Saturday, 19 July 2008

False Dawns and Earthquakes

Well, after what seems like 15 mins break, the pre-season is here... Woo hoo... A chance for the NUFC super new signings to get a run out in the famous black and wh.... errr, no hang on... Purple shirts (just who in the marketing dept thought Purple was a good colour?? I'd have liked to have seen the market testing on that one... lemme guess, they didn't do any) Its a friendly against the mighty Hartlepool.

I gave up going to friendlies years ago - most of the time when its a competitive game the players don't seem to care much, so why I should be bothered to turn up when it isn't even competitive? Anyway, home of the Monkey Hangers isn't top of my preferred holiday destinations. I'd be willing to bet one of our 'stars' will suffer some catastrophic injury (a la Shearer v Everton) so at least its good news that EMO isn't sullying his boots with a trip to Cleveland (something about a minor knock apparently)

And as for the super new singings -ermmm that'll be a challenge. Danny Guthrie and Jonas Gutierrez - still it'll be interesting to see where they fit in. Shame that we didn't succeed in getting Pablo Aimar - but at least we've been spared the Evening Chronicle headline "Why Aimar"....

Finally - so many thanks to Younes Kaboul's agent... For giving me the best laugh all week. If you haven't seen the comments, have a look.

Roll on 17th August

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Another out of season week trundles by...with a new signing and more rumours about a change in ownership.

I got a text from the lady in the picture (advertising that famous Geordie firm of solicitors) this week "I c we've signed Danny Guthrie - b still my beating heart" Apart from the impressive use of irony in a text message, it shows how little impact the summer signings this season have had on the fan base thus far.

Guthrie is a Liverpool cast off (albeit, a decent player from what I can remember) who did well at Bolton, but has no doubt come to the North East for higher wages than Bolton were prepared to offer him. That said, he's a young player and will be excellent replacement (or cover) for banged-up Barton. Hopefully he'll be keen to impress and maybe will be the type of player that we thought that we were getting when millions were shelled out for Scott Parker.

The signings so an interesting approach to ambition. A more frugal and pragmatic approach seems to be pervading in the transfer market at the moment. Perhaps this is Mike Ashley's period of retrenchment, or perhaps he's just got to the bottom of that money pit now and is skint!

Whatever the cause, the effect will be interesting to watch next season - I'd guess the aim will be to get to a European spot (fair play league anyone??) and then some of the rumours about the club being sold may become more solid.

Oh... one more thing. Last week I mused about Ashley being the Joker... I'm still not sure - but if you haven't seen it have a look at this interview in The Guardian - the jury is still out

Sunday, 6 July 2008


After the holiday period that was the European Championships the merry-go-round has started up again at the SJP funfair.

First of all we have signed a player (allegedly) - a certain Jonas Gutierrez, a winger who is right -footed and an Argentinian international. Good news on the face of it (as long as Milner stays...), except that his former club (before Real Mallorca) are claiming that they have some ownership rights and want some additional compensation - so it may not be as clear cut as it first appeared. Still, on the same day sunderland gave Dwight Yorke a one year extension to his existing contract, shows the depth of ambition, eh??

Next came Barton's case for assault against Dabo. A small bit of common sense prevailed (or more likely a plea bargain), he altered his plea to Guilty and as a result got a suspended sentence. As I've said before, I've no idea what the club will do with him. He'll be out in a couple of weeks apparently, and my view is that Newcastle United should get rid of him... but we can't afford to 'waste' a £6m 'asset'. The wallet will rule the head.

Then, Steven Taylor signed a improved 3year contract. That has to be good news - he's a future England captain, not yet the finished article, but a player of real class who will become better as he matures. He reminds me of Tony Adams at the same age, a tenancy to do daft things, but will grow and improve. Just the type of player Newcastle United need to hang onto and cultivate.

Finally, more media rumblings about Mike Ashley selling up again. This time either to a US based Private Equity Company or Osama Bin Laden's family.... You couldn't make it up... If Gutierrez' nickname is Spiderman - then lets hope that Ashley's is The Joker.... Cos someone must be winding up the press