Newcastle United are still the biggest long ball side in the Premiership

Posted on April 17th, 2013 | 189 Comments |

NUFC - Route One.
NUFC: More ‘hoof’ than a Tesco economy burger.
“We were tighter as a team. We kicked the ball longer. We tried to get as many bodies around the ball as we possibly could to make it difficult for their passing game.” – Newcastle United first team coach Steve Stone praising a route one performance against Swansea City (which we lost).

“Alan Pardew will tell you that he tries to play good football – That’s rubbish, he plays long ball football. It’s very direct, there is no creativity in midfield, he just wants to play route one football. Every time I’ve seen his teams play, they play that way but he’ll say in the Press ‘we play good football.’ At times he can be a conman.” – ex player and pundit Stewart Robson when Pardew was appointed as Newcastle United’s manager.

Although Newcastle United have never been what could be described as a “pass and move” side, in their early season games I noticed Alan Pardew’s sharply increasing reliance on the long ball as a tactic in early season games against teams such as Aston Villa, Everton, Norwich and Reading. Because of this, and also because of Alan Pardew’s previous reputation as an old school “hoofball merchant” before he joined the club in December 2010, I decided to track Newcastle United’s performances in this respect.

Although others have done this with various teams simply by counting the number of long balls (over 25 yards as defined by OPTA) played in games, it soon became apparent to me that this was a far less reliable indicator of the team’s overall style of play than measuring the percentage of long balls as a proportion of total passes. Subsequently, my first report back in November revealed that Newcastle United were the biggest “route one” side in the Premiership both in terms of long balls played, and also, more importantly, in terms of long ball percentage. Subsequent reports also revealed that they have remained in that position ever since, above other long ball merchants such as Reading, Stoke and West Ham. I have also been tracking other sides’ performances, not just for this season, but in all seasons going back to the 2008-9 season and as I suspected, the results have been very alarming.

In the course of my research, after comparing much data about all the current Premiership clubs, I also eventually developed my own long ball scale™, which you can see below as a reference:

The NUFC Blog long ball scale™

07% – 12% – Arsene Wenger. A tippy-tappy passing side who more or less completely eschew the long ball game.

12% – 15% – David Moyes. A mixed side who are somewhere in the middle

15% – 25% – Tony Pulis meets Fat Sam on a mortar firing range. A full on long ball side who positively embrace “percentage” football.

So, without further ado, let get to the tables!

In the first, you can see a “long ball” league of the Premiership with Newcastle United sitting at the top, as they have all season. You can also see the relevant figures for all the other Premiership teams.

Below the tables, I have also outlined a series of salient points which I have gleaned from my study of Premiership clubs’ long ball figures over the last five years.

Please note: The figures below were compiled just before the games of the weekend, hence, they do not include last wekend’s games. This means it covers Newcastle United’s games up to and including the one against Fulham on the 7th April this year.

Premiership long ball league, 2012-13.
# Team G TP LB LBG LB %
1 (15) Newcastle United. 32 12207 1969 61.5 16.1%
2 (13) Stoke City 32 10454 1673 52.3 16.0%
3 (20) Reading 32 9599 1535 48.0 16.0%
4 (11) West Ham United 31 10544 1575 51.0 14.9%
5 (14) Norwich City 32 11289 1673 52.3 14.8%
6 (16) Sunderland 32 11471 1662 51.9 14.5%
7 (18) Aston Villa 32 11655 1598 49.9 13.7%
8 (6) Everton 31 12809 1689 54.5 13.2%
9 (19) Queens Park Rangers 32 11549 1511 47.2 13.1%
10 (8) West Bromwich Albion 32 12188 1584 49.5 13.0%
11 (10) Fulham 31 14803 1862 60.1 12.6%
12 (3) Tottenham Hotspur 32 13915 1652 51.6 11.9%
13 (17) Wigan Athletic 31 14732 1631 52.6 11.1%
14 (12) Southampton 32 14067 1530 47.8 10.9%
15 (4) Chelsea 31 15461 1652 53.3 10.7%
16 (7) Liverpool 32 16704 1723 53.8 10.3%
17 (9) Swansea City 32 16968 1715 53.6 10.1%
18 (1) Manchester United 31 16066 1596 51.5 09.9%
19 (5) Arsenal 31 17228 1418 45.7 08.2%
20 (2) Manchester City 31 16392 1335 43.1 08.1%
TP – Total Passes
LB – Long Balls (over 25 yards).
LBG – Average Long Balls per Game.
LB % – Long Ball %.
Red – Highest.
The figures in brackets in the first column were the teams’ league positions at the time I collected the data.
All stats by OPTA.

In the second table below, you can see a game by game breakdown of all Newcastle United’s games this season. As mentioned above, it is up to and including the game against Fulham on the 7th of April.

Game by game breakdown.
Game TP LB LB %
v Fulham (H, W 1-0) 404 (432) 46 (53) 11.4% (12.3%)
v Man City (A, L 4-0) 303 (542) 47 (45) 15.5% (08.3%)
v Wigan (A, L 2-1) 427 (417) 53 (46) 12.4% (11.0%)
v Stoke (H, W 2-1) 399 (313) 59 (45) 14.8% (14.4%)
v Swansea (A, L 1-0) 317 (567) 41 (51) 12.9% (09.0%)
v Southampton (H, W 4-2) 308 (449) 72 (52) 23.4% (11.6%)
v Tottenham (A, L 2-1) 350 (426) 58 (56) 16.6% (13.1%)
v Chelsea (H, W 3-2) 392 (472) 64 (53) 16.3% (11.2%)
v Aston Villa (A, W 1-2) 327 (359) 60 (64) 18.3% (17.8%)
v Reading (H, L 1-2) 445 (369) 72 (56) 16.2% (15.2%)
v Norwich (A, D 0-0) 378 (455) 53 (66) 14.0% (14.5%)
v Everton (H, L 1-2) 378 (355) 60 (43) 15.9% (12.1%)
v Arsenal (A, L 7-3) 519 (411) 69 (33) 13.3% (08.0%)
v Man. Utd (A, L 4-3) 297 (467) 55 (60) 18.5% (12.8%)
v QPR (H, W 1-0) 411 (303) 56 (39) 13.6% (12.9%)
v Man. City (H, L 1-3) 405 (357) 52 (26) 12.8% (07.3%)
v Fulham (A, L 2-1) 475 (401) 68 (59) 14.3% (14.7%)
v Wigan H (H, W 3-0) 471 (459) 51 (51) 10.8% (11,1%)
v Stoke (A, L 2-1) 344 (366) 64 (54) 18.6% (14.8%)
v Southampton (A, L 2-0) 332 (339) 78 (44) 23.5% (13.0%)
v Swansea (H, L 1-2) 439 (406) 69 (39) 15.7% (09.6%)
v West Ham (H, L 0-1) 366 (385) 74 (45) 20.2% (11.7%)
v Liverpool (A, D 1-1) 276 (522) 59 (44) 21.4% (08.4%)
v West Brom (H, W 2-1) 403 (404) 71 (43) 17.6% (10.6%)
v Sunderland (A, D 1-1) 241 (451) 64 (31) 26.6% (06.9%)
v Man. Utd (H, L 0-3) 422 (529) 54 (53) 12.8% (10.0%)
v Reading (A, D 2-2) 409 (348) 69 (53) 16.9% (15.2%)
v Norwich (H, W 1-0) 430 (368) 70 (50) 16.3% (13.6%)
v Everton (A, D 2-2) 294 (406) 71 (57) 24.1% (14.0%)
v Aston Villa (H, D 1-1) 389 (364) 71 (39) 18.3% (10.7%)
v Chelsea (A, L 2-0) 451 (513) 66 (54) 14.6% (10.5%)
v Tottenham (H, W 2-1) 405 (373) 53 (53) 13.1% (14.2%)
v Average 381 (417) 62 (49) 16.1% (11.8%)
TP – Total Passes
LB – Long Balls (over 25 yards).
LB % – Long Ball %.
Red – Highest.
The figures in brackets are the figures for the opposing team.
All stats by OPTA.

What I have learned from the figures…

In the 32 games analysed in the table below, Newcastle United were the bigger long ball side in 27 games, with the opposition being the bigger long ball side in 5.

Much has been said about Alan Pardew’s formations, with most fans seemingly preferring a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation over a 4-4-2. This season however, Newcastle United have played excruciating and largely unsuccessful “route one” football in ALL of those formations.

Although Alan Pardew’s long balls have dropped a little since I published my first report, they are still remarkably high. Back then the percentage of long balls was 17.7%, but they have since dropped to 16.1% on average.

UK managers balls are longer.

The top ten long ball sides have all had managers from the UK and Northern Ireland. The closest thing to an exception has been Sunderland, who, of course, have been managed by Northern Ireland’s Martin O’Neill for virtually all of their games this season until was recently sacked and succeeded by Paolo di Canio. However, di Canio had only been in charge of the great unwashed for one or two games when I collected this data.

The highest club with an overseas manager is Martin Jol’s Fulham at 11th with a long ball percentage of 12.6%. On the other hand, eight of the ten teams with the lowest percentage of long balls have overseas managers. The only two UK exceptions are Manchester United with Alex Ferguson in third with a long ball percentage of 9.9%, and Liverpool’s Brendan Rogers in fifth with a long ball percentage of 10.3%.

All my researches seem to indicate that playing with a long ball average of over 15% as Newcastle United are currently is a road to nowhere. The most Newcastle United can hope for is to be is a Stoke, but without the right players for the job. NONE of the top teams who have had sustained success in recent times play in this fashion at all. At most, it is a tactic for teams with inferior players to lessen the odds against teams which are much better with the ball or in other words, a bigger team who have better players. With a squad as good as Newcastle’s however, it has the opposite effect, which is why you don’t see any other big teams playing in this way.

However, the recent relative success of smaller teams like Swansea playing like the bigger teams is one thing which might indicate that even this tactic is fading. Another is that even managers like Tony Pulis at Stoke and Fat Sam at West Ham have started taming their extreme long ball ways recently in a sustained and measurable way. Apart from the names already mentioned, the only other route one fundamentalist has been Pardew’s Reading protege Brian “long balls” McDermott, who has now been sacked in favour of Nigel Adkins, an advocate for a more flowing style of football. Indeed, Pardew is in danger of being the last true route one manager in the Premiership if Pulis and Allardyce continue on their road to redemption, and of course, so long as he doesn’t get sacked too and/or Newcastle don’t get relegated.

Although there was a top four, which has now become a top six with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham significantly ahead of the rest, Newcastle and Everton are, or should be the “best of the rest” in terms of the players at our disposal. With a squad like that, Newcastle United’s style of play is completely incongrous for a club which has such a skilled set of players. Basically, we are a top seven or eight club with a bottom end manager who is more used to fighting promotion and relegation battles.

Looking at the extremes, you will notice in the game by game analysis above that Newcastle United’s lowest long ball percentage, 10.8% was against Wigan, a 3-0 victory back on the 3rd December last year when a Wigan player was sent off only a few minutes into the game. At the other extreme, the highest was a truly spine chilling percentage of 26.6% in our first game of the season against Sunderland at the Stadium of Blight back in October last year. This is a huge difference, the largest of all. Some teams like say, Arsenal and Manchester City, will play a consistent passing game. Others like Stoke will play a similarly consistent long ball game. Newcastle however are all over the place, with Pardew seemingly incapable of sticking with a consistent strategy. This can affect the players who might not know if they’re coming or going with Pardew’s inconsistent method.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

189 Responses

  1. That 10% against Wigan was against 10 men if I remember right! Need more articles like this, alot of fans are in denial.

  2. I worry this will get lost on ‘News Now’ with all the Ryan Taylor crocked & Cabaye to PSG stuff.

  3. Interesting set of statistics.
    Which for the most part shows the most successful sides play a modern version of the game, with S’hampton and Wigan being the exceptions to the rule.

    And in general i agree with your interpretation.

    What else i noticed was in a total of only four games, in which we played the lesser long balls, we won three and drew one.
    I suppose there’s other criteria we could look at, but for the most part, there appears to be not much rhyme or reason to our game.
    An exaple being, the game against Fulham, was probably one of the most entertaining games this season, good football, excellent passing, etc.
    To then fall apart against Sunderland, for all intents and purposes, one of the most important games of the season, just leaves one totally confused.
    It’s as if, which side is going to show up to-day and what kind of football are they going to play.
    Obviously that can only be laid at the feet of both the manager and/or coaching staff.
    As most every team in the PL has it’s style of play imprinted on it by whoever is the manager, the buck should stop there.

  4. An interesting evaluation from a news now article to-day, titled “Is he really needed at Newcastle?”
    Crtainly hits the nail on the head as far as i’m concerned.

  5. does anyone know any journalists, or can anyone get to someone in the chronicle?, so these questions could be put to pardew.
    the bloke always has stuff to say about stoke and west ham, but the results show, he is the worst offender.
    i would love to see him squirm under the scrutiny, of the questioning, of his so called attacking football philosophy.
    i would love for someone to lay bare the evidence, in front of him, then see what he has to say for himself.

  6. Do you count corners in these statistics?

    I know we are bottom in converted corners as it is impossible to convert less than zero.

    And, I bet we are really bottom in the conversion rate of hoofs. tunyc said the other day we may as well give the ball back to the other team from corners and I would add goal kicks to that, except with corners it gives the opposition a chance to hit us on the break.

    Tactics Alan, tactics. We don’t have any, you’ve been sussed (long balls that don’t work cannot be classed as a tactic). Coaching Alan, coaching. We don’t have any.

    I loved what he said about Krul’s injury depriving us of an outfield substitute. Like that had any effect on the game. Was he saying he would have subbed Jonas? Who picked him in the first place and who praised him the previous week? I remember going to games where there was only one sub allowed.

  7. The Mesh sez
    …if only Pardew could read these stats..
    Mesh he already has, as there are statisticians who keep not only such stats, but evaluate how, what, where and how, player, the side in general and many other statistical evaluations could effect the end results.

    Probably for the most part an excercise in futility, because Pardew obviously ignores them and continues to play a game that went out of fashion twenty years ago.

    How that accounts for the few decent games we have in fact played, god only knows.

    IMO, he would be better off to just, send the side out with a “go get em boys” forget any instructions, the side would possibly resort to playing football.
    Quelle Surprise !

  8. i think that article on fans cast via newsnow, more or less sums up the whole situation, involving mike ashley and pardew, and the whole f**ked up set up.
    infact it’s probably the most honest assessment, i’ve heard concerning the ashley regime, and how it works.

  9. Joe Hawkins sez
    Does anyone know any journalists ?
    The answer is no Joe, they are all dead, all we have are hacks, who copy and paste other peoples opinions or those loyalty depends on co-operation with the local club.
    If you are refering to the evening Chronicle, theres Lee Ryder, i know you dont wanna go there.

  10. Worky: one of the 2 people who voted yes was that man that punched the horse on Sunday, right?

  11. I get the gist of the article, but what about the players? Here across the pond in American sports the players get much more flak for failing.
    Why do we blame the manager so much?
    Let the players work as much as their salaries would suggest!

  12. newyorkfan: I think what is being so obviously pointed out is that we are underachieving with the players we have and that we play a style of football that they are not suited for.

  13. Chuck says:
    April 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    “What else i noticed was in a total of only four games, in which we played the lesser long balls, we won three and drew one.”

    Chuck, thanks for that. I meant to include a sentence or two about how many games we were the bigger long ball side in and vice versa. However that was in the middle of the night and I didn’t have a pen on that bedside table to write a little note about it. Your comment reminded me that I had actually omitted it but I’ve put it in now. Thanks for reminding me.

  14. Of course there is a followup article from the same source, which is more favorable to Pardew, but on reading that Gouffran is no better than Obertan in the opinion of the writer.
    I immediately lost any respect for what else he may have had to say (Grant Miles) obviously a follow up apology.
    (See what i mean Joe about hacks)they can be bought and pressurised, quite easily.
    Would Lee Ryder have the audacity to criticise any of NUFC’s management ?
    Not if he values his job, it’s his role to defend the club, PR.

  15. Great article, shame that we can’t compare a game to game analysis of LAST SEASON to compare it with this one.

    All in all a very interesting read and a worrying realization that we can’t go on like this for ever. Pardew needs to start playing along the deck and rid our long ball ways asap. We have been guilty of doing this for years so it’s not a surprise. What really hit me however is that we are the team that does it the most! More than Stoke and West Ham!?? FFS!

    We now have players that can play pass and move football so why in the hell can’t they play like that? I’ve been wondering that all season. But I know Pardew has it in him as last season showed hence my curiosity of last season’s game to game stats.

  16. NewYorkFan
    I beg to differ, there are managers being fired just as much here in the US in every Pro. Sport, from Baseball to Football and Basketball, even in the MLS league.
    All loosing sides usually replace their Managers, coaches whatever.
    It’s a lot easier to replace them than the players obviously.
    Plus it’s been known for teams to be responsible for having their manager dumped.

  17. Chuck says:
    April 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    “Joe Hawkins sez
    Does anyone know any journalists ?
    The answer is no Joe, they are all dead, all we have are hacks, who copy and paste other peoples opinions or those loyalty depends on co-operation with the local club.
    If you are refering to the evening Chronicle, theres Lee Ryder, i know you dont wanna go there.”

    I’ve known quite a few journalists and to be fair, it’s complex. The ones I’ve known have been very good writers who were forced into writing crap. On the other hand, the standard of some writers who are passed out of Journalism scholl nowadays are frankly awful like the abovementioned Ryder (and let’s not mention the vile McNally)

    As for reading, I read the work of truly great journalists like Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn and Chris Hedges on a daily basis. Unfortunately though, 99% of the sports journalists I read do just seem to hammer out regurgitated and dishonest guff all the time, which is one of several reasons why I got into writing again for this blog.

  18. I hate to agree with Chuck (not really) but he pointed out that when we pass it we tend to win. Pardew hasn’t figured that out though.

    It would be easy to dislike Pardew if he was like a girlfriend who got fat. But, as Worky says, Pardew is like the girl on a yoyo diet. You know, gives you just enough encouragement to want to go back. Well, Mr. Pardew, you are one fat chick I am no longer f@cking, so please f@ck off.

    I still don’t think we will go down and Ben Arfa, Cisse and Marveaux are probably worth the price of a ticket (or Comcast in my case).

  19. nyf @15: I think you’re overstating that. Look at the attention Belichick gets, rightly-because his teams win no matter what, through several turnovers of major players and changes in tactical systems. I watched Tony LaRussa manage my Cardinals to two titles against several clubs with better lineups-he’s rightly known even by those who don’t like his methods as an exceptionally effective tinkerer. Every baseball fan also knows we had a huge advantage for years with Dave Duncan as pitching coach. How many basketball players looked like stars at Duke under Krzyzewski only to fail miserably as pros?

    Then there’s the undeniable wealth of talent in this NUFC squad. This season the squad has featured 4 French (current FIFA rank: 18), 2 Argentine (3rd), 2 Dutch (9th), an Italian (8th) and an Ivorian (12th) international…we had the joint second-top scorer in the first half of the season…we have a player like Cabaye, openly considered a target for a top-end CL team…yet we’re behind Swansea, a club where Wayne Routledge is enjoying a renaissance (he had more assists than our entire squad for at least part of the season) after being deemed not good enough by one Alan Pardew.

  20. GS @ 22: nice yo-yo diet analogy. I’d also point that out to JP @ 19: I’d prefer it if he just went with the long ball style. His inconsistency creates problems of its own such as the horrible morale and infighting among the squad we’ve seen at times this season.

  21. Newyorkfan, again.

    I could think of many examples of coaches having a greater affect on a team than players – Vince Lombardi.

    I would say that Brian Clough winning the European Cup with Frank Clark as his left back shows that players are not always the MOST important part of a winning team.

    It helps if you have Messi though.

  22. JP…from The Rock says:
    April 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    “Great article, shame that we can’t compare a game to game analysis of LAST SEASON to compare it with this one.”

    Cheers, JP. As I mention in the piece, I have been studying the stats from 2008 on, and I did write this piece back in February which might give a bit more perspective.

    From memory, last season our long ball % was around 14.odd%

    I do have alot of figures in my notes somewhere but it takes quite a long time to put these pieces together, and I can get more page views writing 20 minute pieces about Messi being spotted in Benton!

  23. Worky
    Yeah, just read your addendum.
    Noteably concerning the fact with Pardew, as opposed to every other club, which for the most part play a style of football imposed by their manager.
    We in turn have no clue wich side will show up, we are so inconsistent in both tactics and lineup, that each game is an adventure.
    The one i detest most being thos where we take an early lead, then put ten men behind the ball after half time.
    Note it’s only then do we change tactics, as it’s obvious he does’nt know how to do it while play is going on.
    I just dont know how long it will take before public pressure or the fact he may scare the shit outta Ashley on theis run in, before every one realises this guy is a detrement to the club and will never ever be a success, either here or elsewhere.
    Actually he would have fitted in well with the National side, looks good in a blazer, plays traditional English style footbal, and can come up with a veriety of excuses.
    Perfect in fact!

  24. Chuck @27: what does he write in his notebook? He saves it all up for half time, I never see him writing anything in there after half time though, which probably accounts for the fact that he cannot remember that his crap tactics cost us the game – Fulham last year, or almost cost us the game – Wolves and Villa. Not that he isn’t usually outcoached to start with – Spurs, Wigan.

    I think it is “note to self” – forget everything we did right and switch it around, or, oh sh@t that didn’t work for the 99th time I’ve tried it, let’s try something else that doesn’t work – SHOLA!!! Not really, Shola is OK, he is a symptom of Pardew’s desperation.

  25. And Worky: you are getting this polling stuff down to a fine art. Your question affirms your article. I am not saying you are wrong, but the question is very leading. Bernays would be proud of you.

  26. chuck, it wouldn’t suprise me if they come onto sites like this, and cobble a story together, out of these opinions.
    lee ryder would probably right it up in a way, which would come out as, 95% of fans think pardew plays short passing, attacking football.
    or something crap like that!

  27. Worky
    The Cockburns! ah yes, Claud, Alex, Andrew and Patrick.
    I recall Alex’s expose on The Kennedy Family, an article decribing how US shipowners under the guidance of Joe Snr., outflagged a vast amount of their tonnage, to evade US taxes, that plus the vast sums that were, re directed into the pockets of various individuals, for the then surplus US tonnage built for war use, to people like Onassis and other europeans following WW11, whose fleets had been sunk or were now obsolete.

    Written in the Village Voice during the middle seventies.
    when it did a bit of investigative journalism and attractd some voices who took advantage of it’s willingness to print almost eveything that had a leftist bent.
    Of course Alex’s cutting piece on Christopher Hitchins, remains possibly the the most interesting and portrayed him as something of a gadfly.
    The cockburns were a large family, and inherited their fathers attitudes, for the most part, though i’m not that familiar with Patrick.

  28. Christopher Hitchins was a strange dude. I saw him being interviewed when he was totally wasted on Dennis Miller’s talk show. I also read a few of his articles and he was too intellectual for his own good. The Iraq and Mother Theresa stuff was just confusing and weird.

  29. Well in risking the fact i may sound self absorbed, i have come across a number of similarities to some of my rants, that appeared almost identical in content, to be just a coincidence.

  30. Here is one of Christopher Hitchens’ quotes:

    “why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny?”

    take out the middle bit and you have:

    “why are women not funny?”

    A bit patronizing and misogynist, which is how I would describe Chris.

  31. Chelsea just scored from an indirect free kick. Do we still practice those at NUFC and that other way of getting the ball quickly into the opponents 18 yard box -a corner kick? Apparently other teams practice these skills/techniques/ways to score goals.

  32. “I did not go out to attack a horse… I have three dogs, a fish pond out the back and I feed foxes”

    It is funny, but… The horse is about 20 times the size of this man so I doubt if he would cause it any harm. If it was a “police bear” would people complain. That is about as fair of a fight as fatty could have with a police horse with a truncheon wielding officer on top.

    The fish issued a statement that the hooligan had never attacked them and only had 2 pints of shandy when he p@ssed in their pond.

  33. He said:

    “but I would like to apologize to the horse”

    (the horse said neigh bother. “I WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TO THE HORSE” :) :) FFS.)

    “I am on medication”, obviously not enough!

  34. Sorry Worky for taking over your blog. Equating punching a horse with having fish and feeding foxes just made me laugh.

  35. So Bud the horse went back to its stable in West Yorkshire and Bazza Roberson was forced to go there and issue his most sincere apology.

    The horse said – f@ck off you daft Geordie c@nt, I cant understand a word you’re saying.

  36. And there’s more…

    the cartoonist has the Mackem stripes on the wrong way. And, have you ever been to Manchester? If you think Swindon is a sh*thole…

  37. Hitchins was someone like Mary, quite contrary, who took opposing sides for he hell of it, being his forte was as a debater
    Who actually had little respect for many and though it’s claimed he made a tremendous about turn in a political sense, just prior to the Iraqi war, due to what some refere to as islamo-fascism.
    He was never really of the left,though giving that impression, but just the darling of other psuedo-leftist/ liberals, who doted on his radical positions (god is dead) but always a dyed in the wool establismenterian whether in the UK or USA.
    Who showed his true colors, by supporting possibly the dumbest and worst president in the history of the republic, not to mention the PM who did his best to destroy the Labour Party in everyway but name.
    Oh! sorry yes he also changed the name to New Labour, sorry forgot that!

  38. Actually compared to Liverpool, Manchester is to a degree a city that has reinvented itself, certainly the part i saw.
    Though i’m sure it has it’s mean streets, but the city center has made an attempt to clean its self up, converting old mill buildings to apartments, cleanig up the canals and in general sprucing the place up.
    Unfortunately there has on the other hand what appears to be a program of destroying a once attractive city, i’m talking about Newcastle.
    By replacing an architechtually attractive city into a plastic paradise.
    Poor old Percy street with it’s venerable buildings, that could like in Edinburgh, have been converted into an attractive street, by maintaining the original facade’s, with its old arcade, all bulldozed for no apparent reason, leaving open areas which only serve as car parks.
    Not to mention the once lovely Eldon Square, with its three sided terraced neo classic buildings, with one side now destroyed and replaced in name by an indoor plastic market and a car park.
    Which created a slum of the once busy Grainger street with it’s once upmarket quality stores which housed behind it the Grainger Market, that could have also been renovated and converted to an indoor shopping mall.
    Not only that the Royal Arcade, and other sections which are withering away, from lack of use, people from outside the city no longer shopping there due to on line shopping and plastic malls, with plenty of parking.
    What surprises me is there are not more of the offices, that once served the various smokestack industries, now long gone, have not been converted to apartments, like the old loft buildings in new York City.
    Most of them looking empty, with others only housing restaurants on the ground floors.
    I’m sure there are plenty of Students attending College there, who would be more than happy to live in the city center and could help regenerate it.
    But that all costs money in an area that has lost most, if not all of it’s once massive manufacturing industries.
    Thanks Maggie .

  39. Chuck at 44: we aqree again. I pissed on my shoes and agreed with you. There is a first time for everything.

  40. Depressing stats but anyone sitting in the stands already knows this, I get a crick in my neck most weeks!

  41. Chuck says:
    April 18, 2013 at 12:51 am

    “Hitchins was someone like Mary, quite contrary, who took opposing sides for he hell of it, being his forte was as a debater
    Who actually had little respect for many and though it’s claimed he made a tremendous about turn in a political sense, just prior to the Iraqi war, due to what some refere to as islamo-fascism.”

    Well he was a shit debater by the time he popped his clogs, he was no better than your average Fox News bigot. I’ve already told you about lefties who go over to the other side, ending up worse than the people they are trying to imitate. Hitchens had a brother (Peter) who’s the same too. Used to be a Trotskyite but now he’s the perfect Daily Hate Mail columnist.

    Hitchens was right about Mother Theresa though, she was a little gangster who you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley. He was right about Kissinger too.

  42. I wonder if in these figures you have taken into account the kicks outward from the keeper. Not the Goal Kicks though. I would be very interested to know.

    I for one am fed up with a number of long punts upfield to the middle of the park that inevitably are scooped up by players from the opposition far, far more frequently than our own players and then we are immediately on the back foot again. Unless Shola is playing…then we win the knock-down but inevitably no-one picks up his efforts and we lose possession at the second ball stage. It drives me insane.

    Why cannot the back four make themselves available to take the ball passed out to one of them or rolled out? We benefit by retaining possession and can surely pass our way around a roving centre forward trying to close down the defence or even two forwards IF our back four make space for a simple pass out.

    This would encourage the kind of play we need to be adopting to make real progress.

    If we use Shola, let’s play to his strengths and have at LEAST one player gambling on him winning in the air and making a run close to him.

    But..back to the real point…god save me from long kicks upfield from the keeper..STOP IT NOW mix it up FFS

  43. Worky @48: the two Hitchens brothers fell out. I am not surprised as having either one of those outrageous bores as a brother would be hard to take. Christopher wrote as he spoke – a pompous, overintellectualised monotone. No wonder he wasn’t a good debater, the audience was asleep by the time he had finished making his first point.

  44. For ages i have been saying to the lads at the match about hoofing the ball up instead of passing it. Tim Krul also hoofs long balls to a greater extent this season than before. Yet we are supposed to posses players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet, Cabaye, Santon, Debuchey, Sissoko, Mapou (Dave)Janya-Mbiwa, Haidarra, HBA, Gutty and so on. We certainly have played to out strengths this year and the league is showing it. This is surprising as Pardew was a decent ball playing midfielder so I have no idea where his footballing philosphy coems from looking at the current type of football NUFC play.

  45. Mark @50: Worky put up a graphic a few months ago showing our long ball tactics. When Krul was in goal almost every pass was a hoof.

    I have said on here a couple of times that we never win any high balls in the opponent’s half so why do we keep trying. I am glad to see someone else sees it.

    You would think that these tactics would be easy to spot and fix. Just like you would think that since we never score from corners we might just try a short corner now and again, even just to mix it up a bit.

    Nah, it is better to have Williamson and Taylor lumber up for the corner and inevitably mishit their shot and have to scramble back 80 yards to try to defend the counter attack.

  46. People of a certain age think they know just how awful Thatcher could be, but she still had hidden depths:

    “She said, if the northern [Catholic] population want to be in the south, well why don’t they move over there?

    “After all, there was a big movement of population in Ireland, wasn’t there?

    Sir David added: “Nobody could think what it was.

    “So finally I said, are you talking about Cromwell, prime minister?

    “She said, that’s right, Cromwell.”

  47. Maybe we should give the other managers credit. They know Krul, Williamson and Taylor will hoof it, so they have their forwards press them and have their centre backs ready 10 yards in their own half. They know we are crap at corners and rely on our defenders to shoot, so they play for the counter attack. Bennito Di Canio figured out the way to play us after one game in charge, for God’s sake.

    If the other managers can figure this out, then why can’t Pardew adapt also?

  48. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    “I wonder if in these figures you have taken into account the kicks outward from the keeper. Not the Goal Kicks though. I would be very interested to know.”

    Yes they do Mark.

  49. These are probably the most stupid few sentences I have ever heard:

    “Rogerson has since apologised for his actions, claiming to be an animal lover despite trying to KO ‘Bud’ the police horse.

    ‘I reacted stupidly. I did not go out to attack a horse,’ Stated Rogerson. I love animals, I’ve got three dogs, a fish pond out the back and I feed foxes across the road. For some reason people are more upset about the fact that I hit a horse than a policewoman getting hurt.’

    ‘But I would like to apologise to the horse, to all the mounted section, to people of the North East. I am on medication and had been drinking, but that does not excuse what happened. I had two pints before the match, two bottles of beer at the match and a pint when I left early.

    ‘I had just come out of the Terrace bar at St James’, turned right and I was right in the middle of it. There was a loud bang and it spooked all the horses. This horse came towards me and I just reacted. The fire cracker went off, and it charged at me. That’s when I panicked and threw a punch.’

    ‘It made contact with the horse, I tried to get him away from me with my left hand and then punched him with my right. It was sheer panic.’

    Luckily Bud was not injured in the attack with a spokesman for West Yorkshire Police confirming that he is: ‘fine and back in his paddock. All our horses are fit and well, resting and relaxed.”

    See, my natural reaction when I see a spooked horse is to punch it. I would never think – I better get out of the way of this huge animal.

  50. GS @56

    I think that’s a pretty fair comment and that was exactly what I was seeing on Sunday as I squirmed on my seat at the local football club here in the depths of Oxfordshire.

    The name back FOUR kind of gives a clue about how to combat this too…just make yourself available for the pass..there are enough of you to do it.

    Another point you might want to watch for next match is what happens when Krul (guessing Elliott from here on going by news)wants to make the short pass. I have seen Taylor shake his head or point upfield on numerous occasions.

    Grow some balls and take the pass if it is safe to do so…don’t just place yourself under pressure again. Hell point to one of the other three who is available..assuming they have the brains to make themselves so.

    Regarding the Makem Mussolini and the unwashed of Wearside; I hear that they have taken a leaf out of the NUFC club shop’s high sales of French berets and have started selling replica Mussolini hats with a nice wee tassle on the front to wave around


  51. Workyticket @ 57

    I think that explains a lot. Is it possible to do a rough calc with the ‘Tim Kicks’ removed?

  52. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    “Bennito Di Canio figured out the way to play us after one game in charge, for God’s sake.”

    Actually, the Sunderland game was very interesting, GS. Pardew tried to be Pardiola but di Canio actually played like Pardew only much better. We dominated possession and THEY were the route one side (21% long balls to our 12.5%). They only made 186 passes in the whole game which is about half what it should have been. They hardly had the ball, but when they did they ripped us apart with route one counter attacks.

    Even di Canio was better at being Pardew than Pardew himself!

  53. In my opinion, di Canio played counter attack and the long balls were not the telling factor. I could be fitting the facts to my view, it wouldn’t be the first time.

  54. GS @62…

    I agree, they pressed and hit on the counter, with real pace and cut through us time and again. I hate to say so…but they were miles better.

    I find that simply unacceptable

    Very interesting that the stats say they played a long game. I remember a lot of pacy running at us the second they got possession.

  55. I will contradict myself again because I didn’t think we played that bad against the unwashed. The result skewed everybody’s impression of the game. We played nice football and Mignolet and Howard Webb both had good games for them.

  56. Oooh should also say their keeper had a blinder which I feel also contributed to our demise.

  57. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    “Workyticket @ 57

    I think that explains a lot. Is it possible to do a rough calc with the ‘Tim Kicks’ removed?”

    But then it would have to be done with all the other 19 teams as well, Mark. That’s just part of the approach of a route side like Newcastle or Stoke. An Arsenal or Man City goalkeeper will be told to roll it out to a defender more often than not and build up play from the back, whereas a Stoke or Newcastle goalkeeper will be told to hoof it up to the other side of the pitch.

  58. I see the logic of that WT but I am not interested in where we fall as a result of that in comparison to the others…simply in our percentage attributable to the keeper.

    That would mean by that one change alone we can see the difference in %age

    Not saying it is the solution by the way, I think there is room for both. Simply sick of it being the first choice.

  59. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    “Howard Webb both had good games for them.”

    Howard Webb got big decisions completely wrong for both sides. We could point at ours, but the vagrants could also point to theirs too. I don’t bang on about about players very much but I can’t help making an exception for Steven Taylor recently, he’s been an out of control loose cannon in recent games and he could well have been off in that game with his shirt pulling antics. I’d rather have Iron Mike TBH (shut it, Chuck!).

  60. Sort of agree about Taylor in last few…he’s got away with murder and sometimes not (got away that is)

    But Williamson? REALLY?


  61. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    “I see the logic of that WT but I am not interested in where we fall as a result of that in comparison to the others…simply in our percentage attributable to the keeper.

    That would mean by that one change alone we can see the difference in %age”

    Aye Mark, but without comparing it with the other teams you wouldn’t have any perspective on it at all.

    BTW, the biggest offender in the outfield is Yohan Cabaye.

    One more thing not really related to your comment, Mark, but just in general.

    Quite a few fans have been lobbying for Marvellous Marveaux to play more often because he creates alot of chances, and they might have a case. However, Little Vurn is actually just the same in this respect as little Marv and is highly underrated. As well as that, he’s also a little defender as well so you have a fairly complete midfielder in there, albeit in a very small package.

  62. As I have said before, Howard Webb is the most overrated referee ever, ever. He is so bad, he could make his linesmen look good in comparison.

  63. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    “But Williamson? REALLY?”

    I’m not doing Williamson again, Mark. I’ve had enough of that for the moment! :-)

  64. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    “As I have said before, Howard Webb is the most overrated referee ever, ever. He is so bad, he could make his linesmen look good in comparison.”

    The linesWOMAN was very good the other day, she always is when seen her in action. It was the gadgie who was shite.

  65. Worky: Cabaye does a lot of the Hollywood passes. It would be interesting to see what his “assist” score is when compared to your buddy ‘lil Wayne (not Vurn).

  66. And usually the best passer ratings are for defenders because they knock it around with themselves. Or back to Tim Krul when you look at our defenders.

  67. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    “Worky: Cabaye does a lot of the Hollywood passes. It would be interesting to see what his “assist” score is when compared to your buddy ‘lil Wayne (not Vurn).”

    Wayne Routledge – 9 assists in 2603 minutes of play.
    Yohan Cabaye – 2 assists in 2658 minutes of play.
    Sylvain Marveaux – 5 assists in 1931 minutes of play.
    Vurnon Anita – 2 assists in 2523 minutes of play.

    I was referring more to chances created though. Both Marveaux and Anita have created 33 each and that’s just for the Premiership alone (though the above figures are in all competitions). Anita also has to play as a defender.

  68. Regarding Cabaye; I don’t have a problem with long PASSES and wor lad Yohan would seem to fit that bill rather than that label of that of Hoofer.

    I am guessing the stats will not break down between his passing ranges enough to allow a complete comparison. His accuracy might however be rated and thus the long ball label brought into context by a look at his completed passes ratio to incomplete or intercepted if you prefer.

  69. Talking about long passes vs long balls

    Does anyone else remember a game away to Blackburn, I think it was in The Cup, when Dietmar Hamann hit a 50yd ball right into the path of Louis Saha who was running full tilt at their goal…he scored.

    Now THAT’S a pass :-)

  70. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    “Regarding Cabaye; I don’t have a problem with long PASSES”

    Neither do I Mark, except when it’s used as a deliberate strategy. As I suggest in the piece above, that’s just totally counterproductive for a team with a squad as good as Newcastle United’s.

  71. Don’t you think it is difficult to compare players passing percentage when they play in different positions though? I mean, Cabaye is told to be creative, Tiote to be the enforcer and Cisse to shoot on sight. Their passing % is bound to reflect their different jobs.

    And maybe ‘lil Wayne’s current season is a one off? Otherwise, wouldn’t Ferguson have bought him? (yes I know Ferguson bought Bebe).

  72. WT I think we are agreed then.

    The long hopeful (hopeless?) hoofs have to stop and we neither of us mind; in fact would applaud an accurate 60yd cross field pass to feet

  73. You know, the only thing that matters on a NUFC blog is when people are perceptive enough to say things before they happen. I like to moan about things after the fact. Worky, Chuckles (even) and AndyMac were always saying that Pardew was a bad manager.

    But Chuckles moans about everything so I cant give him that much credit for forsight :)

  74. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    “Have you been here Worky?”

    GS, I only ever spent one night in a hotel in Valencia. It could have been the “Expo” hotel, which was ok. I moved in with a couple of lasses after that.

  75. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    “WT I think we are agreed then…”

    Mark, this is how a great passing side can use a long pass or two to devastating effect, though they (the Netherlands team of 88) were the very antithesis of a “route one” side.

    How to play football the Rinus Michels way.

  76. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    “You mentioned you had lived in Valencia, which is why I was asking.”

    I didn’t live there GS, but i did used to go over for trips. I used to have a fan club of lasses around the world, which was nice.

  77. Worky @90: the England team were pretty good. I think I saw Robson, Lineker and Sir Peter of Beardsley. The manager wasn’t that bad either.

    Shows you how good the Dutch were.

  78. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    “OK OK OK…lucky jammy git is what I meant to say really !”

    Talented, Mark. Talented. ;-)

  79. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    “Shows you how good the Dutch were.”

    And Barcelona, and Spain now. They became Dutch teams through the influence of Michels and Cruyff.

  80. Ah, you had said something about the stadium in Valencia before. Nothing about girls around the world. It is good not to brag though, otherwise I might mistake you for Pardew.

    I lost all respect for Lame-arse when he bet Ashley and had to run around SJP nudey like. A saggy old geezer being naked was not my idea of a fit and proper person to run NUFC. We need pirates (Yar, Lord Westwood) to run the club – like in the old days.

  81. @WT 96 don’t forge that Dutch left full back..whassname with the thunderbolt shot……errrrrr,
    Kumens? or something close to that

    he was coaching at barca

  82. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    “Re 90


    This is the goal I mean with the wonder pass…can’t find a vid of it though.”

    I know the one you mean, Mark, Saha didn’t score that many for Newcastle! I don’t think you’ll find it on video though.

  83. Mark Cunningham says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    “@WT 96 don’t forge that Dutch left full back..whassname with the thunderbolt shot……errrrrr,
    Kumens? or something close to that

    he was coaching at barca”

    Ronald Koeman, Mark. Midfielder and Defender. He played in Cruyff’s Barcelona “Dream Team” of the late eighties / early nineties and scored the goal that won them their first European Cup.

    102 goals in 345 games for Barcelona as a full back.

  84. 102 in 345. That is almost unbelievable.

    Maybe he can teach Jonas something. I don’t think he carries the spiderman mask in his underwear anymore – got a bit stinky from underuse.

  85. I just looked at the youtube and Koeman’s goals were mostly penalties and free kicks. Jonas could have had at least 5 in 345 if he took penalties.

  86. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    “102 in 345. That is almost unbelievable.”

    If you watched the video, you’d notice there were ALOT of free kicks and penalties in there.

    Even if he hit it straight at the goalie, he’d hit it so hard that it would just go straight though him.

    Fact of the day, one of the great Barcelona managers, Jack Greenwell, was born in Crook and played for Crook Town, and West Auckland when they won the Thomas Lipton “World Cup.”

    County Durham has probably been the most fertile hotbed for great managers the world has ever seen.

  87. On the sublect of Statistics, we are all aware stats. can be used in ways to prove both points of the same argument, simly by manipulating figures.
    In the case of long passes vs short, everything depends on the situation at hand.
    A long ball from one open defender to the other or a good crossfield pass to an uncovered winger is fine, whereas some of those incessant triangular passes along the sideline of two to three yards, often played by Arsenal, are both stupid and infuriating.
    My point is that there is room for both in the game, though there’s usually a greater chance of a long pass being intercepted, by the poor judgement of the passer.
    But to rely on statistics, like comparisons of long and short passes can often result in false conclusions.
    Of course the one touch and move game is much more attractive as a spectacle, but then players running into space to recieve a perfectly weighted long ball is just as appreciated by the crowd.
    What i dont want to see is predictability, but to play only like Stoke or the opposite like Arsenal at times is predictability and it appear according to stats. we are more Stoke than Arsenal.
    But we hav’nt discussed tactics, which also plays a major role, that and lineups.
    But i’m not getting into that, what we have at Newcastle is a conundrum, a side that plays like it did against Fulham one week and Sunderland the next, there’s just no rhyme or reason to it.
    I mean most managers put their stamp on a side, as how they play tactically, hopefully different strokes for different sides, both in tactics and lineups.
    For the most part, the only tactic we are familiar with is when leading at half time, you can bet your ass there will be ten men behind the ball defending for the rest of the game.
    I would’nt care if there was a chance we were waiting to spring a fast break, when the opposition commited their defenders, but no such luck, hoof it out.
    Thats what we got with Pardew, and hopefully he takes his coaches with him, when he finally hits the road, cause they dont sound much better.

  88. I must be getting old because I am agreeing with Chuck.

    NUFC coaches are shite, shite and more shite.

    Pardew – doesn’t know his arsenal from his elbow.

    I don’t think it is only about long balls though. We have no method, no system. We have a set of skillful players but we don’t have a team. We are always scattered and scared in our 18 yard box and I am always shocked when the other team doesn’t score.

    It is the opposite when we don’t score from a corner. It is the same old, same old, story.

    That is coaching, or should I say BAD coaching?

  89. He’s presently at Feyenord (Koemans) “Ronald” that is, as we are all aware there’s more than one Koemans.
    Perhaps we should put him on the list Ashley should be preparing right now, as he has his side in fourth place six points behind leaders Ajax.

    It’s going to be interesting as to how our run in goes, Paddy Powers has us @18/1 to survive, but if Pardew gives Ashley a good enough scare, where he looses faith in him and decides it’s time to hire a real manager.

    Who would fit the bill ?
    Being the overwhelming majority of players are French Speakers, perhaps a Frenchman ?

    Of course we could always re-sign “wor Joey”, who could interpret for them if we signed an English speaker, he could also assist them with their Tweets and Twitters.
    But seriously folks, who do you think (no Morinhos or unavailables please) would both accept the job and in your opinion, be the right choice for this club.

  90. impressive stuff Worky,yet again another intresting read.we have got to get rid of Pardew at the end of the season if we are to improve.Sundays loss has killed any last hope of us succeding under him.
    btw Worky,i like the way you got your TM on your stats :)

  91. OK then Chuck, tactics.

    Probably the first thing a decent coach should understand is that attacking football is fundamentally about taking as many opposition players out of the game as possible in a given situation. Of course, I don’t men that in a Lee Cattermole / Alan Smith kind of way. This is done by either hoofing the ball over the top of them, hopefully to one of your players when it eventually gets to the other end of the pitch. Nowadays, that is usually the approach of the underdog taking on a side of more technically accomplished players.

    The other way by intelligent passing, movement, guile and patience until you gradually pull the other team out of shape, then you can move in with the occaisional long pass if necessary.

  92. BLYTH MAG says:
    April 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    “impressive stuff Worky,yet again another intresting read.we have got to get rid of Pardew at the end of the season if we are to improve.Sundays loss has killed any last hope of us succeding under him.”

    Cheers Blyth. I would say it’s about more than one game though, even when it’s the Mackems! As GS has suggested already, that wasn’t even our worst game of the season (though it was Webb’s).

    What it’s about is Pardew’s whole career as a coach.

    Some fans say that relegation was the best thing that ever happened to us. Well if it was it can also work the other way too, ie that fifth last season.

    As I suggested in this story about the LMA award being a “kiss of death” back in January, this has happened many times in the past with managers like Frank Clark, Peter Reid, Danny Wilson, Dave Jones, George Burley, Steve Coppell and so on, all high flying “Manager of the Year” winners who were found out soon after and plummeted.

    So did that fifth last season merely prolong the agony of Pardew?

  93. The Mag is run by grasses and Llambias lickspittles. I may not approve of what some fans did (especially punching a horse) but I would never, ever grass a fellow Toon fan to Llambias and get them prosecuted and banned for life. That is f**king despicable. If anyone did that back in my day, they’d be hung from a lamppost Mussolini style.

    “Newcastle Fans Asked To Name And Shame Derby Suspects – Photos”

  94. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm


    Have a read. About 2/3rds of the way down you will see another journalist is a fan of yours. Don’t you normally have to pay royalties when you use (steal) someone’s work? I doubt it is a coincidence:”

    That’s what I wanted GS. That’s what I wanted when I first started doing my features on Pardew’s long balls because people didn’t seem to be aware of it and were deluding themselves.

    I’ve been nicked from by better people than that anyway. I was going to be a guest on Jay Leno’s Tonite Show over there once so I watched an episode as research. His writers nicked two jokes from the website they wanted me to talk about on there. I didn’t go in the end because I thought I’d be detained by the FBI at the Airport as they were doing that to troublemakers like myself at the time.

  95. Worky @111: it is a symptom of the way people think now. When they see the police attacking football fans they think Daily Mail and not Big Brother.

    I think it has gone too far in terms of surveillance (CCTV) and this “bedroom tax” thing. The busybodies have taken over the asylum with their Daily Mail in hand.

  96. Andy Carol and Cisse, could in fact with two decent wingers, be an effective combo.

    If you go back twenty odd years when Jacky Charlton managed the ROI, yeah he had a few decent players in the side but really could’nt compete playing football agains the worlds top sides.

    So he played route one and was possibly the best there was at it.

    With Big Nail Quinn/Cascarino up front and a couple of poachers, Houghton scoring a goal against Engerland in the Euro final stage to put them out of the tournament.
    But the ROI were eliminated by the eventual winners Holland.

    They under Charlton qualified for the next two world cups, again drawing with an English side.

    With such players as Liam Brady, Paul McGrath and later Roy Keane, they were no pushovers, but still not of the quality that was needed to go head to head with top international sides.

    My point is, if played right Route One, can be successful, if not great to watch, where a big CF dominant in the air, nods down crosses to a poacher in the box.

    Who better to play the poacher role than Cisse and who better to dominate crosses in the box than Carroll.
    Not that i want to see such a situation, as i prefer (now that we have the talent) a side playing a more entertaining version of football, the modern game.

    On the other hand, i dont discount Ashley from re-sgning him for some strange reason, even for seven million.
    Would rather see it go to-wards a player like Aubameyang.

    What the hell we can only pray that France is not playing in a world cup qualifier, while the African championship is being played, as we will be without a team.

  97. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    “Now Mackems are embracing the word “mackem””

    They’ve done that for ages, GS, it just like us calling ourselves “Geordies.”

    The more surprising one is the big Sunderland fansite “Ready to Go,” who “embrace” the “SMB” (Sad Mackem Bastards) thing! :-)

  98. I haven’t lived in Newcaarsel for 30 years and always thought Mackem was a derogatory term. SMB certainly is!

  99. Chuckles: good to have you back because you always have a different, if weird, perspective. Not that I have anything to do with Worky’s site, I just read it.

  100. Worky @ 108#
    Yes of course, and SBR never got the respect he deserved in putting a side together, with Shearer and his astute buy of Bellamy, no better pair.
    With Shay putting it at Sheares feet, while Bellamy was making his run, i doubt if Shearer got all of the credit he deserved,as far as assists.
    Robert both scoring and putting in the perfect crosses for Shearer from the left and Nobby doing the same on the right, the bling brothers providing pace, while Speed could do it all.
    Unfortunately it was at the back where we lacked talent.
    Though had we held on to Sylvian Distin and not lost his little fellow Frenchie LB Ollie Bernard, to a career ending injury, he plus i never understood why we got rid of RB Aaron Hughes, who played for years after with Fulham.

  101. Aye Chuck, Jackie Charlton’s Ireland team is the perfect illustration of what I wrote in my piece about inferior teams trying to cut down the odds over better sides with better technical players. They even gave my favourite (Michels) a scare when the Netherlands only narrowly beat ’em 1-0 on their way to winning the European Championships. It was a nervy game for the Cloggies, but how many trophies did Jackie win as a manager?

    However, when YOU are the better team, as Newcastle should be with most Premiership teams, it immediately becomes pointless and counterproductive.

  102. Chuck @ 120: Bobby Robson never got any respect from the British press. I think he was England manager for like 8 years and was the subject of their derision for 7.9 years of that.

    That they didn’t put his image on a turnip was the only thing they didn’t do to him. Of course, now he is dead, they love him.

  103. AS for the police!
    Got little or no respect for them, think they are above the law in most cases and will stitch anyone up, whoever will fit.
    They are in most cases as bent as most criminals, my advice is never trust what the tell you and if you find yourself in a situation, insist on first talking to a lawyer, before you say anything.
    I just watched a documentary about the famous Central Park Wilding case which i remember from the late eighties.
    Where the police stitched up five young African American teenagers, for the rape and assault on a white jogger.
    They even had the kids admitt to various stories, that they the police made up, with the promise the each one was ratting on the others and would be able to go home as soon as it was over.
    So naive were these kids, none having ever been in trouble and their parents were even more naive, not immediately getting each a lawyer.
    The trial was a farce, everyone in the city and country wanted them jailed,the media demonizing them.
    Well as things turned out, their lawyers were inadequate and the it was the filmed individual confessions, to something they did’nt do that convicted them.
    Even though their was no genetic proof and each cofession contradicted the other.
    Of course the victims memory was effected and she had no memory, so she was of no help to these young teenagers who ended up doing around fifteen years each.
    A subsequent individual, who was incarcerated for a different crime admitted it was in fact he who commited the crime, which he proved by supplying both information only he could know, plus his DNA matched a sample from the crime.
    It’s just amazing that the police and DA ever got away with what they did, knowing well that these kids were innocent.

  104. Aye Chuck, I’m with you and N.W.A. on the bizzies, but I will desist from relating some of my stories about the bastards. I’ve already told the tale about when they tried to fit up one of my mates for violent disorder on here.

  105. Worky: did I ever mention that I was thrown against a wall by 20 army men with machine guns in Leicester Square. Apparently, I looked like someone who had a fight in a nearby bar and therefore they suspected me of terrorism.

    The main Army officer gave me his card in case I wanted to complain, so it couldn’t have been the first time they had mistaken an identity.

  106. GS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    “He would pick on the slowest boy in the class, Michael Dawson, and ridicule him”

    A few of those lads get their revenge by being good at football though, GS, like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Gazza and most other English footballers. :-)

    There is a Michael Dawson who plays for Spurs, but you probably know that already.

  107. That Michael Dawson is the slowest player on a football field, not a physics class.

    The ones you named seem to be top of the class in terms of money though. Beckham seems like an idiot but obviously isn’t, except for his choice of wife. I wouldn’t have picked any of the spice girls.

    That Jeffrey Hallywell was particularly ugly.

  108. john alain boumsong was a maths whizz, although he didn’t equate to much on the pitch.
    james beattie is supposed to be intelligent, and fat frank lampard has about 8 or 9 gcse’s.
    the trouble is, do gcse’s make people intelligent ?, imo no.
    those things started when i was at school, and it just gave the kids who were not that intelligent, but were willing to sit at home, and stick loads of pie charts and pictures together, were getting good grades, at the end of the year.
    you then had the brainy kids who thought it was crap doing that, and a lot ended up failing their exams.
    gsce equates to pseudo intelligence imo, what happened to turning up to an exam, and showing what you know from scratch.
    i think that’s why the universities are full of kids, who probably shouldn’t be there, this day and age, but it has created another industry, in the government raking in extra revenue from tuition fees, getting young people used to being in debt, from a young age.
    well they have to indocrinate them into their belief system, as quick as possible!

  109. never been a radiohead fan, but at least thom yorke, “keeps it real”, as it were, in the fact he doesn’t do the whole empty headed showbiz’ crap, and lives a quiet life, and shuns that world.
    so i have the utmost respect for him, in that sense.

  110. Joe, you’ve missed out Toon’s goalkeeper cum NASA rocket scientist, Shaka Hislop.

    “and fat frank lampard has about 8 or 9 gcse’s.
    the trouble is, do gcse’s make people intelligent ?, imo no.”

    Well I think Niels Bohr’s Nobel Prize for Physics, being the father of quantum theory and beating Einstein in a physics fight is a bit of a step up from that, Joe. Then again, Chelsea would probably beat the 1905 Akademisk Boldklub side quite convincingly if they were to have a game. :-)

    GCSEs have become very devalued over the past few years since Tony Blair decided to give everyone As to make him look good on his “Education, education, education” promise. Universities now have real problems picking out excellent students from merely quite good ones because too many candidates are awarded the highest grades.

  111. I don’t see the point of sending average students to University so they can get into debt. You create an education factory farm that way.

    I didn’t realise it was Blare that decided to give out A’s with cornflakes. Makes sense. They don’t use a scale anymore where 10% get A’s, 20% B’s and 40% Cs, etc?

    I am not totally sure if I agree with Joe Hawkins that time tested exams tests knowledge, it probably tests intelligence more. You can’t cheat, and copy stuff off the internet either :)

    Now they have shut down the whole city of Boston for one guy. The only people on the streets are reporters and police. There are a dozen murders on the south side of Chicago every Saturday and nobody cares.

    This Boston thing reminds me of Raul Mort, I almost expect Gazza to turn up.

  112. Joe Hawkins @134: I am surprised . The Bends and OK Computer are pretty much guitar rock. They get a bit jazz and techno with later albums.

    I have a theory that most bands only have one or two albums in them anyway. It is an exception when someone like The Rolling Stones made a few great albums. They and David Bowie haven’t had a new idea since 1976 though. And although Springstein is good, he did dupe everybody by writing the same song twice – Born to Run and Thunder Road.

  113. GS says:
    April 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    “I didn’t realise it was Blare that decided to give out A’s with cornflakes. Makes sense. They don’t use a scale anymore where 10% get A’s, 20% B’s and 40% Cs, etc?”

    Nope, he created a “target culture” for everything and public league tables for schools like football and if you’re at the bottom end, you can get not just relegated but liquidated.

    Of course, the obvious happened. Instead of genuinely trying to raise standards, insititutions just learned how to game the system instead. Exams boards became competitive in offering easier exams which more students would pass with better grades to make schools look better. In hospitals, they delayed treatment for serious conditions and did lots of easier, less complicated stuff instead to meet targets, so seriously ill people often suffered and sometimes died waiting and so on…

    Politicians are sociopaths.

  114. gs, you want to see how bad them gcse’s are, well were when they first came out.
    they may have improved since then, but from what i remember, they were sh**e.

  115. joe hawkins says:
    April 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “gs, you want to see how bad them gcse’s are”

    Joe, Aren’t you an old fogey who did GCEs?

    If so, your “gs, you want to see how bad them gcse’s are” comment is hardly a great advertisement for the old system! :-)

  116. the police photo Y07 looks like Ant Mcpartlin.dec & simon cowell wont be happy. :)

  117. Unfortunately there are no tests for intellectual curiosity.
    A case in point, I have a long time friend who is a great conversationalist, with numerous interests.
    He has a daughter who has what some describe as a photographic mind.
    Someone who from an early age, aced tests of most kinds.
    Was accepted at her choice of a pricey top five Liberal Arts school, with academic scholarships.
    Ended up doing a five year Phd. at Columbia, and now
    works as an ordinary teacher in the NYC school system.
    Why ?
    When she could have taught college level, or ended up doing something above average, not that i’m knocking teaching as a vocation.
    The reason I get from my friend is, she has never shown any intellectual curiosity, just someone who has the ability to absorb what’s put in front of her.
    A person who has little curiosity about most things.
    There are a great number of differences in peoples cognitive abilities, resulting in very few tests acting as a measure of what’s commonly referred to as intelligence, unfortunately.

  118. I’m not quite sure how good the present education system is in the UK ?
    I know that here in the US we have at present a dumbed down system, that in no way compares to that which existed in the post war years.
    Plus there are possibly quadruple the number of young people attending third level (college) education.
    Possibly the same in the UK.
    I have no quarrel with that, being to-days world is more complex and requires further education.
    However, I find that few young people have read much more than that prescribed to them, by teachers and professors.
    Even in an age where instant gratification of any curiosity is available in a matter of seconds, via ones smart phone.
    Many lack those comprehensive ideas, of history , geography and an understanding of the world, that their peers of an earlier period had.
    It’s interesting perhaps the Kindle and other electronic devices may change that, in fact the book as we know it may very well become obsolete.
    When visiting peoples homes or apartments, I like to check the bookshelves, gives one an idea of who the person is, according to what their literary choices are.
    Though I have visited some where there was not a book in sight.

  119. Better than the accused being fitted up.
    And after all it’s a trial, something that decides the guilt or innocence of the accused.

  120. I keep a few books, mainly cook books and reference. Novels. I would leave on the tube or the el here in Chicago. I would never read them again, so I thought someone else might.

  121. Not much going on to comment on.
    Lee Ryder just issued a statement actually questioning Pardew, another cliché filled diatribe, stating the obvious.
    Looks like we won’t be seeing HBA according to Pardew, in to-morrows game, he doesn’t say why , only stating a cryptic, “we have to manage him very cleverly and get the best out of him” ?
    FFS there are only five games left, he’s been rested for a week, save him for what ?
    The second tier ?
    We are two to one underdogs in the betting, in case any ones interested.
    if we lose to WBA this w/end, we got Arsenal, Liverpool a West Ham that should have beaten MU, with only QPR as the nearest thing to a gimme, which would result in a l point total of 39.
    Dah da da dum!
    Hopefully we can either get an additional couple of wins or draws, but as long as we survive and Ashley gets a good scare, enough to make him realize “Mr. Eight Years”
    was a mistake.

  122. GS says:
    April 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    “I would never read them again, so I thought someone else might.”

    If you never want to read any of your novels again, I would suggest you start reading better ones, GS. ;-)

  123. Worky @150: My favourite was probably Catch 22, I left it on the tube. I bought it again to read again, but never did.

    It was strange that he could write something so brilliant and then nothing else that compared.

  124. Chuck / GS, have they started burning Sikh temples over there now they’ve found out that the suspected Boston bombers were from Chechnya?

  125. Chuck says about Ben Arfa:

    “FFS there are only five games left, he’s been rested for a week, save him for what ?
    The second tier ?

    Again, I am agreeing with Chuckster. Worlds will collide.

  126. @155 they didn’t burn down Tescos, Greggs have horsemeat s well?

    The new GF wanted to see music this weekend. Everything is sold out except these morons

    I don’t think I have ever read anything so pretentious, so I didn’t even try to listen to their music. I bet they have at least 5 GCSEs between them.

  127. Hey anyone but the Chechens, they and the Albanians.
    Wise guy here said to me, chuck they don’t get it, you cant do business with these guys, you gotta kill em!
    He was talkin bout the Albanian mob in the Bronx.

    Other friend of a friend was in Chechnya, during the day.
    He had a satellite phone with him, they confiscated it.
    Next day they received another present, an unwanted one, a missile honed in on the phones signal, during a conversation, surprise!
    But these are bad uncompromising people, you don’ want to have to deal with.

  128. I worked out all this long ball business all by myself the other day:

    Whenever a player notices that Cisse has strayed onside they simply smash the ball in his direction however far away he may be. These rare sightings of our main striker in a non-offside position can be few and far between and the rest of the team feel compelled to attempt a pass no matter how unlikely it’s completion may be.

  129. If HBA is being “rested” Marveaux and Tiote injured the midfield is starting to look a little more toothless.
    Could it be that he will park the bus from the word go rather than leave it till the second half?

  130. What ah bin talkin bout!
    Anyone wearing a turban, or anything rag like on their heads are fair game.
    I feel kinda sorry for the Sikhs in that case.

  131. More concerned with HBA and Marveaux, being out, at least they can score, yeah Cabaye gets one once in a while, but that’s the problem right now, a lack of forwards who can put the ball in the net.
    Jonas aint due for another goal until 2014, Sissoko and Gouffran should be due though.
    We gotta start scoring.

  132. Chuck
    Thats why Cabaye should be pushed forward after all his tackling is always a bit “yellow cardish” Think Marveaux is a big miss.

  133. And Worky, about novels. There are a lot I want to read for the first time instead of re-reading others. I go through periods of reading 3 or 4 in a week and then stop for 6 months and come on here to bore you.

  134. Somewhat out of the loop and still awakening from last Sunday’s disaster, but I will be curious to see how well the Hammers perform against Wigan tomorrow. It’s an important match for both, especially Wigan, but should West Ham loose, will Big Sam cry that his players were still knackered from their encounter with Man Utd. two days ago? I doubt it. The point being, why does Alan Pardew always look for excuses?

  135. Paul in Hollywood says:
    April 19, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    “will Big Sam cry that his players were still knackered from their encounter with Man Utd. two days ago? I doubt it.”

    Paul, lets take a look at one successful team who play in Europe (Barcelona but it could also be other teams who play in Europe)

    Here’s a list of their players who played over 40 games last season:

    Lionel Messi – 60 games
    Dani Alves – 52 games
    Javier Mascherano – 52 games
    Sergio Busquets – 52 games
    Xavi Hernández 51 games
    Víctor Valdés – 51 games
    Cesc Fàbregas – 48 games
    Pedro – 48 games
    Andres Iniesta – 47 games
    Thiago Alcântara – 45 games
    Carles Puyol – 44 games
    Alexis Sánchez – 41 games
    Seydou Keita – 42 games
    Adriano – 40 games

    Unlike Newcastle, they and other top teams play a game called “football.” It is nowhere near as tiring and injurous as the game Alan Pardew plays, which consists mostly of chasing around after a football.

    Pardew, you’re a knacka man!

  136. Worky @150: I watched a rerun of Barcelona PSG today and Messi was like a caged Tiger on the sideline. He was fidgeting and pacing around even though he had an injury.

    Some of our lot need to grow some balls (Coloccini, Cabaye) or maybe they don’t want to play for Pardew.

    Paul in Hollywood makes a great point. I thought about it the other day when Pardew was complaining. Ronaldo and Messi want to play every game, so how come they don’t get tired?

  137. OK, I would think it would be easier for Pardew to play pass and move football rather than inflict his hoofing on our team. Although it is lost on me, he must have a plan to play that way. Why?

    Brendan the Bully can go to Barcelona and steal their ideas, why can’t Pardew? It is the easiest thing in the world – if something is successful, copy it until it doesn’t work any more.

  138. If we lose tomorrow’s game I will worry. If and until then I am making a pact with myself not to worry :) Or am I? :)

  139. GS says:
    April 20, 2013 at 12:52 am

    “Ronaldo and Messi want to play every game, so how come they don’t get tired?”

    I’ve just explained that, GS. It’s because they play football to feet. Newcastle United get knackered playing old school chaseball because under all the used car salesman blather and the designer specs, Pardew’s an unsophisticated old fossil in a sheepskin. I can’t write about the training but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a bit too physical as well.

  140. You tried to explain Worky, but the better players like Ronaldo and Messi still run around as much as our lot except they have an end product.

  141. It is really annoying that we seem to have very talented players who underachieve. Is it Pardew, or are they not as good as I think they are?

    I have watched enough football to know a good player when I see one. How can we never score from a corner, you would think we would just from the law of averages?

    Teams like Swansea can pass the ball. I think, with us, the other team know we will get flustered if they press us. That comes from the manager. From his bluster but no substance. I saw him on Fox today and he was Mr. Depressed and Somber Pardew, not jumping in the stands Pardew. He is so inconsistent, it has to be passed on to the players.

    I would fire the whole lot of the coaches and start again

  142. GS says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:03 am

    “You tried to explain Worky, but the better players like Ronaldo and Messi still run around as much as our lot except they have an end product.”

    GS, watch:

  143. Do you ever sleep? Are you sure they run around less? I saw stats on Cesc and he ran around as much as anybody on the other team.

    Our lot run around a lot because they are always going up for pointless corner kicks and sprinting back to watch Sunderland score.

  144. Look !
    Any team can be instructed and coached to play in any style of play.

    However, in our particular circumstance, we have been subjugated to a manager who really doesn’t understand
    how the modern game is played.

    We would be much more efficient, if we had a Manager who in fact does.
    We have the talent and with a few reinforcements, can be a top six side, which would earn money for the club.
    But as long as we have Pardew calling the shots, fugedaboudit!
    Look if Ashley wants to hold onto that other idiot Llambias, so be it, but to believe that Pardew is the answer, is ignoring reality.

  145. Chuck says “Look if Ashley wants to hold onto that other idiot Llambias, so be it, but to believe that Pardew is the answer, is ignoring reality.”

    I don’t think Mike will axe Derek because he’s the one who does all the (supposed) hard-ass financial stuff. But I’m sure he’s beginning to wonder about Alan.

  146. A 25 yard pass does not constitute a long ball, unless it’s
    being used to undermine your own team.

  147. gs, “if we lose tomorrow’s game, i will worry”
    i think it’s a distinct possibility, the one constant we have is, “the pardew factor”.
    i think everyone knows he’ll never change, well he’s incapable in all honesty.
    we’ll just have to hope he has one of his lucky days, when his non tactics pay off, which happens about 1 in 5 games.

    predictably pardew has been very quiet this week, but if we were to win, he’ll be back to parspew, next week.
    puffing his chest out, and thinking he’s the hard man, again!

    imo, if he loses today, he’s more or less finished, because ashley, will not want to miss out on all that cash, next season.

  148. joe hawkins says:
    April 20, 2013 at 10:39 am

    “predictably pardew has been very quiet this week,”

    He’s been cranking out the drivel as usual, Joe.

    Apparently we’re a “club of extremes” where critics can be “harsh and unfair.” He’s also been on the tiredness theme again, but added that they’ve had a whole week to prepare for this one so there’ll be “no excuses” this time.

  149. squareball says:
    April 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

    “A 25 yard pass does not constitute a long ball”

    Well OPTA in their madness seem to think it does, squareball. How long do you think a ball has to be before it’s a “long ball?”

  150. Those stats were lifted from another site a few months
    back in an attempt to point the long ball finger at nufc. while they may have been collated by opta, most are,
    not sure you can blame them for the context of use.
    The aforementioned site talked about a 25-35 yard ball being enough to be considered ‘long’.
    Where as most fans would consider that bs.

  151. squareball says:
    April 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    “Those stats were lifted from another site a few months
    back in an attempt to point the long ball finger at nufc.”

    So you’re accusing me of lifting stats for the match against Fulham on the 7th April from another site months ago? Which site would that be, the Clairvoyants Gazette? :lol:

    Or perhaps you mean this site? I’ve been doing this all season.

  152. I would say that 25 yards+ is a long ball. I bet the completion % is much lower over that distance, because it is much more difficult. Although it is an arbitrary number, it sounds about right.

    What the stats don’t show is how many of our long balls are aimless hoofs.

    Squareball, I don’t get your criticism of this article. You are saying the point isn’t valid because Worky used another site as a source and didn’t watch every single game and count all the passes himself?

  153. No
    You are accusing me of accusing you, aren’t you?
    I’m not making any accusation.
    Simply saying that this definition was first used on another site months back. So nothing to do with last match next match,more the criteria used to define a long ball.
    Judging by your ability to search and research, i’d be amazed that you weren’t aware of that piece.

  154. Squareball says:

    “A 25 yard pass does not constitute a long ball, unless it’s being used to undermine your own team.”

    Squareball, I am not having a go at you, I just don’t understand what you are saying. Are you saying Worky is twisting the stats for his own purposes to support that he thinks Pardew is a bad manager and a long ball merchant?

  155. Squareball: I am not defending Worky. He can obviously defend himself. I am just unclear as to what your point is.

  156. I think he’s a bit confused, GS. I don’t have time to get into it now because I have the match post to finish off.

    BTW, aimless long balls into space are classified by OPTA as “launches.”

  157. It seems that the Jonas at left back experiment has ended. Pardew is consistently inconsistent. I know Jonas had a nightmare against Sunderland, but who put him at left back?

  158. Late in the day on this one, but here goes anyway:

    I just don’t understand why we’ve taken on so many skilful, technical ball players in the last couple of seasons only to ask them to play like a Stoke, or like Fat Sam’s Bolton side of a few years ago.

    Even if it is all about buying quality players and selling them on at a profit; to that end, the team should be playing in a way that showcases their talents, surely?!

    The hell with it, anyway. Who can really say why chubs runs things the way he does?

  159. WT @ 165

    I am afraid your list of players who dont llok tired after a LOT of games might have to be revised after last night