Ahead of Saturday's game against Newcastle
United at St James' Park, we caught up with United fan Guy, from Newcastle
fanzine True Faith.
He gives his views on their season so far, Alan Pardew,
and more. You can also find
Guy on Twitter @tfGHW1892.
It’s been a decent start to the season for
Newcastle, have performances
matched results? Are you where you deserve to be in the table?
It’s very difficult to say! Our performances have fluctuated from the highs
of beating Chelsea at home to the incompetency of Hull, again at home, and
Sunderland away. The
complexion of the season however has changed markedly after three wins against
Chelsea, Spurs and Norwich and we now sense a chance to see us pushing on
through the top 10. United at their best this season look like a top six side;
at their worst relegation scrappers. We have the first XI to be top 10
certainly. The team has performed markedly better than last season, generally
there haven’t been too many injuries and Loic Remy’s goals have been critical.
Happy with Alan Pardew, anything he needs to be doing better or different?
Pardew mirrors the inconsistency of our side. He has
maximised the strength to hit other teams on the break away from home at
Cardiff and Spurs yet look
one-paced at home against
Hull and West Ham. His tactics turned the
Chelsea match on its head but
there was little evidence of his acumen during last year’s debacle when we
resorted to long ball tactics. He has a tendency to fall back to a defensive
mind-set in the 2nd half which cost us dearly last season and we still toil
after half time as a general rule. We nearly went through three games without
conceding but the organisation of our defence remains a concern as last year’s
statistics will show. This is possibly down to the coaching as much as Pardew.
In short, get the defence more organised, know when to apply pressure on sides
and resist from using the long ball as a first option.
Thoughts on Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear?
True Faith has done an excellent job in TF107 with a forensic look at the NUFC
finances under Mike Ashley. It doesn't make good reading. The club's commercial
revenue has halved in 6 years and debt to Ashley remains high at £130 million.
In addition, Sports Direct pays not a penny for free advertising, illustrating
the club's use as a billboard for that particular company. The high profile
decisions on the ground name and other stunts underline a classlessness. The
club is moribund under Ashley. TF editor, Michael Martin once asked the
ex-Chairman, Chris Mort what a successful NUFC looks like to Ashley and received
no response. Kinnear adds nothing in his role as Director of Football and
statements in the match programme are embarrassing and contradictory. We suspect
he is there to put our saleable stars on. He is however a symptom rather than a
cause of the club's illness.
Player of the season so far?
By a stretch, Loic Remy. His pace, control and presence
allied to his dead eye finishing is that of a top ranking player. He should go
on this form. Mentions in dispatches for Cabaye who has improved his
consistency, Tiote and a reborn Shola Ameobi. Krul was sensational v Spurs in
early November’s 1-0 win.
Anyone been disappointing or particularly poor?
Papis Cisse, who can barely trap a medicine ball never mind score.
Unrecognisable from 2 seasons back. I really hope he gets it back as he's a
great instinctive finisher if not a great footballer. Ben Arfa has bags of
talent but also bags of excess girth recently. Why he can’t stay in good
condition is beyond my expectation of a professional sportsman. He is blessed
with the kind of instinctive genius that Peter Beardsley had but needs to apply
himself better. On current form he can't get back in the side. Santon at left
back continue to shows limited positional awareness and as a right footer is
probably on the wrong side anyway.
Where do you think United will finish the season?
10th. If we don't suffer key injuries in attack and defence or player sales (big
factor). Top 10 should be the minimum with a first XI that remains stuffed with
current internationals if thin in defence and attack.
Where do you think Albion will finish the season?
11th. I think both teams will be close to each other.
Albion player that most impresses you?
Sessegnon. He had a storming match against us in the 0-3 Derby last season, sad
to report. Strength, pace and control are three useful attributes.
Any memories or highlights that stand out from previous Albion v Newcastle
Whilst not at the 5-1 rout in December 89 at the Hawthorns, it has to be the 1-1
draw which kicked off the promotion season in 09-10. We simply didn't know how
the team would react but they pulled round a determined and gutsy performance to
get a crucial point and give us some reassurance that the season wasn’t to be a
back to back relegation. Many of us did genuinely fear back-to-back relegations
as the club was without a full time manager and up for sale. Also, both sets of
supporters displayed a heartfelt respect for the recently departed Bobby Robson.
A very strange old day.
Prediction for Saturday?
2-2. I think it will be a reasonably open and close match between 2 good
footballing sides. Not totally convinced of our ability to breakdown sides at
Premier League Champions?
Chelsea. I take no pleasure from
saying it though. Arsenal are playing superbly but a feeling they lack a harder
edge to them still. Liverpool will pull up short but may take a top four. Never
discount Man Utd from a late surge.
Crystal Palace, Sunderland,
Norwich. First two teams highly limited and Norwich remain unimpressive and
uninspiring despite new talent being brought in.