Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Bolton 0-2 Newcastle

Ba against Bolton

Ba against Bolton
There’s an old joke about a devout elderly woman called Doris, who every night before she goes to sleep prays that tomorrow will be the day that she wins the lottery.

The following evening she explains to the Almighty that she understands that it was not possible today, but maybe tomorrow. And so on.

This goes on for years and years, until one night, after her normal prayers, she is settling down to sleep and a vision appears before her, complete with flowing robes, big bushy grey beard and a booming voice.


“God, is that you?” she asks incredulously.


“Yes!” Squeals Doris, thinking she’s about to become a millionaire.


I’ve thought for a while now that we have been a bit like Doris in so much as we haven’t been buying any tickets.

What a treat it was last week to see Haris Vukic having a go from well outside the box. We get all excited when we get a free kick and either Taylor or Cabaye step up but that has been the extent of our efforts.

We need to buy more tickets. How can you score goals if you don’t take shots?

The AAAs take quite a bit of time to put together, and at the moment I find time is one thing I don’t have quite as much of as I used to, along with money, hair and trousers that fit properly, but let’s not get too depressed.

As part of a festive revamp I thought I might revive the old format that I used to chuck out a couple of years ago. As ever, comments on the format are more than welcome.

Bolton vs Newcastle – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

The result. Tim Krul, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Cheik Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba.

Excellent result, particularly after such a bad run, even if it was just Bolton.

Coloccini was “Sista’s Gravy” as usual (solid!) while Williamson was the surprise of the day.

Krul had a bit of a brain fart but the rest of his game more than made up for it. Given will always be a hero but what a difference to have a keeper who’s not agoraphobic and comes off his line.

Following his lay off Tiote is getting back into his stride, but as good as he is, “Thumper” doesn’t rest well. If he’s off for four weeks it takes him five games to get back to his old self.

Having struggled a bit in his last few games Ben Arfa has finally turned up, while Ba continues to amaze. Ba reminds me of Andy Cole all those years ago. Just get it into the box and watch him go. Just think what he’d be like if he didn’t have a bad knee!!

Rumour has it we’ve also signed his brother Kenton!

The Bad

The long balls up the middle and Gabriel Obertan.

There’s something not right with the game when you beat Bolton by banging long balls down the middle.

I used to play squash years ago with a mate called Steve. Steve was immensely fit but had the hand-eye co-ordination of a kumquat. He was one of these annoying blokes that you could run around the court all day and he just kept on going.

Obertan strikes me as a bit of a “Steve”. Let him run and run and run and he’s happy, but give him someone to beat and the word “clueless” springs to mind.

A bit like our neighbour sunbathing nude in the back garden, there are the occasional flashes but otherwise its pretty uneventful. However, as the saying goes, every now and again even a blind squirrel stumbles across the odd nut.

I’ve done the decent thing and been round to ask the neighbour to cover up, but he’s still doing it.

The Ugly

The Away Strip and Jonas Gutierrez

The Strip – the type of thing a seven year old would come up with, and probably did.

Guttierez – Jonas is a one of a kind player. In the last four games he has actually invented three new ways to fall over and win a foul, but unlike Shola, he at least has the decency to wait until there are other people around before he goes down.

His tumbling is reminiscent of Steven Taylor’s handball a couple of seasons ago when he was shot by the sniper.

Quite simply – nobody goes down like Jonas. Well, there was this girlfriend I had years ago from Haydon Bridge, but that’s a story for a whole different ‘blog.

Snippets – A selection of thoughts

As a team do we actually understand how the offside rule works? I think the Ref’s Assistant flags so late at times because we are so far offside he’s trying to decide if it’s actually a player coming back or a fan running onto the pitch.

Is it a good idea to use zone marking when the zone you are marking is actually a time zone?

Following in the tradition of such greats as Titus Shambles and Overpayme Martins – players whose names are somehow descriptive of their characteristics – we now appear to have Gabriel Overran. I could have mentioned Chris Waddle and Kieron Dire, Charles Insomnia, Alan Cheerer, Damien Duff, David Batty and no doubt many more, but that would have been labouring the point. So I didn’t

Have we possibly seen the end of Titus Bramble’s charmed Premier League career? I can’t imagine Martin O’Neill holds him in the same esteem as Steve Bruce did.

Commentators – apparently a protected species (otherwise how do you explain the fact that they are allowed to speak) they have given us Colemanballs and Pleatitudes for many years now, burning such awful phrases into our brains as “he gave it away cheaply”, “the give and go”,“gifted” goals, “good height for the keeper” and “a real centre forwards tackle”. Lately they appear to be suffering from “Just-about-itis”, but one of my all-time least favourites is the “reversal”! In the good old days if they scored more goals than you did you were deemed to have lost. Now you get “reversed”.

Can’t help thinking that soon games will be played in “quarters”, we’ll stop for commercial breaks and every time the keeper takes a goal kick someone behind the goal will shout “In Da Hole!”.

Have a happy New Year!

37 thoughts on “Archie’s Alternative Assessment – Bolton 0-2 Newcastle

  1. Sorry lads – first lines missing – should read
    “There’s an old joke about a devout elderly woman called Doris, who every night before she goes to sleep prays that tomorrow will be the day that she wins the lottery. ”


  2. Gold. As usual.

    Except the away strip is awesome. Well done to the 7 year old who came up with it – kudos.


  3. Archie,

    Do us a favor? At least meet us halfway and tell us the start of the joke.

    (I got it it though, I’m like, well smart…and that)


  4. Aye – kind of ironic.

    Did it deliberately to sort out the slow ones………

    And if you believe that I’ve got a stadium I can sell you!


  5. Archie,

    “Australian Toon Supporters Syndicate at Sports Direct at St James’ Park”

    or ATSSSDSJP for the acronym fans.

    Has a nice ring to it.


  6. Apologies for missing the start off. That was my fault. I never checked a html tag properly but it’s sorted now 🙂


  7. Like the assessment. I was unable to catch the game yesterday, so the highlights and match interviews a couple threads back were nice as well.

    As much as I like Jonas as a player, I will say, that his going to ground and giving away of the ball seems to have increased since he signed his new deal. Maybe not, but it’s been annoying to watch him work his way into a wall of defenders time and again, only to be dispossessed (Same with Obertan). But, I still think they’re fun to watch when they get going.

    Looking forward to the next match. I was able to see ‘pool vs. Blackburn, and was so happy to see that draw. I’ve got no real reason, but Liverpool has just become the team I love to watch lose…hopefully I get to see that next weekend.


  8. I prefer this style than the one I criticised the other week when your bored the trunks off me talking about yourself. 😛

    Well done Archie. Good article. 😉


  9. Archie I’ve heard that Doris joke before. It was on Thought for the Day on R4. That old Jewish rabbi told it. Nice one though!


  10. Like the format of good, bad, and ugly. Really enjoyed it. Obertan so far just seems like a slightly taller and younger version of Routledge. Hopefully he can be taught how to contribute something consistently


  11. Troy

    Cheers – I still have the scope to bore the pants off you with this format, just thought I’d give you a break as its Christmas.


  12. Can’t believe Obertan has only played 15 games and he gets hammered even when he contributes.

    He was our main outlet yesterday and took the pressure off the defence with his runs.

    He had a decent shot on target and made the goal.

    Give him a break.


  13. Im in my skischool locker room in Aspen falling about laughing holding my sides archie you should be on tv mate!
    brilliant !!
    spot on with Gabby overran, i mean seriously i know he doesnt want to telegraph the outside run and cross but at this point defenders know that a cross not an option coz, even if he does go to the outside hes going to step over and come back inside again. HBA could be gabbys saving grace as i think he actually expects him to come inside so finds a receiving position there,
    but be fair he is only 22, though i do remember putting a few crosses over when i was 12 at wallsend boys club., granted there was no one there to meet it but at least it was crossed at head height.


  14. Georgio

    I did say at the beginning it was an old one.
    Come to think of it the first time I heard I think the Meet Me Half Way bit might have had a jewish twang to it.

    The good news is that as the jokes get older and the audience gets younger………


  15. Troy
    Aye he did contribute a couple of times, hence my comment about the blind squirrel.
    But I think he’s a bit of a one trick pony, hence predictable. If all he has to do is run past someone if hes faster then he’s the man, but the repertoire kinda fizzles out there.

    He also had a shot as you say, but it was hardly a stinger.

    I look forward to him hammering one in from 30 yards against Liverpool


  16. ToonArmyElite
    Am I to assume from this eloquent response that you are not in full agreement?

    Bigotted? Would you like to expand that?


  17. Archie I enjoy both formats tbh as they’re both a break from the norm, and I get a good old laugh from them win, lose or draw.
    It took a couple before I really got them, but now I look forward to them.
    Keep up the good work lad 😉


  18. So wrong about Obertan it’s stupid. How can you say he never beats players, he constantly tests his left back. You must be watching different games to me like. It’s not just the author of this article, there’s so much ober-bashing going on. He’s not played regular football for years but he still did well to supply demba (in of the) Ba yesterday routledge would have kicked it into the stands.

    Give the lad a break.


  19. Good post Archie. Very honest treatment, although Obertan did have one of his better games for us. He actually had a shot on net! Williamson made a huge difference but he looks a bit frail to me. Please Ashley a centre back and a non-African striker to come in during January. To me Jonas has looked out of sorts for a few weeks now. Why do we spend an hour lumping the ball up the pitch for Best to give away before we actually get started? I have the horrible suspicion they still think Best can replace Ba while he is away. What a joke (even better than your’s Archie). 😆


  20. Have to disagree about the strip, it looks suprisingly good for an away or 3rd kit or whatever it is. Did you see the lemon sherbit special?

    Also you say long balls and Obertan were the bad, I agree with you that playing long balls against Bolton was rediculous as they would just eat them up all day but I think Toonsy said it was probably a little to do with nerves and poor form. I don’t see how you can say Obertan was bad as he at least got an assist and you have no mention of Best?

    Yes Obertan is frustrating but I think there is a premier league player in there somewhere and it is just waiting to come out. Also if what he needs is confidence, is it a good idea for fans to be slagging him off. Look at Blackburn, are at fans helping their team get results by creating a poisionous atmosphere in the ground towards Kean? I hope they go down.


  21. Doug

    Its only an opinion but it happens to be one backed up by statistics
    As of 12th December according to EPLIndex stats Obertan averaged just 0.2 successful crosses per game (thats one successful cross every 5 games) , less than 1 shot per game and as of the 12th had not had a single shot on target. He is also the 4th most dispossessed player in the team.

    In laymans terms – he’s not good.


  22. GeordieTwo
    Aye – its the downside of signing decent players
    A few seasons ago you could have had a World Cup, African Cup Of Nations and European Qualifiers all in the same weekend and we could have still fielded our first team unscathed.
    Also Concerned about Ba’s replacement in January


  23. DJG
    Blackburn’s a bit of a different case, there the fans are on everyone’s backs all the time.
    I’m a firm believer in the axiom that before you can fix it you have to admit its broken, and Obertan needs some fixing if he’s to be useful. His stats are appalling.

    Ref the Kean comment, there were more than a few fans did the same with Souness, Allardyce and a few others at SJP


  24. IMO the way that they are behaving has stepped beyond the limits of free speach and protest and amounts to something more like sustained mental abuse against an individual.

    We have seen how we did when we had injuries to our defenders and he has had the same. Do they think they have a god given right to be safe in the top division? I went there last season and they are only a little pie eating town like a Wigan. With half the ground empty.


  25. I’m not saying its acceptable, just that we had a similar situation not that long ago
    Interesting to see that the authorities are now trying to ban offensive language in the crowd at the matches.

    Good luck to them with that one.


  26. Archie band.

    If I could be arsed I could go and find you stats that tell you ober is the most consistent otlet from a defensive position that he may get dispossessed more than anyone else but also will take on and beat more players than anyone else.

    He has the bottle to take people on, give him a chance and confidence and he’ll prove his ability.

    The boy has potential. I wouldn’t mind if he was on the top of his game and wasn’t good enough, but he’s obviously got more to give.

    If you honestly don’t agree that he has more to give then I’ll concede the point but, I think you’ll agree he has the ability to do great things.


  27. Doug

    We have had loads of players over the years who have had potential, and loads more to give, but whether or not they actually get round to giving is a different thing.

    He may be the most consistent outlet from defence but surely its what he does with it when he gets it that counts?

    And he doesnt do much.

    Aye – we could go down the Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics route, but come on, one single successful cross every 5 games, and the shot that everyone is raving about against Bolton was pretty tame AND it was his first on target all season.

    Hardly prolific

    Potential is for the for the reserves and the training ground

    Ability and results are for the first team


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