Two of the reasons why Newcastle United can be great again!

Posted on March 29th, 2010 | 114 Comments |

Brilliant despite that awful strip.
Brilliant despite that awful strip.
On a day when we could all but cement promotion back to the promised land of the Premiership if we emerge victorious from tonight’s titanic Tyne-Trees battle, perhaps we should look at who has put us within touching distance. Chris Hughton has been widely praised by fans and press (or at least until a certain journalist decided to pick up her poisoned pen) and rightly so. But for all Hughton’s good work, it’s the fellas out on the park who have and will continue to determine our future.

We ran a poll recently (on the right) for .org readers and contributors to vote on their ‘player of the season’ so far. Of course there may be yet more defining moments to come but even though there were some decent candidates, there are two clear front-runners at the moment. Which is perhaps not surprising, given the vocal support for these two players, with chants aimed at them being two of the loudest you’re likely to hear at games lately.

I always held out hope for Jose Enrique when there were doubts about him, and I’d been impressed with his contributions, though I concurred with the idea that he needed to slim down. But as for Fabricio Coloccini, there can’t have been many supporters who genuinely believed he would have such an impact in his second season. ‘Hoped’ is maybe the right word but certainly there was little in his first season to suggest he would be able to compete with the physical nature of the Championship. I don’t mind admitting I was one of those doubters.

Coloccini seems stronger this season and far more able to cope with the physicality of the English game. Easy to say that it was always going to take time to settle, that’s a given. But this season he just seemed so much more determined and hungrier for the fight. Perhaps like many, he has a point to prove. Probably lacking the pace and strength of other defenders, what Coloccini has to his advantage is to be miles ahead of the strikers in his head. He is often fare more aware of what they are about to do, than they are. And he knows where the ball is going be and more often than not picks off loose balls for fun.

Enrique does not possess the same ability to read ahead of the play although he is still quite switched on. His strength is, well actually his strength is his strength, in the physical sense. And his pace, both of which he has in abundance. And he has a great left and the natural ability that many left-footers have of being clever on the ball.

And that’s perhaps the only pitfall that these two potentially face, trying to be too clever on the ball. At this level, they have not been punished where the strikers are not quite so polished and will not always capitalise on mistakes. In the Premiership, strikers will be more switched on and far more capable of taking advantage of errors if they overplay things. But even with that in mind, the fact that we can consider what these two will be like in the Premiership is largely down to them making themselves available (other than Jose’s recent injuries) and playing a huge part in getting us to where we are today.

So perhaps the time to judge their ability to play at a higher level will be if and when they finally get us there. For now, just admire the brilliance, because at times the way they play football from the back is outstanding and sometimes embarrassing for the opposition. While both lead the poll by almost double the next contender, Peter Lovenkrands, Colo is slightly ahead at the moment on 244 votes (22% of the total number of votes). Being part of a defence we can suddenly be proud of, if one of these two wins the ‘player of the season’ on here, then I’m sure there won’t be too many arguments?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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114 Responses

  1. ‘Tyne-Trees…..very good” :)
    I think tonight will be a tuff match but fancy us to nick it!

  2. Allan, really?

    Just in case you don’t know, that would be mackem Louise taylor that bowburn is reffering to.

    Managing to compare the bust up between Carroll/Taylor and apartheid is really quite an achievement!

  3. Allan: I think her pen name is Louise Taylor, but she was born “Miss Festering Hooower Mackem Beyatch” and remains so to those who know her best.

    Unless her article in the Observer/Guardian at the end of last week has a lot more truth in it than we all suspect, Ashley should set his lawyers on that waste of carbon.

  4. I see Colo struggling more back in the Prem, his pace will always be a problem, though he seems better in the air.

    Still can’t believe the lack of support of Harper for player of the year, he’s been miles better than any other keeper in this division.

  5. To be honest I was really gutted about that article from Louise Taylor. I’m about as far left as you can get and as such, the Guardian has always been the newspaper I read. But this article has totally undermined their entire sports section- and as we all know sport is the most interesting section in a newspaper ;) – I won’t be buying the Gardian anymore. As far as sports journalism goes, I think The Times are the premier reporters by some distance. Although they keep trying to add puns to their articles/headlines these days which is a bit annoying!

  6. looking at that poll, you’ve really, really gotta feel for Shola, don’t you? One of the most loyal, honest, low-profile players we’ve ever had, scored goals for fun at the begining of the season when noone knew how we’d do and if we were gonna get relegated AGAIN, and he still manages to generate 0 votes. Marlon Harewood’s got 5 FFS! Poor Shola…

  7. Guys you need to pull your finger out… has 9 Toon threads up today already and it’s not even tea time.
    Get on it Journo’s :)

  8. The three amigos have been fantastic this season and have destroyed most teams down our left. Whether they can do it in the Prem, we’ll see, but I suspect they will after an embarrasingly dreadful intro to English football.

    Lovenkrands has also helped them a lot, particularly Jonas who often looked poor last season. He’s a ball playing attacking South American who had to put up with a static Martins and Owen just watching him running out of space or steam.

  9. As for Colo and Bull (sounds like a firm of debt collectors) you do have to admire the way they’ve got on with the job. BBM makes a good point about judging them for prem ability next year, though – could be a lot different.

    I particularly like Jose, despite his ability to make me sh*t myself sometimes when he does clever stuff rather than just hoof it away. Gets away with it now, but next year…? Often leads to us keeping possession, though, when he gets a pass away to a midfielder rather than just whacking it upfield.

    His technique for getting past (through) opposition players is brilliant. Head down and run directly at them. Really fast and really hard. Do not look up. Bung it to Jonas just as you collide with their soft, yielding bones…

    Hence the nickname, eh.

  10. His technique for getting past (through) opposition players is brilliant. Head down and run directly at them. Really fast and really hard. Do not look up. Bung it to Jonas just as you collide with their soft, yielding bones…

    Whumpie – that’s brilliant and so accurate!!

  11. If we beat Forest tonight, beat Peterborough on Saturday and Forest lose were up.

    If we beat Forest tonight and we both win on Staurday all we need to do is beat Sheff Utd on Monday and were up.

    Obviously all depends if we beat Forest but I think we’ll beat Forest and beat Peterborough and Forest will only draw on Saturday. We’ll be promoted this weekend.

  12. Stu, would a draw do us even if Forest lose? Hope to god it does as I will be at Peterborough :lol:

  13. Tell you what though, Forests next 3 game are tough. Us tonight, Bristol City away on Saturday and then Cardiff at home.

  14. Devenmag/Dragonera,
    while i agree slightly, relatively speaking about ‘the times’ version of reporting the Toon, i can’t help thinking & feeling a bit patronized by them. I’m just waiting for the back-lash, just when we think they’re ok.

  15. @devonmag – L Taylor is a one-time contributor to Love Supreme – which should tell you how much of a reliable toon witness she is. That was a pretty turgid and jaundiced, piece aimed at hughton’s credibility, who has yet again dealt with an ugly off-field scenario as well as could be hoped. Yep – I’m with you on shola. He was the pace setter for us early doors with his goals, he came back at x-mas and bagged 3 in 5? then those wobbly pegs of his just folded yet again.

    Colo, jonas and enrique have all shone, along with harper. Surely carroll’s late run could see him edge it if things carry on for him as they are.

    1) harper
    2) colo
    3) nolan
    4) carroll
    5) jonas
    6) el torro

  16. Louise Taylor gets no respect from us, which is earned, but people should check out what Simon Bird has been spouting in The Mirror.

    I think Kinnear summed him up nicely by all accounts :)

  17. toonsy,

    If we beat them tonight were 13 points clear – Forest will have only have 6 games left. If we win on Sat and they draw were 15 points clear with only 5 games to play.

    Not mathatically promoted but unless Forest win their last 5 games 5-0 and we lose our last 6 games we’ll be up.

  18. Players from Argentina are known for their toughness, anyone who watches their league games can testify to that.
    It should be no surprise to anyone that our two guys would be any different.
    Sure they have been well paid to spend a season in the second tier, but there International selection may have suffered through lack of premier football.
    As for Toro Nino, has the ability to become a permanent fixture, got strength on the ball, technique, (though he may scare a few fans at times, playing the ball out, rather than what they are used too, hoofing it up the pitch)and anyone who can out run Spurs “Lennon”has got my vote for pace.
    The above combined with an attacking style (yet to be Perfected)could make him a premier player in that role.
    Well thats three reasons why we could become great again,
    but IMO we need more than that to be competitive next season.

  19. Devon mag
    You are as far left as one can get and you read the Times,
    Is that not an oxymoron ?

  20. CLiNT – It was woefully embarrasing at the time but anyone has to admit that Kinnear got it right :lol:

  21. Here we have Jimmy Bullard as our first choice buy, a 30 year old sick note, has the press no shame, they will publish anything.

  22. I’ve gotta say: I’m surprised that it’s took this long for people to realizing that Enrique is the mutts nuts.
    I thought that was apparent immediately.
    It was obvious that after a settling in period he would become one of our best defenders-ever.
    Bit like Bassong.
    Bit like Williamson also, he looks like he’s on a mission to make an impact after missing quite a bit of football.
    Good to see Jonas & Colo making the grade after a tough 1st season too.

  23. Stu – What about if we win tonight, then us and Forest win on Saturday. Will that take it to the Sheff Utd game on Bank Holiday Monday?

    Hope so as it means I can watch it on TV and most importantly so can overseas fans via a stream.

  24. Chuck

    I remember our game against Spurs/ The press were spouting that Enrique was murdered by Lennon, when in truth he kept the electric winger quiet for the majority of the game and was only beaten 2 or 3 times throughout the entire 90mins.

  25. Jose has as much potential as anyone in the squad. He’ll start scoring goals soon enough.

    As far as THIS season? Harper is the only choice for player of the year. Let’s not fail to recognize him now after he waited in Given’s shadow for so freaking long.

  26. Clint Flick

    Exactly, mate. The players you mention had an instant aura about them, you just knew they were going to do well.

  27. Spyro – I remember watching a Spurs game and watching Enrique and Lennon in a straight race for the ball, which Enrique won. I knew then that he was good.

  28. Harper has done well, but player of the season? He wouldn’t get my vote as he has been pretty well protected by a solid defence. He has still been solid and reliable though.

  29. FSS – Have you though that maybe the 2 players (defenders) that are leading the poll could be contributing to Harper’s efforts this season?

    Sure, at times he has kept us in games but he has also made gaffs and also had very little to do on a number of accasions.

    Not knocking him like, just trying to put another side across.

  30. toonsy,
    i didn’t see it as embarrassing mate.
    He was absolutely, bang on the money & a massive wake up call to the press, they don’t like it up ’em, do they?
    It was the start of them backing the f*** off, for a while, at least.
    He only said what everyone else in the WORLD thinks of them. & they deserved it, in every sense, including the terms used, especially the terms used.
    Wish a few more had the sack to tell the truth like.

  31. My only criticism of Enrique is that he doesnt release the ball quick enough especially when he is running into a dead end, himself and Jonas link up well on the left but they have to learn to spread the play a bit when there is no room on their side of the pitch.

  32. CLiNT – True mate, but at the time more attention was the last thing that we needed and the whole “which one of you is Simon Bird” thing was another reason to poke a stick at us.

    bbb – I worry about what you say. Sure Jonas and Enrique link up well. But I think they link up to well, to the point where if one plays without the other they appear less effective.

  33. Chuck says:
    March 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    Devon mag
    You are as far left as one can get and you read the Times,
    Is that not an oxymoron ?

    No, Worky is is far left as you can get!

    toonsy says:
    March 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    If we win tonight and if both us and Forest win on Sat it goes down to the Sheff Utd game – If we win were up – Basically if we win our next three games (Very achievable) were up!

  34. Dragonera,
    aye mate.
    It all depends what you focus on when you watch football, doesn’t it?
    All some see are the mistakes, while others look at the big picture, hey? ;)

    Free-scoring smudge,
    i think you have an excellent point mate.
    I can’t think of anyone who’s chowed on about missing Given this season. Which is a feat in it’s self.
    Not often that such a fan fave is so quickly gotten over, if not forgotten.
    Viva Harper, unsung, generally.
    & because of that, & being a Geordie Legend, possibly player of the season, why not?
    He helps the defense be good by giving them confidence.
    Stevie, Stevie Harper.

  35. Stuart,
    i’m soo left wing, i’ve gone round the back & almost joined back up with the right.


  36. Everyone i know loved Big daft Joe for that toonsy, regardless of whom they support.

  37. I would argue that Harper should get most of the credit for the solid defence this year. Clean sheets in more than half the league games?

    Look at last week vs. Doncaster. The difference ended up being goalkeeping, their keep fell down when Carrol was through, and how often have you seen Harps do that? There were Doncaster shirts completely unmarked in the box, and yet we keep the clean sheet cause Harper bails everybody out (some poor finishing helped).

  38. Sorry, I couldn’t take JFK seriously after I seen him blowing kisses to the supporters before the Derby last season – WTF…..

  39. But we’re on about when he called the press-mongs-C88TS!
    & that’s it!

    & i maintain, he was totally correct to do so & nothing before or since has changed that.
    Shit, i’d even commend that cow thach if see’d done it.

  40. Toonsy-

    By Harper’s gaffes, do you mean spilling shots into dangerous areas? I admit he has done so a few times, and I can remember it costing us goals (WBA opener, Bristol City).

    However, that’s a couple goals he’s at fault for over the entire season. On the other hand, we’ve benefited from dubious keeping MANY times this year.

  41. ball will be quick off the top tonght,should favour attackers,sure i will love the ref after this game,after all hes a epl ref?

  42. Don’t know how good Harper’s been this season – there isn’t one good striker in this league. He looks a tad slower this season and slightly less athletic – does that matter?
    Fine keeper anyway!
    Stuart79 – JFK was a complete embarrassment last season. Awful appointment!

  43. “But as for Fabricio Coloccini, there can’t have been many supporters who genuinely believed he would have such an impact in his second season.”

    I did

  44. Right ladies, I’m off to be a good husband and take the other half out for food before going to Shearers for a few pre match drinks, then the match!

    3-1 Home win – Lovenkrands to score first.



  45. Me too TF.

    & georgio, JK wasn’t appointed, he was the only one who’d take the ‘parcel bomb’.


  46. clint just thought couple of months ago we forcast hull&celtic managers would get the boot first you said brown would be first,i cant win nowt me :)

  47. Just been reading that if Guthrie plays tonight it will be his 100th club career start, i take it that means all clubs played for but still, quite a milestone.
    For me, he has been brilliant once moved inside to his proper position, just hope he is not sacrificed for Butt or Smith as we will need legs tonight not reputations.

  48. While I loved what JFK said (a bit of truth to the professional liars) I hated the purile and uncontrolled way he did it. There are ways to say what he said without sounding like a kid in the playground losing it at the school bully.

    Still fun to watch, though.

  49. Whumpie,
    are you suggesting people approach the press-mongs with intelligence mate?
    Ha Ha HA!
    Nice idea mate.

  50. Stuart’s entry at 53 got me thinking. I have – perhaps inadvisedly – convinced my wife to take up my spare Plymouth ticket. The original taker had to choose between watching the match or shagging some aussie woman who’s due in town. I agree with his decision, although for all I know she’s a munting shagnasty.

    Taking my wife to a match could go either way. She may enjoy it and realise why I ‘waste’ so much time on footie. Or the opposite. A lot.

    Any suggestions on how to steer it towards the former? It’s a bit like introducing her to my parents all over again…

  51. Whumps – stay away from ‘get your t*ts out for the lads’ chants, for starters.

    Get her sufficiently drunk and drilled (ooer missus) on the lyrics to the most popular ditties, so she can get involved.

  52. Anyone else think we should snap up Colin Kazim Richards whilst he is in limbo? The racist manager now at Fener does not like or play him and he now finds himself on loan at Toulouse. Surely he would snap at the chance to play Prem football again. I think he is a very good, versatile player and he or K.P.Boateng would be great acquisitions.

  53. Ahoy, I see Shola’s at -1% for the votings for Newcastle’s player of the season.
    Well I don’t like the bloke as a player at all, I think he’s a waste of space in the Premiership but thats a bit harsh to give him -1% dont you think.

  54. Whumpie,
    Take her shopping beforehand mate, works every time.
    Shoes & handbags mate, shoes & handbags.

  55. If anyone is interested in the early team news, its normally on radio newcastle about 540pm from the ground from Mick Lowes and he has never been wrong yet.

  56. Chuck, you just reminded me of a comment you made yesterday about other clubs fans not hating us, when was the last time you were at Middlesbrough, Sunderland,Leeds or Everton?

  57. I agree with chuck with regards boateng & richards.
    Don’t think richards would kick it in the prem, too far out of the loop, me thinks.

  58. How about three reasons? :/ Nicky deserves to be up there as well, no one seems to appreciate that… At least on youtube, he gets the credit he deserves!

  59. Since I saw Nicky playing for Newcastle, words “Top Class” and “Nicky Butt” is synonyms for me now!

  60. Well, one last futile attempt at getting outof work failed :(

    At least i’ll get to see the first 30 minutes.

  61. bowburn – Will you be unleashing the scab ditty tonight?

    Oh Nottingham (Oh Nottingham)
    Is full of scabs (Is full of scabs)
    Oh Nottingham is full of scabs
    It’s full of scabs, scabs and more scabs
    Oh Nottingham is full of scabs

    (repeat to fade)

    Should get a reaction ;)

  62. I’ll put that in my back pocket toons.

    You checked your email? Hope you or worky can sort it out. Epic fail if the banter article is left to me tonight…

    Enjoy the match though lads, going to be wet but wonderful I reckon. Lashing it down outside.

  63. I don’t think Chuck is a mackem to be fair.

    Granted he can bore an arsehole into a wooden horse sometimes but to say he is a mackem is false imo.

  64. Ta for the pointers, lads. Not sure they’re particularly useful, but they gave me a laugh!

  65. Can anyone help me out with a link to tonight’s game? I’m watching in the USA. Cheers, Jilly Bean

  66. Jill- I’m at work for now and can’t access the links but the “usstream” site has been pretty reliable for televised matches this season. Sorry I don’t have the url but someone put up the “usstream” radio link on the match banter post from last week. Should be able to get it from there…

  67. Jill says:
    March 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    “Can anyone help me out with a link to tonight’s game? I’m watching in the USA. Cheers, Jilly Bean”

    Jill, stick in your bookmarks. They should sort you out.

    There are others too.

  68. Harps Simpson Colo Williamson Jose Routledge Guthrie Nolan Jonas Lovo Carroll.

    Forest drop Earnshaw to the bench and play 5 across the middle.

  69. Worky,
    owt where y’don’t have to download anything, i’m at work, so they don’t like us downloading stuff.
    Ta mate.

  70. Ranger, pancrate dropped from the bench in favour of barton/ameobi

    NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan (c), Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll
    Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Joey Barton, Leon Best, Alan Smith, Ryan Taylor, Shola Ameobi

  71. CLiNT – It wouldn’t be so bad if Radio 5 had i on but they are plumping for the Wigan game. Toon are on digital but can’t get that :(

  72. If I give you’s my mobile number will one of you text us, or ring us if there is a goal? ;)

  73. toonsy,
    gutted mate.
    But whey aye mate, if y’trust us with y’number, that is.

  74. Don’t worry CLiNT, just testing the waters like. That’s not to say I wouldn’t trust you of course ;)

    Should be fine, I have sort of worked out a back up plan. Whether or not I can action it is a different matter though!

  75. Aye steve, will be full of texts off Stu describing what he is wearing and what he is doing to himself :lol:

    Nah, divvn’t worry. As above I think I have cracked a way around it. Means the sound will be shite coming from a PDA but it will be better than nowt I suppose. Should still squeeze the first 30 mins in on telly anyway.

  76. I’m actually not going to any festivals this year. Last ine I went to was Creamfields and it took me about 2 weeks to sort myself out afterwards :D

  77. Dave – Does coulouring in count as work? ;)

    Has it’s benefits though. Means i’ll appreciate Peterborough on Saturday even more! Have to make sure I don’t get there too early or else an immigrant will setup home in my car :lol:

  78. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    March 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    “Is there a ‘banta’ page gannen up or is this it?”

    I put one up a short while ago, Clint.

  79. toonsy,your as bad as me had 2 tickets,for game,son has took his girl,nearly carroll/taylor job on,now bloody sky playing up :(

  80. GoodOldDays
    Exactly what is it about my remarks, gives you the idea i`m a mackem ?
    Oh! have to admitt was at Roker Park to watch the millionaire team in the fifties, and saw a pre season game against a Seria A team a coupla seasons ago, does that make me a mackem ?
    If so, then OK.

    Big badd ass bob
    Grant you there`s probably more friction at local games
    (north east) but no in general Geordies are not disliked by other fans, quite the contrary, been to games at Liverpool ,Manchester and London.
    Only encountered good natured banter, never any bother, then again who wants to be accused of picking on old geezers.

    Be nice, or i may have to give you a verbal clip about the ear.