NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Cheik Tiote of Newcastle celebrates scoring the fourth and equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park on February 5 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The early part of the close season is doing what it is supposed to do-- not much real news happening on the Newcastle United (or most clubs, for that matter) front, but names and rumors are growing at a seemingly exponential rate. It's fun to speculate, but I'm certain that resolution to any of the hanging situations (Cheik Tiote, Danny Simpson... even Romain Amalfitano) is going to be very slow in coming. In Amalfitano's case, you'd have thought we'd hear something very soon after the opening window as it was a "done deal" a long time ago... but such is the nature of the transfer windows.
In the news today- Cheik Tiote passes an English class, a new name linked with the Toon, Reserves Select team brings silverware back to Tyneside and more. Jump and read, my friends!
Silverware to St. James'!
Donachie has paid tribute to his 10-man squad for the way they adjusted to the format and hot and humid weather. Donachie said: "This is unbelievable. I thought we’d struggle to win a game because we had such a young team, but the players have done exceptionally well, they showed a lot of discipline and they worked hard for each other. "I’ve learned a lot about these players by bringing them to Hong Kong. You see so much more about their character, their will to win and how they adapt to different situations. "I saw Villa training and thought they would be a threat, and yet we’ve beaten them twice, which is great credit to the players
Following a second half of the season that could be described as challenging at best from the Reserves (keeping in mind that most of them were told at the end of the January window that they had no future at St. James' Park), a 10-man squad went to Hong Kong and came back with the trophy from the sevens tournament in Hong Kong this past weekend. Under the leadership of James Tavernier, the side won the tournament without a loss and made it through the group stage without conceding a single goal. It's a small bright light for Willie Donachie and a nice way to wrap up the season.
The League, League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League
"Sammy’s had one of those breakthrough seasons, to a degree," Pardew told the Gazette. "The injury’s sort of hampered his progress, but next year’s a big year for him. He’s grown another inch, as well – he’s about 6ft 8ins! "Sammy and Ferguson are the two from within who have really been a bonus for me." Ferguson – who can play at left back, or on the wing – didn’t see much football in the first half of the campaign, but the 20-year-old pressed his claims in the last few months of the season.
Sammy Ameobi- he was a popular figure before his knee injury in a Reserves match... I could see a little bit of the excitement, but there was enough of a hole in his game when he was asked to track back that I didn't get as caught up in the hype as many people. I have to wonder how much Sammy would have benefited from the formation shift to the 4-3-3... I'll let you all stew on that a little bit.
Anderson can’t wait for it to begin. He said: "Bring it on, that’s what I say. If we do end up playing something like 60-odd games then it will be difficult, but that’s where we want to be as a club. "I would rather Newcastle had to cope with all of this than not be in this position. There is good hassle and bad hassle. I know which I prefer.
Keeping with my policy of always linking when a legend speaks about the Toon, here is John Anderson. I'm with Mr. Anderson here... I'll take that good hassle every. single. time.
The Rumor Mill Mills
French-speaking Tiote, who is from the Ivory Coast, enrolled on the foundation course at Newcastle College to boost his confidence in the language and to improve his communication skills with his teammates. Tiote said he was delighted to have passed – and he now wants to learn Geordie. "I’m really pleased to have passed and much more confident about my English as a result," he said. "I just need to work on my Geordie now."
Ok, this is not a rumor at all... Cheik Tiote definitely passed this English course. The rumor part of it comes from his assertion that he needs to work on his Geordie. He may not be part of Newcastle United when the season kicks off in August, but I don't think it's a player-orchestrated thing. He seems to be quite happy at Newcastle but the "right price" is always going to tickle Ashley's trigger finger.
"I'm not a greedy player and I just want to be on par with the other players around me," he said. In football terms, what I'm asking for is by no means outrageous. "I want to stay at this club and I've been saying that all season. I've recently had a baby, I'm happy here and so is my family. "Hopefully, me and the club can find some solution. I want to stay, but if I have to move, then I will accept it and move on. "But it's a great club with 50,000 screaming Geordies at the game every week. Why would I want to leave? There is speculation but I want to state, like I have all season, I want to stay. "Over the last two years I've played nearly 80 games and started most of them. I'm not being greedy, this club is on the up, the manager and staff are brilliant – I want to stay."
A new player in the Danny Simpson sweepstakes. I would hate to see Danny go, but maybe (again) not as much as some people. I know by a particular rating system, Danny is "the best right back in the Premier League"... but I've stated my opinion on this before. The fact is inescapable that more than once his failure to track back after being dispossessed in the attacking half (injury related or not) cost us a goal more than once this season, and that grates on me. He is a player, though, that has been outspoken in his desire to not leave the club. Oddly, for a a person who wants a player to be this outspoken about his affection for the club and desire to remain here, I am left wondering if it's all just noise. Some supporters just can't be pleased, can they?
Newcastle are already making contingency plans and have watched Dutch international Anita, 23, who was named in Holland’s Euro 2012 party. The Magpies are also interested in Bolton midfielder Mark Davies, 24, and have been quoted £3.5m by the Trotters. Davies would replace ex-Bolton loanee Danny Guthrie, 25, who is quitting the Toon as a free agent. A £2.5m Kevin Keegan capture from Liverpool in 2008, Guthrie tweeted: "Massive thank you to all Toon fans. It’s been great but I have to be playing first-team football." Meanwhile, French sources say Newcastle have checked on Rennes’ attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi, 22.
Breaking with my policy to never link the Mirror, I have done so here. There are a bunch of names in a little space here and it includes Danny Guthrie's farewell tweet to the Toon Army. At this point names are just names, but they'll certainly be ones to keep an eye on.