Big Thumbs Up to 2011-2012 no matter how it works out.
There are a number of lessons that we can all take from this life. One of them that I will share with you? Never start apartment searching on a Sunday, even if flight costs suggest that it might be a good idea. Trust me on this one. Also related to this, no matter how hard you try, you're not likely to make a match at 5:30 am when you don't make your hotel until nearly 1:00 am. Anyway (last I'll discuss on this), I and the OSotP Better Half have located and procured a place to stay and the next year of my life is going to be filled with a number of very very early mornings... but I'm fine with that.
At any rate, I didn't get to see the City match at all, but woke up enough to check in several times during the match... I was a little sad that we lost, but (as much as you can in sleep fog) felt fairly proud that we weren't rolled over... bad result on the day for the table, but maybe not so bad for the club. If only I'd reiterated my claim from the first match that Yaya Toure would be key man...
The links! I've got them now that I've recovered from yesterday's day of travel. Predictably, there are several interviews with former Toon players from their return for the Sir Bobby statue unveiling... those will always have a place. Ben Arfa for France, Danny Simpson does the completely unsurprising and more (plus one completely unrelated bonus link!). Jump and read.
I Went To Seattle And All Newcastle Got Was A Statue Of Wor Bob
The former United star was part of Keegan’s dream team that surged from the depths of the old First Division and led the Toon Army on to the continent in just two years. Bracewell was the player who got the party started with a scorching goal against plucky Southend United in 1992 on his debut, and within two years the black and whites were taking on Royal Antwerp after finishing in an impressive third place in the Premier League. Keegan persuaded Bracewell to quit FA Cup finalists Sunderland and make a controversial switch, swapping Wear for Tyne to join the Messiah’s revolution. Fast forward to 2012 and Alan Pardew could lead the Magpies into the Champions League just two years after playing in the Championship.
All of these interviews with former players are fascinating to me even if there's not always a lot of substance. I found a (relatively) recent book on the Toon that I spent most of my flight time reading... about halfway done, but when I get through it, there are going to be a couple of massive posts (I hope) in the User's Guide that I think are going to be very fascinating. Consider the above snip as a preview of what I'm thinking on this.
“He was great to me. When I first met him I was playing for England’s Under-19s. “He came in the dressing room and said ‘I hope you’re keeping off the Mars Bars fat man’. There isn’t a bad word you could say about him.” ::
UNITED are set to wear their new maroon away kit at Everton.
The main point of this article (clearly) is what we already know... we can't flog off all of our big names this summer. Also included are the inevitable anecdotes about Sir Bobby Robson. Always always love to read those. Also, it appears that Newcastle are set to wear their new away kit at Everton.
"As we all know, Newcastle United is an attacking team, so maybe this will always be a problem for the managers and players to get results because always the fans want you to attack and want to see attacking football. "But football these days is all a matter of results. Now the team has a chance of a Champions League spot due to good organisation and some good knowledge from the manager and from the players as well. "The most important thing for me is that they have kept the same players for the last two years. They have improved the team with two or three transfers every year, but the spine is the same. "It's very important not to take out 10 players and bring 10 players in, you have to have a balance in that direction and Newcastle have in the last few years."
This particular article is not one of the ones that I referred to before with little substance. There were several great blocks that I would have loved to quote here, but at a certain point, I've just got to allow you to click through and read them so the author gets credit... so there you click it. It's worth it. On a slight aside, I remember Nikos Dabizas fondly from the Sir Bobby Robson days... it was neat to hear from him again. He weighs in on player retention and Fabricio Coloccini among other things here.
Long Serving Blokes And Their Stories
"I remember we played Barcelona at home in pre-season and we were 3-0 down after an hour and he said, 'You are going on, son, you are going on'. "As I stood there waiting to go on, bearing in mind we were 3-0 down and getting battered, just as I was about to enter the pitch, he said, 'Steve, don't let any more goals in, son, we are getting murdered'. "We were 3-0 down against Barcelona and I was running on with a smile on my face. That's the way he had of relaxing players and putting them at ease and making them feel comfortable on the big stage. He was that type of man, and he is sorely missed."
I have a ton of respect for Steve Harper. Whatever happens this summer with Steve, I hope that the club do right by him... in today's sports landscape a guy like this is uncommon at best and he deserves to be given some consideration as he approaches the end of his playing career. He slots in here because of his anecdote about Sir Bobby. I Loov it.
I’m Alan’s link with the city,” said Carver, brought back in January 2011 as Pardew struggled to convince anyone he was the right man for the job. “I listen to everything, my friends, my family. I go out in the town, I can’t ignore what people are saying. It’s like being on the coal face, I know what’s going on, what the buzz is, what people are thinking, what they’re disappointed with. “Other clubs have passion and huge support, but Newcastle is unique. I don’t care what anybody says. It dominates people’s lives up here in a way it doesn’t anywhere else. Even if people don’t like football they know how Newcastle are doing.”
I think that most people knew when Cerberus brought John Carver back to Newcastle United that it was a master stroke. I don't think that you can overestimate exactly how influential his appointment has turned out to be. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the Geordie public is vital for a Front Office group to succeed... particularly when they're "outsiders". There's a ton of stuff in this one about John Carver's relationship with Gary Speed and how they influenced each others' careers... Nice set of links today.
Hey- These Guys Actually Play Here Now!
“We are fighting for a dream so it is a very important game,” he said. “We are confident. Of course we are confident because we played well against Chelsea, we’ve played well against Manchester City too. We lost but the final result came because they scored the first goal and we were chasing an equaliser, which is why they scored the second goal. “We have a very tough game on Saturday but it is one we can win. We have to do our own work at Everton and take the three points first. If we do that, it puts the pressure on Tottenham and Arsenal and we’ll see – but we have to do our own job first.”
"We are fighting for a dream" I can't add to that.
“I have just found out my pre-selection for the Euros,” Ben Arfa told his own website. “I feel great personal satisfaction from achieving this, and want to express my great gratitude to all those who supported me in recent months. “Personally, these 18 months have felt like an eternity. Since I’ve played football, I’ve always had special relationship with the shirt I wore for the youth teams. “I would go to the Euros with humility and ambition.” Blanc, meanwhile, said: “His talent was always there, and always will be, and he has shown more maturity this season.” (emphasis mine - OSotP)
While we'll not know how painful the process was behind the scenes for a number of years, it seems that Alan Pardew's insistence that HBA mature and play a more team oriented style has proved to be vital to Hatem's international career. I'll look forward to their respective memoirs.
“It’s an exciting game to be involved in,” said Pardew. “It could be a crucial day for us. “It’s the type of end-of-season game where we know what we need to do.” Pardew admits it will be impossible to keep his players from finding out the scores from White Hart Lane and The Hawthorns. “The way the world is with technology, we know that scores will be filtering through,” he added. “It’ll be tough. We just have to focus on our own result. “Without a win for us, we know we’ll get nothing on the day – regardless of what happens elsewhere. It’s a strange sort of day for us, because the other two games are linked.”
It seemed that the last day of the season was going to be amazingly exciting to watch as a neutral observer at the relegation end, but Wigan and Aston Villa have done just enough that it's really down to Bolton and QPR. The top end, however, is going to make up for it. 5 matches at the top and 5 vital results. It's going to be fun.
Simpson would have more than doubled his wages if he had signed the £25,000-a-week deal and his refusal has angered the Newcastle United hierarchy. The former Manchester United trainee, who has one year left on his contract, has made 40 appearances for Newcastle this season, but negotiations have stalled since the turn of the year. Joining him on the Newcastle departure list are striker Leon Best and midfielder Danny Guthrie who are both expected to sign to Aston Villa.
I think that we all saw this coming... Danny has seemed to be unhappy and unwilling to sign. The question becomes, then, what hole doesn't get filled in our needs list when we have to add right back to the conversation? I'm a little sad to see Leon Best on the list to go, although I completely understand it. I think that he has meant more to this club than he gets credit for this year.
Completely Unrelated Yet Interesting
"We believe that this evidence provides conclusive proof that they moved westward up the Albemarle Sound to the confluence of the Chowan and Roanoke rivers," said James Horn, vice president of research and historical interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and author of a 2010 book about the Lost Colony. "Their intention was to create a settlement. And this is what we believe we are looking at with this symbol – their clear intention, marked on the map ..."
For the History nuts out there (hopefully more than just John and myself...)