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Sunday, October 01, 2006

When it rains, it f*ckin pours

Never just content to lose, are we? No, to complete a true Toon defeat away at a big club, we need to fulfill some other stringent criteria: at least one important player injured, at least one player sent off, and several defensive gaffes that will live long in the memory.

Okay, no red card this time, but Steven Taylor surely would have received one if his gunshot-to-the-chest act hadn't worked this time around. (Who remembers that from a little while back?) Sure, the Manure goals were flukey, but so was the fact that Kiki Ron hit the woodwork three times. To be honest, TDH watched most of the match in misery, mentally compiling the list of flaws and failures. Not wanting to bore or depress you with all of them, loyal readers, here are the top few:

1. Amoeba is unfit. After 35 minutes he was walking. Start Martins.

2. Duff didn't see enough of the ball. The 4-5-1 doesn't use him enough.

3. Harper isn't ready. He made two excellent reaction saves, yes, but generally speaking he was about as far from a safe pair of hands as Hong Kong is from Gateshead. Plainly scary. Let's see what Krul can do.

In fact, this last point makes TDH think, yet again, about the excessive regulation of the labor market in European football. If there were no transfer windows, the Magpies could have signed an in-form goalkeeper from a Championship club on short notice, rather than resorting to the obviously rusty Harper. Better yet, if football teams were allowed to use feeder clubs the way baseball teams do, they could simply have called him up from a lower or foreign league. Now, you may say, that's what reserve teams are for. But come on, is reserve competition anything like being in the thick of the action where points are at stake?

At least we continue in the UEFA Cup. Not long ago, TDH predicted another mediocre Premiership season and another interesting but ultimately disappointing cup run. Well, here we are. Lone bright spot: Pattison seems to know that the boxy thing with the net is where the ball should go.

And there was one other downer, of a sort. The best player on Manure isn't Paul Bunyan. No, it's that pizza-faced kid who runs like a girl. Sleep easy, Macedonia.

In the meantime, bully for Reading and its American stars!


Anonymous Palms said...

I think hit the nail on the head with the headline for their match report: 'Tale of the totally expected'. Year after year our trip to old trafford leaves us only with the relief that the scoreline did not reflect their total domination. And wasn't that such a Souness-esque move by roeder, playing an unfit Ameobi up front by himself? Newcastle attempting to play for a 0-0 draw against Man u away from home? With our defence? there has to be a good analogy for that foolhardy tactic. One-legged man trying to avoid being eaten by a lion by out-running it?

I thought you were a bit harsh on Harper though. He's a very good keeper, i think he's just having a problem with his confidence at the moment.

4:32 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Yeah, Palms, I always regarded Harper pretty highly in the past, but I think he's there for too short a time to stick with him through a confidence problem.

Sure, if your No. 1 keeper is having a confidence problem, and you want him for the whole season, you have to keep him in the line-up until he gets over it. But a fill-in? I don't know. We need a hungry young tyro or an aging Nigel Martyn type at the moment.

Call me ruthless....

4:57 AM  
Anonymous jonathan said...

Interesting the comment about 'feeder' clubs, TDH. I can quite see how it would come in handy for nufc to be able to call upon, say, Darlington, right now, in an attempt to resolve our goalkeeping crisis by hand-picking a pair of safe hands direct from their first-team. But how well do you think such a move would go down with the 4000+ Darlington supporters- whose support for their club is rooted in civic pride, and a hundred years or so of independent tradition?

Don't you think that a club of Newcastle's global stature should be making it its business to have a reliable subsitute goalkeeper on the books ready for call-up/recall, in the entirely predicable eventuality of an injury to the first-choice number one? Our supposed Premiership peers appear better prepared; witness the excellent Howard farmed out on loan to Everton, but ready to return (I assume) to United at a moment's notice, should the need arise.

10:37 PM  

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