Thursday, 7 June 2007

Newcastle, Beckham & Ireland

Mark here.

Things are looking interesting at Newcastle - Shepard has agreed to sell his stake in the club to Mike Ashley, leaving the billionaire with close to 70% of the shares, following his previous purchase from the Hall family. We mentioned a few weeks ago on the podcast, could we see the Geordie Chelsea? It's certainly an intriguing prospect of an underachieving 'big' club armed an owner who has £1.9bn in the bank.

Big Sam, though, seems to be carrying on as normal, so we can assume that a) he hasn't spoken with Ashley or b) Ashley has said he won't be giving him much money.

Viduka has signed today to join Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi in the forward line, leaving the club with plenty of firepower up front. (Surely Ameobi can be whipped into shape by Sam?). The departure of Parker will result in Barton arriving for £5.5m, and the decent Ben Haim joining Taylor at the back. Steven Carr falls into the Ameobi bracket, and I'd be surprised if he didn't recapture his Tottenham form. A left back (Shorey, possibly) and the squad is looking great. Players of the calibre of a fit Duff, Emre ("some of my best friends are black") and a fit Dyer, added to the potential of Milner and N'Zogbia point to a promising future for the Toon.

Sam has an interesting first season ahead of him, challenging for a UEFA cup place will be his goal, and he is likely to achieve it.


I am sick to my teeth of the Beckham story, sure he can put in a cross or 2, that's all he ever did for God's sake. The whole point last summer was - take Beckham out of the team because he makes the team play slow, throw in someone else and they'll be able to play differently.

This, plainly, did not happen, which is the fault of the players and management. So, Beckham is back, they need the points and McClaren is desperate, fair enough, him and Crouch should scutter England into second in the group to qualify. The same old problems remain however - slow, long ball football and set pieces. Why wasn't Big Sam hired again?

The Euro qualifiers were good for Ireland with Germany winning both their games and the Czech Republic drawing at Wales. Ireland have a chance of 2nd, albeit one in a million. The away games to the Slovaks and Czechs will illuminate to show whether Stan learns from his mistakes.

3rd place in the group will keep Stan's job, barring a demolition job by the Germans or Czechs, Stan will feel vindicated and subject us to another 2 years of droning cliched quotes. Still, it could be worse, we could have McClaren....



JJ said...

I have to say I’m getting more and more convinced that Newcastle will do very well next year and with the shambles of a transfer policy at Liverpool and Henry making ‘I Heart U’ signs at the AC Milan board, they could even sneak a Champions League spot. I know Spurs and Everton have been named as the teams most likely to do that (certainly on this blog they have anyway) but who knows? Maybe two of them could sneak in. Could be an interesting season in the top six.

As for Becks… he played well against a team ranked 110th in the world after playing just as bad as everyone else against Brazil. It amuses me how stupid the English media are; he was playing brilliantly for Real last year but was shit in the World Cup so they asked for him to be dropped and tut-tutted at sections of the media who disagreed. Now, he’s Jesus Christ and Elvis rolled into one; despite playing three times less games than last year and heading for semi retirement.

Are they happy being a quarter final team? That’s all they will ever be (possibly a lot less) while they’re going in the direction they are. Most guilty are F365, who now sound like the “white van men” they ridiculed before last year’s finals as they beat the drum for Beckham.

As for Ireland… third will keep Stan in his job but winning away in Slovakia (they won’t score against the Czechs so ‘hello defeat’ there) will be a huge ask. He’ll play dogged, shite football in Eastern Europe and maybe get a draw. Inglorious times for Ireland and England lay ahead.

Mr C said...

I think Beckham selection reflects the fickleness of the mob. I was at the England-Azerbijian match a couple of years ago and Becks was booed solidly thoughout until he scored the opening goal and earned
himself a prolonged chant of 'one David Beckham'. The English tabloids' are full of shit and their opinions count for nothing. In a couple of years they'll turn on Gerrard in a bid to sell their papers.

England's qualification is still in massive doubt and again, the Sun and co. seem to forget this. Croatia seem to be far too good to slip up against Andora and Estonia and should qualify in the next two games. England's biggest problem will be Russia in Moscow. Gus Hiddink was my pick for the England job and I suspect he may well hold England to at least a draw, which I suspect is what they will look for as England pretty much need a straight run of wins.

The silver lining in all of this would be that if England failed to qualify alongside the whole Tevez debacle, there were may well be a huge overhaul of the FA and the England set-up through the same media firestorm that won Beckham his place back. Perhaps.

Mark V said...

The FA and the press are where a lot of the problems lie.

1- it's about marketabliity. There are players in that squad who shouldn't be there, Lampard and Becks being the obvious, whom the FA think help sell tickets to their £800m stadium, and bring in lucrative Umbro etc. deals.

2. A strong, confident manager, given a free rein by the FA could cut the squad at will and bring his own players - e.g. the u21s and the unfashionable players like Barry. Would it make the team or results better? Probably not, but there would a good chance the manager would be able to mould them into a team that plays the way he wants, with passion and desire. But, imagine the backlash from press and fans - one poor results or performance and he'd be out

And, for the record, I said drop Beckham last year, and I still say it now. If England have no other player who can pass a ball (judging by the quals. so far, they don't) they may as well pack it in before they embarrass themselves at euro 2008, as Beckham will surely be injured or unfit after his glorifed friendlies with the Galaxy