Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Great Debate

Well, all the talking is over and the battle for a trinket the size of a pot plant has started in Africa. Thirty two nations, some playing entertaining football, some playing measured football, some playing dull football are taking part in the quadrennial festival of football that enlivens my TV screen. Most of the time I don't really give a rats-ass about England 's (or to be more accurate Eng-er-lund's) fortunes in these competitions. The hype and hyperbole are wearing and misplaced, I'm of an age whereby I can still remember the racist connotations of a number of those who follow Eng-er-lund and the horror of riots at various competitions in the past.

So some time ago (I think after England drew with Poland and failed to qualify for in 1974 World Cup) I decided that I'd much prefer watching Newcastle V Carlise rather than England v USA... Simply, I cared more about the former rather than the later. Occasionally I have been sucked into the joy of supporting the country of my birth, but on the whole I've been a passive observer.

That said, there always used to be a horror when watching England... Which Newcastle player would get injured and therefore miss the start/middle/whole (delete as appropriate) of the next season? Shearer, Lee, and most notably England's Michael Owen all fell pray to the same set of worries, and they were usually lived up to.

For the South African World Cup, its very different. Not a Newcastle player within a beery breath of the squad, now no worries there. But, its replaced by a different one. Enter, stage left a mercurial winger, wearer of the black and white stripes and the finest Spiderman since Tobey Maguire...Jonas Gutierrez. Not for one moment do I think that he's likely to get injured (he falls over far too easily to get hurt by anyone) but my concern is that if he has a storming world cup he'll have his head turned by a more glamorous team - like Everton or Wigan and he'll leave the bright lights of the North East for pastures new. Equally I don't want him to have such a rubbish world cup that he comes back completely demoralised...

My internal debate rages on....

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Whilst I've been away

Ermmmm... Sorry, I've been a bit remiss lately. In fact, depending on your definition of lately I've been positively tardy. But, I wouldn't want you to think I've not been paying attention. Some of the 'highlights' of the last 6 months include:-

- Defying all the gloom-mongers (*cough* including myself) NUFC have managed to win the Championship at a canter, remaining unbeaten at SJP for a whole season.
- Most of the players have (so far) stayed with the club
- We still have the same manager, who has been quietly dignified through out the barrage of nonsense that has been stirred up in the press

So, NUFC are looking forward to the start of August with the prospect of turning out against Manure, Arsenal and the Mackems next season , and all that this entails... Higher price match tickets, greater speculation about players in/out, even more pressure on Hughton as well as the unforgiving glare of the press spotlight being shone even brighter on those at SJP.

In an attempt to combat this the Board at NUFC put out a statement last month. Have a look at the full version here. This is a spectacular example of standing on a chair, hoisting corporate skirts up and shouting "Thomas!". Surely, statements like this

There will be no comment from the Board regarding the purchase of players.

There will be no comment from the Board regarding the sale of players.

There will be no comment from the Board regarding ongoing contract talks with players presently at Newcastle United Football Club or with those that the club may enter into negotiation with.

Will only serve to pique the interest of the press pack. What is the phrase about keeping your friends close, but your enemies even closer? A certain amount of openness and transparency can only benefit the understanding of what the current Board are trying to achieve... How does this help?

In simple terms this is a transparent policy that will feed through and inform all aspects of the running of Newcastle United Football Club's first team. There will be no comments from any member of Newcastle United's Board in the future regarding any issues surrounding Newcastle United to the press/media at large.

That said, I sorta agree with this one.... Not the ethics of it, but because the Daily Mail is pure bile filled spiteful garbage...