Can Planet Toon get any stranger?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by 2nd man down, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    All about Newcastle United!!!!
    Just another day on Planet Toon

    hilarious in parts... :p

    Paul Wilson
    Sunday September 4, 2005
    The Guardian

    What a strange football club Newcastle United have become.
    Without wishing to dampen celebrations before Michael Owen has kicked a ball, you cannot tell me the England striker would not have been thinking something similar when he discovered that upwards of 15,000 people had nothing better to do on a Wednesday lunchtime than act as unpaid extras for a Sky Sports News party in the (St James') park.

    Most clubs just sign players and get on with their lives. There might be a press conference, even an autograph opportunity, but everywhere else except Planet Toon new players meet their new public at the first home match, a dignified and understated arrangement that has suited both parties down the years. When Manchester United signed Wayne Rooney they did so without a jamboree at the Stretford End. Most English clubs could have signed Pele in his pomp without feeling the need to parade him through the streets in an open-top bus, but one definitely gets the idea this is where Newcastle signing ceremonies could be heading.

    The club's habit of making trophy signings, pacifying supporters with players rather than the elusive and less easily bought silverware they crave, has been remarked on here before. Let us hope that does not turn out to be Owen's fate, though he must have cringed when Freddy Shepherd described his capture as his proudest moment since bringing Alan Shearer to Newcastle. Club chairmen are supposed to be proud of titles, or cup runs, or getting a side into Europe, not simply spending money on England centre-forwards. Especially when the last one had a Premiership title under his belt when he was Owen's age, but has yet to win a bean in nine years at Newcastle.

    Yet signing Shearer for £15million was a proud moment for Newcastle. He had had a successful Euro 96 and was being courted by Alex Ferguson. His decision to return to his roots was perhaps not the wisest of his career, but there is a place for romance in the game as well as medals and Manchester United. Newcastle were United's closest challengers at the time and no one thought it inappropriate to hold a love-in for Shearer at St James'. Shearer has been every inch the local hero.

    Shepherd sounds a touch desperate when he brackets the two signings together, for anyone can see that circumstances have changed. Newcastle are now one place from the bottom of the Premiership, not the top, and have yet to score a goal this season. Owen is not local, he belongs to Liverpool and made his preference to return to Merseyside plain. He might become a local hero in time, but what those 15,000 people in the stand were witnessing was the arrival of a player who had turned down Tyneside, only to find his options compromised by a combination of Liverpool's ambivalence, Real Madrid's poker-playing and Newcastle's willingness to pay over the odds.

    WHAT IS REALLY odd about Newcastle, apart from the fact that the centre-forward has taken to managing the club in his spare time, is that no one seems to have noticed this change in the landscape. Fans interviewed outside the ground willingly went along with the absurdly optimistic idea that spending £16m on a player no one else appeared to want would instantly end years of under-achievement and take the Toon straight into the Champions League. You wanted to slap the one who said it was a great day for the club. When Owen scores the winner in an FA Cup final, that will be a great day for the club. When Owen, Shearer, Shepherd or anyone else steers Newcastle to a first title since 1927 - yes, it has been that long- it will be a great day for the club. When a big club signs a major player, it's just another day.*

    So here's the crux of the matter, the question Owen has probably been wrestling with: are Newcastle a big club? Graeme Souness says they are, but he would. The honours board for the past half century suggests emphatically not. The conduct of players and directors in recent years has also left a lot to be desired. Which leaves the fans. St James' is a big place and when it is filled with 50,000 passionate Geordies you would struggle to find a bigger atmosphere anywhere in England.

    Apart from those unfortunate scenes a few years ago when Newcastle fans cemented their symbiotic relationship with Sky cameras by staying behind after defeats to blub on each other's shoulders the positive passion emanating from the terraces is what makes the Toon unique. Even when directors insult fans' intelligence or players come to blows on the pitch. The Geordies' loyalty in the face of all manner of disappointment is astounding. They may not be the most loyal fans in the country, that accolade might have to go to the thousands who watched Manchester City all the way to the second division, but they are the most remarkable. Since Matt Busby's original observation that you could put 11 black-and-white shirts on the St James' pitch and 30,000 Geordies would turn up to cheer, there have been several less charitable appraisals of the local passion.

    Cynics suggest Newcastle fans are over-loyal, blindly loyal, stupidly loyal or perhaps just stupid. Fortunately there is a more old-fashioned and innocent expression. Football daft.

    *Paul McCartney's first solo single success. And what does a former Beatle have to do with Mersey-Tyne transfers? A favourite footballer in the young McCartney household was Albert Stubbins, a Liverpool centre-forward of the early 1950s who made his name on Tyneside by scoring an astonishing 231 goals for Newcastle in 188 wartime appearances. Stubbins was not on the list of legendary Newcastle No 9s reeled off by Sven-Goran Eriksson in the wake of Owen's move, though he did make the cover of the Sgt Pepper album - between George Harrison and Marlene Dietrich.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2005
  2. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Cheers for that 2md, interesting read...

    Damn right, City fans are stupidly loyal, turning up week in week out to slag off our team, even though we are doing fantastically.

    Theres no such thing as being over-loyal, blindly loyal or stupidly loyal, because loyal in corporates all those terms plus many more, passionate, hopeful, dedicated.

    Newcastle fans are great, they will be on their feet singing from start to finish including on the concourse, and in the toilets. The only observation I make is there change of tune the later it gets to "sack the board".

    Owen will not set the world on fire, but I believe he will rescue them from Souness, Shepherd and the Championship...
  3. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    The more I think about it, the more I fear for Newcastle. Personally, I think it not beyond the realms of possibility that Souness and Owen will have a major falling out. Yes, I know he won the FA Cup with Liverpool and the Worthigton Cup with Blackburn but I simply don't rate him as a manager and I'm not convinced Owen can rescue Newcastle under Souness from the Championship. I don't think a Newcastle with Ronaldo, Henry, Vieira, van Nistelrooy and the entire Chelsea defence could rescue Newcastle under Souness from the Championship.
  4. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    Look at man city under Keegan, when nothing else in the team worked, le sulk was bagging goals, we stayed up by having a championship team with a class striker.

    I however do not rate Sounes either, but I think he has the class in his team to do well, he just doesnt know how to use it.
  5. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Hmm, appropriate for myself to comment I feel.

    Firstly, as a toon fan I am very wary of what I read in the press nowadays, certain papers, particularly the mirror and the Torygraph have been known in the past to write some absolute twaddle about the toon and the Guardian has also been known to go down the route of patronising the geordie massive. Often a strong sense of "looking down their noses from London" can be felt in their toon related articles. This is evident in places in this article, however it does redeem itself by making several astute (albeit obvious points).

    With regards to the Owen Circus, the collective cringe that overcame most of the toonarmy was I believe detected as far south as Scotch Corner. I am sure that Mr. Owen (and the author of the article) was well aware that around 12,000 of his 15,000 worshippers were kids who were still on holiday, bored and applauding Owen beats hanging around the Metro Centre or Hippy Green. The other 3,000 were most likely a) their parents or b) their childminders.

    There are many fans who are painfully aware (even before Saturday's Englandesque performance) that the signing of a £16mill striker does not make the St. James garden rosy once again. Admittedly there was an audible cry of "Get In" when listening to the deadline day moves on the radio on my way to work, but like most of the toonarmy this was due to the news that we had re-signed Nobby Solano (we should have never sold him in the first place) and that we had offloaded Jenas to Spurs for a reasonable amount.

    The article does spout a lot of the same old recycled facts that we've heard *yawn* time and time *yawn* again. Apparently Newcastle haven't won *yawn* anything for *yawn* years. Also though, it opens an interesting debate. What consitutes a big club??? Fanbase? Disposable income? Past history? On those 3 counts at least, Newcastle have a claim to be a big club....

    The Souness question.... To be honest I never rated him and I certainly don't rate him now. His signings have been big and for the most part agreeable (I just hope that Luque was unfit from the start on saturday cos he looked like he couldn't run. If he was fit then god help us) although why we sold Aaron Hughes a utility defender who was steady and loyal is beyond me. Especially when he was "replaced" by Craig Moore. And how on earth did Amdy Faye ever even get into his school team as a kid with that horrifc touch and lack of passing ability.

    Tactically Souness leaves a lot to be desired and this was demonstrated to great effect on Saturday. Why start Carr at Right Midfield and then leave Bowyer on the bench?? The first half was toothless, careless and negative. At home. Against Fulham. Why did it take till halftime to get Bowyer on and even then only due to an injury to Steven Taylor, strangely we looked better with a midfielder in midfield as opposed to our best right back who was sorely needed in a comedy defence. Not to knock Taylor though, one of the brightest young defensive prospects in England. At Centre Half though not Right Back!! And although it was great to see Lee Clark playing for the toon again, questions have to be asked when an ancient player who was sold 7 years ago cos he wasn't good enough is able to play much better than the absymal Faye. Lee Clark, great player, big heart, great Geordie (and bigup to the Fulham fans who gave him a standing ovation). The problems were painfully clear on Saturday, £16mill of striker won't win anything without decent service. N'Zogbia looked bright after coming on as did the hungry Bowyer. Scott Parker worked his socks off and covered every proverbial blade of grass, the fact he got sent off for fouling a player on the edge of our box as the 2nd last man speaks volumes about his work rate, passion and the toon defence!! However, we never got the ball forward often enough and Owen (who looked class, first time I'd seen him "live" and his movement is superb) had to drop deeper and deeper to find service.

    A lot to work on then. This side won't win owt, but it won't go down either. With Dyer fit and with Solano on the wing, quality service, pace and above all movement will be injected and then Mssrs Shearer and Owen will thrive. Anyway, we'd only have to fight one other team to get out of relagation, the mackems'll be down by xmas!!

    I agree with the sentiments of Mr Sandman re: Souness and I think that the Owen deal might have bought a a month or so for him, but this side has to fire, and quickly. He still has the players though, the en-masse mobbing of Souness following our goal showed that!
  6. bigcol

    bigcol Member


    See you've got plenty of time on your hands pre-uni? ;)

    For the records Newcastle Utd fans are great when the going is good, but spoilt brats when it isn't.

    Us Man City fans just take it in our stride - every victory is treated with quiet optimism, every defeat met with a shrug of shoulders. Still I think we've got the best English manager in the league!

  7. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, have to disagree there, Big Sam at Bolton's got that title. And our Jacko is on his way up there!! Jackoo-oo...Jackoo-oo!! :biggrin:
  8. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    I wish I could feel that way...

    As a man city fan I meet every victory with amazement that we are a solid premiership force instead of still fluctuating between the leagues, and every defeat isnt something that has come into my vocab for about 6 months.

    I reckon we've got one of the best managers in the league, he's in the mould of Brian Clough, which I love, I like big sam too though.
  9. HSB

    HSB Member

    Never rated Souness, poor old Owen is going to have to bag a hat trick every game if they're going to get any points the way that defence is playing. Think my option would have been to look for two £8M-rated defenders instead. If he could offload that Boomsong dude for £32 and a bag of pork scratchings I'd consider it a result for the manager.

    Still, you have to admire the eternal optimism of the average Toon fan, talk has suddenly switched to a potential Champions League place. Doh!
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    And I disagree there. Curbishley has that accolade in my view. ;)
  11. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Talking of which, a 100% British club success rate tonight! (Well done to Rangers in particular but I can't work out weather Prso's headbutt was deliberate! Surely NO-ONE would contemplate doing that knowing they'd crack his head open as well as his 'victim's'!. Bizarre!)

    As for Chelsea, under par performance but job done (and still haven't conceded a friggin' goal!)

    As for Liverpool.... are we going to see two different Liverpools as per last season? Average in the Prem and all conquering in the CL? And they started with Gerrard on the bench!

    Sorry to go OT. Back to Newcastle. Well, at least they managed a goal at the weekend!
  12. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Hold on to your horses, folks....

    Latest score: Blackburn 0 Newcastle 2. (Shearer, 62; Owen, 66)

    Maybe the tide, it turneth for Toon....
  13. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member


    3 goals in one game AND an away win. I really am spoilt sometimes!!

    PS. Colin, I'm no longer a scabby student, am in full time employment now!!