The joy of 6th?

St James' Park.

St James' Park.
What do you make of this season?
What a difference 48 hours makes eh? From sitting three points clear in fourth place to hovering just one point above sixth in an afternoon.

It’s fair to say that results haven’t gone well for us this weekend, and with a trip to Chelsea to come on Wednesday night we could very well find ourselves out of the top five in a very short space of time.

Of course things may not work out like that and we could go to Stamford Bridge and pick up a result, but when you compare the fixtures we have remaining to those the teams above us have remaining it would now appear to be odds on that we’ll finish sixth with a place in the Europa League to show for our efforts.

Now that isn’t a bad thing at all, and although I’m still shocked and saddened by the way the players failed to show up on Saturday, I’m also still happy with the way the season has panned out. I vaguely remember me saying at the start of the season that I’d be happy with a top half finish this season, so to grab a spot in Europe will do me just fine thank you very much.

What about you though? Are you happy with the season? Do you feel that we should have done better? Are you disappointed with how things have gone? Personally I don’t see anyone can be disappointed but I have to ask…



The point I’m getting at is that although we’ve had bad results, with the Wigan result being the freshest one in the memory bank, we’ve also still had a blinding season. It’s all about managing expectations and I you look back, honestly, to what yours were at the start of the season I’d be willing to bet that this team has surpassed them!

We are still a work in progress. We still have players in our team who, for whatever reason, people probably would like to see replaced with better, but it will happen. Bit by bit we’ll get there and of the evidence we’ve seen this season is anything to go by then we’ll be there a lot sooner than anybody thinks!

6th will do for me this season!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

67 thoughts on “The joy of 6th?

  1. This is as they say, football.

    6th will do. CL would be great and is still achievable but maybe a step too far…

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  2. When you look at top teams, the initial period consists of imperious play alongside bouts of poor performance. The challenge is to become consistent rather than improve, as at our best,we are a handful for most all teams.

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  3. Think Pards has to shoulder responsibility for the weekend. IMO he made a number of small easily made mistakes many would succumb to (and I am saying it with the benefit of hindsight – I’m still thrilled with the season)

    Players tipped up having had their heads turned with paper talk of CL. The formation to start was ‘tinkering for tinkerings sake’ give the lads a way to play (or a couple) and stick to it – over tinkering, playing a team at the bottom of the league, talk of being a success before we were (from the management and players) meant we were a bit flat and out of shape.

    Everyone will have learned from this, 4th, 5th, 6th? Fate will decide but I’m over the moon with any of them. (6th also lowers expectation for next year which I like)

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  4. Good season…sad day this saturday though even if WIgan was great. I think sometimes when we have to win, under pressure, we just canยดt cope with that. Tonn plays better when up against good teams and with nothing to lose. Hope Iยดm right these last games. HWTL

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  5. Over the next three games we are about to find out just how good Alan Pardew is as a coach/Manager as he will need every drop for those games.

    Myself, I am just gonna enjoy as I know we have a few Euro trips to look forward to next season, anything else is a bonus!!!

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  6. I think from Mike Ashley and the board, Alan Pardew and his players and down to every fan of Newcastle United, everyone should be extremely proud of what we have achieved this season, regardless of the possibility of losing out on the Champions League in the final hours ..

    As the lot of you, I am of course very disappointed about how the Wigan game went, but sitting here typing a few days later, I can honestly say, that I am still buzzing about the fact that Newcastle are back in Europe, and the fact (and this is really important to me), that we have had close to no bad press for an entire season – I can’t remember the last time that happened. Of course we have been written off numerous times this season, and most pundits have given us close to no credit for our runs of results, but I don’t consider that being bad press, when you consider what we have had to put up with in the past ..

    It’s onwards and upwards I think, and the rebuilding of our club is going at a much faster rate than most of us would have expected ..

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  7. No complaints from me.
    A great season, regardless of where we finish.
    Most important, is that we are still learning from our mistakes and improving. Mistakes will always be made, but generally, we are light yrs from when we got relegated.
    Toon Toon. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  8. I see Jermain Pennant has been caught drinking and driving again, amongst other charges. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ
    Back to prison for him I guess.
    Some people never learn.

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  9. Toonsy,good question . I have said in a previous blog that when the fixture list comes out the first thing I do is look at the last 6 or 7 games should we end up in a relegation fight!,sad but true ,such is my level of expectation .
    Far from being deluded as many opposition fans say ,most of us would be happy with top ten or safety ,especially since the despair of our relegation.To have done this well and for this crop of newbies to the prem to perform as they have is remarkable. I could never have predicted top 6 and our brief flirtation with CL has been a joy which with some luck may still yet happen!.The most important thing we can take from this season is we have the makeing of a great team in progress ,just a few more quality players and we can be a team to be feared I hope and don’t forget we are in Europe again ๐Ÿ˜† , On the negative side we have conceaded too many goals actually more than the Scum but obviously our defence got dealt a big blow with the loss of Saylor. This needs badly addressing in the summer and must be set right with very good quality defenders if we are to emulate this season again.We also need to learn to be consistent and cut out the just need to turn up and win attitude such as at wolves and Wigan .Had we took these games more seriously we would be cemented in the top 4 now! ,but i’m sure the lads are more than awear now of the massive ball dropped there.All in all a great season and very proud to be a Toon fan. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  10. I thought all along that CL was a step too far for us this season, we started the season out trying to better what we did last season with a top 10 finish but the players we brought in over the summer & Cisse in Jan have blown us all away with the results & kept us in the top 7 all season (apart from the first game, 10th I think) so for us to end the season in 4th, 5th or 6th, some 6 – 8 places ahead of last season & ยฃ4.5m to ยฃ6m better off due to that positioning is fantastic… plus all the extra live matches we’ve had on Sky & ESPN should net a nifty profit this season alone for Ashley ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

    The fact we diced with a top 4 finish quite a bit of the season pays testament to how well out manager, players & staff have worked throughout, it shows we have the potential to be part of that group on a continues basis if we had a few extra players, I mean, we’ve had to do with wing backs playing CB, CB’s playing MF & so on… we’re short in some area’s & if we fill those gaps, we’ll be able to challenge for a top 4 place next season, as long as we can keep the players we currently have & add 2 or 3 more for squad depth…

    As for Stardust’s comment blaming Pardew for Saturdays game, from my recollection, we played the same team & formation we played in the previous 3 games, so how is he to blame for that… yeah he changed it once we went down 2-0 to match them, so I’m not sure why you blame Pardew, I mean the 4 goals came from sloppy defensive errors & not by 1 person but by 4 different players…Willo, Colo, Simmo & Krul…. the only one at the back doing anything rite was Santon & then he got moved over to right wing ๐Ÿ˜ฏ tho he did play very well there imo ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Personally I think the team played much better in the second half & if Lady Luck hadn’t already left the stadium, we could have gotten a draw, we just needed that first goal to get past the woodwork for them to start flowing imo…

    Anyway, finishing in Europe this season is something of a miracle for us, whether it was down to our hard work or the fact other teams haven’t played to their potential will always be the question, personally I think we deserve our position & look forward to the night in European football again ๐Ÿ˜€

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  11. I reckon we would be lucky to have taken 4 points from the last four games. Had we beaten Wigan then Chelsea – then we could have talked about Champions League but not before.

    Still hope we beat Chelsea on Wednesday to keep the dream alive.

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  12. It was a poor performance v Wigan and an embarrassing apparent gap in movement, desire and effectiveness. Probably because our guys thought they were too good for Wigan?

    However we have done excellently to get 6th and anything above that is dreamland.

    HWTL

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  13. Even if we lose every game from now we have done well; lest we forget the situation we were in at the start of the season no confidence in the team or manager whatsoever so we have come a long way.

    I am still concerned the effect the Europa will have on us;

    However I am a firm believer we should take it seriously; we can win it or at least play in some fantastic games against some brilliant teams.
    Europa league should never be below us we should go for it

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  14. Bloody hell we have lost one game in 7 and everyone is down in the dumps.. Suddenly game plans are all wrong, players have had their heads turned, Pardew got it wrong.. It was just a bad game ffs… All of the top 6 teams have had one or two.. It happens.. You would think that Wigan loss has relegated us…

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  15. I watched the game on Saturday, well almost, it was Game of the Day on Sky sports at 8:25 so not knowing the score I was quite excited and prepared for another barnstormer. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I’ve been praising the team for consistency this season, something we usually lack which has been in abundance, but that performance with the same side and formation as last week left me open-mouthed (and swearing quite a bit). We had a blip.

    I was that fucked off with it that I turned the telly over 5 minutes into the 2nd half, something I never do (I stuck it out for the Arsenal 4-4 btw).

    However, it was just a bad day at the office. I don’t know why we were so shit and I’m not really arsed either, but I’m expecting us to turn it around against Chelsea and have a proper fight in our last 3 games. We were toothless (what I saw) against Wigan, but at the end of the day our season has been fantastic, even if we do implode now and get battered in all of our remaining games. I never expected Europe, never mind Champions League.

    I’m happy.

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  16. Just like to add 8 or so weeks back we all talked about how many points we would need to finish in 6th place .We mostly guessed at 60 to 65 points i myself had us ending the season on 62points and possibly enough for 6th ,so to be on 62 already and cementing 6th is brilliant.

    If we look at the top 6th in the following way it’s even more remarkable

    MANURE ,currently 1st .class team ,class manager nuff said
    Man city ,currently 2nd . Filthy rich with star players should be where they are with that outlay.
    Arsenal currently 3rd. Consistantly in top 4 another class act most of the time,plus constant flow of CL money so able to compete every season
    Tottenham ,currently 4th- Have had a blip but good players and widely regarded to have played best football this year.

    I will skip to Chelsea in 6th just below us .Consistantly top 4 ,Russian money rich .star players even if some are getting old .CL finalist.

    Consider all that and that we are 5th one above Chelski albeit only untill after weds eve ? and the fact that we spent naff all compared to them and with a fractured defence, it is truly fantastic what we have done .

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  17. I said this yesterday , we wont finish in or out of the top 4 from the last 4 games. Its decided on the course of 38 games. And when those 38 games are up we can see how well we have done this season. The season aim was to finish top 10 which we have done. We have over achieved this season in terms of our aims. We still have 4th to go for. I thought before the weekend we needed 8 points to get 4th as Spurs wont win all of their remaining games. We are still in the fight for it and I find it disturbing the lack of faith by some. At the start of the season the media etc where waiting for us to fall off our unbeaten start to the season and ‘ fall away ‘ , we did lose but we came back. Same with the ACON , we keep coming back. I wont write this team off , they keep coming back when its thought it cant be done , and I will love it , LOVE IT if we beat them and get 4th. HWTL!

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  18. Wrapping up a top 6 finish and europa place with games to spare is amazing considering this time two years ago we were still preparing for our final match in the championship weve come such a long way in a really short space of time. The players and staff (including people who have left) have worked minor miracles and Pardew is easily manager of the season whatever happens in the next three fixtures.

    If we bring in the 5-6 quality players we lack, Get Saylor, Marveaux and Sammy back fit and rotate the squad as well as we have this season then hopefully we should have the depth to juggle the european and league fixtures… :mrgreen:

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  19. I’m over the moon we are in Europe. To be honest most of us thought at the start of the season it would be a pipe dream, so to have achieved it is brilliant and a fantastic effort on behalf of players and management.
    Was looking forward to the Wigan game with trepidation and couldn’t believe my eyes. All players looked so slow, sloppy and leaden footed I was convinced someone must have spiked their rice pudding. ๐Ÿ˜†
    Anyway it’s done and while disappointed we let ourselves down so badly, that is swept aside by the immense pride I have in them for what they have achieved this season. Even by some miracle we do pull off a CL spot, it would be just our luck for Chelsea to win the bloody cup.

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  20. Has definitely been a great season overall. We rode our luck at some points, and put in some sublime performances in other weeks.

    I get the feeling complacency is still a massive issue with this squad though and Pardew needs to work out how to solve that issue, because we’ll never be genuine contenders unless we learn to give more or less 100% every match (I know it won’t happen every week, but Wigan standard is out of the question.)

    You only have to look at our Cup performances to realise how lightly a lot of our players take these matches. Losses to Brighton and Stevenage in consecutive years…you know its bad when you want your team to draw a Premiership team because you think you’ll have a better chance….Finally just the way our whole team collapses under pressure, points to a weakness of leadership. I love Colo but he doesn’t quite have the bark or the bite for it and I’m not sure Steven Taylor will be the simple answer to this, Imo we need an experienced defender, left back or right, who’s ready to knock some heads together……

    Not that I want to put a downer on the season, obviously its never nice to go out with a tough run/possibly some losses, but as long as the lads try their hardest in the last 3 matches I don’t mind where we finish, 6th is excellent.

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  21. Cheeses! Wonders never cease!
    Aussie talks sense for once!;-)

    We’ve lost one game and everyone is writing our CL chances off.
    For me, there’s nothing to stop us claiming 3rd place nevermind 4th.

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  22. I agree with Aussie though I do realise that in doing so there’s a 96.3% chance that I’m wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It’s been a great season now whatever happens, but don’t discount us from top 4 yet :mrgreen:

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  23. Thanks for the positive reinforcement Troy & Rich.. Your views mean a lot to me (cough cough) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  24. You can’t help but feel that a lot is going to happen in regards to the final layout of the top 6 from now until the end of the season..the next few weeks will have all fans of the teams involved on the edge of their seats.. best finish to a season for some time..

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  25. Lets just call the game against Wigan “the loss we needed” before our final push toward a top 4 finish ๐Ÿ™‚

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  26. Good points Aussie.. don’t listen to that Ritchie fella, he struggles to find something nice to say about himself ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hmmm time for another port – hic

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  27. @Aussie

    No probs fella. You keep giving your opinions like you do and who knows, we might agree in another 6 months . ๐Ÿ˜†

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  28. @GeordieLander

    Ha! You eaves dropping? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    I’m still confident. There’s a long way to go yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  29. I was so dissapointed with The Wigan game.

    I can’t understand how you Can earn a zillion bucks, work hard All season for a top finish, and Then Think: “i am not in The Mood today”.

    Sorry guys.. I don’t think that is acceptable.

    But is still Think 6th is supreme!

    If we don’t show a good perfomance against Chelski.. I Hope some heads Will roll:-)

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  30. @DanishToon

    I’m sure they are as gutted as us.

    They are human and all sides get beat occasionally, even stuffed like we did.

    It’s a one off and it should be excused for what it is.

    For me, the major success we have had lately is getting Barfa on the ball.
    He never got a sniff against Wigan and therefore we never got going.

    Let’s put it in context and take it for what it is, a blip.

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  31. TROY i know toon didnt turn up sat apart from a couple,but how bad was santon after he played canny last wk one of his better games,was he as bad as a lot are makeing out?imo yoy dont see the true picture on streams ect

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  32. Ice, I watched the game via TV and I know its not the same as live.. but I remember thinking that Jonas and Hatem had not even touched the ball by the time Wigans first goal went in.. I reckon Santon was no worse than some of his mates..

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  33. AMF cheers m8,its just on tv you tend to keep your “eye”on the ball,but when i go to the match i also tend to see more ie movement of players ect “off” the ball if you get my gist,in the first half ive seen better games in the park on a sunday,just think the players thought this was a easy game,too late once they went 2 down ๐Ÿ™

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  34. Whey I’m in Gent. Just about to head to Brussels then onto Amsterdam. Sorry for the one article so far today. Working on another right now. Couldn’t find any plug sockets and then my adaptor bust when I did find one! Sorted now though ๐Ÿ™‚

    On a sidenote a nice away European game in Gent would be great. The hotel is right by what will be their new ground so if I could swing it be over here at the right time I’d be there like a shot ๐Ÿ™‚

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  35. I agree Ice… definately not the same watching any sport on TV.. A loss is a bit harder to take when the biggest factor is a lack of effort… thankfully we haven’t seen that from our guys to often this season.. so I am not overly worried by the result based on that reasoning..

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  36. We have exceeded my expectations for the season , and on an early season blog I hoped for 53 points and a final league position of between 7th and 10th.
    So I am well pleased with this season.

    We also exceeded my expectations by splashing out on Cisse in January.

    Winning a place in a European competition is the icing on the cake for me.

    Still would like to turn the Chelsea pensioners over on Wednesday night.

    Hope Archie Brand has booked his wife a flight back to the UK before then. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  37. I only watched on a stream but I thought Santon had a pretty terrible game…its not that he makes so many mistakes (although imo he was at fault for the first goal) its just that he seems to have Lovenkrands’ ability to completely disappear from the match. It would be good if Troy or anyone who was there could tell the whole story….but he never seemed to be amongst the defence. He was supposed to be at right wing back for the third goal as well….instead we had Simmo chasing backwards and a huge gap in defence because Colo was over the left and Willo missed the tackle in the centre..

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  38. Newkie, how can you blame Santon for the first? Moses was by himself between Colo and Williamson.. christ he gave away around a foot in height to Williamson and he still beat him in the air.. Collo was ball watching and Willรฎamson reacted too slowly and didnt get enough body on Moses? As I stated a few posts back.. where were Jonas and Ben Arfa…they hadn’t touched the ball up to that point..

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  39. Aussie-well I guess that is kinda harsh on Santon, for whatever reason he just didn’t seem like he was attempting to stop the cross….Maybe he’s used to blocking them in and Jonas coming in and ganging up so I guess maybe you could fault Jonas for that, but he will have to learn to win the ball one on one at some point as Jonas can’t cover him anywhere near as much in the centre as he could on the right.

    As for Willo and Colo, it seemed like they switched markers halfway through the cross which was stupid on both their parts, how willo failed to clear was pretty astounding…even Krul might have been able to come and make the punch…….

    Anyway I think Santon realised he made a mistake and then retreated into his shell….we need to stop that from happening in all our players because a thrashing is all we’ll get from it..

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  40. Disappionted at the Wigan game yes.Your not a toon supporter if you have’nt lived with disappiontment and embarrassment for years.This is still a new team new manager and a board that looks like its learnt from its mistakes.This is the best I have felt about the toon for years and really its
    only there first season for this team.Europe financially stable that will do for this season thank you very much ๐Ÿ˜€ :

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  41. Yeah Newkie, between Colo & Williamson they both managed to mark no one in particular. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  42. whoever was to blame everybody imo ive made many mistakes myself when playing,but for a guy five foot nowt to beat you to header in the box while your up his ass is just bad defending not a mistake,but its gone now move on,happy with 6th didnt think we would do it this season

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  43. Ice, Did you use to play against Ritchie? I’m surprised he got a header against you in the box mate..

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  44. Ice-I know how it looks, but I was always told to stay with your man. If you look at the marking prior to the cross Willo is already with someone, with Colo *close* to Moses but not folllowing, then the other guy made a run forward, WIllo went to follow then checked himself, ended up off balance and next to Moses. He still should have won it, but Colo wasn’t doing anything right really…

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  45. That’s the thing though ,defensive weakness .Been our achiles heel since Saylor got injured. Colo and Saylor were so in tune and Saylor would rant at times when it was needed. In fairness the patched up defence has put in some good performances at times ,the 6 games prior to Wigan are a good example ,only 1 goal let in.The trouble is there has also been some shocking lapses of concentration as well ,still they are only human and we all make mistakes we just have the luxury of not doing it in front of fifty odd thousand people. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  46. Overall we have achieved…

    Europa league football
    Above the mackems
    Improved strikers and Benny back to form
    A ‘homegrown’ goalkeeper who has matured into a no.1 for years to come hopefully.
    Got rid of Barton and Enrique and replaced with Cabaye and Santon, who want to be here.
    A settled manager, no more fire and hire seasons for a long time hopefully.

    It’s got to go down as a season that has far exceeded all expectations, I can’t really lie and say that I would be that disappointed with 6th even if we have flirted with 4th, which is a miracle.

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  47. AMF ๐Ÿ˜€ kna mate i played in attack i wouldnt play against richie he played in goal because he was a bit on the large side only left you about 4 inches to shoot at,keep it low it took him a while to roll over ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜†

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  48. NEWKIE not the first time ive saw a lack of understanding between them,but surely that must be done on the training ground ๐Ÿ˜•

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  49. Ice ๐Ÿ™‚ as soon as you mentioned 5ft I thought of Ritchie… I thought you were talking about his height but you obviously meant girth ๐Ÿ™‚ silly me.

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  50. Icedog-Aye, for whatever reason they do seem to lack that natural understanding that make the great partnerships…having said that on their day they can be almost impregnable…Probably when they’re asked to play to their individual strengths on each occasion rather than think as a duo? Not too sure..

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  51. AMF you got it in one,richie will be over the moon you said 5ft girth he has been trying to slim down for a while to that size ๐Ÿ˜€

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  52. Realistically I was hoping for higher than last year. I was looking for improvement. This year has not only left my expectations behind, it is one of the best in our modern history and whether it’s 4th 5th 6th then who cares.

    Putting my pessimism hat on then maybe it’s better we miss the champions league, as if we miss it next year then they will all be off. Maybe they’ll be off anyway who knows I’m just living in the moment and as long as I get another away game in europe , be it italy or russia then I’m happy. I expect it to be europa league which will be a good competition next year, from england alone there will be us, liverpool, chelsea/tottenham (depending on table and chelsea in champs league)

    I know we probably won’t…but imagine if we won the europa league or got to the final? What an experience that would be

    Howay the lads

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  53. I have to continue my endless question as to why we continue not to bring in a centre back? Surely this summer it’s a must. Willo is not good enough to be a regular starter and never will be. I like his effort but he lacks many skills. Bring in a great centre back and watch us fly next season! I still think we can finish 5th and be very happy indeed with that. Let’s concentrate on 2 draws and a win to finish up to leave us on 67 points and fifth place.

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