly proud - they represent me and the beautiful city in which I live. I expect good football to be played by my team, as should every football fan. We pretty much accept we won't win anything so want to be entertained above all else, otherwise what is the point? What other people think of me personally based on lazy prejudice has never really bothered me, and to hear it perpetuated in the press whilst shameful isn't exactly unexpected. The thing that worries me about this, is the general level of intelligence of the average viewer/reader who will happily believe everything they read, as if misinformation is an impossibility - are people really that gullible these days?

    Also, to say Newcastle are not a big club is also pure folly. Big is a measurement of size, not success. A one club city with a much larger metro-population than people think is always going to generate a lot of fans. A big stadium and large attendances follow in a city obsessed with football. So big - yes, successful - errrr, not recently.

  • Comment number 33.

    Obviously I meant delusion. As I said though, what is football fandom without delusion/optimism? Interestingly as well, I don't ever feel the need to try and insult fans of other clubs - even Sunderland - yet some people seem devoid of class, show a little decorum please chaps.

  • Comment number 34.

    10 hrs. without food?
    If you had a REAL job that involved real WORK your boss would send you for a break.
    Since your job only amounts to talking to (in this case) people from the North East (who no-one can understand anyway) who cares?
    Suggest you head down to Bournemouth and interview REAL people!

  • Comment number 35.

    Newcastle fans make me laugh... but you'e gotta love their ambition, I guess...

    Longest I've gone without food I think was around 50 hours, at this point I was being ushered into the restaurant at an all inclusive hotel I was staying at in Cancun... which may explain the time of absense...

    Lemon after tequila shots doesn't count, does it?

  • Comment number 36.

    Re Questions for Simon Grayson...

    #21 I couldn't agree more. Maybe you could also ask a follow-up question "What on earth was Collins doing for the 1st and 4th Barnsley goals?"... although what the entire defence was doing for the other 3 is also a mystery to me.

    #27 The answer is easy - Beckford will struggle to make the step up. His first touch and ability to hold the ball up is poor and his goals/chances ratio just isn't good enough for the Premiership.

    Kevin Hird

  • Comment number 37.

    Looking at your 0-2 record, could you please film the rest of the season from Old Trafford. You may even get a game in the CL!.

    Giatn Haystacks

  • Comment number 38.

    Bonjourno comrades.

    Sorry about my lack of responses so far. I am doing some work in America this week so it's currently 4:53 on the West Coast and I am up in an attempt to beat the jet lag on my return later.

    Thanks for all the comments so far...

    Epic-comment (#3) You're right about the Bergkamp against Newcastle... that was an absolute beauty and perfectly executed.

    Andy Connor (#4) you continue to utterly baffle me but i secretly enjoy it. Plus even though it hurt (#6) you've gotta say that grapes and maltesers are a great combo.

    Celery shtick (#8) I'm not an expert but I don't think a jam danish and double deckers are good for cholesterol.

    Smurf_wrong_Phillips SUFC (#12) my favourite depends when you get me. At the moment I'm thinking a lot about turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and bread sauce sandwiches... Immense.

    You_ate_all_the_pies (#16) I finished the lack of grub time with some righteous duck at a little Italian. Oh yes!

    Speedy 03 (#20) a well made point sir... point taken.

    Tim Hodge (#21) i thought we might get one or 2 of these... You've gotta give your boss a bit of time off haven't you?

    Villas Tommy Johnson (#21) & moretorycuts (#28) I was at the valley for that Van Persie goal. It was amazingly well struck but if you see if in slow mo it comes off his shin! Still a beauty though.

    Olymans (#25) why can i never find you outside St James' Park? You should sort yourself out as the NUFC representative on phone-ins. Measured and intelligent is a potent combo when mixed together with a bit of passion.

    JoC (#29) it's all about the F1 big man. We are thinking about some sort of red button or online thing but it's not come together as yet. Glad you enjoyed it though.

    Lastbandit (#31) I clearly need to watch more American sport!

    Steveat (#32) another well argued point and you're right there is a difference between optimism and delusion but there are 1 or 2 deluded fans out there. I think you are also correct in your assumption that there are plenty of fans out there who will happily have a pop at Newcastle.

    Keep the comments coming and I'll be back later.

    Payton Manning

  • Comment number 39.

    Utebog (#34) come on that's harsh! I write as well as talk and once I lifted something.

    Eli Manning

  • Comment number 40.

    Isn't it Peyton Manning? Or do they have a sister as well?

    Ginolllla, my dad stills hits SJP every other week but is perhaps the most pessimistic chap you could ever hope to meet. In his own words, a pessimist can never be disappointed. It's much like Dan's troubles finding people to interview, the loudest are always the ones that make themselves heard whilst the sensible, measured types are drowned out by the sea of lunatics that encircle them. Same happens with every club though, no more or less up here in Newcastle. By the way, Ginola scored two of the best goals I've ever seen - doing keep ups over a Ferencvaros defender's head on his knee before volleying into the top corner, and hitting a thirty yard strike on the turn against Man U.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think Peyton is Payton's other brother,

    Dave Manning

  • Comment number 42.

    I thought we were going to mention Top 5 cheeses this week? Did I read it wrong, I was looking forward to it, even had a cheese sampling night to prepare for it.

    My next favourite Arsenal goal...Davor Suker rolling his foot over the ball at Highfield road before toe poking it into the corner.

    Cyrus the Virus

  • Comment number 43.

    Also, I liked Arshavins 4th at Analfield in 2009.

    Brett Favre

  • Comment number 44.

    I happen to be Nigerian... and a non-Arsenal fan.. But I did think Nkawkwo Kanu's 3rd goal (i think) against Chelsea in the 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge (where he flicked the ball in from an impossible angle)was a pretty decent one!

  • Comment number 45. really clock up the miles don't you..are you doing a report on Beckham's L.A.Galaxy out there or what? If you're back at Heathrow by around 9pm tonight you might see the Pope's arrival.

    By the way 99.9% of footie fans are deluded - it's the only reason we keep following our teams year after gotta have faith bro!

    Matt Stover

  • Comment number 46.

    "Dan Walker wrote:

    Smurf_wrong_Phillips SUFC (#12) my favourite depends when you get me. At the moment I'm thinking a lot about turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and bread sauce sandwiches... Immense."

    Sounds good, how come you are not morbidly obese by the way!?

    Jabba The Hutt

  • Comment number 47.

    Matt, I always associate you with the Browns for some reason, probably because the early 90s was when I started to get into gridiron. Like your multiple references regarding faith, quite a clever place kicker aren't you?

    I remember a Ljungburg goal for Arsenal where he beat 3 or 4 from the halfway line before slotting past the keeper, cannae remember who against though? Also, there was a Vieira goal where he exchanged a couple of one-two's and broke in behind the defence and dropped a shoulder in a half step over type thing lifting the ball over the oncoming keeper with his other foot, excellent.

    Best wishes, Boomer Esiason

  • Comment number 48.

    #47 Was thinking kickers might be more relevant to a footie blog, but I also like to throw the occasional 'Hail Mary Pass' when needs must - it might take one to get from LAX to Heathrow in time Danny boy ;)

    Roger Staubach

  • Comment number 49.

    Best Arsenal goal? Almost certainly 2001 at Coventry. Denis was running towards the goal and was being forced to the right by the chasing defender. He was caught and managed to trip over a blade of grass. He gratefully accepted the penalty and Arsenal won 0-1. Bergkamp was quizzed by journalists afterwards regarding the "trip". His reply was "he definitely touched me". That is open to question. If, and it's a big if, there was contact, it was feather light. The defender denied any contact, and I believed him. Bergkamp, of course, had no qualms or fair play issues, simply took the wrongly awarded penalty, smirked in his usual style, and walked away. Since then, the non flying Bergkamp has been looked at by me and most Coventry fans with utter contempt.

  • Comment number 50.

    Focus loses the golden touch!
    Talking of which……….. Wolves are reputed to be the current premiership bad boys. Perhaps the “orange” strip has confused them into mimicking the playing style from The Netherlands team WC2010 final display!

    Dan – do you plan a BBC visit to The Molineux stadium – you made it to the training ground?

  • Comment number 51.

    Great as usual, Dan.

    You couldn't do Focus from Selhurst Park this weekend could you? Only way Burnley stand a chance of an away win!

    Have to agree with some of the other posters - Bergkamp's goal was superb. I remember Thierry Henry scoring a belter, think it was against Man City(?) where he curled it into the top RH corner from the edge of the box. Sheer class.

    The turkey sandwich sounds good, but you can't beat good old tuna mayo and cheese!

  • Comment number 52.

    Could you ask Grayson why does he keep playing Naylor. The guy doesnt have the legs anymore.

    P.S Good to see more Leeds

  • Comment number 53.

    Could you ask Simon Grayson why he seems to think Richard Naylor and Neill Collins are good centre backs?

  • Comment number 54.

    @ #8 - You actually think Newcastle is on the border? It's 50/60 miles away. It's like saying Manchester's in Wales.

    This deluded thing borders on ridiculous and suppose Swann didn't help that, even if he's either being tongue in cheek or a complete clown. You need look no further than the regularly sung, "Hello, Hello, We are the Geordie Boys; Hello, Hello, We are the Geordie Boys; We're gonna win [duck] all this year; We're going to win [duck] all; But we'll still follow United" to realise the yearly expectation of our side.

    The vast majority of Newcastle fans know it's a case of battling to stay up and not battling for Europe/the League or whatever other tosh people seem to believe. And why's there always a mockery of 'big' club? 10/15 clubs in the PL are big clubs and, yes, Newcastle historically fall into that. There's never been one suggestion that they're on the same massive, global magnitude of your Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal but there's no way it's small. In the same breath, I'd say Sunderland are a big club (and they believe it themselves), but that's surprisingly met with no question.

  • Comment number 55.

    As a lifelong Toon fan, I remember when Newcastle used to be everyone's favourite second team (to other sets of fans across the country). It was the 'entertainer' days of the mid ninties and the flair and cavalier attitude of attacking football under Kevin Keegan that brought endearment to the nations footballing hearts and a serious assualt to Manchester United's dominance.

    I will be honest and say all Toon fans old enough to have wintnessed that period still hold it close to their hearts. Some may say its a little sad to live in the past and I would tend to agree, but what other successful period have the fans got to cling on to?

    The Bobby Robson era was probably akin to how successful Newcastle were in the mid nineties, however we have been a club on the decline ever since and the team building of Keegan/Robson has been undone, however the period leaves a wonderful stadium in its wake.

    All the Newcastle fans I know are not deluded and if you visit SJP on a Saturday afternoon 99.9% of supporters just want Premier League football with survival being the key this term. If we are guilty of anything, it is clinging to the hope that Newcastle can win something or can improve. Tell me which supporter doesn't want that for their club?

    In my opinion and to all those fans jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to slating my club, I can only say Newcastle have not won anything of note in over half a century. The term 'BIG CLUB' is something banded around the media and it is something that has been played on to drum up a witch hunt. Media cameras focusing on the idiots outside the ground hoping to hear them say 'The Toon are the best team in the world man, we're ganna win it aal' is similar to the Jeremy Kylie show goading thickets to create entertainment.

    Perhaps thats the message - Newcastle are no longer known for being 'Entertainers' on the pitch, but for their fans being exploited to be 'Entertainers' on our TV screens instead.

  • Comment number 56.

    Dan, could you please ask Simon Grayson if he knows a decent seamstress? It's just that my sides split watching the 'massive club' up the road getting walloped on Tuesday night, and I haven't worked out how to put them back together yet.

    Failing that, perhaps it's fair to ask the manager of a newly promoted club what he thinks their chances of staying up this season might be? Or will you belittle the rest of the Championship by assuming they'll stroll straight through into the Premier League?

    @Cuzza10 (post 52) - any reason why Leeds should be featured more than Millwall, Scunthorpe etc?

    Tonton Zola Moukoko

  • Comment number 57.

    Gary, I'm a Newcastle fan as well. Don't let what other people think irritate you. Some people are incapable of forming their own opinions and happily just follow the crowd. Let them get on with it and forget about it, the perception of idiocy is far more damaging than any of this delusion banter. What is wrong with expecting good things, and who cares if you're deluded or not? Like it or not, we are a big club, as big is a measure of size, and we have a large stadium, large fan base, large attendances, and a large trophy cabinet. Those Northumberland Senior Cups are massive you know.

    Personally, I've been going to the games since 1987, and realise that ultimately it makes no difference to me or you what league we play in. We'll go to the games regardless, and drink and have fun watching the game no matter who the opposition may be. The key is entertainment, when Keegan was here you would go to the games in child like anticipation of what was about to happen. We were always good to watch and every fan left happy by and large. All I want now is to go and see some good football played on the ground, creating chances and making things happen. I enjoyed the Blackpool game, for in spite of all the frustration it brought, we created myriad scoring opportunities and looked dangerous throughout the game. Don't think anyone cares about winning that much so long as it's fun. Also, every fan thinks his or her club is the best in the World.

  • Comment number 58.

    Another good blog Dan, an enjoyable read.
    Football Focus used to play a key role in my old Saturday routine...
    Breakfast and a paper. Back into shorts and t-shirt (if not wearing). Watch focus and then drift in and out of sleep while tackling the 'other sports' on Grandstand. Start to rise from my slunber from about 3pm and be fully alert to catch the latest updates from half-time onwards.
    Nowadays, I'm busy with my boy and then out trying to play the game in the afternoon. As I write this, I'm wondering why I chose to abandon my Saturday rest and recovery days...
    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 59.

    if anyone cant see that swanny was joking it means a mixture of things, you know nothing about his character, you dont have a shred of intelligence and you are bereft of a sense of humour. he's also not a geordie

    43,384 average in the championship (a record) shows passion not delusion. 52,000 arent turning up expecting us to win the league, just stay in it

    John Lukic

  • Comment number 60.

    Cheers Stevat, I am not irritated, I just wanted to voice my opinion I guess. Most of the article is tongue in cheek and should be taken for nothing more than that.

    I reckon you, me and Olymans (#25 & #59) should meet for a pint before the match in Tilleys for nonsense. If Focus are at SJP that day, we can invite Dan along he can get the drinks in ;)

  • Comment number 61.

    To be pedantic the correct way the Americans would describe it is 0 (wins) and 2 (losses) - i have lived in New York for the last 5 months and watched a lot of ESPN......

  • Comment number 62.

    @ Gary Allinson We could discuss how we are the biggest club in England and our plans to win the double this season. I was tempted to say treble there but lets not get ahead of ourselves, we need atleast 2 or 3 signings to have the squad depth to mount an attack on both cups and the league.

    Dan would be welcome but he best not be shy on a round or try and tell me how to play bandits

  • Comment number 63.

    When are people from outside of the North East region ever going to get it through their thick heads that not all Geordies are Newcastle fans. There are 10's of thousands of us Geordies who support Sunderland, our local club, and no doubt thousands of others who support the regions other clubs at all levels.

    Whilst I agree that Newcastle fans do get tarred unfairly with the 'deluded' brush due to a minority of ignorant fans that bring down the club name I am fed up of this 'media' perpetuated image / assertion that all Geordies are Newcastle fans. Please refer to them as Mags or Magpies if you must attach a title of sorts as you insult all the Geordies who support the rest of the regions teams with your Geordie = Newcastle fan stance.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    Peyton's other brother's name is Cooper.

  • Comment number 66.

    If you are from south shields do not jump on the geordie bandwagon
    you are not a geordie but a mackem.
    geordies are from north of the tyne.

  • Comment number 67.


    Because we are a big club with a massive fan base. Why do you think sky sports and bbc are showing our games. More people will watch our games. A barnsley, millwall, scunthorpe etc... game just isnt the same.

    Congrats for Tuesday night.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm in boys. I'll bring a six pack of ribena and some fig rolls!

    Philippe Albert

  • Comment number 69.

    dirty disgusting arsenal,disgrace to the premier league!

  • Comment number 70.

    On the Leeds United page, will the BBC still have the feature on the opening game with Derby County at the end of May 2011 ?????

  • Comment number 71.

    Just explain how Chris Hughton became a half decent manager please!

  • Comment number 72.

    Can you please tell me what is happening regards to Leeds United as the F.A ask them last season and again this season who the owners are as Ken Bates distanced himself from them as he said he was just the Chairman not the owner they are from Nigeria ; Has the F.A found out who they are yet it seam to be as if they are not worried who owns what and where the money comes from;


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