Bashing the Bishop: Newcastle United, Derek Llambias and the Z-list PR guru

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 | 120 Comments |

Mike Ashley and Keith Bishop.
“That’s another fine mess…”
Most Newcastle United fans are now familiar with the sight of Newcastle United’s PR consultant, Keith Bishop, who seems to have become a permanent figure at the right hand side of Mike Ashley. But who is he? And how did Keith Bishop PR get the job despite being a small celebrity PR company that would be totally out of its depth with a large Premier League club? Finally, what does former Newcastle United managing Director Derek Llambias have to do with all this? Below are a few answers.

First to correct a few possible misconceptions from the local media though.

Keith Bishop PR has been described as “one of London’s most well-known PR agencies” by Mark Douglas in local newspaper, the Chronicle. In reality it is more of a C-Z list celebrity PR outfit than a proper PR company like Bell Pottinger, Edelman, Ogilvy PR and others who are commonly retained by top companies, including large Premier League football clubs. Bishop is more like a poor man’s Max Clifford, more suited to representing celebrity has beens and wanabees than a large Premier League football club. When asked by ‘Features Exec’ in April 2013 “Who are some of KBA’s most well-known, or respected clients?” he replied “Newcastle United, Glasgow Rangers F.C., Flavia Cacace, Kristina Rhianoff and a few soap stars!” Other top clients of Bishop are Les McKeown of the Bay City Rollers (he’s still going!), Sven’s ex, Nancy Dell’Olio, Pat ‘the mullet’ Sharp and Lord Brocket from “I’m a Celebrity”, North East Sky Sports reporter David Craig and Gary Newbon. The figures of Keith Bishop PR also indicate it is a quite a small time operation too. Whilst it is true that Bishop can also boast of having Leeds United and Rangers on his books, like Newcastle, they are also something of a PR disaster area at the moment.

Les McKeown's Bay City Rollers.
Shang-a-Lang! Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers.
Compare this with the PR arrangements of another Premier League club. Not Chelsea, Manchester City or the other giants Newcastle’s fans are constantly reminded the club can’t compete with, but with a more modest Southampton. The father of Southampton’s current owner, Marcus Liebherr hired David Bick’s ‘Square 1’ consulting when he took over the club in 2009, back in the days when they were a mere League One club and Alan Pardew was still manager at St Mary’s. Square 1’s other clients have included Dubai International Capital, Manchester United (pre Glazers), Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour, ENIC (the owners of Tottenham) and many others. They’re harder to find as Square 1 don’t brag about their client list, they don’t have to and it would be indiscreet. Looking at that list though, you don’t need to have a PhD in PR to know which one is more suited to a top tier football club.

Secondly, the Chronicle’s Lee Ryder has also suggested that Bishop has only been parachuted in recently as a “crisis management specialist.” This isn’t correct, he has actually been making a complete hash of Newcastle United’s PR for some time now. For a start, the interview with Bishop where he mentioned Newcastle United as client was given in April 2013 and he goes back further than that. This conveniently brings us to how Bishop got the gig in the first place. It was in much the same way as Alan Pardew, he’s a mate of Derek Llambias. Not only that, a quick check on a company records site quickly reveals that a certain Derek David Llambias (for it is he as they say in Private Eye) has also been Bishop’s fellow director at Keith Bishop PR Ltd since its inception on 3rd January, 2012. Incidentally, Bishop also got his contract as the PR man for Rangers as part of Sports Direct taking over the merchandising arm at Ibrox. As the Scottish Daily Record said back in April 2014:

“It beggars belief that in a week redundancies are mooted the board confirm the appointment of another expensive spin doctor, Paul Tyrrell, to add to the two PR companies already paid well for doing little in return.

“Keith Bishop Associates, for example, are on an 18-month contract as part of the club’s deal with Sports Direct. They invoiced Rangers last year for £27,000 and one official was so gobsmacked at the scale of payment for the work associated with it he demanded it not be paid.”

Sounds like Bishop’s PR magic is working like a dream north of the border too.

Back in Newcastle, and back to where I started this piece, Bishop getting his mug on TV around the world with commentators now even giving him a name check. In this, Bishop doesn’t seem to give a damn about breaking the cardinal rule of the spin doctor, becoming the story. The PR adviser before anything must be discreet, an invisible hand at the tiller. As Tony Blair’s former Director of Communications Alistair Campbell once admitted on his resignation, “I had to go because I became the story. When the PR man becomes a part of the story itself, it is usually a sign that the PR war has been lost.

Make no mistake, even the best PR company in the world struggle to make Mike Ashley’s egregious behaviour look good, though PR issues such as Newcastle United’s recent breakdown of relations with the media, failing to keep old Uncle Joe under control and several other PR disasters have hardly helped. If Newcastle United are a pantomime, then Ashley is undoubtedly it’s greatest Pantomime villain, but Derek Llambias’s old friend has now made himself a bigger part of that pantomime with his unprofessional attempts at self publicity. Whenever his face comes up it’s just a further, self defeating reminder of Newcastle United’s dreadful relations with both the public and the media.

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

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120 Responses

  1. An interesting blog, which obviously required some research.

    I couldn’t agree more with the general viewpoint, which applies not only to what has to be, one of the worst PR departments in football.

    But it also applies to the clubs hiring practices in general, Wise, Llambias, Pardew, Kinnear, et all.

    But the real problem is Ashley’s control freak attitude, a man who believes he can walk on water and employees are there just to fill a particular role, which is, doing what he tells them to do.

    Poor hiring practices and the inability to trust the judgment of those he hires, that and the fact he is insistent on squeezing every last penny out of the club, that’s a business plan ?

    Perhaps one of these days he will realize he knows jack about running a football club and should perhaps consider a different approach, than running the club like a cheap sportswear outlet, after all it’s show-business not retail.

    As for the PR department, following Ashley’s takeover, I have serious doubts if there was a functioning PR dept.

    With any official comments, usually coming from the names mentioned above.

    Now that we actually know there is in fact a PR group and find they come from the same source as those names above, it’s in no way comforting.

    It appears they are so bad at what they do, only aggravating the fan base by unintentionally writing stuff that, has the opposite effect than that intended.

    Yep no clue ! another brilliant job of hiring more idiots, doesn’t he realize there are enough idiot hirelings to go around.

    Their lack of subtlety and poor choice of subject matter
    only causes more anger and frustration among the fans.

    Better to fire them all and save a buck.

    The sooner he moves to Ibrox, the better for Newcastle fans, a club who should be constantly in the PL top six, were it run by professionals.

    Perhaps one of these days Ashley will realize you don’t run a Football Club in the same manner you run a cheap sports outlet, it’s a bit more complex than that.

  2. chuck says:
    October 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    “An interesting blog, which obviously required some research.

    “I couldn’t agree more with the general viewpoint, which applies not only to what has to be, one of the worst PR departments in football.”

    Bloody hell Chuck! I needed a brandy after reading that!

    It actually wasn’t that difficult, the last one took longer. The thing is that journalists nowadays just don’t seem to check anything, not even rudimentary things. For instance, Mark Douglas in the Chronic knew that Derek Llambias’s son, Adam was working for Bishop, but he didn’t even run a quick company check to reveal that Bishop’s partner in Keith Bishop PR was Derek Llambias. And he calls himself a ‘Journalist.’ :-)

  3. Riling the press up by banning them or severely restricting their questions would seem a bit counter-productive to me. It ensures that they will have their knives out and they are a bunch of vindictive bastads. Was this an edict directly from Ashley? If PR can partly be defined as managing, massaging and to an extent manipulating the media then they are not doing a very good job of it.

    Worky: Which one is Les McKeown? I am guessing the one in the middle since it his band. It is funny, he was such a heartthrob to the young girls when I was growing up. I doubt if he a housewives favourite now :)

  4. Aye GS, Les is one in the middle.

    Ashley has even banned a bit of free sausage, egg and chips or whatever to the few members of the press who are still allowed in. All the other clubs do it and don’t even think about it for obvious reasons.

    This is rather unrelated, but there was one or two big reasons why Ashley bought the club back in 2007 which has never been discussed before. I don’t know if I can be arsed to blog on them though as it just isn’t worth it.

  5. Worky said:

    “Ashley has even banned a bit of free sausage, egg and chips or whatever to the few members of the press who are still allowed in.”

    Probably because Llambias isn’t on the board of any catering companies.

    I did see on that to comply with Sky or Premier League rules that they MUST serve hot food and that they serve soup :) He probably has John Carver nip down to Tescos for a few tins of Cockaleekie. Remember, Ashley just bought millions in stock of Tesco so he is protecting his investment.

  6. GS says:
    October 23, 2014 at 1:49 am

    “Riling the press up by banning them or severely restricting their questions would seem a bit counter-productive to me. It ensures that they will have their knives out and they are a bunch of vindictive bastads.”

    Joe Kinnear.

    On the subject of trashy 70s pop music again, Alvin Stardust has died.

  7. GS, I think you’re proabably better on big business stuff than I am. I’m just looking through ‘DueDil’ reports on Newcastle United through the 1990s until now and I would like to know your opinion on them.

    One thing I already knew which is contrary to the usual guff is that when Ashley took over the club, wages were around £58.2 million, yet two years into Ashely’s reign, they were £20 million more, yet Ashley blames the previous board for letting wages get out of control. It’s hard to think of anything Ashley has said which hasn’t been a lie.

  8. Worky: I don’t read many company reports, but I do know most of the questionable information is in the notes. I am pretty much big picture when it comes to investing.

  9. I’ve just been checking out Derek Llambias’s house on Google maps. He lives in Tadworth, Surrey. It’s the registered address for Llambias Associates Ltd.,+Surrey+KT20+6NW/@51.2860778,-0.2141809,117m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x4875e314e51690a9:0x6ef394f4738e02eb

    Zoopla estimates it to be worth £1,954,798.00

  10. Apparently it’s been reported wor Derick may be moving to Glasgow, his new gig being appointed as a member of the Rangers board.

    It appears Ashley has gained control of the board and is about to appoint Llambias and another.

    So what is this all about, well he could be setting himself up as the new owner of a club, bigger in fact in the WW number of fans than NUFC, with a fifty thousand seater stadium and little difficulty in qualifying annually for the Champions league.

    Unfortunately for the clubs fans, he has already bought the rights to re-name Ibrox and has control of most of the money making club related sales.

    Question is, what are his intentions ?

    Obviously owning both clubs, has it’s drawbacks, being a conflict of interest’s is at stake if or when both clubs may be involved as rivals in tournaments.

    He (Ashley)on the other hand may attempt to remain as owner of NUFC but remain the most important board-member of Rangers, controlling, without officially being recognized as the owner.

    Yet benefitting from most financial transactions, including the providing of monies to rebuild the fallen giant and with control of most of the clubs other transactions.

    If so, a bad deal for both clubs.

    However we have to remember, this is no longer the professional sports, we remember from back in the day.

    Since the introduction of the EPL, to replace the old first division and the subsequent massive infusion of funds, from TV revenues, it has now taken it’s place as no different from any other money making enterprise, hosting mostly foreign oligarchs and US monied interests.

    Some being well run, others not so well run, some willing to spend what it takes for silverware, others to squeeze a buck out of the club.

    Then there’s the likes of (like M.U.)clubs totally dependent on success, in order to both sign advertising deals and support it’s stock on the exchange.

    Unfortunately , we the NUFC fans are stuck with the latter, an owner who’s interest is solely to squeeze as much as possible from the club.

    Resulting in a cheaply run operation, who’s only task is to continue as a PL club, garnering it’s rewards and when possible sell off for a profit, any of it’s most talented players, hopefully attempting to replace them with cheaper and younger talents.

    All of which means, there will be constant friction between both ownership/management and the fans.

    Who like fans anywhere want to enjoy entertaining football, with the opportunity to win at least a bit of silverware, which they haven’t seen in over fifty years.

    But don’t expect any more than mid table mediocrity at best, that or a relegation struggle, until this present policy changes.

    Hopefully that may come on the Rangers entry back into the SPL, expected in 2016, in which case we can only hope they are successful and attractive enough for Ashley to buy out and sell NUFC to the highest bidder.

    Which considering the vastly increasing revenues, may become an attractive deal for some ego driven oligarch, who is looking to achieve a bit of success as the owner of a PL side

    On the other hand, nothing will change until the fans get sick and tired of watching a mediocrity of a side, playing awful football and decide to go fishing or play a round of golf instead, leaving only a half filled stadium.

  11. Doesn’t Ashley have a minimum of 2 years before there is any conflict? Rangers would have to get into the SPL and then qualify for the Champions League, right. I think that was what they were saying about Ashley being at NUFC until at least 2016.

    Then, I think the trigger for a conflict is that they both qualify for European football which looks unlikely at our club.

    So, if I am right, Ashley can have his cake and eat it – Europe with Rangers and the incredible worldwide audience of the EPL. F@ck it, I bet there is some way he could even set up a holding company with Dekka, Bishop and Les McKeown running Rangers to get around the rules – Shang-a -lang, indeed.

  12. Aren’t the rules that a single owner cannot have 2 clubs in the same competition? I am not sure on that. However, if that is the case, then he could set Rangers up to qualify for the Champions League knowing full well that we never will.

    Looking at the long con he could even shift Pardew to Scotland as his tactics would probably work there :)

  13. I read an article in the Guardian about “raw” jeans where hipsters wear them for a year without washing them so that they will develop wear and creases exactly according to their body. Seems really strange to me. It also seems strange that these so called hipsters’ style is roughly what Morrissey was doing 30 years ago (minus the beards). They have even made a spray to kill the bacteria and prevent the smell from not washing your jeans. Kids nowadays!

    I think Iggy Pop will be rolling (and rocking) in his grave. Oh, he’s not dead you say.

  14. Here’s a rather long quote from The Guardian Raw Jeans article:

    “To find out more, I spoke to Ash Black, an Australian denim aficionado (200 pairs and counting). He’d noticed the problem after buying denim from brands who promote the ethos of “telling us not to wash”, and had heard all the cleaning myths – “put them in the freezer, walk in the ocean, I even heard one about snow peas … I was big into the freezer thing – but soon as heat comes back, it’s there again! The freezer just holds the smell, does nothing with it. The ocean thing tripped me out – you want me to do what?!”

    His solution was to develop Mr Black’s Denim Refresh – an “anti-bacterial, odour neutraliser” (in a spray form) that takes away “the smell and refreshes the denim” he says. If you’ve ever left your jeans for the recommended six months (or more) before washing, you might recognise what Mr Black describes as a kind of “oily” feel to the surface – it’s a build-up of “bacteria, pollution, sweat, skin cells,” he laughs. “Spray them inside out, leave it for five or 10 minutes and your jeans go dry again”.

    I have a better idea, have your Mam wash them I’m sure she will be thrilled to do it to stop you dirtying and stinking up the sofa.

    Every generation comes up with something to rile their parents, the establishment, be individuals. This is about the most pathetic attempt if you ask me.

  15. Uphill battle today with Cisse, Tiote and Riviere out. No place for our most expensive summer signing either – not even ahead of Obertan, Gouffran and a Spanish 2nd Division signing. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    I might join SJT in the bunker :)

  16. GS says:
    October 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    “His solution was to develop Mr Black’s Denim Refresh – an “anti-bacterial, odour neutraliser” (in a spray form) that takes away “the smell and refreshes the denim” he says.”

    He didn’t develop it, that stuff was developed years ago. I don’t know about over there but it’s called ‘Febreze’ over here and people usually spray it on mattesses and stuff you can’t put in the washing machine. Never trust a hippie.

  17. Worky @16: I didn’t say that, it was a quote from the article. I know all about Fabreze, I had a dog.

    I am not even watching the build up to the game. I am switching it on at exactly kick-off.

  18. I was just enjoying the win there, but then I saw Ashley’s big, ugly mug smiling and it took the shine off it somehow. I want to see Newcastle United winning but I don’t want to see Ashley looking happy.

  19. Have a read of this. Ashley can own NUFC and Rangers simultaneously and the European restrictions aren’t really restrictions at all:

    In the most likely scenario that Rangers qualify for Champions League and NUFC Europa League, all that would happen is that we would be bumped from the Europa. Ashley would not be required to divest any holdings of either club. He CAN have his cake and eat it too.

  20. In the highly unlikely event that NUFC and Rangers both qualified for Champions League under Ashley ownership, Rangers would be bumped because England has a higher coefficient. Perfect scenario for Ashley as he gets Champions League exposure through minimal outlay in a cr@p league and worldwide exposure through the EPL. If NUFC qualify for Europa when Rangers are in Champions we would be bumped. They have said all along they don’t want Europa anyway. Whatever you say about the fat c@nt sh!tting on our club, he is a shrewd businessman/vulture.

  21. I know, GS. Also, It used to be that someone couldn’t have a stake in Rangers at all if they were an owner of a Premier League club too, but Ashley got it changed to 10% just for his benefit.

    No one else can invest in Rangers because they would be badly mauled by Ashley, so Rangers can only look to Ashley for help on his terms or disappear. He has got them in the jaws of his trap completely.

    From the Daily Record story: “Rangers power battle: Graham Wallace axed as beleaguered board accept Mike Ashley’s £2m crisis loan”

    “Ashley was apoplectic when he heard Kennedy made a bigger offer.

    “His lawyers made it clear to the board there could be devastating repercussions for those who tried to stand in his way. It is no surprise a few bottles crashed. Ashley is not someone to be messed with.”

    Rangers in the Champions League is completely overrated anyway. How many people watch them slug it out with teams like Amica Wronki and Grazer AK in the early stages before they get knocked out? For that matter, has the Champions League made the likes Wronki and Grazer into rich world footballing powerhouses? No, of course it hasn’t.

    Just look at Celtic who didn’t go tits up like Rangers. They have a big stadium, a big fanbase and get into the early stages of the CL too, but in money terms they are still only like a Championship side.

  22. Worky: I am thinking about Rangers and Champions League in terms of being a billboard for Sports Direct. If they get to the Group Stage they are quite likely to draw someone like Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea because of the seeding system. The money in a Scottish Club is not that important to Ashley, it is a chance to expand the brand in Europe.

  23. You know when I said Ashley “can have his cake and eat it too”? It shows, the fat tw@t has put on all the weight he lost and more.

  24. I know it would be simpler for Sports Direct just to buy advertising space at Champions League clubs but I bet that is expensive now considering Man U get 75 million a year for kit sponsorship. Anyway, I think Ashley might have some other devious plan for Rangers like calling them “Sports Direct Rangers” or something.

  25. GS says:
    October 27, 2014 at 10:53 am

    “Worky: I am thinking about Rangers and Champions League in terms of being a billboard for Sports Direct. If they get to the Group Stage they are quite likely to draw someone like Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea because of the seeding system.”

    One and a half big home games if they’re lucky enough to get through to the group, one against a really big team like the ones you menioned and another against a big but not quite as big a side like Napoli if they get caught in a bad ‘group of death’ scenario. The Premier League is 38 games broadcast worldwide.

    Teams from smaller leagues who get into the first few games of the Champions League then get knocked out don’t get loads in sponsorship generally. However, the group stages can be a showcase for selling talented players on at a profit. One example of many recently was Basel’s Mohammed Salah, a good winger who put in a couple of excellent performances against opponents Chelsea, so of course, Abramovich promptly bought him.

    Look at what he Champions League against Barcelona did for the profile of Celtic’s Fraser Forster and Victor Wanyama too, who were sold for £20odd million to Southampton. I would take Celtic a hell of a long time to make that kind of money from sponsorship.

  26. Afternoon folks,

    Just popped into to say that the last two articles on here have been excellent workyticket – proper thought provoking, research based pieces, enjoyed reading them.

    It’s always nice to find some intriguing pieces that aren’t bandied around in the mainstream media.

    As for Bishop, he just strikes me, as you’ve alluded to, a typical Ashley man — not top class in his profession but get his ‘job’ done, whatever that job entails.

    Hard to be too excited about the Toon at the minute, but hopefully the Rangers’ takeover is a peep at where Ashley sees his future. One can only hope I suppose.

    Anyway, keep up the good work lads.


  27. Quote from The Guardian:

    “Ally McCoist says he has been told his job at Rangers is safe despite Mike Ashley increasing his control of the club.”

    Oh Ally, Ally, Ally. You are in for a rude awakening my son. You may have a chance if you take it up the ars*, but you are not one of his inner circle so I would be getting my CV ready.

  28. Takeovers !
    Looks like another of London’s PL sides may soon find themselves owned by non British interests.

    Talking about Palace, who appear to be a target for US billionaire Josh Harris, owner of both the “New Jersey Devils” and the Pilly “Seventy Sixers” hockey & basketball franchises.

    It appears that it’s all about location when attempting to buy or sell football clubs, that and obviously the asking price, where there’s speculation Palace could go for around seventy million quid.

    It seems clubs like Fulham, Palace,and possibly QPR and Charlton and perhaps other London clubs are a more attractive proposition to those interested in ownership of a club, either currently a PL member or those former PL sides hoping for a return to the big time.

    As for selling a club like NUFC, who’s location is about as far from London as can be expected, who in fact are closer to most SPL sides, makes it a daunting process.

    The possible sale by Ashley if he is set on becoming the new Rangers owner, with an asking price of around two hundred million, will be a tough sell, when compared with the reported Palace asking price.

    That and the fact, would one chose to spend a post game evening with all of what London has to offer, as opposed to an evening doon the Big Market, or way doon the Quay Side……

    In other words, getting rid of this cheap-ass owner, aint gonna be easy.

    As for yesterdays game, “lucky” being outplayed for most of the game and the fact we have won two in a row, means nowt.

    I’m still projecting a long hard struggle to finish in the top half if in fact we make it to those dizzying heights, that have been set by our knowledgeable leaders.

  29. Chuck: you are forgetting Ellis Short from just up the road. Have you been to Manchester? All the footballers live in the Cheshire football enclave where they’re in their own cocoon. Geographically Manchester is closer to London, but then there is the M6 which is a great leveler in terms of travel time.

    Since you were young they have also invented aeroplanes. It is an hour from Heathrow to Newcastle, I know I have done it.

    Go ahead, carry on with the Newcastle bashing. I know Crystal Palace is your Son’s team but they have a crap ground, limited support and no history. I don’t see them competing against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs or even West Ham for the hearts of the London football supporter. I certainly don’t see them as a worldwide draw.

    It is all about economics and getting Palace on the cheap and self financing with all the Premiership riches.

    Having said all of that, I still can’t figure out why nobody buys Leeds. A sleeping giant if ever there was one.

  30. I know London is a draw but I am not sure these 22 year old kid footballers with their beats earphones and play-stations are interested in the Opera, fine restaurants and museums. I know that is a cliche but I bet it is mostly true.

    The club scene may be more appealing to them but then they get fined if they stay out late :)

  31. Doocey says:
    October 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    “Just popped into to say that the last two articles on here have been excellent workyticket – proper thought provoking, research based pieces, enjoyed reading them.”

    Cheers Doocey. They take far longer to write so I’m glad that at least two people appreciate them!

  32. GS says:
    October 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    “Go ahead, carry on with the Newcastle bashing. I know Crystal Palace is your Son’s team but they have a crap ground, limited support and no history. I don’t see them competing against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs or even West Ham for the hearts of the London football supporter. I certainly don’t see them as a worldwide draw. ”

    GS, to be fair, South London has over 3 million people at least. It’s like Berlin or Madrid but what does it have football wise compared with the North’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham, Fulham, QPR etc? It has Crystal Palace, Charlton, Millwall and AFC Wimbledon.

  33. Worky: I had just looked up Palace on Wikipedia and there is some untapped potential. Even Harry Enfield supports them so that makes them OK with me. They can expand the ground to 40k and have the freehold as well. They seem to be a little club that a lot of people like.

    I was a bit harsh in response to the usual Newcastle bashing.

  34. I can sort of see Chuck’s point in that there is so much money in London, but then why Man City?

  35. Actually, regarding the similarly sized Madrid and Berlin I mentioned above; although Madrid has two top world class football teams along with other La Liga sides Getafe and Rayo Vallecano, Berlin only has one very mediocre team (Hertha) that struggles in the top division and even gets relegated sometimes. It isn’t as if Germans aren’t into football or don’t have a top league like the Spanish. It could be the old East West divide though. The great East German cities are still sleeping giants in the football world.

  36. GS says:
    October 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “I can sort of see Chuck’s point in that there is so much money in London, but then why Man City?”

    They are the neighbours and rivals of Man Utd who fell into the gutter as the other Manchester team reached for the stars. They have now been restored to glory to at last compete with their neighbours on an equal footing. That’s the kind of story that would appeal.

  37. According to the Independent, Rangers asked the SFA a month ago about owning 26% of Rangers shares alongside owning Newcastle. They also claim that the SFA have admitted they might not be able to stop him, though there doesn’t seem to be any substantiation.–but-what-does-it-mean-for-rangers-9822060.html

    One of Ashley’s moves in the future might be to challange the SFA in the courts if he has the chance to buy up more shares, so he can own a higher percentage of Rangers alongside Newcastle. Rangers will probably have another cash crisis and Ashley will get the chance.

  38. Palace ?
    Limited support ?
    Tell that to some of the most loyal and vociferous fans in the PL, who along with Charlton and Millwall make sarf London sides among the most well supported in the country.

    An hour flight time or a four hour train ride, doesn’t close the gap between Newcastle and London (qualitative) and if anything only emphasizes the difference between the two.

    Fact is most players arriving from outside the UK, prefer to play in the capital, with all it has on offer, as opposed to those grimy ex industrial rust belt cities, trying to reinvent themselves.

    An interesting example being Manchester and Liverpool, one an ex seaport dependent on the manufactured products of the northwest and west midlands, which is having a great degree of difficulty in a post industrial UK to re-invent itself.

    The other a post industrial city, which has cleaned up it’s act and converted it’s old industrial base into a quite vibrant and interesting city.

    As for Newcastle, not much of a future unless they become a major university town based on the ever expanding higher education system that’s Newcastle University.

    And having visited some of the old industrial cities, Glasgow, Newcastle and the north east in general,plus Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, few have had much success, though certainly Manchester appears to have made some strides in cleaning up it’s canals and converting former mills into living spaces.

    Thank you Maggie !

  39. None of your fukkin business, seppo.

    Worky: Will you never learn that this toxic old turd will always return to trolling?

    When does a ban EVER constitute a ban on this forum?

  40. GS says:
    October 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “I can sort of see Chuck’s point in that there is so much money in London, but then why Man City?”

    It’s a stupid point GS. Don’t encourage the daft old tw*t. If it was a good point (and not the start of a new bout of trolling – big surprise), we wouldn’t be under Ashley’s heel now, would we? He’d have ploughed his money into the likes of the mighty Brentford or Leyton Orient.

    In any case – clunk isn’t supposed to be posting here, is he? Even if he has somehow come to terms with worky behind the scenes, you’d think he’d have more pride given the poisonous comments aimed at this blog and all who post here.

  41. Howay Darth, let him have his say, it wasn’t that bad.

    chuck says:
    October 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    “though certainly Manchester appears to have made some strides in cleaning up it’s canals and converting former mills into living spaces.

    “Thank you Maggie !”

    Well I’m not looking at it through the eyes of a Premier League footballer but I like cities to be a bit dirty and dangerous, that’s when the culture is always the most vibrant. When you tart cities up and fill them full of boring people, they become more boring and you get Starbucks and Costa Coffee everywhere.

  42. workyticket says:
    October 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    “Howay Darth, let him have his say, it wasn’t that bad.”

    It’s not up to me whether he has his say or not, worky, it’s up to you. And, as I understand things, you banned him.

    You explained your reason at the time (I felt it was long overdue) and you explained to him what was required in order for him to keep posting. He responded with even more insults – and he kept it up for weeks, sneering at the fact that you hadn’t blocked his IP address.

    If you think it’s OK, well, as I said, that’s obviously up to you.

  43. Newcastle is one of the best Cities in Britain imo and i am not being biased.
    I have seen most of the Cities in this country and not many of them can hold a candle to Newcastle.

    It is a big place now for International students and our architecture is some of the best with Grey Street winning the award for best street in Britain
    Look at Newcastle from a birds eye view and see how beautiful the place is and how it is improving further as time goes on.

    You want to see some of the Cities in this country like Stoke, Coventry, Plymouth, Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland, Nottingham And the one’s mentioned like Liverpool and Manchester that are overrated.

    Liverpool is an ugly City which in in kind of two halves with a huge Waterfront promenade linking the two together.
    Most of the time it has all the feel of a ghost town and empty.
    Apart from a couple of streets it is disappointing place imo.

    Manchester is a black grey skied depressing place that you go to top yourself.
    Notable for a dodgy music scene in the early 90’s and now a war zone hence the moniker “Gunchester.”

    There are more and more new buildings going up in Newcastle although the Pilgrim Street area needs doing up badly.
    Newcastle is not some dirty horrible place that some of you have it down as.

    Newcastle is a beautiful place and only York comes close to it for it’s friendly people, Architecture, History, Culture etc
    I don’t know why some of you follow this club the way you all try to take the p*** out of the place !

  44. joe hawkins says:
    October 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    “Newcastle is a beautiful place and only York comes close to it for it’s friendly people, Architecture, History, Culture etc”.

    You’re forgetting Durham there, Joe. Otherwise I agree entirely.

    And I am biased ;-)

  45. I don’t get what Chuck has against Newcastle, it stacks up well against Manchester from what I’ve seen. You do have the lake district there but on that side it is all tour buses and tea shops.

    Last time I was back, Sol Campbell was on the flight from Heathrow so some footballers take advantage of the short flight. With the Heathrow Express you can be in the centre of London in less than 2 hours.

    As I said though, the players are more interested in play stations than Art, fine dining, shows etc. apart from Joey Barton :) You may say London would keep the WAGS happier. I doubt most footballers care as they are so into themselves.

    Shopping maybe, but that’s what the internet is for.

    I lived in London and really like the city. There are some bad things about it though like the cost for the average person and the fact that it is sprawling and anonymous. I wonder when the last time Chuck was in central London, it is so crowded you cant move. That’s part of what I like on a visit but I couldn’t imagine being a celebrity and walking around.

  46. I’ll give you an example of how convenient Newcastle could be for a modern footballer. Tiote could have one of his wives drop him off at the airport, then fly to London with his mistress and take the heathrow express into town. Have the mistress do a bit of shopping on Bond Street to tire her out like, and settle her into The Dorchester. Go to a club, and dazzle the honeys with his bling like. Then back to Ponteland for the other wife to pick him up. Simples.

  47. So, what I am saying is that the modern footballer can do what they want. If they are in Manchester or Liverpool, they choose to live in Cheshire. If they are in London, they choose to live in Weybridge (I know, a friend of mine lives there and pointed out their mansions on the river). They could always decide to live in purgatory (Newcastle) for 2 or 3 years and then take their riches and live in Jersey, Lake Como, or Saint Barts for the rest of their lives.

  48. GS, Chieck wouldn’t have to worry about Heathrow airport, there are flights from Newcastle to London City Airport which is next to the City, Canary Wharf, the Millenium Dome etc. You can even fly to the US from there. That’s where most of the big business people, footballers etc come and go.

    If you think London is crowded, I don’t know about Chicago but New York is about twice as crowded as London is, and as for eastern places like Tokyo and Hong Kong, furgedaboutit it as Chuckles might say.

    Joe, there are lots of beautiful, historic cities like York, Durham etc around the UK. On the subjects of ancient seats of learning like Durham, you didn’t even mention Oxford and Cambridge. Then there’s Canterbury, Norwich, Winchester, Bath and so on. I haven’t even mentioned places in Scotland or Wales either.

  49. Worky: is that Stanstead? I only came back for pleasure trips and was last in London Center 8 years ago. It was f@cking busy, much more than Chicago. I did go to The Tate Modern, although funnily enough I didn’t see any footballers there. Joey Barton could have been lurking in the Lucian Freud exhibit talking to The Guardian though.

  50. GS says:
    October 29, 2014 at 11:24 am

    “Worky: is that Stanstead?”

    No, London City airport is well inside London next to the City / Canary Wharf. It’s a smaller airport where you can get flights to the US etc which are exclusively Business / First class and you might see some of the really big knobs touching down in their private jets. It does mostly destinations in other parts of the UK and mainland Europe etc though.

  51. I don’t understand why I have been subjected to abuse concerning Newcastle as a city.

    If you care to check through the archives, you will find nothing but praise from me concerning the architecture of the city.

    The exceptions being the destruction of both Eldon Square and Percy Street, along with other so called reconstruction, especially the junction at the northern exit from the bridge.

    The construction of the shopping mall, to the detriment of what’s known as Grainger Town, was both short sighted and probably put a few bob into certain pockets.

    Indeed the city planners of Newcastle have a lot to answer for.

    On the other hand, Loosing the coal and steel business along with shipbuilding, armaments manufacture and other heavy industries, have left the city an area of high unemployment, with little other than call centers to replace what has been lost.

    Again thank you Maggie!

    My point ha always been that due to it’s distance as the furthermost provincial city from the capital and not really having much to offer in the way of restaurants and entertainment in general and certainly when compared with London.

    It certainly doesn’t provide for the most entertaining lifestyle that young men with lotsa dosh can enjoy.

    And anyone who believes NUFC’s location doesn’t put the club at a disadvantage, when attempting to sign certain players (it’s not all about Ashley and Pardew) are kidding themselves.

    NUFC through the years has never been able to hang onto it’s best players, some of which must be credited to a more attractive lifestyle in the capital,no?

    So don’t get all riled up like Dark Brown, perceiving some kind of put down of your home town, what i’m saying is Newcastle may not be viewed as the most desirable city on a social level to spend time in as a young football player, when compared to London.

    Plus I can always bring people out of the woodwork, to comment, and that Darth is why i’m allowed to comment, it’s about hit’s and you too can do likewise, that’s if you ever found something of interest to blog about, other than hate mail.

  52. I really don’t get Chuck’s argument. If it comes to a choice between NUFC and Palace, I know which one I would pick. As I said, they’re on their play stations not at the f@cking Opera and they can get to the bright lights of London in hours and take all of their mates with them.

    Would he make the same argument about a baseball player who plays in Cleveland rather than NYC? No, they probably have it better in Cleveland as they are a big fish in a small pond. Chuck is a very strange man. He follows our team but finds it impossible not to criticize the area and the town. I just don’t get it.

  53. Here’s a short list of players who didn’t perceive location as a sticking point:

    Rob Lee
    Philippe Albert
    Malcolm McDonald

  54. In fact, it could be argued that players like Ginola and Ferdinand moved to the capital as their careers and skills were waning.

  55. chump says:
    October 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    “…that’s if you ever found something of interest to blog about, other than hate mail”.

    That’s rich coming from someone who’s done nothing but creep around posting abuse about this blog for the last six months.

    We’ll see how long your latest rehabilitation lasts. A pity for the rest of us you didn’t have the courage of your infantile, sulky convictions, though.

  56. Chuck, it isn’t about “hits” at all, I’m not really bothered otherwise I’d be writing more and you make hardly any difference anyway, nor anyone else. It’s writing stories that gets hits.

    Now you two just calm down. Darth, I eventually unbanned Chuck when he stopped making very abusive comments. I can take his normal, low level grouching, but you’re like a highly sensitive bomb waiting to go off when Chuck’s around, you even make GS look like Kofi Annan.

  57. Oh Ally, Ally, Ally. You are in for a rude awakening my son. You may have a chance if you take it up the ars*, but you are not one of his inner circle so I would be getting my CV ready.

    haha GS :) Class Mate.

  58. Worky @61: the only person I really ever get snidely at is Chuck because he deserves it for being a grump. We have had a couple of minor altercations that last about 2 minutes and then they are done.

  59. GS
    In case you are unaware NUFC has been a selling club since the days of Stan Seymour and rarely paid big bucks for any player, Shearer being an exception to the rule.

    And what about Ginola ? who arrived at the club, had a cup of coffee, then fuged off to London.

    Kinda makes my point.

    As for Ferdinand and Ginola leaving NUFC because their skills were on the wane, actually they were both past their best before arriving at nufc.

    George Eastham also comes to mind, a player so desperate to get away from Tyneside, he took the club to court, to prevent the club from holding his registration and in doing so created a court decision, a precedent that was every bit as important as the better known Bosman case.

    As for local stars, Gazza & Waddle, who one would think the club would like to hold onto, “how much” ? ” o’k call him a cab” was the usual attitude.

    And that was before our most recent cheap-ass owner, who applies the retailers policy of only buying younger and cheaper and hopefully selling them on for a decent profit.

    “Plus ca change”

  60. GS
    No ! being a geezer is excuse enough for being a grump, cos geezers don’t give a shit.

    But haunting me constantly with nonsense is unforgivable.

    What does it take for you to understand I have no interest in most of what you have to say.

    Dark Broon is a bit different, personally insulting, In which case I kinda enjoy triggering his blood pressure.

    Being he takes just about anything I may say as a personal insult.

  61. It is Halloween Chuck, time for me to haunt you :) Don’t reply if you have no interest in what I say.

  62. Interesting game. Not much hoofing even though we had to take quite a bit of pressure. We have some whippets in our young ‘uns so City had to be wary of the pace in our team. Could Pardew actually be seeing the strengths in our team? Nah, could he?

  63. Hopefully Spurs will continue to be a bit of a mess. None of the latest foreign recruits seem to have settled that well at Spurs even though they are in the greatest city on earth and can go to the Covent Garden Opera every night as opposed to the Quay Side.

  64. Worky, when I said this @65:

    “We have had a couple of minor altercations that last about 2 minutes and then they are done.”

    I meant with you, not Chucky. I don’t give a sh!t what Chuck thinks of me.

  65. GS, the thing is that some of these Continentals are a bit more cultured than your average Wayne or Dwayne Rooney. Taking two ex Newcastle examples, Cabaye and Debuchy look like the sort of metrosexuals who might go to art openings and things like that. David Ginola from the old days too.

  66. Don’t they all look like metrosexuals now? Trev of the Brooking had nine O levels I believe. I am not saying they are all thick. All things being equal I would rather live in Rome, Paris or Milan than Newcastle. However, just because there are better places to live doesn’t mean Newcastle isn’t a great place to live and a great football city. That’s what gets on my t!ts about Chuck – he cannot see any shading, it is always all or nothing.

  67. GS, Brooking actually got 11 O levels and 2 A Levels. That’s very good but it’s only earth shattering because he’s a footballer. My sister got more than that but unlike Sir Trev, her life has been a complete and utter failure.

  68. Worky @79: I only mention it because I remember the commentators always saying it. I have nothing against Trev and I am sure he enjoys life in London. It is a great city.

    If I had a choice when I was 22 and if I was a footballer, I might prefer London, Madrid or Munich. However, there is nothing wrong with Newcastle either and it has a lot to offer that 22 year old with money when they tear themselves away from the XBox.

  69. I know I am repeating myself, but sometimes it is necessary for it to sink in with the (much) older generation.

  70. Well, the Pope says the Big Bang and Evolution are real and Pardew switches from hoofball. I have seen everything now.

  71. GS, Pardew is still playing the full route one hoofball.

    I don’t have the long ball stats from the Man City game but Sky nicked my long ball % system for Premier League games and in our victory over Spurs, 24.2% of our passes were long balls. That’s off the scale, worse than Stoke when they were at their long ball peak. Meanwhile, Spurs were a middle of the road David Moyes style 13.5%, that’s hoofball for Pochettino. We were hoofing it a bit against City too.

    Picking out another one at random, vs Swansea and we played 18.4% long balls, well over the 15% hoofball barrier. Swansea played 9.4% long balls, below the Arsene Wenger tippy tappy style 10% barrier.

    Make of all that what you will.

    My old long ball scale from a while ago

    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 and Fat Sam on a mortar firing range. A full on long ball side who positively embrace “route one” football.

  72. And that’s without Williamson. I always thought him and Krul were the main culprits. Goes to show you see what you want to see sometimes.

  73. Actually, it isn’t that we’ve always been route one this season, we have actually been all over the place with no tactical consistency at all. In the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace, we were actually in the Arsene Wenger / Barcelona tiki taka zone (8.6%) and Palace were the unsophisticated super hoofball merchants (21.6%).

    No other team have been like Pardew’s Newcastle when I’ve checked, Alan Pardew seems to be pretty unique like that. Tactically, he’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

    I borrowed that last bit from Churchill on Russia BTW.

  74. Expectations have taken a turn, looks like nothing less than a couple of cups and a top four finish are the new expectation, for a rejuvenated NUFC.

    Actually I think the most surprised person at the game was Pardew, having put out a side that was anything but the clubs best, (at least on paper)concentrating instead on the weekend game against Liverpool.

    The league being rated as much more important, than the crap cup.

    Didn’t actually see the game, so cant comment on it.

    Though I did see the two prior games, which I rated as lucky wins.

    But then that’s the way this season has started out, which only Chelsea living up to their ratings.

    Looking at the recent PL table, where sides like West Ham and S’hampton. are up there in the top four and highly touted clubs like L”pool. Man. U. and Citeh are struggling somewhat.


    However the euphoria over a three game winning streak is IMO a bit over the top, something that i’m sure Pardew will take temporary advantage of, but the weekends matchup against Liverpool will be a good indicator of whether we are riding a lucky streak or are the real deal.

    Should be an interesting matchup, but i’m sure Pardew has already provided himself with an adequate supply of excuses if the game, doesn’t go as planned.

  75. clunk says:
    October 29, 2014 at 9:25

    “Dark Broon is a bit different, personally insulting, In which case I kinda enjoy triggering his blood pressure.”

    It’ll take more than you’ve got to raise my blood pressure, you friendless narcissistic old fraud. And personal insults come easy when you’re aiming them at someone who lives down to every blustering seppo stereotype going.

  76. Foghorn Leghorn says:
    October 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    “Didn’t actually see the game, so cant comment on it.”

    Sure you can! Just google someone else’s comments – like you usually do, seppo.

  77. Pardew tried to play passing football at the beginning of the season but he failed miserably and couldn’t win a game. The route one game started to creep back in a bit against Stoke, and then Newcastle went full on route one against Leicester and Spurs, and it has worked so far in terms of results.

  78. Could be a very interesting game, SJT. Pardew tried to play like Barcelona but couldn’t win a game. Now, he’s hoofing his way to success with hoofball ratios of up to 25% (about as high as you can get) but hoofball doesn’t last forever.

    I will be publishing a Newcastle United hoofball report in the fullness of time (after this game sometime)

  79. Worky any chance you could email me a step by step how to stream with VLC player?
    And what streams work on it?

  80. I’m sorry been really busy man got headhunted for 2 jobs offered both,split with missus and loads of other shit….haha

  81. If you click on a an Ace Stream link on ‘Wiziwig’ it should start the player automatically. It could take quite a while prebuffering and stuff like that but it comes up eventually.

    I’m actually having a problem playing straeams on my Ace Stream today but I’m watching it on BT anyway.

    If you don’t have Ace Stream yet, here’s the link –

  82. I don’t want to jinx this but Liverpool look toothless. I just saw the stats and it is 8 shots to 1 in our favour.

  83. GS says:
    November 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    “I don’t want to jinx this but Liverpool look toothless. I just saw the stats and it is 8 shots to 1 in our favour.”

    It’s a fairly difficult watch that looks like draw material so far, though it probably won’t be now I’ve written that.

  84. There really is only one Alan Pardew. That was long ball from start to finish. This time it was 19.5% against Liverpool’s 9.1% (a typical rating for a Rogers team). I’m actually glad we won with long balls though because it proves my next blog was right.

  85. Just gotta hooooooof it to the top.
    Can’t get my head around this team or feel pure love…every win just buys more time for all the people I hate.
    Caballa is shit as well I said that before we bought him.

  86. I can’t get my head around Pardew, he’s such a wildcard. A banner at the game said “Pardew back from the dead” and he is like Lazarus, or Dracula, or Frankenstein’s monster. He keeps coming back to life when you think he’s dead and buried.

  87. Question is was Liverpool all about Suarez last season ?

    Watching to-days game, I saw one of their poorest performances, looking anything but a top four side as expected.

    And without the striker pairing of Sturridge and Suarez now look toothless up front.

    With Ballotelli failing to impress and the rest of the side, looking as if they had never played a game together.

    Sissoko has been a major part of this seasons side, playing a box to box role, his running, simply unbelievable.

    Abied finally getting some playing time has also done well, do players have to go out on loan in order to prove they are good enough, Yanga-M’Biwa comes to mind.

    Coleback has really shown he can fill the defensive midfield role filling in for the traded Cabaye and put his foot in hard at times, as has Janmaat who keeps the oppositions heads up, which is nice to see.

    Sammy is something of an enigma, going from hero to zero, as has Obertan.

    With the injury of Santon, giving Dummett the chance for some playing time, he has improved immensely.

    Which could result in Santon’s return, anything but assured and with Haidara, gives the club strength at LB.

    Young Perez has proven to be a top poacher, who knows how to be in the right place at the right time, with youngster Aarons fearsome pace and quality two for the near future.

    That leaves only Cabella, possibly the most expensive of our summer signings, looking a bit lightweight and not living up to expectations.

    But there is talent in the side and there will be teams who will find it difficult to deal with their pace.

    Hell we may win some games, despite Pardew.

  88. Anyone notice the smiling face and clapping, from Ashley ?

    Could it be he actually has learned something about the game and finds it to be something he could get used to ?

    Winning sides attract more attention, plus earn the club more tv opportunities and more scrutiny as a winning side than the recent negative and adversarial role between he (Ashley) and the media.

    Though I doubt our owner will change his policies in placing profit above all else, perhaps there is a chance
    that he can change, by experiencing a decent winning streak.

    On the other hand does anyone believe our recent wins were inspired by any tactical innovations.

    Looks like it’s the same old long ball football, played against teams not playing up to their usual standards.

  89. chuck says:
    November 2, 2014 at 12:13 am

    “Question is was Liverpool all about Suarez last season ?”


    Statisically Sturridge actually scored more important goals than Suarez, ie winning goals that got Liverpool three points in tight games. Hence, they are missing him as well.

    chuck says:
    November 2, 2014 at 12:35 am

    “Anyone notice the smiling face and clapping, from Ashley ?”

    Just when I’m happy that Newcastle United have won, they pan over to Ashley smiling and clapping and it ruins it for me. No, Ashley hasn’t changed either, and he won’t.

    As you say, this current success is coming through very direct football. It has well and truly got Pardew and Newcastle out of the quicksand for now so we can’t argue with it but this method won’t last and make Newcastle a top team, though if we actually manage to win the League Cup, most fans will feel that it’s a price worth paying.

  90. Fat Sam’s another manager who’s thriving through long balls again. He’s actually gone right off my long ball scale into the 30% long ball zone at times this season. Mourinho was literally right when he said Sam played “19th century football.”

  91. I see some of the Scouse have turned on Rodgers. I read The Guardian report and there were 700 posts and quite a few were calling for Rodgers’ head – after 10 games, when they are 7th and finished 2nd last year. And we are the fickle fans :) That said, he is making some bizarre selections like leaving Joe Allen on when he was doing nothing and leaving the 25 million pound Lallana on the bench.

    For all Gerrard has been great for them over the years he now slows the game down for them and only offers the “hollywood” balls which have always been hit or miss. Rodgers has to have the balls to sit him now and again.

    They pretty much had available the Brazil England midfield yesterday – Gerrard, Lallana, Henderson, Sterling and really didn’t trouble us.

  92. Ashley is attending every match now. Earlier in the season I thought he was going so he could sack Pardew after a big loss like Southampton – keeping an eye on his investement as it were. Maybe he is checking out the team first hand for future sales :)

  93. GS says:
    November 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    “For all Gerrard has been great for them over the years he now slows the game down for them”

    Is it because he always has to say “errrrrrrrrrm” before he decides what to do?

  94. Appears (this early in the season) Chelsea are heading for another championship season, being the only side living up to their press reports.

    Citeh, who have so much talent on their books are not performing well under Pellegrini and it would come as no surprise to see him replaced.

    On the other hand BSA and W/ham. playing their standard direct football, with most goals coming from practiced set plays, are in the top four. go figure?

    As are Southampton, who having lost many of their top talents, including there manager during the summer, have appeared to have done a decent job in replacing both and are playing a nice style of football under their new manager Koeman.

    There is little consistency among the rest and I fear we NUFC will register the fact we are on an unbeaten streak over the last few games, as an indication of,
    (a) that Pardew is in fact a decent manager.
    (b) that we don’t need help, both @ central defense & up front.
    Which could result in another struggle to avoid the drop.

    Looking at empty seats in Villa Park to-day, looks like the fans have just about given up on the side, who during to-days game were unfortunate not to earn a win, due to the terrible decisions made by the ref.

    Unlike Newcastle fans, who will show up in numbers regardless of how bad the side play.

    There are rumors that in a saturated sports market in the US, many baseball owners are now looking at EPL sides as a new growth market and expect a number of clubs to exchange hands in the near future.

    Hopefully one being NUFC.