Off the Mark: Newcastle in a Chokeslam, WWE style


Every fan thinks that their club is special, that it is only they who go the range of emotions that we all experience every Saturday afternoon, slightly later on a Sunday afternoon, Monday evening or whenever is convenient for the television companies.

The truth is, of course, that we all get out of football what we put in to it. Even the dullest, most sterile 0-0 draw will mean something to someone somewhere. They’ll be watching events from the edge of their seat at the stadium whilst you’ll be sat back in yours at home, potentially falling asleep or even, heaven forbid, conceding possession of the remote control. Even the worst 90 minutes is preferable to Made In Chelsea though, trust me.

That said, some clubs – and certainly other television programmes – can do drama better than others.

Take Newcastle. Plenty of fans would want you to if it meant seeing the back of Mike Ashley.

The laughable Joe Kinnear has exited the club for a second time, with his tenure as Director of Football leading to precisely zero permanent signings and the sale of Yohan Cabaye for around £19m – probably a few quid less than he’s worth.

But as soon as Kinnear was waved off with a few less than complementary Geordie hand gestures, the comedy continued this week as WWE boss Vince McMahon was linked with a takeover bid.

He may come with a reputation for overseeing theatrical tumbling *INSERT OBVIOUS HOWARD WEBB AND LUIS SUAREZ REFERENCE HERE* but at least he’s not Ashley, a man that Newcastle fans have had held in a chokehold for years as they wait for a submission.

But far more damaging to Newcastle’s prospects than any of these off-field antics is just what is happening on the pitch.

In the month of February alone they have conceded 10 goals, scoring none. They’ve also failed to hit the back of the net in seven of their eight league fixtures since the 5-1 win over Stoke City on Boxing Day, a match in which the Potters were reduced to nine men before half-time.

So something is rotten in the state of Tyneside then, clearly, and that has led to rumours surrounding the position of manager Alan Pardew in the past week, with the hardly popular boss perhaps tied into the future of an owner who could finally be getting tired of his troublesome plaything.

Ashley owes it to the Newcastle fans to find a credible buyer and cease his ownership of the club.

There were good times in amongst the frequently murky ones, but Newcastle’s transfer policy over the past couple of years has seemingly been a case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ They managed to recruit two or three talented players from France, and so they continued doing all their shopping on the other side of the channel, but just because some French players were good doesn’t mean that they all will be. I’m looking at you, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

The points they accumulated during what was a promising start to the season which included a home win over Chelsea and victories away at Tottenham and Manchester United ensure that Newcastle won’t go down, and they currently sit in a bizarre ninth-placed limbo in which they aren’t good enough to surpass the teams above them but have a nine point advantage on Swansea in 10th.

Wherever they finish this season, sweeping changes have to be made at St James’s Park in the summer, with pretty much everyone in a position of power moved on and replaced.

Only then can the club seek to rid themselves of this self-destructive nature they seem to possess, and get back to providing all of their drama on the pitch instead of off it.

The special nature of Newcastle means that that might never truly be the case, but fans at least deserve a crack at the normality that most of us feel about our own objects of joy, despair, hope and pain.

Our football clubs.

Rodgers will enjoy the return of the Champions League

The most satisfied viewer of the Champions League and Europa League matches over the coming weeks will be Brendan Rodgers, with the Liverpool boss no doubt inspired to take his team into those same fixtures next season whilst happy that he’s not doing so now.

Liverpool don’t yet have the squad to challenge on several fronts, but now they are out of the FA Cup the Reds can focus on just one.

Qualification for Europe’s premier competition would allow Rodgers to flesh out his squad and add the three, four or five signings that would make this exciting Liverpool team – the most exciting in the Premier League according to a Daily Mirror poll – something very special, and as the three teams above the Reds face their European challenges, the Merseysiders can just focus on domestic matters.

A Liverpool title win would still surely be the most surprising in Premier League history, but with a reduced schedule the Reds should at least be aiming big, so big that even a fourth place finish would be considered a disappointment.


Back Everton to get something at Chelsea

Chelsea haven’t looked too formidable at home lately, and they’ll face a tricky test when Everton come calling to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Blues from Merseyside can get something at the Blues from London, and look good value in the Double Chance (Draw or Everton) market at 11/8 with

Back Draw or Everton on the Double Chance with



Posted on 19 Feb 2014, in Off the Mark and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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