Tag Archives: Newcastle

“Superpower” Tottenham are the Newcastle of the South

We wake this morning to headlines revealing “the secrets behind Pochettino’s success” and how Spurs are a “Premier League Superpower”. I spat my coffee out.

What success is this exactly?

This is Mauricio Pochettino’s 5th season with Tottenham. He has yet to win a trophy.

In the 4 completed seasons, he has finished above The Arsenal twice, and only finished top 4 75% of the time.

Let’s roll our minds back to the Arsenal trophy drought 2006-2012. An 8 season period of failure when Arsene Wenger failed to lead the club to a single trophy.

During that 8 year period, Wenger led Arsenal into the Champions League 100% of the time. The side finished above Spurs 8 out of 8 times and he led the team to a Champions League final and 2 League Cup finals. He was labelled a failure for doing so.

What Wenger “achieved” during that 8 year period, when Arsenal were paying off heavy stadium debt, was superior to what Pochettino has achieved in his 4 completed seasons at Spurs.

This year will make it 5 seasons in a row without a trophy. It could also see Tottenham finish outside the top 4 for the 2nd time in his short reign (Wenger was at the helm for 22 years and finished outside the top 4 just twice).

Tottenham may well end up finishing behind Arsenal for the 3rd time in Pochettino’s 5 seasons.

Reading a book explaining Pochettino’s success would be akin to reading a self-help book from Theresa May on how to unite your colleagues behind you. It would not contain anything useful.

The reality is the media are writing about Pochettino’s success even though he is achieving less than Wenger’s failure.

I have said for a while, Arsenal at their worst this century achieved more than Tottenham at their best.

As for the “superclub” comment, well that is just laughable.

The new stadium in Tottenham is an architectural masterpiece. The most technological advanced stadium in Europe. But that should be a given.

It is the most expensive stadium ever built in England, and the newest stadium. You would be a bit disappointed if it was not the best, most advanced stadium in history. Especially for £1bn.

The media have tried to compare it to Arsenal’s Emirates stadium. Spurs fans have “boasted” about how the new Tottenham stadium is superior. Of course it is superior. It is new.

Arsenal’s stadium is 13 years old. The technology that is around now was not around in 2006.

In 2006 the iPhone did not exist. The best-selling phone was the Nokia 1660. It still had snake and cost £30.

“The Nokia 1600 mobile has a speaking clock, which was a novel feature when the phone was launched in 2005. A user could use the speaking clock by pressing the asterisk (“*”) button during the display of the home screen.

The phone also includes a ringtone composer which allows creating custom ringtones. Pre-composed ringtones can be transferred through a data cable.

The phone has a basic calculator which can perform only addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

There are 14 pre-defined themes with 14 wallpapers and menu backgrounds.

The menu features animated icons.”

In 2018 the best selling phone is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, at a cost of £799.

Look at your car.

In 2006, things like SatNav and air con did not come as standard. Bluetooth A CD player and FM/AM radio was your entertainment system. In 2019, every car comes with SatNav, climate control, digital radio, bluetooth enabled and more. Technology has moved on.

In summary, you would feel short-changed if you spent big on a new mobile phone or car and it was not vastly superior to a car or phone from 2006.

It is a fantastic stadium, but that counts for nothing if you fail to win trophies.

Tottenham are no more a superclub than Newcastle under Kevin Keegan.

Keegan led Newcastle to a 2nd place twice, and three top 4 finishes in four years. Compare that to 3 top 4 finishes for Pochettino, finishing 2nd just the once.

Newcastle also reached two FA Cup finals, losing both.

In the end Keegan left having failed to win Newcastle a trophy, despite playing in-front of over 50,000 every week.

Were Newcastle a “Superclub” in the 90s? Or did they just have a couple of years where they finished high up the league, won nothing, played in-front of huge crowds and failed to break their league title drought which was well over half-century.

Tottenham have finished high up the league, won nothing, played in-front of huge crowds and failed to break their league title drought which is well over half-century.

Leeds under David O’Leary were cut from the same cloth.

They finished top 4 three times in a row, made a Champions League semi-final. But like Newcastle, it was temporary and they soon found themselves relegated.

Tottenham can not be talked about in the same bracket as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea. These clubs have all won trophies in the last 5 years. Tottenham have not.

They might have a shiny new stadium with all the mod-cons that the newest, most expensive stadium built in England should have, but that means nothing if they do not win trophies.

Tottenham are merely Newcastle of the South. They think they are a big club but do not have the recent silverware to back it up.

Keenos

Match report: Newcastle United 1 – 2 Arsenal

Newcastle United (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 2

Premier League

St. James’ Park, Newcastle

Saturday, 15th September 2018. Kick-off time: 3.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Ramsey, Özil; Aubemeyang, Lacazette.

Substitutes: Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Welbeck, Leno.

Scorers: Xhaka, Özil.

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 52,165

After a brief hiatus due to international commitments, it’s good to be back at the day job again; this week, the lads find themselves up the road and near the Tyne at a true cathedral of English football, St. James’ Park, the home of our old adversaries Newcastle United.

There surely cannot be another club in English football that define themselves completely by he who wears the coveted number nine shirt, and to be fair, one can see why; Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Wyn Davies, Malcolm MacDonald and Alan Shearer, all players that would comfortably fit into any side, in any era. In fact, Malcolm MacDonald did; he played for us for nigh on three years in the late seventies, scoring 42 goals in 84 appearances, an enviable record for any Arsenal footballer.

The cacphonous atmosphere that greeted the combatants today made the arena seem almost gladatorial in its very construction; and indeed it became so as the sound of Blaydon Races resonated around the stadium creating an atmosphere of both tension and intimidation. As the match got underway with the Barcodes wasting no effort in pressurising the Arsenal defence, it was looking as if it would be surely a matter of time before their work would bring an early reward for them. For one reason or another we got out of jail constantly early on.

Time after time we were found wanting, and it seemed at times that our team collectively had two left feet, with the inability to string a series of passes together becoming evident. In fact, the only thing worth talking about from out point of view in the first half was the wasted chance that Aaron Ramsey criminally squandered; if he had played the ball across the six-yard box instead of missing the target completely, then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would surely have scored. Ho hum.

Anyway, come the break, cometh the man. Mr. Emery must surely have had a word in one or two players’ ears (and a flea in others) because the change in the chaps became obvious. Just four minutes after the break, Granit Xhaka’s perfectly struck free-kick found the back of the Magpies’ net, and that moment onwards, it was Arsenal’s match to win. The dynamic changed when Lucas Torreira replaced Mattéo Guendouzi in midfield, and our confidence just grew. Little more than ten minutes later, a shot from Alexandre Lacazette rebounded off a defender thus finding the feet of Mesut Özil, and the gimlet-eyed little midfielder wasted no time in scoring a goal, which turned out to be the defining moment of the match. As the back of the net rippled when the ball found its one and only true home, the cheers and applause from our supporters became apparent, and at the same time, fifty thousand Novocastrian hearts fluttered, knowing that for them, today’s game was lost. Despite a late raid by the Magpies which saw them score a goal in injury time, the match (and more importantly) three points went back to Islington, for us, a job well done.

Despite a victory, (the third in a row, it should be said) there are points to ponder. The good thing was that we didn’t pick up any unecessary yellow cards; but on the other hand the defence is still rocky. The full-backs charge up the pitch (a la George Male and Eddie Hapgood, or in recent memory Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn) but in doing so leave the centre-backs exposed. It was heartening to see that when in the second half Shkrodan Mustafi slipped, stumbled and fell leaving a Barcode forward to charge in on our goal, Sokratis came across and neutralised the threat, which shows that an understanding is being cultivated between the two men, which is a very good thing. It’s going to be hard to see how Laurent Koscielny is going to get back into this team if this CB pairing gets stronger, which it should. In midfield, it’s interesting to note that Granit Xhaka plays with more freedom when Lucas Torreira is alongside him; it could be that young Mattéo Guendouzi is not ready yet, and this is the line-iup that works. We’ll see. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

We’re not on our way to Newcastle

Newcastle away.

Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I am just fed up of another Sunday game, but rather than being on a train to Newcastle right now, I am at home, wondering whether to spend my morning cleaning or gardening.

Trips to Newcastle and Sunderland used to be some the most anticipated of the season. A load of us heading up to the North-East on an often delayed 3 hour train.

The incredible amount of alcohol consumed on these trips often led them to having the most memorable moments. But today, none of my lot are going.

A 1:30pm on a Sunday afternoon game away to Newcastle would not normally be an issue. We would get a train about 8:30am, getting us into the Toon at about midday. Few beers in the former O’Neills across the road for the station, before the uphill walk to the ground.

We would be back down at sea level at around quarter to 4, so probably get a 4:30pm train back to London. Enough time for a quick pint and to get some cans for the way home. We would be back into Kings Cross about 8pm. Couple of pints in the O’Neills opposite St Pancras, before heading home for some sleep. Then up at 5:30am Monday morning for work.

Maybe it is old age. I am now 33. That the trip did not interest me. I did not fancy an early start on a Sunday (I would have to be up at 7am to catch the train to Kings Cross). I did not fancy the late night Sunday finish. And I did not fancy the hangover on the commute to work on Monday morning.

Back in my 20’s, I would think nothing of getting to Euston for a 6:30am train for Wigan away – beers flowing even at that time of the morning. Or getting back home at 11pm on a Sunday after a 4pm game in the North East. I would suck it up, and deal with the consequences the next day.

Maybe it is age and responsibility. But it is also apathy.

Not apathy towards Arsenal (or not completely).

This season has been tough for away fans. I have probably done the least amount of total games (home and away) for some years. I have left numerous times at half-time to head back to the pub (even when winning). I have stayed in the concourse for entire halves. And sometimes, I just have not bothered going in at all.

Not just the results, but the atmosphere. The knobheads that sit around us. Both home and away. Football has changed massively in just the last 5 years that I have been an away scheme member. Even more since I got my season ticket a decade ago. And it is now a completely different game to when I went to my first game in October 1995 as an 11 year old.

The fact that I am not going is not just because of The Arsenal, however. There are about 10 of us who travel regularly away together. Whether it be Stoke City or Cologne. None of us are going. And a big reason is due to it being yet another Sunday game.

When we qualified for the Europa League, we knew we would see an increase of Sunday games. But the additional scheduling of Sky Sports and BT Sports have made matters worse. We have actually maxed out on the amount of times Sky Sports can show us.

Instead of Sky Sports being smart and thinking “Arsenal have to play on Sunday due to the “Europa League, lets show them” many of our post-Europa League games have not been on TV. They picked other games for TV. This results in even more games played on a Sunday, and even less games played at 3pm on a Saturday.

Now that we have beaten CSKA Moscow, the fixture against Burnley will now be moved to Sunday. as it can not be on Sky, it will probably be on at lunchtime.

This means we have had just three 3pm kick offs this season, and 18 games on a Sunday.

 

Sunday games mean longer train journeys, less trains, and that Monday morning hangover. That is where my apathy sits.

I dream of a return to Saturday games. A return to drinking all day, then battling the hangover on Sunday, with a roast thrown in. This season, I have spent the Saturday fiddling with myself. Not sure what to do. Keeping myself occupied. It has not been fun.

The Europa League has been brilliant. Cologne was brilliant. One of the greatest trips of all time. But with Sky moving so many other games to a Sunday – which did not require moving – I am fed up.

Today, I will watch on TV. Next week I will be at the West Ham game. On a Sunday. Again.

It is all a little bit rubbish.

Keenos