From the Outside, Looking in


…Or an Arsenal fan’s view of Newcastle…

**Special Guest Post**

(this means no pictures with bad captions relating to yesterday and no mention of Shola Ameobi’s love of hats).

Written by Haynesy, an Arsenal fan and mate. He is also the only person I know of who has a tattoo of one of my scribbles on one of the fleshy parts of his body…

“You might think that all I’m going to do for the duration of this piece is slate Newcastle and laugh at their inability to win a major trophy for God knows how many years but, believe it or not I won’t be. I have supported Arsenal all my life and I have lived in Newcastle all my life. I have grown up with friends who are lifelong Newcastle fans, and have watched the many ups and downs which go alongside supporting the club.

Newcastle fans are notorious for their support of their team both home and away, something I have witnessed on the many occasions I have been to St. James’s Park to watch Arsenal. I’ve sat with both the home and away fans at these games, and the Atmosphere has always been brilliant.

Newcastle’s fan base is second to none – there is no doubting that at all. They may, however, sometimes become disillusioned by the team’s inability to perform at the highest level. Some Newcastle fans I know are convinced the team is well-equipped enough to compete at the top of the table season after season, but when I look through the team I don’t see many, if any, world class players.

A lot of people I speak to say that Enrique has been the best player in the team this season. Enrique plays full back and, take it from me as someone who plays full back (apart from the odd cameo in goal), it is a very difficult position from which to make an impact on a team’s performance. Rarely will a full back get man of the match. Enrique is one of the only outstanding players in the team currently. However, he hasn’t even had a sniff of an international call up from Spain, and they only really have Capdevilla as a recognised left back. I wonder if this would be the case if Enrique was at a different club?

When I look back at some of the players that Newcastle has had over the years, there has been quite a range, from the sublime to the downright ridiculous. Ginola, Beardsley and Shearer stand out, to name just a few, but then I look at some of the other players. Players who, in my opinion, didn’t really give a shit about the team. Dyer and Bramble are two that stick in my mind here. I lost count of how many time I went drinking in Newcastle and seen them in VIP lounges with bottles of Cristal and hordes of hanger-ons. Part of me thinks they were only at the club for the Nightlife – they certainly didn’t care about the club. Newcastle fans are very demanding, which is fair enough, and if they don’t think their players are performing, they are among the first to let them know. I’m sure it was Dyer who once described being at Newcastle as “like being in a goldfish bowl” (Neil: Jenas, actually. Dyer certainly could have felt that, although I imagine this was cushioned by the £60,000 per week he took home). Fans look up to these players and they do nothing but take this piss. However it does seem that Stephen Ireland may be falling into this category, as someone here for the drink and money rather than actually wanting to play for the club. I hope I’m wrong, and I do actually think he could be a good buy for the club once he pulls his finger out. Nolan and Ireland in the centre of midfield could be quite a formidable partnership.

Goals seem to have been very hard to come by this season, with a centre midfielder currently standing at the top of the team’s goal scoring chart. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic achievement for a midfielder, but a team can’t rely on a midfielder to score goals. I know £35 million was too good to turn down for Carroll, but with no one to replace him in the current squad at the time of the transfer, I would have tried to keep him until the end of the season, because the timing didn’t give the club enough time to bring a decent replacement in. With Newcastle looking likely to be sat mid-table at the end of the season, it may prove difficult to attract a top striker to the club. Not having the lure of European football could prove to be a sticking point.

I don’t  see Newcastle making any great advances in terms of progressing up the league anytime soon, although they have done well to avoid going straight back down without really spending big, and with the transfer money from Carroll it will be interesting to see who Pardew brings in. More Ginola’s and less Bramble’s and Dyer’s are what are needed, players with flair and who actually care about the club – not just going out every Saturday night and getting hammered. Newcastle will do well to keep ahold of the likes of Enrique and Nolan, but other than those two I can see much room for improvement. Somebody who can partner Collocini at the back and one or two decent strikers are definitely needed. Ben Arfa looks to be a really good player (Arsene Wenger, who knows a thing or two about French players, has been a long-term admirer of the Frenchman) and signing him on a permanent deal is a fantastic move by the club.

So onwards and upwards Newcastle, as long as you spend wisely and keep the players you really should be looking to keep.

Shola ain’t no Andy Carroll, let’s face it.”

About Neil

28 years old. Geordie. Lived in Berlin almost three years. All-round canny lad.
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