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Fat Head Falls Foul Of New Owners


After Chris Hughton’s shock departure last week another manager with a Toon connection was heading for the dole queue last night as Blackburn and their new owners dispensed with the services of self proclaimed great manager Sam Allardyce. 

Whilst the media outlets run the usual stories about it being a shock etc I don’t think many Newcastle fans will be that shocked to tell you the truth and when you think about it I think it makes total sense. 

Blackburn have just been taken over by some new wealthy owners and I’m guessing that their idea of success probably doesn’t match a guy who seems to be generally happy to finish 13th/14th/15th etc every season as long as he can mark down another Premier League survival on his CV and can get excited about some Opta stat that apparently makes him the greatest manager in the world. 

Of course the new owners are taking a big risk if they are replacing the “safe” Allardyce with a more risky but attractive appointment but like I say you can half understand that from a new owners point of view. Finishing higher up the league and playing better football is a great way of generating more revenue. It’s of course not as simple as that but my guess is that they are willing to take that gamble rather than just get by with Allardyce. 

I’m sure a lot of people think this is just sour grapes from a Newcastle fan and I can guarantee it isn’t, I just think after enduring him at my club for a period of time I am in a decent position to dispel the apparent illusion that he is apparently one of the countries greatest managers. For me he is just still living off doing a half decent job with Bolton – other than that what has he really done? 

Newcastle and the fans got a lot of stick when he left with the accusations that his style of football wasn’t good enough for the Geordies who demanded free flowing attacking football. That is a load of media invented rubbish to be fair and the fans would happily have seen a more direct and physical style if it yielded results but it didn’t. The team was playing ugly football and losing – what fan is going to be happy paying to see that?? 

There is also the accusation that the owner didn’t back him – in his first summer he spent around 15 or 20 million on players and also brought in a couple of expensive free transfers as well as about 20 backroom staff. Unfortunately he spent the money on the likes of Alan Smith, Casapa, Geremi and Viduka that was the issue – he had money and wasted it with possibly the only good thing to come out of his reign being Jose Enrique but even he struggled to begin with and was more a signing for the future rather than someone to make an impact straight away.

I think he is just an average manager with an over inflated ego and I think Blackburn have seen sense to be honest. The day he takes charge of England is the day I give up on the national team altogether. 

For me there is only one real job Allardyce would be good at. I think he is a good short term manager so he should maybe think about hiring himself out as some kind of freelance football fire-fighter. A team like West Ham in trouble at the minute could sack Grant and get him in until the end of the season – chances are he could keep them up and then move onto another job. As a long term manager he is useless for me yet the sad thing is there will no doubt be another team out there who will employ him and settle for mediocrity. Give me a roller-coaster ride over boring dross any day of the week.

Your Team Needs You


They say a week is a long time in football and this week certainly feels like one of the longest weeks ever. After all the turmoil and speculation this week it will in a way be nice to actually get back to the football as Liverpool come to town tomorrow evening no doubt looking to take advantage of the current goings on. 

Whilst I am expecting a pretty hostile and vicious atmosphere tomorrow I would hope and beg the fans to get behind the team in the 90 minutes of football. By all means make your feelings known before and after the game but during it the players need our support in what was always going to be a tough game anyway against a team we have a very poor record against in recent meetings. 

There is obviously anger and people are clearly not happy, myself included but what we don’t want to happen is all the current issues being compounded with us getting hammered – the media and press will be waiting for that to happen to allow them to hammer the club and the owner even more. 

I have said this already but at the end of the day Hughton is gone and Pardew is here – there is nothing we can do to change that so we have to get behind the manager and help him carry on what Hughton has started here.

On to the actual game and I’m expecting Pardew to leave things pretty similar to what they have been the last few games as he has literally only had today training with them so there is not going to be any drastic changes I don’t think whilst he susses out the players. 

Williamson and Coloccini remain suspended so Taylor and Campbell will no doubt continue to deputise. Hopefully at least 1 of Barton and Nolan will return so we should see a change in midfield with hopefully Guthrie at least missing out and possibly Routledge too if both of them are fit. 

Personally I would definitely have a go at Liverpool; they are missing the likes of Carragher and Gerrard and really have not had a good start to the season. They obviously do have quality in the likes of Fernando Torres but if we can shackle him and have a go then I certainly think Carroll can cause their defence problems. 

I think unfortunately the game is going to be more about the atmosphere rather than the football, I expect it to be a pretty horrible and vicious atmosphere similar to the Hull game after Keegan’s departure but we saw what happened that day so as I say I just hope that as well as making their point people can get behind the team because a result here would do wonders for Alan Pardew and our season in general. No matter how upset people are the team needs us. 

What are people’s thoughts on tomorrow’s game; can we get a win or do people simply no longer care?


Baffled And Bewildered But Life Goes On


After praying that the bookies had got this one wrong most Newcastle fans worst nightmares came true as Alan Pardew was yesterday unveiled as the clubs new manager to replace Chris Hughton who was of course sacked earlier in the week. To add to the surprise it was announced that the new man had signed a staggering 5 and a half year contract with the club. 

I may be repeating myself a bit here but until the confirmation even though he was the odds on favourite I was praying that somehow the board were going to pull one out of the bag and bring in a better alternative. This appointment just baffles me in the sense that I really cannot comprehend how Pardew can be seen by the board as any kind of real improvement on Hughton. This would maybe suggest to me that disagreements went on behind the scenes which forced the sacking because certainly the excuse of we want someone with more experience doesn’t really fit when the guy coming in has, in the grand scheme of things, not a great deal of Premier League Management experience and the experiences he does have don’t appear to be particularly great ones. 

I think the length of the contract really just compounds things too. Considering that Mike Ashley has been through about 6 managers in his 3 years here you would think he would have learnt that giving out long contracts to people that are quite possibly not going to last the length of them is an expensive exercise. The club got a lot of stick for keeping Hughton on a relatively short term contract but I actually thought it was a good idea keeping it short term and obviously reviewing and extending it based on our achievements. 

As I mentioned in a previous post all this upheaval could possibly have been seen as worthwhile had a real big name come in to replace Hughton but to risk upsetting the players and the supporters to bring in someone certainly not really regarded much higher than Hughton is a very very big risk. 

Saying all that though life does go on now and we have to get behind him because he is the new man in charge and there is nothing we can do to change that. In all fairness to him it wasn’t his fault Hughton got sacked and it wasn’t his fault he got offered the job and lets be honest here I don’t think any manager in his position would have turned down this job. 

I watched his press conference today and to be fair I actually thought he came across quite well. He seems an honest and genuine guy who will work his hardest to do well here, obviously whether he does or not is a different matter. 

Since the press conference I have read a few negative comments on some Newcastle sites having a dig at his somewhat predictable answers and compliments to the fans etc but at the end of the day what do people expect him to do in the press conference, slag off the fans and the club and say he doesn’t want to be here?? 

Looking desperately for positives here I think he does seem to have some very Hughton like qualities about him. As I say he seems likeable and you also get the impression that he genuinely does feel privileged to get the job much like Hughton did so I think one things for sure he will work his hardest to do well and ultimately stay in the job. 

Like I say the fact of the matter is that he is here so we have to get behind him. Unless someone out there has the money to buy out Mike Ashley we are stuck with him for the time being and he has chosen this guy to be manager whether we like it or not so I personally will at least give him the opportunity to prove himself and fingers crossed prove his many doubters wrong. That happening can only be good for Newcastle United. 

What are people’s thoughts on Alan Pardew’s appointment and now it has happened will he be up to the job and should the fans be getting behind him even if they don’t agree with the decisions??


We promised Fulham’s man of money in this week’s “Who are You?”

We promised Fulham’s man of money in this week’s “Who are You?” slot, and while Steve Johnson may not be Mohamed as Fayed, or have quite his fortune, he does work in money. He’s also a passionate Fulham fan with some great answers to our questions ahead of Fulham v Sunderland this Saturday.
Sadly no photo – so we’ve just had to make do again with his club’s celebrity supporter Lily Allen, who we’re sure really, really wants to do this feature herself of only she can break free from her tyrannical PR people …

Mohamed al Fayed: a good thing for Fulham FC or do you have reservations?
Where would you be now without the support he’s given?

When “Mo” put his hand in his pocket in 1997 the club had just gone through the lowest point in its history. I must admit there was some nervousness about him initially but he put a lot of money into the grass roots of the club and it was clear he was in for the whole journey. The rest is history, as they say on the pitch, although not keen on the dodgy shirts and the occasional dodgy guest – Michael Jackson and Maradona !! Where would we be without him – probably Ryman Premier League!!

Was Mark Hughes a smart appointment and how do you feel he is measuring up?

I think we were all still on a high in the summer after Hamburg, and the thought of getting Martin Jol from Ajax was very appealing. So Hughes did feel a bit like sloppy seconds in the end and to follow “Woy” was always going to be very hard. The jury is still out, but the general level of play is actually better than last year with a bit more going forward. I always thought that he was abit of a post match moaner but he seems to have chilled a bit. Word from the training ground is that the players respect him so happy to keep the faith! ps We may all hate Mr Jol soon!!!! (what? as Alan Pardew’s no 2? – ed)

You’ve travelled a bit watching Fulham. Do you rub shoulders with Lily Allen and other celebrity fans? Describe any memorable moments.

Like all clubs we have a few celebs and actually Keith Allen is someone I have met. Pleased to see he has brought his kids up properly. To be honest I don’t think the likes of Hugh Grant and Honor Blackman drink in the same establishments as me. Mind you I am surprised I didn’t bump into Hugh in the Red Light part of Hamburg last year ! The big celeb fan this year is Example – rapper – I guess he was too busy for this gig!

The Runners And The Riders



So it’s been 24 hours or so since Chris Hughton’s unbelievable sacking and whilst there is still obvious anger and confusion from fans the simple fact is life goes on and in football you can’t really dwell on the past. Chris Hughton did a great job here but no man is bigger than the club. 

I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense, of course the sacking seemed to all stem from the board but the fact is he is gone and we have a game on Saturday and 21 games after to that in which to make sure we stay in this division.

This may all sound slightly heartless but I’m a realist. This is football and nobody has died here.  Football managers come and go, something I’m sure Chris was aware of when he took the job. He leaves with his head held high, an improved CV and no doubt the remaining 6 months of his contract paid up, it’s not like he is going to be joining the nearest dole queue. Like I say I’m not being disrespectful here but focus has to now turn to getting in a replacement and just trying to get through this tough period because should the club and fans sit around moping about this then the potential is there for utter disaster. 

So who is the replacement to be then? Well the fact that the board wants experience would rule out the usual potential suspect of Alan Shearer and in all honesty I couldn’t see him working for Ashley again anyway. The main names being banded about at the moment are Alan Pardew, Alan Curbishley, Martin Jol and Martin O’Neill.

They are all out of work currently which I think sadly needs to be the case from a financial point of view and they seem to tick the boxes in terms of experience. 

First impressions are that list doesn’t appeal to me a great deal, certainly not in terms of Pardew and Curbishley – I just don’t really see how either of those could really be deemed as any kind of massive, if any, improvement on Hughton. 

I would take either Jol or O’Neill, my personal preference being the Irishman although I would say he is the least likely of all 4 of those mentioned to take it as I doubt he would fancy working under Ashley and also if rumours are to be believed he left Villa due to lack of transfer funds which aint gonna change here!

That leaves Jol really who has a decent reputation from his time at Spurs and who has coincidentally (or maybe not) become free after leaving Ajax. 

I’ll be honest I have no idea who it will be with these clowns in charge. I didn’t expect Hughton to get the job in the first place, I didn’t expect Joe Kinnear before that, the return of Keegan before that and even going back pre Ashley to when Freddie Shepherd was in charge the Souness appointment came totally out of the blue so it really could be anyone. 

I just hope that whoever it is comes in quick and is someone that can at least be deemed as a genuine improvement on Hughton – it would just be farcical to replace him like for like and cause all this disruption. 

Time will tell, the noises from the club are that it will be sorted before Saturday’s game but then again the noises from the club not long ago were that Hughton would get a new contract so I won’t hold my breath. 

At least it’s never dull eh?! 

What are peoples thoughts having had time to reflect and who do you want and more to the point who will we actually get?


Hughton We Have A Problem



You think you have seen it all as a Newcastle fan and then the club just takes things to new heights when it comes to the ridiculous. Just when it looked like the club was running on a stable footing for once Big Mike has gone and done it again with the announcement today that Chris Hughton has been relieved of his duties.

I just don’t know where to start with this; I just can’t comprehend the thinking behind it. We sit 11th in the league, the fans are relatively happy and the players certainly seemed to be happy working for the manager. Granted some of the results haven’t been great but to rock the boat mid way through the season is a massive massive gamble.

I will be honest I was sceptical about Hughton’s appointment originally; I thought it was a very risky move but was more than happy to see him prove me wrong. What I just don’t get is the reasoning. The official club statement says that they think they need someone with more managerial experience. Had they said that at the start of the season maybe then fair enough but I just don’t buy into that excuse at this stage of the season.

Getting rid of the manager is one thing but the owner surely needs to look at the big picture? He now has a squad going into Saturday’s game with Liverpool which apart from having no manager is no doubt pretty shocked and annoyed at this sacking so moral is going to be low. Add to that the no doubt negative atmosphere amongst supporters and no doubt the re-ignition of the ill feeling towards him and it all just points to a plummet down the table unless he has an absolute ace up his sleeve in terms of a replacement but in all honesty who is going to want to work for him?

Were we currently languishing at the bottom of the league then I could maybe understand it. I understand that the whole business plan of the club going forward probably relies on us remaining a Premier League club so I think this season the owner was always going to have his finger slightly on the trigger with Hughton being an unproven Premier League manager and were we looking like relegation material then you probably would have forgiven him for making a change to try and change things around but like I say we are just nowhere near being doomed by any stretch.

Since all the farce of Keegan and the relegation then I have to say Mike Ashley has not been one of my favourite people but as a realist and following some good moves to sort the club out after relegation and due to the fact that he is going to be here for the foreseeable future then I was happy to give him another chance and whilst not liking him I was happy to put up with him and have even on occasions defended him but that again just goes out of the window with this utterly ridiculous decision.

I have to say that I don’t support the bed sheet chav brigade who will no doubt be in force on Saturday with their Ashley out banners etc basically because I don’t think it helps the team but I certainly think the guy has possibly burnt all his bridges if there were any left with these actions.

Like I say I think the only way out of this is if he has an ace up his sleeve but so far with the rumours I have heard I can’t see this being the case as I think he is genuinely clueless when it comes to football. Martin Jol is a name being mentioned as he has left Ajax today which I don’t think would be bad and certainly better than other names being mentioned as favourites like Alan Pardew! Personally if we are talking realistic options then I would probably go for Martin O’Neill but I can’t see him wanting to work under Ashley on a shoestring budget.

I think the worst thing about this other than the obvious of us losing a good man as a manager is that it brings the media circus focus straight back onto us which we just really don’t need. 

I’m going to wrap up this post with a big thank you to Chris Hughton and all his work over the last few years. I will do a full post on this in the next couple of days but in the meantime I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I appreciate the way Hughton has gone about his job and clearly done everything that has been asked of him.

It’s well known that Mike Ashley likes a gamble, well this is certainly his biggest one yet – let’s just hope it pays off, watch this space. 

So what are people’s thoughts on this bombshell, did anyone see it coming and where do we go from here?

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The week that was ….

On Monday night Jose Mourinho took his Real Madrid side to Barcelona, sitting top of the table he hoped he would get one over his dealy rivals. Instead he saw his side get thumped 5-0, the worst defeat of his managerial career.

Thursday was decision day, the result of the World Cup bids was announced – England had been hopeful hosting football’s biggest competition but in the end they only received one other vote than their own. The chosen nation was Russia, whilst the 2022 announcment shocked everyone when Qatar was announced as host nation – with a population of just over 1.5 million people.

The policeman who shot Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri was given a nine year prison sentance, he was initially found guilty of manslaughter but this was changed to murder. The innocent fan was shot on the November 11th 2007 when he was on his way to see his team play Juventus.

Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini fall out as the Argeninean is subbed, as he left the pitch he had a go at his manager.

Lord Ashcroft announced Watford FC could be sold, that followed Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday both being taken over and Hull also likely to follow the same path.

Serie A’s players have announced that they will go on strike on 11 and 12 December.

Jose Mourinho has been fined by Uefa and banned for one Champions League match and if he causing any trouble over the next three years he will have to miss another – This follows Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos both allegedly getting sent off on purpose to avoid bans during the knockout stage of the competition.