NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Newcastle player Hatem Ben Arfa runs at the West Brom defence during the Barclays Premier league game between Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion at St James' Park on December 21, 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Good Morning! It's Friday! I double checked, and as near as I can tell Manchester United still lost to Newcastle United 3-0... so I guess I haven't been asleep and dreaming for the last two days. We shift focus, however, as the fixture list will not just pause to allow us to enjoy special victories, unfortunately. It's another massive day of news, so I'm going to get on with it. I've got my strawberry syrup in my coffee, so what can go wrong?!
On the FA Cup
"We have a chance to win it. "We are seventh favourites as that’s where we are in the Premier League, and if we get through we could be sixth favourites as one of the Manchester teams will be out. That’s how I stand on it."
I'm not entirely certain that we can win the FA Cup and still excel in the league. We'll see. With a couple of key reinforcements in the window I could maybe see a prolonged run. Guess we'll see what happens.
So that moves me on to Lee’s goal coming at Wembley in front of 30,000 Geordies. When for just SIX minutes the home of English football experienced a taste of what it would be like if Newcastle did actually get their hands on some silverware. During those six minutes at Wembley it was sheer pandemonium, sheer ecstasy in the sunshine, Sir Bobby Robson performed a jig of delight in the dugout and it all felt like a taste of what it might all be like if the Magpies could finally get that first elusive domestic trophy in the cabinet since the days of Wor Jackie. This particular Tyneside native remembers being flung five or six rows down the old wooden stands at Wembley along with many a Toon fan.
I love first-person accounts of big days for Newcastle United. I'm in no financial position to do so, but if we were to make the FA Cup final, I'd seriously consider trying to get over and be there, though. Could you imagine?
He said: "We have the players. We don't want to throw up the cup, we want to focus on that tournament as well because it is a beautiful competition. "If you have good draws, you can maybe reach the semi-finals or even the final. First, we must think about the first game, but of course, we want to keep going in the competition."
Historically (at least over the last decade or so), the draws have not been particularly kind to us, so I'm not going to hope for a friendly draw this time. Well... there was that one draw of Stevenage... at least I think there was. Memory foggy.
The Tyne-Wear derby star told the Chronicle: "The gaffer said after the game with Man U that the two Manchester clubs are playing each other, so one will go. "What a chance this is to push on and have what could be a great season. "We would love to get to a final. "A good cup run takes away the pressure of the league off. "It would be nice, and hopefully we can turn Blackburn over too now, having beaten Man U so convincingly."
I'm not certain a good cup run takes the pressure of the league completely off... it's a little like a long-shot bet that gets closer and closer if your bet keeps winning but you lose it right at the end... the disappointment is tremendous, and when you look around at the rest of the landscape (i.e. the league), it's all tremendously disappointing unless something spectacular has happened. That said, I'm on board for us to try to win it all.
On The Club In General and Feeling Good
Krul felt that it was a dream fulfilled to be part of a Newcastle side that tore apart Man U on live worldwide TV. He added: "It was a night to remember. I always watch those famous football games (on TV), and winning 3-0 was incredible. "It’s just a fantastic feeling. "It was great timing – what a start to the New Year. "We had a fantastic start to the season with 33 points, and to push on against Man United in 2012 was a great feeling."
Being overly superstitious, I get nervous at verbiage such as "tore apart Man U on live worldwide TV"... but I mean, if we're being honest, we did dismantle them a fair bit. We'll see what happens against the Sky6 the rest of the way, but do remember that we took 4 points off Arsenal last year... if we can end up with 4 points off two of the Sky6 this year, I suppose that's progress.
Ba could be on African Nations Cup duty with Senegal until mid-February. But Pardew has Ben Arfa, Best, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands at his disposal – and insisted they would all get their chance in the coming weeks. Ben Arfa went public with his desire to be starting games earlier this week, and his plea was not lost on Pardew. The Toon boss told the Chronicle "Hatem has already stated in the Press that he wants a chance. "And obviously, in this period, I’ve always thought he would get it. "He now needs to show us what’s he got and show us his ability."
And this is what happens when you break silence and run your mouth in the press. I don't doubt that HBA is going to come good... it looks like he's ready. If he struggles for some reason, though? Ugh... could be the start of a messy slide that ends up with HBA somewhere else.
However, a revised four-and-a-half year contract could now be agreed, ending an unsettling few months for Simpson, who helped Newcastle beat his former club Manchester United 3-0 on Wednesday night. A number of club have been monitoring Simpson’s situation, among them Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa. The progress is a lift for Simpson ahead of the visit of another of his former clubs, Blackburn Rovers, to St James’s Park for a third-round FA Cup tie tomorrow. Simpson doesn’t want to leave Tyneside, but he is keen for a contract that reflects his contribution to the cause, having been an near ever-present since his move from Old Trafford, which was initially a loan deal.
There are two players that have started every league match this year for Newcastle. Tim Krul is one, Danny Simpson is the other. He has come in for some fire this year from fans (myself included from time to time), but he has really locked down the right of defense for us recently. I've always wanted this deal done, but his form lately has made it imperative.
Smith though admits he may have to leave soon, he added: "If I'm not staying at Newcastle, I want to find a club where I can make a difference, like a QPR where I could give them a bit of a push forward. "I can still do a good job in the Premier League or the Championship — I just need that chance."
This story makes me feel badly for Alan a little bit... I just don't know where he fits in now. Obviously AP doesn't rate Alan's skills on the pitch but values his brain. Odd situation.
Ironically, the Man U victory made the percentage of goals scored a little less shocking... I had run the numbers about a week ago just out of curiosity and Demba had scored over 60% of our goals. So there's that at least going for us!
On Things That Are Awesome
IT looked like loyal Tom Stuart was putting the slip up into betting slip when he backed Newcastle to trounce Manchester United 3-0. At odds of 100-1, even the bookie told him he would be better off throwing his money in the gale outside. But his faith paid off as he raked in £505 from his £5 stake after the Magpies triumph. And his victory was all the sweeter – as he celebrated it in a pub full of Red Devil fans.
Yeah... sure it was only a £15 investment initially... but still awesome. One of the Brits I follow on the twitters had put money down on a 5-0 result for Newcastle... would have been realllllly awesome to see that one hit.
I have to admit, I had heard of this Gardner fellow's goal but had not watched it because, well, he's scum. Then some unwashed named Neyler was running his mouth on Simmo's Twitter about how Gardner's goal was better than Cabaye's... so I watched it. Sure, Gardner's goal was nice. Cabaye's goal was LEGEND, though. Even if it was only a 4 vote margin, I'm glad that reality won out in the end.
Hey, so it looks set to be a huge day here at CHN today, so keep checking back for new awesomeness. We're on the downhill to the FA Cup clash with Blackburn Forfeiters!