Is too much being made of our tactics?

A question of tactics
It’s been quite an evolving process for fans of Newcastle United in these past few years.

Not only have a lot of people become football finance analysts keen to know the details of the money side of things, but more recently a lot of people have turned into tactical masters and insist their way is the best way.

Now what is blatantly obvious is we, as a team, aren’t playing well at the moment and it’s tactics, or Alan Pardew and his implementation of them, that are getting the blame for the bulk of it. My own personal opinion is that they do have an impact on how we’ve been laying, but I also think it is a bit blinkered to think that it is only tactics that have been our downfall recently.

There are more factors behind it as Jonas Gutierrez has mentioned today in the local press. Long story short he basically said that tactics are one part of a winning team and that United have a number of systems that they train with and use depending on opposition. The big thing for me though is his insistence that the most important factor in any formation is the players giving 100%, which is strange really as I don’t think Jonas, uncharacteristically, can be tagged in that bracket right now.

Many factors combine to win a football match. Tactics are one part of it, but also individual player performance, morale, and luck all also play a part. I’m not saying that a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-3-2 or whatever wouldn’t have worked better, all I’m saying is that none of those formations could negate some of the poor individual performances that have contributed far more to our defeats in recent weeks. Name me one tactic that will stop our goalkeeper spooning clearances straight to the opposition or another which allows our players to actually make a pass to a player five yards away?

Much has been made of the 4-3-3 system that we used effectively last season. It was great to watch and we really opened teams with it, but we also had players playing in that formation who were bang in form. We had Papiss Cisse scoring from anywhere and everywhere, Hatem Ben Arfa showing that he can destroy teams on his own, Yohan Cabaye spraying the ball about, Jonas Gutierrez working his socks off, Fabricio Coloccini being some form of colossus and Tim Krul showing that he is one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe.

Is it any coincidence our performances have dipped along with the form of so may of our players? And is that down to tactics or is it down to other factors?

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.

306 thoughts on “Is too much being made of our tactics?

  1. Newkie – ๐Ÿ‘ฟ you beat me to it mate, was gonna say it looks like Chris isn’t so clueless after all then ๐Ÿ™„

    ToonBano – I’m not a fan of Blanc personally and if we were to replace Pards, I’d be in favour of someone like Di Matteo or Martinez

    BB – you’re right mate, initially I was pleased to see scum beaten, and still am to a degree but it makes our job more difficult and means 3 points tomorrow night are an absolute must.


  2. wow โ— 5under1and have only won 2 of their last 22 league matches ffs and I thought we were going through a bad patch.
    Pardew wont be the only manager feeling the heat


  3. I hate to say it but is it fair to say the Sam Allardyce is doing a much better job this season at West Ham than Pardew is doing for us? This was the manager that we all loved to hate when he was with us for his long ball tactics. But how many points do West Ham have now after 15 games? It looks like 22 for them to 14 for us after 14. I’m not saying I want Big Sam back but I think we may have gone a bit overboard in the criticism of him and now possibly we are going overboard in criticisizing Pardew. I do think he will have to get more out of the team in the remaining games than he has done recently (obviously) and he will definitely need support from the owner in the January window. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised by what we do in the second half of the season but a lot remains to be done.


  4. Dave-I know your initial bits weren’t directed to me I was just picking up on a point you made and wondering how you came to that conclusion. Because I’ve seen a lot of “pards is favouring Ba” stuff, some of which I get and some I don’t, it was the “before a ball was kicked” part I was wondering about because I just don’t get that bit so much.

    I’m not really sure we can debate because you seem to imply that Cisse is playing on the wing and that he only plays centrally 10% of the time and that was Pardew’s decision. That’s completely wrong, and if you don’t see that then we’re both wasting our time.

    And I wouldn’t say I’m “getting into a habit of challenging (your) views” exactly, I picked up on a point you made and asked you about it, which you do all the time. I didn’t realise it was a problem. The other points I make are linked in with the wider discussion on the issue. The key thing looks to be that you are saying Pardew has willingly selected to play Ba centrally and Cisse on the wing or behind him or in some other position for 90% of the time and he had that in mind before the season started. I just can’t get my head around that. I’m not really sure where I’ve changed anything?

    In fact aren’t you doing the same “had given Ba the assurances before the season had started or Cisse had kicked a ball was all true. ” You’ve changed it to Cisse now. Perhaps pards also made his decision during training? The point is there’s no way you could know he decided what to do “before a ball was kicked.” The season break ended a fair while before Pards made that statement, that’s my point.


  5. G2-I definitely think some of the criticism of pards is overboard, but Allardyce? I’ve always hated him to be honest and I hated all the teams he has managed before and since, whilst he was there. Altho Wham seem to have a bit more class than Bolton back in the day. But maybe we did underrated his ability to get results? Still happy we got shot though, even if it was part of the spiral to relegation.


  6. Big Dave I think you’re right to be very concerned about Ba and how he and Pardew get along. If it’s true he’s asking for his wage to be doubled to 90K a week we are in deep trouble indeed. There is no chance Ashley would go for that and I don’t believe Ba is just going to say “fine forget about the wage increase just keep playing me in the centre.” That’s just ridiculous. He knows he can get a much higher wage elsewhere just as Carroll and Jose did and they both got what they wanted. We are in a very tight spot indeed right now and I just have no faith in either Ashley or Llambias or both of them to get us out of it.


  7. Have to agree with you about Allardyce Newkie but I hate to see West Ham so far above us playing Big Sam’s tactics. He seems to be getting a lot out of the players he has and their owner seems much more realistic in his support of his manager. I wish I could say the same for us but it’s just not there. I get no real feeling of the owner backing Pardew or he would have forced Llambias to spend properly in the summer to reinforce us.


  8. Newkie in my views before a ball was kicked means the season really or competitive games, But as you indicate maybe Pards said that Ba would be playing through the middle for 90% of the games Because he doesn’t need to take into account how Cisse played last season but just a couple of weeks fitness training.

    > “The point is thereโ€™s no way you could know he decided what to do โ€œbefore a ball was kicked.โ€ The season break ended a fair while before Pards made that statement, thatโ€™s my point.”

    Yeah thats right and my point was he made that decision a month before the new season started ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Dave-And that’s the other problem

    ” Because he doesnโ€™t need to take into account how Cisse played last season”

    Ah, so now we’re going back to last season then. So, according to you, he doesn’t need to take into account how Ba played last season either, just Cisse? Bit shortsighted to ignore the clubs top goal scorer imo.

    “Yeah thats right and my point was he made that decision a month before the new season started”

    So he made that decision, and still put Ba out wide if he wanted 4-3-3 and dropped him in favour of Cisse. Interesting.


  10. Newkie this is the easiest way I can explain it, do you agree that Pards went out on a limb to give Ba an assurance that he would play him where he ( Ba ) wanted to play โ“


  11. G2-Well, hopefully at some point the gods will smile on us and give Allardyce what he deserves, fack all! It can all still change this season. It’s just important we make those first steps soon and make sure we have it in us to turn it all around, or sh*t really will hit the fan.

    You’re right about the owners though. Wonder how Ashley feels being upstaged by porn kings, can’t be good for the old ego ๐Ÿ˜€




    I asked you to be realistic.

    Laurent Blanc????? ๐Ÿ˜›

    And he is going to work under Ashley who makes sure the books are balanced. How at fella. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It’s no good shouting to get rid of Pardew if you haven’t got any realistic ideas for a replacement.


  13. Dave-Yeah I guess he did. Although at the time I thought it was both a suggestion at a new formation (which I was happy with) and partly to do with keeping Demba at the club (because back then I also assumed the buyout clause was only active in that summer)

    Given that the clause is active again in Jan-and maybe every other window? And the fact we didn’t change formation, I don’t really know wtf he was doing.


  14. The way we are performing so far this season I would be ecstatic with a mid-table finish, and Ba’s goals are critical to us achieving that.

    I said a while ago that I genuinely believe that the makkems might get relegated this season. They are useless this season…


  15. Laurent Blanc ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†


  16. Laurent Blanc ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† It could be that come the end of the season we have no Frenchies playing for us at the toon…. apart from Obertan….




    Apologies for not replying to your question last night about my expectations for the January window.

    I believe a lot will depend where we are positioned in the league when the window opens.

    I believe if we are in a relegation battle then they may be forced into trying to buy their way out of it, though I can’t see many wanting to come.
    The need to stay in the premier league is enormous with TV revenue increasing.

    If we are mid table then I believe they will gamble again and not buy anyone, hoping they limp over the line.

    What’s your thoughts?


  18. Yesterday watched FC Bayern 1 Borussia Dortmund 1 live on tele. Man what a football game, the complete Dortmund team are comfortable on the ball…. Hummels and Subotic are immense, and the young midfielder Gรผndogan, man what a player, made 30 million euo man Martinez and Schweinsteiger look pretty anonymous. Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer reckons that Reuss and Gรถtze are the best attacking midfield pair in the world at the moment…

    Dortmund hunt in packs, they are technically competent, and always moving and pressing. I wish Pardew would spend a week in Dortmund ffs to get wor lot sorted out…


  19. Newkie @ 239 so do you not agreewith me then that Pards has left the door open to other players that arn’t happy with where they’re being played, because Pards has showed that he can give players assurances with

    Pardew said: โ€œDemba wants to play in a central role.
    โ€œHe wants to get himself chances to score goals.
    โ€œAnd I think that in 90% of the games next year thatโ€™s where he will play.โ€

    So if other player like Benny go to see him and say right im pissed off playing out wide I want the No10 role, should he do the same for him.

    Or Cabaye says im not playing the holding role anymore im being wasted away there, I want to be playing the attacking MF role, should Pards give him the same assurances


  20. Troy@243-Out of interest, does that mean you’d rather see us near the bottom come Jan in the hope of reinforcements, or climbing the table a bit and on around 25 points?


  21. Troy, I reckon come mid January we will be down at the bottom of the table and Cashley will try and buy his way out of trouble. I reckon they are looking now to reinforce more positions, centre forward/striker being one of them.

    I think the gamble of him not spending money is too big, cos to drop out of the league would be horrendous. It’s just a question of whether Pardew can get the right players through the door…


  22. Dave-not sure what this has to do with what we were talking about in regards to the Cisse/Ba favouritism. I assume you’re giving up on that bit if you want to talk about something else now?

    We’ve also already kinda covered this bit before ๐Ÿ˜†


  23. Troy @ 243 My views are the exact same, as I said earlier on that is the only thing that gives me a hope that this window will be different ie that Jabba mightn’t want to take the gamble on losing out on the extra tv money next yr, so he might have no real option but to buy. unless as you saay we can quickly climb up round mid table, but we are running out of games to do that before the window opens we are only 2 pts of the bottom 3 and 7 pts away from 10th place


  24. I think the quickest way to stabilize the side and get us much further away from the drop zone would be some proper spending by Ashley in the coming window. He only has himself to blame for having to spend now instead of last summer. Hopefully Pardew won’t add fuel to the fire with a poor performance by his side on Monday. A loss really would be a huge problem. We can’t count on other teams playing poorly to keep us above the bottom 3. I agree Sunderland have been woeful this season to say nothing of QPR (considering how much they spent in the summer), and Reading who clearly weren’t ready for the Prem but beyond that we seem to be in a real fight with the likes of Wigan, Norwich, and even Aston Villa. So have we found our new level of performance for this season, somewhere around 14th or 15th? I certainly hope not but really for me only Ashley can do much about it.



    @Newkie & MM

    I would rather we were mid table than struggling at the bottom.

    Cashley may still not buy anyone if we were languishing anyway. He wouldn’t pay the wage and transfer fee demands which would be inevitable if we were struggling. Clubs and players would have us over the barrel.


  26. Newkie If you don’t think that

    Pardew said: โ€œDemba wants to play in a central role.
    โ€œHe wants to get himself chances to score goals.
    โ€œAnd I think that in 90% of the games next year thatโ€™s where he will play.โ€
    is showing favouritism then I couldn’t be bothered wasting my time,
    so we’re best just forgetting it


  27. Troy-Yeah, I agree with all that.

    Also makes me wonder if Ba also has a relegation clause in his contract with us similar to his one at WHam….


  28. Geordietwo…. I hope Pardew can get the right players in. I reckon Pieters will be one of them cos he can cover left back and centre half, which would release Santon to play right back. Debuchy I’m not too sure, cos of his age.

    I reckon with not too much tinkering we could have a team good enough to regularly finish around 10th in the league, which is traditionally where the toon strive to finish.


  29. Dave-But you said you think that means he’ll play in the centre 90% and Cisse will only play there 10% ๐Ÿ˜• That’s absolute madness. In fact, Cisse has already played centrally enough for at least 20% of this whole season so surely that shows you you’re wrong on that account?

    Like I said, Demba Ba was brought in to be a forward not to be a winger, and he’s an average winger at best. Unlike Hatem who was brought in to be a winger and is playing as a winger and is still awesome as a winger, though he could be better at no.10

    Assuring someone he’ll play in the position he was brought in for and assuring someone he can play in a position he’s rarely played in his entire career. Well, those are two completely different things and yes, if you can’t see that then this is a bit pointless.


  30. Munich Mag @255 pretty much agree. We can’t continue to sit around 14th and keep the supporters satisfied. Pardew knows he must win key games as he knew with the West Ham game which he actually made a pretty big deal about losing. The Wigan game is even more important and would be an even bigger blow if we lost. The home games against bottom half sides are crucial this season as we are not winning away and not springing the odd surprise win against top teams either. If Pardew were to lose a series of home games against the poorer sides in the next couple of months I would fear for him even though we all pretty much agree it would be very difficult to see us get a decent manager in with Ashley and Llambias around.


  31. Anybody who is seriously even thinking about replacing Pardew are fcking deluded! Who could do better under the circumstances? No money to spend, unless you sell first, an owner who won’t negotiate for any player and a chairman who knows about as much about as a turd with a flying ant on it.

    Get a grip – Pardew is the innocent party in all this and Ashley will look at him as callateral damage.


  32. GeordieTwo I’d be happy with 14th the way we are playing at the moment.

    We really need Ba and Cisse to start smacking the goals in again, cos that is what did the job for us last season. That and a rock solid defense….which most definitely hasn’t been the case this season…

    Hopefully all of our big players will start trurning up again soon…Krul, Collo, Tiote, Ba and Cisse need to pull us out of mediocracy…


  33. The way things have gone I’m beginning to think Ashley thinks of the entire club and maybe even the city as collateral damage. How much more chaos could one man produce in 4 years? Even when he gets a reasonable side together and a decent season under his belt he goes out and seemingly deliberately screws up the summer window and then disappears from sight while his useless MD smirks pointlessly at the cameras. Is there a more bizarre sight in all of football than our 2 stooges Ashley and Llambias apparently in an endless competition to see who comes out looking more clueless.


  34. lol just shows how much i know. I thought when Cisse has played it would of been 90% center.. can he play anywhere else?

    Ba is obviously the better of the two out wide but he’s also good if not better as the main dude. I can see Pardews predicament..

    Well said Stuart79 ๐Ÿ˜€




    I’ve been saying that for a while.

    Pardew was the best of a bad bunch willing to take on the role.

    Though I don’t rate Pards as a top manager, he has the right credentials to work for Cashley.

    A yes man, a mouthpiece and hopefully good enough to keep us up.

    We will never achieve anything no matter who the manager is whilst Cashley owns us.


  36. Stu @ 260 spot on lad, as has been said he’s not the best in the world but there isn’t too many would work under the Regime.
    So lets hope he gets the balls to demand player investment this Jan otherwise I think he will become just another of a long line of ex Toon managers.

    Troy ” We will never achieve anything no matter who the manager is whilst Cashley owns us.”
    100 % this season he had the best chance he probably would ever get to show some real ambition, but did he build on last season ? IMO no he just took a few bricks away


  37. Mark-that’s what I meant, the 20% thing was for the season so far given that we’ve now played like a third of the season and Cisse has missed a couple of matches.

    Agree with Stu as well, which could be a first ๐Ÿ˜‰


  38. to tell the truth I don’t think Pardew would bend over for Ba. He was probably just saying the right thing due to the interest in Ba over the summer.

    Pardew has enuf to do being a puppet for the chuckle brothers without the players having a go too.


  39. i think pards took a risk i think he’s told ba playing on the left was temp i think he gave assurances i really do

    unfortunately its not worked…. put in pards shoes id have given that a gamble to…….BUT he needs to see its not working HE MUST AND I MEAN MUST CHANGE IT .. imo

    and if big dave or newkie dont agree with this im screwed if they gang up on me ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜‰


  40. Pup and Mark the problem I have is that the manager shouldn’t be giving any players assurances, as this now leaves him in a position that he cant ask Ba more than 3-4 times to play out on the right in a 4 3 3 otherwise Ba will walk around with his bottom lip on the ground saying well you gave me an assurance, so that for me says that we can’t play the same as the 4-3-3 that made us an attacking exciting team that a lot of people were talking about last season. It shouldn’t be about one player because it will cause **** in the camp.
    I said yonks ago Pards said he seen Benny in the No10 roll Benny also has talked about it so why doesn’t he get that roll that he wants ? no he just keeps the head down and wastes most of his talent coming back to defend tackle for 50% of the game, because thats what is expected of him in the interests of the Team


  41. for me the hoof it up to cisse and ba aint working…..

    and for me the cisse ba combo he’s using at the mo aint working either

    no player should rule a club no but all i’m saying is with the team no money being spent i can see why he tried ba cisse as on paper its a chance of working well…. i can imagine me saying listen stay we will try to play u both up front

    im now worried cisse is the new bloody torres god i hope his confidence hasnt been hit that hard


  42. Pup I agree I can’t see the 2 of them working together as they both try for the same ball and get in each others way, I also think Ba is to greedy to make that work, I would like to have gave the 4 3 3 a try as atleast the other team would be kept bust defending rather than so far this season the just have to worry about attacking us


  43. Pup he went to see pards
    โ€œDemba wants to play in a central role.
    โ€œHe wants to get himself chances to score goals.
    โ€œAnd I think that in 90% of the games next year thatโ€™s where he will play.โ€

    if I can remember right he had lots of chances to score last season when Cisse was through the middle but was just on a very poor run and couldn’t hit the target, he also played there with the hammers and done well


  44. @BigDave

    you’re totally right mate although I havent seen much evidence that Ba has been given the central role as Cisse normally starts more central. Ba gets the nod when Cisse is injured/benched.

    I think Pards just likes 442 and can’t find a role for Benny even though most of the fans could. Perhaps he see’s something in training that he doesnt like.

    If Ba takes the hump, well let him. if he continues to be a pain in the ass, sell him. We’ve got Ranger back nu so we dont need Ba ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜€


  45. Mark yeah Nile the Power Ranger could sort it out ๐Ÿ˜€ , maybe it just me but I normally see Cisse out on the wing trying to win the ball back .
    Maybe if he wants to stick to the 2 up front and wants to find a place for Benny he should try sticking him in the No10 role in a 4 3 1 2 as IMO he will do a lot more damage there


  46. heres the million dollar question tho

    seeing cisse playing like he did last year…… not knowing what we know now ………..would u have given ba the chance to play along side him…

    i sure would have so for that i dont blame him… continuing with it i Do tho


  47. I cannot for the life of me see why Ba is being made a scapegoat.

    He’s our top goalscorer ffs. Him and Cisse will come good, we need to get the rest of the midfield worked out so that these two fantastic finishers can show what they can do.

    We have a luxury problem of two fantastic prolific strikers, we should be ecstatic about it. Pardew cannot get the formation sorted out whereby they can show there undoubted talent.

    That’s where the problem lies.


  48. @ MM ice cream is amazing and so is steak …… dosent mean it goes together no matter how good they are apart ๐Ÿ˜‰


  49. Ba in the middle, Cisse just off middle, drifting right, HBA dodging around just behind the front two, Cabaye, Tiote and Anita mopping up the midfield, Santon hauling ass up the right wing…. that’s what we need. Santon is knackered on his left side, that’s why we need a proper left footed left back to address the imbalance in the side. Young Fergy doesn’t look like the answer to the left hand side unfortunately.


  50. Pup…I don’t like steak mate… ๐Ÿ™ ….. can I take it that you reckon Demba and Cisse cannae play together ? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  51. Dave@277 ,Agree about 4312 ,think we would be much more exciting in that formation too.

    For me Ba can be a bit of a sulker ,we have seen that last season .imo Pards did seek to assure him in the summer and the only reason you would publicly do that is to apease someone with a grievance of some sort.My mind is made up regarding that and nothing is gonna change it .Having said all that Ba is a brilliant striker but I really don’t feel the two are right as a partnership as they are too alike and without quality crosses the situation has no hope of improving.So we either need to at least try 4312 or drop one of them.What harm can it do ,it sure ain’t working at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  52. is cisse the new torres ?????

    MM id love them to play together …. i like them both to be honest they say ba’s a mercenary etc but as a player i like the guy and last years cisse

    although everyone loved torres when he first come to the PL im terrified he’s going to turn out the same


  53. Big D, I have read over the weekend several bloggers on here accusing Ba of being greedy, to the detriment of the team.

    It has also been debated that due to the fact that was given a reassurance by Pardew that he is somehow coming in for special treatment from the manager. Maybe that is the case, but he’s been scoring goals for us since he arrived, perhaps he is entitled to consider himself entitled to make those sort of demands.

    That all hints at a sense of negativity towards Ba. Scapegoat may be the wrong term, but I think without his goals, this season and last, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    If I was Ba earning 40K a week, and new that Collo was earning 90K, now THAT could cause a rift in the team….. Collo’s salary, not Ba’s demands for apparent parity…


  54. Troy @ 264 – spot on mate.
    I dont think any of us have actually called for Pardews head, as we know his replacement would most likely be worse (JFK??).
    I really want this season over now and for us to survive in the PL.
    17th may have to do.
    I just hope lessons get learned in the board room, by the pig headed ********s who know jack **** about running a football club.
    we need a few wins on the bounce just to stay in touch.
    I’m worried tbh


  55. MM as you know I have been one of the ones saying he’s greedy and that it seems to me that it’s more about him than the team, and I don’t think anyone should be making demands from the manager.
    I have said it before I have served in a large ( team ) and I know that if one person was seen to get special treatment from the boss it would cause all sorts of **** and cause resentment towards the one getting the special treatment and the one that granted it, and in the end would mess the team spirit up.
    But I am not using him as a scapegoat but imo he is part of the problem


  56. BB@289 ,me too tbh ,got a horrid feeling we’ll get beat again tommorow night cause of all the pressure really. I don’t think they are any better than us and I do think it’s fair to expect to beat them in normal circumstances especially at home. Whilst I admit there are no easy games in the PL you have to reckon on a good chance of beating those around you, else what’s the point in even being in the league ๐Ÿ˜• . That aside it looks hopeless at the mo. For what ever reason we just can’t get our **** together ,very unnerving to say the least. ๐Ÿ™


  57. Kim – dont want to think about losing tomorrow. Cross that bridge if we get to it.
    Gotta keep the faith some how.
    Hopefully the Lads will give us something positive to shout about.
    Like maybe playing at 100% for a change, and for 90+ mins too.
    We need to come out of the blocks and score early, to settle the nerves.


  58. Laurent Blanc is who I would bring in. Mike Ashley would never be that ambitious.

    Any talk of Pardew leaving or possible replacements is pointless. Pardew is here to stay even if we lose 10 games in a row. He has an 8 year deal for a reason. Puppet on a string.


  59. disappointed with our FA cup draw earlier, but not really surprised.
    Thats one hell of a trek down there again for those that can travel.


  60. BB, I can’t see Pards takeing any cups seriously now given our league position ,reckon all efforts will be focused on that now.


  61. kim – pretty good chance he wont be around by then.
    all to be played before then.


  62. I fear 8 matches in the next month will seriously **** us up.
    Its a big ask with a fully fit squad yet we are already down to the bare bones.


  63. I agree with Munich about the negativity towards Ba, and it’s even more surprising that people have started slagging him off again purely because of some dodgy story in the sunday papers.

    As far as I can see it’s the Sunday People who are claiming this story as their ‘exclusive’ and you can find a link to it on this web page: If you scroll down that page and click on the sport story which is titled “Raising the Ba: Newcastle striker demands double his wages to stay” it will take you to an article which was published on the Mirror website late on saturday night and was written by our old friend Alan Oliver. In that article Oliver makes it clear that ‘People Sport’ is the source for the story, so when it turns out to be a load of old ******* he can simply turn round and say that it wasn’t him who made it all up – he was just quoting somebody else ๐Ÿ™„


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