So that’s another year over and it seems to have flown by. 2011 was a year packed full of incidents for Newcastle United and one that was very exciting for me, so I wanted to share with you all my top ten moments of last year.
These will be a mixture of goals, matches and any other great things that happened to Newcastle United during the previous calendar year. However if you have any different memories why not offer them up?
10: Ryan Taylor’s free kick against Sunderland.
This was our first away fixture in the 2011-12 season and pitted us against our fierce rivals Sunderland. It was a match where both sides had been frustrating each other but when a freekick was won, up stepped Ryan Taylor to curl it over the wall and into the back of the net. That strike ensured that the Magpies gained the victory and the first win of the Premier League season.
9: The signing of Yohan Cabaye.
This was a transfer coup by chief scout Graham Carr that saw the former Lille man leave a team who had won the French league and gained themselves a slot in the Champions League. He had been targeted by clubs such as Arsenal but he ended up at the Toon. He has been a revelation and was one of our best pieces of business during the summer transfer window.
8: Leon Best’s hat-trick vs West Ham.
I know this was a while ago but in my eyes this was Best’s best ever performance in a black and white shirt. Written off by many fans due to his lack of goals, Alan Pardew had faith in him by including him in the starting lineup and his faith was rewarded with a very impressive hat-trick.
7: The 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
This was a stellar team performance from the lads in black and white shirts. The Red Devils had taken the lead through a flukey goal only for Pardew’s side to equalise with a lucky penalty decision. The team then faced an onslaught of Manchester pressure and their task was made even harder when Jonas Gutierrez was sent off. Wave and wave of Manchester United attacks ensued but the team stood strong and battled their hearts out to ensure that Newcastle left Old Trafford with a well deserved point.
6: Tim Krul gaining the number one goalkeeper slot.
This is a more general one but Tim Krul’s rise has been very prominent during the last year. He continued his impressive form from the end of the season in 2011 to make strides into the Dutch international side and firmly cemented his place as number one at Newcastle United. He has made a number of world class saves and kept us in several games. He is consistent and has become a revelation for us during the last year.
5: The pitch invasion at Darlington.
This was one of the funniest things that occurred during last year, Sammy Ameobi had been handed a debut by Alan Pardew and the fans began singing that if he scored they would invade the pitch. Who knew he would actually score? Well I’m sure everyone was surprised when his left-footed strike hit the back of the net and prompted the fans to invade the pitch. The match was halted whilst the fans were cleared from the pitch with Newcastle players urging the fans to return to the stands. One of the most entertaining sights that was seen during the last year.
4: Demba Ba’s goals.
Demba Ba was another transfer coup of last summer’s transfer window that saw him join the Toon for a fee of absolutely nothing. Since the end of Rammadan he has been a powerhouse in front of goal, bagging fourteen goals for Alan Pardew’s side. He is a true goal machine and we have certainly been able to see that in his play during 2011.
3: Alan Pardew’s management of the team.
Since the start of 2011 he has rebuilt the squad in order to play a more dynamic game against teams who we face. He has also made sure that the team has won against teams that are to be in and around us nearer the tail end of the season. Pardew seems to relish the work that he is doing, known as being very methodical that has certainly paid dividends as a full year has allowed him to implement his own system into the squad. His methodology also saw Newcastle go on an eleven match unbeaten run which has led to the side accumulating vital points in the early part of the season. It has been a very successful calendar year for Pardew and no doubt he will look to build on it in 2012.
2: Chiek Tiote’s stike vs Arsenal.
There was no doubt for me that this was going to be in the top three of my favourite moments from 2011. This was a phenomenal strike from the Ivorian, the score was 4-3 to Arsenal but after a corner was cleared it fell to Tiote who sweetly struck a left-footed volley into Arsenal’s net. It was a peach of a goal that capped off a truly amazing game.
1: The 4-4 comeback vs Arsenal.
This was my favourite game from last year, it had everything in it: goals, sending offs, frustration and a tough game after the sale of Andy Carroll. At half-time, the Magpies found themselves down 4-0. It had been a shocking half, poor defending led to Arsenal capitalising on our mistakes to take the lead. Alan Pardew at half-time had obviously rollocked his players in his team-talk as whatever he had said to them had a very impressive effect on their play.
The team game out fighting and there was to be more drama when Abou Diaby was sent off. This sparked a revival in the players on the pitch, Barton slotted home a penalty in the 69th minute followed by a Leon Best strike in the 75th minute to make the score 4-2. Another penalty was awarded when Williamson went down in the Arsenal box, Barton again stepped up and scored in the 84th minute. That made the scores 4-3 and set up an exciting final few minutes of the match. The crowd had been lifted by the team’s renaissance and the noise coming from the ground urged the team on. In the 88th minute a corner was cleared by Arsenal and the ball fell to Tiote who struck a left-footed volley into the back of the net. The crowd went wild and Newcastle had levelled the game to 4-4. It was one of the most exciting games that I had ever known as a Newcastle supporter and was one where I experienced a variety of emotions throughout the game. The match saw Newcastle create history as no team had ever comeback from four goals down before and it was a stellar performance from the men in black and white shirts.
So there you have my top ten moments of 2011, let’s hope that this year is another exciting year for Newcastle United football club!