How far can this team go?

How far can this lot go?
It’s hardly been the doom and gloom start to the season that was predicted by many has it?

Here we are sat in 4th in the table with a couple of home games to come. No doubt they are yet more fixtures that provide a test for this new group of players. They seem to be facing their first real test every week every week in fairness, and they seem to be passing them in terms of results.

Fans are very eager to not get carried away with our start to the season, and rightly so. It is, after all, early days and there is still a long way to go, even though we are nearly quarter of the way through the season. Points have been earned with hard work, stout defending, and with some skill mixed in for good measure.

Alan Pardew said something in The Journal this morning which interested me. He harped on about low expectations, realism and the team spirit. Have a read.

“Our fans don’t have great expectations of the team,” Pardew told The Journal. “I don’t think any of our fans will be thinking of the Champions League. We’re realistic and we’re very pleased with where we are, but let’s see how far the team can go. The strength of any football club is not in the individual, it’s in the team. And we’ve got a decent team.”

“The players are not the type to get carried away, they’re pragmatic. We’ve got a decent team structure where good players will do well, and we’re getting the benefits.”

The “let’s see how far the team can go” bit interested me. It’s an interesting question really. How far can we go?

As I said earlier on in the article, it’s still early days, but we’ve also had near enough a quarter of the season to form a judgement not just on ourselves, but also on how other teams are doing and how they are performing. Obviously no team is going to stay in exactly the same vein of form as they are in right now, including ourselves, but going by what I’ve seen so far I don’t see an awful lot to be concerned about in the Premier League.

You can pretty much discount the top five. To me those positions are nailed on to belong to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool. Arsenal look ropey to say the least but they still have the resources and players to be able to fight their way back up the league, but at this moment in time they don’t look like doing anything spectacular.

Beyond that though I don’t think we have much else to fear. I honestly believe that we could push for 7th place, maybe even 6th with a bit of luck and the wind behind us. This is not me becoming all deluded as I’d still settle for top ten and an improvement on last season. This is merely an assessment based on what I’ve seen of the season so far.

How far do you think we can go?

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.

79 thoughts on “How far can this team go?

  1. This team could get 60 points this season. Probably just short of that though. Position realistically 7-8 possibly 6th. As you say nowt out there to scare us. And if the big spenders falter we can pick up a place.

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  2. I think we could end up in 6th-8th but we would have to be very fortunate in terms of results and injuries. Add a defender or 2, plus a striker in January and that would remove the need for luck

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  3. this team has proved me wrong from the season kicking off and im over the moon…… i obviously nooo nothing so i cant comment =P

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  4. Steve Kean reckons “the owners will back him”. That’s him bladdered by 5 o’clock then… 🙄

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  5. Okay, top 10 then.
    This ‘no expectations’ thing is so painful! I want the team to win every game, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. But we’re playing well, why can’t I say screw the damn form book and the established top 4, we’re going to be playing at Camp Nou next year.

    Anyway, top 10 would be par. top 8 would be fantastic. Europe still unrealistic, but it’s getting more realistic every week. Until we start to fall down the table, I believe we’re going to win every damn game! Howay the lads!!!

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  6. Liverpool are no way nailed on. They are very much in the same position as us and are in a stage of transition. Yes they have spent a lot more money but I don’t see any better players on the pitch than we have. And – I firmly believe we have a far better manager/coach. The Dalglish thing is a myth and the initial euphoria has already evaporated. We have had some luck this season but can anyone truly say ‘pool haven’t had just as much. Take that sending off for instance – it wasn’t even a foul. Let’s have a bit of belief here please. Spurs are good no doubt but the next game will see just how good they are. I believe 4th place is there for any one of a small group of 4/5 including us.

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  7. Top 8 would be amazing, the lads have been 1st class, and to think santon and Ben arfa to come in to this very good toon army side.

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  8. Ryan Taylor starts against spurs were about 2 be got at big time, Lennons pace its a complete mismatch, santon has to start, worry about bale running at Simpson but think our CBs are in great form to deal with Defoe n adebayor.

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  9. We will finish 8-10th I think. All depends how lucky we are with injuries and suspensions. Villa did it every year under M O’N. They started well but ultimately didn’t have a deep enough squad.

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  10. I won’t take anything less than 1st!!! 😈

    Rooney my arse! Give me Sammy Ameobi any day of the week! ❗

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  11. I’d just like to point out Newcastle Uniteds motto is “fortiter defendit triumphans” which translates into English as “triumphing by brave defence”. Very apt to sum up our season so far!!!

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  12. Stuart – I actually agree with you! If we are lucky – for the first time in living memory – with injuries, then we can get up to 6th or even 5th, but realistically we probably will have a big dip and an injury/availability crisis. Then there’s the ACN in the new year, which we’re quite exposed to.

    But other teams have the same problems and I think AP’s vision is coming together better than theirs will, including Liverpool, who just don’t seem to have the formula right.

    I also have a feeling Citeh may have a mini-implosion at some point, but not big enough to drop out of the top 4.

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  13. Nobby: what’s latin for “win by crap ref decisions”? I think that may be quite apt for the Wolves game!

    Bless ’em – much miffed, but it makes a change for us to be the beneficiaries. What the hell were those officials on??

    Bring in TV replays, for gawd’s sake.

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  14. 8th will be a very good season for us. Most teams fear the 2nd season back in the Prem, but we are not going to be involved in that relegation fight at all. We dont have enough quality to back up the loss of the likes of Tiote, Ba, Colo or Saylor should injuries/suspensions strike and I just cannot see us getting quality reinforcements in January due to ‘Premium’ pricing and time constraints.

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  15. Cut price deals are available In January to avoid losing a player for nothing at the end of the season, hopefully that will suit us and we get some reinforcements in 2 back the bid for a top 8 finish. HWTL

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  16. When are we going to see these new fiscal rules bite? I know Manure have huge turnover so can keep spending on players, but surely Citeh and Chelski will soon have to start balancing their spend?

    I’m really hoping the wheels come off the ‘sugar daddy’ model in football; it makes the whole thing kinda pointless.

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  17. Being a profitable club with a good core team should put us in a very nice position for January. There will be plenty of teams needing to trim wage bills – especially those worried about relegation – and we’re doing well enough to interest decent players, even if not quite the top ones just yet. (i.e. Cabaye yes, Messi no) 🙂

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  18. I still think we need another quality striker and a more attacking central midfielder too. I looked at the fixture list before the season and said that if we can get a point or more from the Arsenal then we could score points in every game up to Spurs. I should have out some dosh on that one! We have not met the big five yet and that will be the real test of this team.

    How ofter do you see a newly promoted team fly out of the blocks and still finish up in the relagation dogfight. Last year Liverpool were bottom three after a good chunk of the season had gone by and yet they turned their season round. Quality and depth of squad will out over the full season and we will finish where we deserve to be.

    Top half would still be a good finishing place for me together with a decent cup run too.

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  19. Matty – that’s true, however as soon as you start getting 2 or 3 clubs interested in the same cut price deal, the player gets put in a strong position and millions gets added to signing on & agents fees. Just cant see our board willing to pay inflated rates just to land a signing over our competitors. I think the structure our board has build relies on setting up deals under the radar, or playing playing the long ball game. Neither of those tactics are particularly well suited to the January window as you cannot do a deal under the radar with a good player whose contract is due to run out. Their agent will make sure everybody knows about it in order to put his player & himself in a stronger position…

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  20. Whumpie, I cant see the fiscal rules changing a lot. If the leaders of football put off the mega rich from investing in teams then they will ultimately lose a lot of money themselves through influence, advertising, contacts and of course backhand deals & incentives. Money has & always will talk.

    As for Citeh, they pulled that ridiculous stadium naming ploy in order to help swerve the new ‘rules’. That way they generate £120 million over 10 years for the club – from a company controlled by the owners! Lol.

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  21. Shamrock: bang on right if it’s true how much McKay made out of the Barton deal then there is no such thing as a cheap deal, but get smith out n get a couple of decent 20k a week players in and youve still saved 10k a week on wages, maybe pardew keeping smith 4 when tiote at Acn.

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  22. It would be good for us financially and progressively to get shot of Smith in January (I like the lad, but he just does not have it at this level anymore), however I just wonder if he would take a move in Jan if it meant him taking a pay cut of probably over £40k p/w to join a Championship side?

    Think we wont get shot of him until the summer. To be honest if Tiote gets injured/suspended etc then i’d hope to use Cabeye in his position with Gosling/Guthrie helping him out as opposed to Smith. He no longer has the pace, eye for a good pass, timing in the tackle or shooting instinct. No, he is a good Championship player now, but a liability for a side like ours trying to push on. He would just give away stupid free kicks andput us under more pressure than save us from it!

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  23. I think we will finish top 10 (got 16/1 for us to finish 7th before the season started so would be very happy with that 😆 )

    Looks like we may still be in for Maiga – this is from SSN:
    In-form Sochaux marksman and Newcastle target Modibo Maiga has told skysports.com that he maintains the ambition of playing in one of Europe’s top leagues.

    Newcastle tried and failed with a bid for the Malian striker in the summer, before Sochaux threatened to report the English club to Fifa over their approach.

    Maiga was angered by Sochaux’s stance and at one point he was dropped to the reserves along with team-mate Kevin Anin, as Sochaux chairman Alexandre Lacombe described them as “unmanageable.”

    The 24-year-old has since said he is settled until January at the very least and has returned to form with a stunning six goals in his last four games, including two braces.

    And he has admitted to skysports.com that it is inevitable that he will not be spending the rest of his career at the Stade Auguste Bonal.

    Although Sochaux fans have been giving Maiga a hard time for his stance before the transfer window shut, he insists he is not letting that get to him.

    “I have had enough of being booed by supporters right now, but anyway it does not stop me scoring goals for the club and making them happy,” he told skysports.com.

    “I scored a double for them again (at the weekend). I had two chances on Saturday against Toulouse, two goals, just to thank them.”

    Newcastle are reportedly very much still on the trail of Maiga and North East reports claim they will try and push through a deal in January, something the player does not rule out.

    “Newcastle? They are a very good club, I will not finish my career in Sochaux if I am scoring every week – that is the reality of football. I have not invented that!

    “At the moment I am here and scoring goals. I do not know when the transfer window opens what there will be. It depends also on the club, but in the near future I want to ply my trade in another top league. It is a genuine ambition, I will accept being booed for that!”

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  24. Liability sums this guy up tiote knew he had to sort the bookings out this season and you can see he is making a genuine effort, if a game was 5 minutes long smith would get booked, is gosling or Guthrie strong enough 2 shield back 4 ??

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  25. I’m confused, why would we want 2 african strikers up front if we are going to lose them both every 2 years at a vital stage of the season?

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  26. Matty, I dont reckon Guthrie is, but Gosling possibly. Cabeye has demonstrated that he is not afraid to get stuck in and do a shift either, he actually has good timing in the tackle and clearly can pick out a pass. I’d just drop him back into Tiote’s role and have one of the other two marshalling the middle just in front of him….

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  27. with the squad we have now i think 9th is realistic if we dont sell in jan and add 1 or 2 players then maybe europe i still think the next window is very important…we will see ❓

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  28. Cabaye for a frenchie does get stuck in but if u put gosling in the attacking midfield role the link we’ve had from midfield 2 strickers would be no good, gosling is a bit of a headless chicken for me, would have vuckic there though, quick, strong and technically gd, or guitterrez with marveux on the left……

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  29. Shamrock, I sincerely hope you’re wrong… but think you’re probably right! Alas, there are only 2 sorts of people working in footie: convicted crooks and the ones who’ve got away with it so far. 🙄

    The wheels are coming off, soon enough – and while those backed by dodgy multi-billionnaires may cream off the top 20-odd players in the world, that leaves plenty for us. It’s just a shame that the playing field will remain completely skewed towards those who want to buy a cup to pass the boredom of being unjustifiably loaded.

    Buggrit.

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  30. If kadar had been allowed 2 progress like he should of, colo would of been solid infront of the back four, he’s a clever footballer aswell, kadar would of had the games 2 come in with sailor at CB

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  31. Personally think anything worse than 8th would be a failure. We should have finished 8th last year and have brought in enough money from transfers to demand an improvement

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  32. Shamrock I could be wrong but don’t think Mali qualified for the ACN. either way seems to have a bit of a mercenary’s attitude. Works out in some cases but when it doesn’t boy does it go wrong

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  33. Exactly Whumpie, they use a football club as a status plaything. They will get bored of it eventually, but could be a while yet! Until then, football has lost a bit of its magic…

    Matty, another option through the middle is Marveax, though i’m not sure he has the ability to tackle that is required in that role just in front of the holding midfielder. Same as Vuckic, not sure about his tackling… I see him more as an advanced attacking midfielder in the hole behind the striker personally, i.e stepping in for Benny…

    Guthrie can do a bit of everything, he can score the odd goal and isnt a bad passer. Just not imposing or influential enough. He would do as cover though. Not really sure what Gosling’s best position is yet, or what his strengths are. He apparently can be a good box to box player with a good engine, but to be honest not seen enough of him at Toon to have a well informed opinion on what he can offer over any other player…

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  34. Dubtoon, that would make sense but would still leave us facing a quandry again in 2 short years time. I agree with you, too much of a loud mouth. He cant be helping the dressing room with his outspoken desires to leave every 2 minutes. Would much rather focus our attention on somebody European with a better attitude.

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  35. @42
    ‘if Kadar had been allowed to progress’
    Who stopped him from progressing? Apparently he’s lazy or doesn’t have the right attitude?
    Yound players with talent and the right attitude will certainly be ‘allowed’ to progress…..

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  36. Just a suggestion lads but for home games I would play HBA alongside cabaye and drop tiote; twente only ever used to play him away from home……thoughts ❓

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  37. LST – nope. Tiote’s been great the last few games, adding good crossing to his game too. He’s a must.

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  38. @49, mental! Benny cannot play central mid, he simply is not defensive minded in the slightest and would be lost.

    Tiote protects the back 4 magnificantly, but that is not all he is good for. He is strong, imposing, has a very good pass on him and knows how to shoot. He contricutes to team play moving forward from central midfield much more than Benny would. Benny in my opinion is not a player for every game, but for when circumstances allow. He needs to be playing in an advanced position.

    It could be quite difficult for Benny to get a regular start whilst Best & Ba combine effectively up front. I’d be inclined to rotate him with Obertan on the right whilst we play 4-4-2.

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  39. Lots of good effort against Wolves but we definitely lucked out with some of the ref’s calls. Nailed on penalty against Saylor. Thought Pardew’s subs were bizarre to say the least. Ahead 2-1 away from home and he brings on Peter???? How is Peter going to hold up the ball up front, he is tiny and easily dispossessed. We were lucky to get away with it. We looked to be panicking for the last 5 minutes. Guthrie was a neutral change, didn’t add much. Shows we still have a weak bench. Why didn’t Santon get a few minutes and HBA as well?

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  40. Lads I agree however when playing teams like norwich or wigan playing cabaye in the protective role and let HBA play at the top of a diamond would be allowing him to roam and cause havoc? I doubt it will ever happen though!

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  41. Spot on Shamrock @52. Obertan has great pace and disrupts defenses but doesn’t track back and can’t cross the ball. HBA would offer something different from right wing. No way he is a central midfielder. Tiote is steadily improving his play and cutting down his yellows. He will be essential for us to finish in the top 10. We need to get as many points as possible before ACN. Guthrie and Vuckic will need playing time to assess them properly. Would like to see both against Blackburn in the cup (for 15 or 20 minutes each at least). Gosling will need some playing time as well. Will Santon play for the reserves tomorrow? We have another 2 week break now to get things sorted. Hope to see an excellent performance against Spurs.

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  42. I think I was a little hard on Obertan. Actually saw him offer defensive cover several times against Wolves. However if Jonas maintains his current level of play the only place for Hatem would be right wing or in behind the striker if we play 4-4-1-1. I don’t think Pardew will mess too much with a winning lineup so expect the same against Spurs to start, 4-4-2. The only change might be Santon for Raylor. That would be a strong lineup on paper at least. Not sure about this Maiga fella. Would he fit in well or does he have a giant ego like Barton?

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  43. Geordie, further to your last post have a look at posts 32 & 33 on the last article. What do you think?

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  44. Susan; he got a fairer crack of the whip under hughton and looked promising, pardew has had opportunities to use him and hasnt he’s a damn sight better than Williamson that much is true.

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  45. I think your reasoning and lineup for Spurs make a lot of sense Shamrock. I agree about Spurs midfield. They are very dominant right now. Tiote may be able to knock Parker off his game. Modric will be a problem, especially with Adebayor and Dafoe up front. Bale is a definite threat as well. No way Simpson can cover by himself. If Obertan will play a team game and help cover Bale it will take a lot of pressure off. Is HBA ready for such a high level contest yet? Not so sure. I think he might get a few minutes but not more. I think the key for us will be set pieces, especially corners. We definitely give teams problems with Ba, Best, Colo, and STaylor in the box. Krul has been outstanding so far but this will be a real test, especially from Bale crosses and Adebayor up front.

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  46. Matty…he hasn’t been given a chance because “apparently” his fitness and attitude/application have been poor, he’s been told to sort himself out or leave 😉

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  47. Richietoon: has he been playing for the reserves ? For me if fit and available is a more dominant backup CB than perch/Williamson when fit.

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  48. Yes Ben Arfa’s sharpness is a big factor in this formation. You are right about the set pieces, I reckon we can really take advantage of them against Spurs. Re: Bale, Simmo tends to do ok against the big names. Of course it only takes him standing off from one cross to cost us a goal though… I’ve been looking at Obertan back tracking. He does really try, but has not figured out what to do once he actually gets back! At least he acts as a body in the way I guess.
    It’s an interesting quandary this game!

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  49. Richietoon I saw one report that he came back for pre-season badly out of shape and overweight. Could this have been the case? He is still getting international callups which strikes me as a little strange if he is really giving Newcastle problems. Can anyone else comment on Kadar? He doesn’t seem to get much playing time even in the reserves. Is this another injury problem or his attitude? Not sure. He looked promising at one time but that was a couple of years ago now.

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  50. Matty, I think the point is if you dont put in the effort, you dont get a game. A bad attitude to learning and training is no way to inspire confidence from your team mates.

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  51. Definitely a quandary Shamrock. I’m not so confident about Pardew tactically either. Many of his subs were bizarre over the last couple of seasons. It will take a huge effort to get a win against Spurs. I tend to think we will more likely get a draw or a narrow loss. I would be happy with 1-1 or 2-2. If Cabaye and Tiote get dominated it could go badly. Tiote may lose his discipline and get yellow carded again. This is an excellent test before we face the big boys in November.

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  52. I think he’s played in the last couple of reserv games at least and I agree but if his attitude or fitness has been crap then he won’t get near the first team….at least he shouldn’t…….That’s if it’s true.

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  53. Is it bad attitude though, or is this a rumour that’s been created because he’s not in the side, can anyone clarify ? GeordieTwo knows were a was coming from because the lad looked good.

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  54. Geordie two….possibly mate, but even if he reported back unfit he should be fit now…….if he’s applying himself in training that is. I hope he sorts out the problem, whatever it is because he looked a tidy player imo.

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  55. Matty….no idea mate, I can’t remember whether I read it in news article or on the blog sometime……Toonsy might know 😉

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  56. Matty, all I know for sure is Pardew has displayed a willingness to field the youngsters that have promise by playing them in the Cup. Kadarhas not been afforded that opportunity. Nobody disputes that he has potential, but if he is fit then there must be a reason he is not playing…Attitude seems to be the only realistic explanation?

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  57. I think we’re all thinking along the same lines Richietoon and Matty. There must be some truth to the rumours because he has been told by the club to get himself sorted. Is he into the drink like Carroll was? I have never heard of him getting into trouble that way. It’s puzzling but usually where there is smoke there’s fire. Look at the Ranger situation. He has been given every opportunity and still gives the club problems.

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  58. Matty – After the hubbub on the forums, one of the papers asked the question and got a quote, not sure if it was pardew, might have been beardsley or carver but there was something

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  59. Realistically,5th palce must be targeted!!Believe me guys,except for Spurs,I don’t see another team that can displace us from the top four.Arsenal are genuinely poor and they will struggle for a top 6 place while Liverpool are much overrated!!With some reinforcements in January,I don’t see why we shouldn’t target for a top 4 place.We must get that mentality back in order for us to be established amongst the big guns of Europe again!!Also,cup competitions remain a decent probability with the sort of squad we have!!So,Europe,here come Newcastle United again!

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