Are NUFC the surprise package of the season?

At the start of this season most pundits and journalists for the national papers had Newcastle United marked down as relegation fodder.

That feeling was shared with a minority of fans in fairness although most expected a season of stagnation. However, I don’t think even the most optimistic of our fans could have predicted we would be on 36 points after 21 games; I for one certainly didn’t!

Maybe if the so called ‘experts’ had taken a closer look at what was going on at Newcastle this summer instead of just seeing the likes of Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton leaving and instantly marking us down as a lost cause, they might of come to a completely different conclusion when trying to predict our fate this season.

First of all I will be the first to admit that it is a lot easier for me to say this now with having hindsight, but let us take a look at some of our players that were wrote off:

Tim Krul – Arguably the best goalkeeper in the country.

Danny Simpson – Might divide opinion amongst fans but has been consistent in the top flight now for 18 months.

Fabricio Coloccini – Top drawer centre half and would push for a place at almost any other Premier League team.

Cheik Tiote – Best defensive midfielder in the Premier League. Could play in any team in the league in my opinion.

Yohan Cabaye – Came over as a French international and a double winner from Lille with a great reputation.

Demba Ba – His goal scoring record spoke for itself when he signed and after his short spell at West Ham he had already proved that the Premier League held no fears for him.

The six mentioned above are just the obvious ones that surely the ‘experts’ would of picked up on if they had bothered to do a little research, then you can add to that list with:

Davide Santon – Italy U21 Captain, and came over with a big reputation (which he has only increased.)

Hatem Ben Arfa – Can be a little bit of an enigma, but the lad has bags and bags of talent.

Then you have our new signing Papiss Demba Cisse who arrives with a reputation for scoring goals, but remember I’m only really talking about the predictions some had at the start based on the player we had at the time.

I personally think from taking a look at the players already mentioned that it is plain and obvious that this Newcastle team where not going to struggle, and fair enough nobody was to know that Ryan Taylor would step up his level of performance by such a big margin or that Steven Taylor would probably play the best spell for the club before injury, and that Danny Guthrie would step up to the plate so capably; but the foundations were there for all to see.

The major concerns I had, and I think most of the fans had before the season started, was the squad depth, but having hindsight now we are not as small on numbers as I imagined at the time, not if you count some of the young players who are coming through who are now banging on the first team door.

I am not saying we don’t need to buy, as if you stand still in the Premier League you go backwards, but at this moment in time I think it is more important not to sell than it is to buy, as this group of players who were written off by many before the start of the season has done the club proud.

And when you look at it closely, is it any real surprise?

About chappy_1980

Life long toon fan and aspiring writer, follow me on twitter @chappy_1980

65 thoughts on “Are NUFC the surprise package of the season?

  1. I’m trying to think, when was the last time we had two IN-FORM strikers in the same team. Shearer and Ferdindand?? 😕

    Also I said that 30 to 40 points would take longer than any other ten this season. Well two games later we’re on 36 and I’m gonna be eating my words soon. 😕


  2. I dunno, I think you could also argue that Tottenham have been a bit of a surprise package also. Swansea and Norwich also deserve a shout.


  3. I’m only surprised we have done as well as we have, never in a million years thought we’d be bottom half or fighting relegation like the so called experts predicted. Due to this I only believe we have been a surprise package to the media and the rest of the league.


  4. Richie I would be more than happy for Best and Ameobi to prove me wrong. If we can beat Fulham, well Arsenal are playing Man U.


  5. David, I would have expected Tottenham to be top 5 though, I don’t think anybody expected Newcastle to be top 6 for most of this season. Therefore I think we win.


  6. At the start of this season a lot of people thought we would struggle after the sale of Nolan, Barton and Enrique. The mackems were predicting Europe. 🙂


  7. Dream scenario this weekend will be beating Fulham 4-0 and Arse beating Manure 1-0.

    Then we’ll be 5th and just 9 points behind 2nd!!! 😀


  8. Surprise of the season has to be QPR NOT challenging for the Champion’s League spots.

    Especially after all the ambition they showed in the summer. 🙄 😆

    Up the R’s!!!


  9. I think we are the surprise package as far as being written off by all and sundry, including a small proportion of our own fans.
    We were expected to struggle as a second season syndrome by many so called expert pundits and expected to offload our best players and replacing them with cheap average quality but clearly those pundits got it well wrong and are eating their own words every week that passes.

    Norwich and Swansea, I don’t think can be regarded in the same vein as us really because Swansea came up with a rep for quality passing football and most had them holding their own and the same with Norwich.

    However, the killer part of every season is NOW and as we saw with Blackpool, who really did exceed all expectations by playing full on up and at them enjoyable football, they soon found the going tough and the rest is history.

    We won’t fall into that category simply because we don;t play football like those teams where they are capable of scoring but equally capable of conceding a good few and it’s a case of we will attack attack attack and try and score more than you, which looks good to the fans eye but ultimately can just as easily collapse as they season takes it’s toll where the better drilled sides then have the measure of their threat and nullify it.

    Our game is based on being well drilled at the back and making it difficult for teams to get a foothold, whilst nicking the odd goal or 3 at the other end and it works and will continue to work, which is why I think we take the surprise package trophy because not only have we held our own but are now regarded as a threat to the top teams European places. 😀


  10. No i agree about swansea and norwich being the surprise packages, We should have finished top half last season and in such a weak league i expected similar this time round 7th-12th, The press just got all exitable talking about relegation because tugboat, juan sheet and barton fecked off.

    Never expected us to have such a good shout for europe mind and im glad ashlias have realised how open this race for fourth actaully is and are having a bash, Chelsea are above us because of shocking decisions at SJP and wolves, Arsenal on goal difference and if the crimbo injury crisis hadnt done so much damage we could be points clear by now…


  11. Piss off DIFSB – you were one of the miserable twunts who were tipping us for a relegation battle at the start of the season! 🙄


  12. doitforsirbobby
    August 30, 2011 at 09:40

    tbh thought we played well sat, but we are fans arnt thick, injuries and supensions and we will be getting battered by teams like bolton and stoke, mark my words.



  13. Got to say I expected us to struggle this season not because I didn’t think the players we were signing were good but because I thought they would need a settling in period which we could not afford at the start of the season. The players we signed however hit the ground running and I am over the moon seeing what the business we are doing lately Papiss Cisse is the icing on the cake. Demba Ba was one of the players I was desperate for Newcastle to sign at the start of the season and glad to see the impact he has had on the team and I feel excited about the Papiss Cisse signing so hopefully he will have a similar impact.


  14. if i said that i was wrong and extremely happy to be wrong.

    i thought we could get top ten season.

    i thought swansea would struggle to get 10 points all season

    hence they (imo) are the surprise of the season

    toon chicken you can now go back to playgroup.


  15. Surprise package should go to Swansea. We should be given the most underrated team.

    And on an unrelated note, the second half surprise package of our team would be Benny. You will see how he will explode! For the first half its a tie between ryan taylor and Demba Ba. what say?


  16. I think we are A suprise package of this season, but Swansea are THE suprise package for me. They have worked with a squad full of unknowns with a tiny budget and were seen as definites for relegation. We were ‘tipped’ for relegation by some, but were not classed as dead certs.

    Swansea have come into this league playing attractive, impressive football and given anybody that they have met a good game, looking comfortable in mid table. Bearing in mind they have never been in the PL before, that is a real achievment and fair play to them.

    We take 2nd place though 🙂


  17. Don’t know if anyone has already said it (I’m just in) but I think another reason that the Cisse signing is important is that players with contracts to sign and those who the media keeping connecting with moves away will see the club’s ambition and be less likely to jump ship.


  18. surpise package?after many yrs following the toon they are a surpise package every wk,so nowt has changed,good and bad mostly bad 🙁 but good at the mo 😀


  19. Hitman – who says? Not Cwarr?

    Apparently yesterday he tweeted “welcome to NUFC, Erdinc” just before the club unveiled Cisse. 😆

    Frickin Chrissy Hughton had more of a clue than that twonk! 😆


  20. wow TC; picking up on a grammatical error on a blog


    correction btw – i was not a ‘miserable twunt’ who thought we would get relegated. Thought we would get top ten

    seriously though..has playgroup finished for the day?


  21. When you think back to the last day of last season we were only minutes away from finishing 9th . Although i did not expect the season to be so good as it has been until now , i never thought we would not finish top 10 .When tugboat left i thought Guthrie would step up to the plate and he has . What i never expected was that Dreamboat was as good as he is , even though i knew he was a french international . Can’t believe that the top teams in Europe missed him . One thing is for sure we are on the up and as good as the likes of the bindippers and Arsenal (better if van persie leaves) and in the words of Keegan i am Loving it , just loving it .


  22. You been Frimponged
    Reports say Newcastle United are willing to pay €17m for FC Basel’s Shaqiri. That’s €4m higher than Galatasaray’s offer. Interesting. #nufc

    🙄 🙄


  23. My surprise team so far this season has to be SAFC.

    Bought a new team for this season including such big names like O’Shea , Wes Brown , Larrson and Bendtner. How they aren’t top of the epl really puzzles me.


  24. Sidekick….they’ll do better next year, apparently MoN can turn a non league player into a World Cup winner in a matter of minutes 😆


  25. I think the pundits that had us down for relegation fodder did so partly because they couldn’t see past the departures and thought the lack of continuity would kill us. I can see their logic; I was worried about that too. Full credit for Pards and his team for achieving such rapid integration and spirit with so many new (and foreign) players. Full credit too to those who’e upped their game – Simpson, Guthrie et al – to fill the remaining gaps.

    The other reason is, just like so many of the fans – they couldn’t see past the lack of dosh spent.


  26. Nah, Troy – they’ve all had dampers fitted to their springs and it’s a bit more normal here. Dammit. I was really enjoying the plethora of Pooh parodies.

    Who said I was alliterate? 😛


  27. Think the Williams rumour is more likely. Would be happy as backup and has potential for the future. Taylor and Colo are first choice for me with Williamson being in the willing and able backup role – a similar role Williams would take.


  28. There’s a lot to be said for team spirit too. If i was Pards i would’ve put every negative prediction in the press up in the dressing room and showed every t.v pundits and journos writing us off on t.v too.Then i would of said prove em wrong lads cause they know fuck all……apparently.


  29. While I’m blathering on, some sick jokes about the Costa Concordia….

    – Is it ironic that the theme for that night’s party was rock and roll?
    – Apparently the captain didn’t just jump ship as reported. He was on deck and got a tip-off.
    – The investigators are suspicious that the Italian captain wasn’t even in control of the ship when it hit the rock. If he was, why isn’t the hole in the back?
    – I went into a shop and asked if they had any cruise liners. The lass said they had just one left. I asked her to put it on one side for me.



  30. Whumps – none of those jokes are as fun as the captain’s real-life version of events. He claims he didn’t abandon ship – he says fell into a lifeboat and couldn’t get back out! 😆


  31. I don’t think its that surprising about how well we’re doing. I mean I’m not saying I expected us to be 6th or doing this well but when I looked at the league at the start it was like-Liverpool, mercenaries and not a true team, Villa losing two of their besties and now with a terrible manager, Everton penniless, scum with Bruce so I still expected us to be top 10 really.

    Norwich and Swansea have done sublime, especially Norwich who although I fcking hate all their headed goals have done amazing with back to back promotions


  32. Rodneyzilla

    I’ve just got all whistful and misty eyed at those pictures.

    I don’t know why but Mick quinn was the fave with me (after shearer of course) but i think that’s just because he was the 1st number 9 i can remember – considering i was only born in 1982.

    Andy Cole was mint n’all like. I remember being in school when I found out that Andy Cole got sold to Manure. I was so pissed off i smoked all me tabs (3) round smokers corner. Aaaah to be 12 again. 😆


  33. am i bein greedy keep checking ssn and twitter if we have signed a new defender 😆 … it was defo a treat to get cisse yesterday and he should be a massive hit on tyneside but i still think our squad is a wee bit thin and i would be happy for even a couple of players to come in on loan!! no offence to perch but i dont wana see him play at center back ever again lol , a new center half on loan and this window is cracking business !! papiss and demba upfront WOOOHOOOOO 💡 😆


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