I've been away for most of this week, so I've been watching from afar, which has provided a useful distance to evaluate the ahem, comings and goings at SJP.
Firstly, there was the derby match. There was a fantastic gathering of the clans in front of the TV at my house. Favourite Nephew brought Favourite Niece with him, to match her first game (and she admitted that 'it was ok' - high praise indeed from a 13 year old. Additionally, Erin saw her first Toon game, well, when I say saw - she slept through it as only a one-month old can. The thing about having few youngsters dotted about the place is that its fairly effective at keeping the expletive count low... Which is only slightly inhibiting. That said, I was busy roundly berating Taylor when he fell over in the penalty area, chuntering something like "You ejiit, you'll get booked for that" as Howard Webb pointed to the spot...
I enjoyed the game in an odd way, for many of the wrong reasons; the mackems didn't win, it was good to see the team play as a team for once, Newcastle seemed to have a bit pace and purpose for once, Gutierrez was the best player on the pitch, Bassong is looking like a real defender... I also couldn't help thinking that if that sort of performance had been given at Eastlands, we'd be 3 points better off as City couldn't have coped with any sort of sustained threat. Oh, and one of the best moments was the TV camera panning around the corporate boxes, and settling on Shearer, lustily belting out the Blaydon Races. Indeed he is a fan.
As the rest of the week fluttered on, the transfer window shut not so much with a slam for Newcastle but with an apologetic click. Given and N'Zogbia leaving for destinations in the North West, and Nolan and Ryan Taylor moving the other way along the M62. It's interesting that both Given and N'Zogbia have both taken departing swipes at the club. Given complaining that the last 6 months has been unpleasant (Shay, at least you haven't parted with any cash to watch games, try it from the terraces.) Whereas Charlie Zog joined a long list of French players at Newcastle who failed to settle and then flounced off in a huff with a few well chosen words of disappointment. Charlie, I hate to break it to you, but Ginola, Distin, Bernard, Boumsong, Charvet, Domi and even Louis Saha have all beaten a path over the Tyne Bridge, only to shortly leave in the opposite direction very quickly. Welcome to a long list.
The final newsworthy item was that Keegan has blamed his speeding on the A69 on the Toon as well. What will Newcastle get blamed for next?... Nah, I'm not going to answer that one, it'll probably come true.
Today its the Baggies, away. Another, must win game... relegation 6 pointer... and all the other cliches that Sky will trot out... Lets see... Howay the lads