Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Sunday May 6 2007
What can you say about the Blackburn game that hasn`t already been written in depth by national scribes, been on wall-to-wall on Sky Sports News and been ranted about on every phone in up and down the land? As I sat stabbing Chicken Teriyaki at 10:30pm last night in a Durham restaurant I was imagining Match of the Day`s reaction, particularly if Shearer had been on.
The whole package that is 'Newcastle United` (sic) is currently the sick man of the Premier League. Spent up, stacks in debt and managing to alienate their one priceless cash cow (us the fans if you hadn`t guessed), the club is freefalling faster than a sky-diver at 10,000 feet. There doesn`t seem to be any long-term planning as we lurch from one crisis to the next, with two men at the helm of the team and club who inspire no confidence whatsoever of getting back to our lofty perches of the Keegan or Robson eras.
Roeder is understandably taking the hammer. In charge of team affairs of a team that is in relegation form, he`s always going to be the visible target given he faces up to the press. Shepherd, on the other hand, is ultimately the culprit for appointing a man 'the fans wanted`. Just to correct Freddie - we didn`t. We wanted Hitzfeld, Van Gaal, O`Neill - someone with pedigree, trophy wins and a name to attract top players.
Instead we got our youth team manager on the cheap, a 'yes` man who wouldn`t complain about having no transfer funds and was just happy to be in the job and had previously presided over relegation teams at West Ham, Burnley and Watford. Fantastico Frederico - ANOTHER fine mess you`ve got us into. That`s now 1 out of 5 managerial choices you`ve got right, Robson being the only plus on your hire and fire list.
Most of us knew Roeder couldn`t cope with the egos in our dressing room - at least when Shearer was there he could keep them in check - but without his most high profile and senior supporter he lost the plot. His constant shoe-horning of his big earners into the side for youngsters who had done a better job was pathetic and frustrating when the likes of Dyer, Emre and Carr plodded about Sunday league style.
Yesterday was a case in point as they ambled around the turf, waiting for their post match drinks. At least Owen showed a bit of fight and frustration. The rest went through the motions. If Roeder does leave he`ll have left us a saleable asset in Martins, who`ll more than recoup his transfer value. We should also get some money from Duff. Plus we`ve still got our Premier League status, thankfully. Ultimately we can look at it as a season treading water. Keep him in any longer though and we`ll start going under.
Back to the match - credit to Blackburn who looked organised and aggressive coming forward. Bentley tortured our defence, whilst Pedersen, Roberts and McCarthy were far too good for our Championship trundlers at the back. In comparison, Nelsen and Samba were top dollar for them against £30m of talent in Owen and Martins. Then again they could have had cigars and deckchairs out given the supply to our front two from the back and middle. They looked how we should have been as the home team.
So the season drew to a close with the usual brainwashed lemmings stopped back and clapped the shower of shite we`ve had to watch all season, whilst a portfolio of radgies decided to protest outside the main steps again. Embarrassing behaviour from both extremes. The majority of us just ambled down the pub to be with our mates for the last time this season, knowing that some of them won`t be there next season (at least in season ticket form) as the bite of rising interest rates on your mortgage, energy prices and petrol makes you question whether it's worth £30 + spends to watch that. How Shepherd expects to sell enough tickets to fill a 60,000 stadium is beyond me…
Date:Sunday May 6 2007
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