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Monday, January 29, 2007

Could our savior be a Yank?

It seems like the planets are aligning in the skies above TDH. After a long January in which the word "Newcastle" only made the transfer headlines with the release of one Liam Atkin to Carlisle United, the constellations have finally begun to coalesce. And they're mapping out the face of, would you believe it, a star of the US national team: our battleship, Oguchi Onyewu.

You remember Onyewu - he's the one against whom a penalty was unfairly given in our last match of Germany 2006 when Ghana's appropriately-named Pimpong simply bounced off him in the 18-yard box. The ref couldn't quite understand just how big Onyewu is, or how running into him could give much the same impression as hitting the side of a parking garage. At 6'4" (1.93 m) and 210 lbs (15 st, 95 kg), he's easily our biggest outfield player.

And he can play. Premier League clubs have been chasing him for a couple of years, but he decided to keep refining his game at Standard Liege. He's only 24, and he'd be a fantastic signing for us if we can get him. If we do, TDH might not complain so much about all the defenders we've already missed: Lauren, Ehiogu, apparently Upson, plus that Bale kid and a couple of other youngsters.


Chelsea have finally found a use for that Ukrainian guy - beating up on lower-division opposition in cup competitions. Kind of shows you just what kind of league they have over there in the boot-shaped country, eh?

Want to beat the Goon Show? Go to Bolton and beg Big Sam for advice. TDH has pointed out the Trotters' skill at disrupting the pretty triangles before, and TDH fully expects them to turn their draw at the Emirates into a win at the Reebok....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

One call shy of an embarrassment

Well, it was a nice fightback by the lads today, but it's looking like an ugly pattern is developing: thanks to our shoddy defense, we start every match 0-2 down. Then it's just a question of scoring in time to turn the momentum and salvage some points.

All that said, it was crucial not to lose to a relegation favorite at home, and we can take something away from the match on the true grit front. And TDH has to add that whenever Oba, Dyer and Milner are on the pitch together, with Scottie P pushing in behind, you have to fancy us to score. Plus, they sound like one player; "Hey, put on that promising young tyke, Obadiah Milner!"

Still, there is a worrying fact in the background. On the BBC's list of January transfers, the word "Newcastle" appears not once. Rumors that we are in for Rio's little brother warm TDH's proverbial cockles, but TDH has heard rumors before....


Some hundreds of miles south, the introduction of one Clint "Deuce" Dempsey sent TDH into restrained hysterics of ecstasy. The signing of our best player from Germany 2006 for something in the range of $3 million is a huge triumph for MLS, and TDH is hoping to see much more of the same as the league grows.

Fulham now have three Americans on their books - and they're all actually good. Together with McBride, Bocanegra and Dempsey, we have Beasley and Reyna at City, Hahnemann and Convey at Reading, Friedel at Blackburn, Howard at Everton, Spector at West Ham, Gibbs at Charlton, DeMerit at Watford, and Smith at Bolton. And they're all actually getting minutes. Incredible. Almost as incredible as seeing Montella finally score a goal.


Denizens of the Kop, take it easy. You're not in the championship race. You're just making it tougher for the Billionaire Boys Club. And the way they're playing, they don't deserve to win anything. Essien should have been called for a penalty, by the way.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Like a fish.

TDH arrived back in sunny Buenos Aires this morning, and before long had found that there were now five, not four, channels devoted to football 24-7. A good sign. And then, after doing the shopping, TDH returned to find live pictures being piped from St. James's Park on ESPN+. A moment of serendipity? A fortuitous return? Dream on.

What a disaster it was. The youngsters were finally found out. Huntingforaclue couldn't cope at the back, and Pattihearst hit so many passes to the opposition that TDH ran out of fingers and toes. With no Parker or Emre to protect the back one-and-a-half, Butt did his best. But his best was not enough. And with Dyer, Oba and Antoine running fiercely but linking up only sporadically, there was little we could do but take our whuppin'.

The pain, the pain. Bruce's Brum Bums looked flaccid through much of the first half, but they kept up the pressure in the second. So, we're a Cup team, are we? Not if we're not in any Cups. Let's hope Europe offers us a tad more joy.


Meanwhile, back in Argentina, the locals are crowing over their expatriate stars. Saviola's occasionally unintentional brilliance has been re-enacted countless times on several channels and, less excitingly, in the press. Gago and Higuain have received their share of the headlines, as has the resurgent - hurrah! - Aguero.

Soon the season will begin again, TDH will be at Independiente and all will be right with the world. That is, if we win the UEFA Cup.


Finally, Posh Spice's husband to MLS for up to $50 million a year? Is it a return to NASL-era celebrity hearse-chasing?