What’s all this ‘development team’ spiel?

Past potential?
Past potential?
After our humiliating FA Cup defeat to Brighton, Alan Pardew said he was forced to put out youngsters that should really be in the ‘development team’. I don’t follow though…

Now Pardew has actually mentioned these players belonging to the ‘development squad’ a few times this season. One of the main pledges made by Derek Llambias and Mike Ashley since they joined the club was to build a youth set up that will carry the club moving forward – however I’m not seeing it.

Our line up on Saturday looked like this; Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Mike Williamson, James Perch, James Tavernier, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid and Shola Ameobi. Subs used were; Sylvain Marveaux, Paul Dummett and Nile Ranger.

Santon, Williamson, Perch, Anita, Obertan, Marveaux and Shola – even Elliot – are all part of our first team squad. That leaves Sammy, Ranger, Dummett, Abeid, Bigi and Tavernier.

Sammy Ameobi is supposed to be one of our brightest young talents. He’s 21 in May. He has played 14 times for the senior side this term, averaging 45 minutes per game. He’s only played twice for the U-21’S. Compare that to our 1st team squad player Gabriel Obertan, who has played 18 times averaging 54 minutes per game. Not a lot of difference really. So is Sammy in fact a First Team squad player?

I know what you may be thinking – ‘You’re missing the point Shamrock. Pardew said these players should be in the development squad. Meaning his hands are tied. Fine, but Sammy is no spring chicken anymore! He should be making inroads into our first team squad by now. Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann are 22 and 21 respectively for example. They are well on their way. Davide Santon – our 1st choice left back has only just turned 22. Should he be in the ‘development squad?’

Look harder at these ‘youngsters’. Nile Ranger, Bradden Inman, James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Paul Dummett – all 22 this year. Dan Gosling is 23 this year. Romain Amalfitano is 24 this year! Is he a ‘development player?’ If that’s the case, lets throw Vernon Anita and Gabriel Obertan in there too. They are still 23.

Why oh why did we sign Amalfitano?! A complete waste of a place in our squad. If he’s not good enough for us at 23 years old, he never will be. Mehdi Abeid was awful the other day. No fight, no passion, no effort. Did nothing of note. He’s 20 years old. If he is not hungry for a cup match and chance to impress at this stage of his career, when will he ever be? I thought our scouts were meticulous when shopping abroad? What happened here then?!

The youngest of all of these is Gael Bigirimana, who is 19. He has 10 Premier League appearances to his name already this season, averaging about 36 minutes per game. He has 10 other appearances in our cup competitions, averaging 75 minutes per game. He has played for the U-21’S just once this season. Bearing all this mind, you would have to say he is actually part of the first team set up. In fact, take away Adam Campbell (18), Curtis Good (20 in March) and Remi Streete (18) and he is amongst the youngest genuine ‘talents’ on our books.

Look around the Premiership and you will find young examples of according to Pardew at least, development age players making huge strides all over the shop:

Age 22; Benteke, Ramsay, Gueye, Allen, Henderson, Ramirez, Rose, Kyle Walker, McCarthy, Miyaichi, Hazard, Moses, De Gea, Rafael, Welbeck, Balotelli.

Age 21; Wilshere, Weimann, Clyne, Caulker, Romeu, Oscar, Macheda.

20 or under; Oxlade-Chamberlaine, Barkley, Shelvey, Sterling, Lukaku, Phil Jones, Powell, Nastasic.

By the time you get to Dan Gosling’s age you should be a nailed on first time regular. The likes of Gibbs, Walcott, Bannan, Sturridge, Gunter, Rodriguez, McClean, Colback, Meyler, Neil Taylor, Sandro, Bale, Sigurdsson and Tomkins have pretty much all been around their respective first teams for a long time. Gosling was supposed to be a huge talent, but he has stagnated with us. I know he’s been unlucky with injuries – but he just does not look like he is capable of bringing an ‘A’ game to a match anymore.

I know the above list is not exactly massive, but almost every club in the league has better genuine squad depth than us – so they can afford to bring on the odd youth and it actually benefits them because they are good enough. We are playing a bunch of youngish pro’s that would likely struggle in League 1 because we have not invested in our squad – using catchphrases like ‘development squad’ and ‘youth strategy’ as a distraction technique.

Clearly if you are good enough, you play. Santon and Bigi demonstrate this, as do countless other players strutting their stuff in this league. The time for developing is in their teens. If they get to 21, 22 and 23 and have not made a serious impression, they are not good enough!

My perception of what a ‘development team’ should be is a bunch of under 20’s. Players like Streete and Campbell, who we should send off for a couple of years on loan at GOOD clubs before being eased into the first team – or shipped out. We’ll let Good off, who has only just joined from the other side of the world. Don’t waste them on loans to League 1 and 2, or pack them off to poor Scottish sides. If these are supposed to be future Premier League stars then put them in the Championship for a year, somewhere they get relevant experience playing alongside hungry, talented pro’s chomping at the bit to make the next step up and hit the big time. So Curtis Good aside, what excuse does anybody else from this group have? Where does Pardew get off calling them ‘development squad’ players?!

This club’s bigwigs have been working on our fantastic youth set up for five years now. Pardew has had two years overseeing it. What are the results? A bunch of ‘kids’ you can’t really call kids, who will never make it in the Premiership with the exception of Bigirimana and maybe Ferguson and Vuckic.

Whatever our club have been doing with our ‘youths’, it’s not working. They need to change their ways before they ruin the careers of of our actual development players such as Adam Campbell and Remi Streete. Stop pretending these are ‘development players’ and just admit they are squad players that are not good enough. Our youth strategy is still as poor as it ever was. What is the reason? Are they all lazy? I doubt it. Were they never good enough? A few of them, probably yes… Is it bad coaching? That might explain the general lethargy, lack of organisation and work ethic displayed by our entire squad this season. If our coaches are not getting the basics right in training with our senior pro’s, then how can the understudies possibly be learning anything?

Unfortunately these players are taking up spaces in our squad that should be given to players with real ability. They have had whatever raw talent they ever possessed ripped out of them and wasted by a board unwilling to invest properly in the squad and a manager that does not seem to know what player development actually means. Keeping them at the club playing in pointless reserve games well into their 20’s and dragging them out in high pressure top of the range games for the odd 30 minutes every few weeks is not how you nurture a young pro. They should be wheeled out a couple at a time on a regular basis if not on loan – playing alongside a near full strength side so that they actually learn something. They need continuity via regular competitive match practice at a high level.

The board and Pardew took a gamble on this lot to see us through this term instead of making signings and it backfired. In the meantime they have pretty much destroyed the careers of your Sammy Ameobi’s and James Taverniers. Pardew said at the beginning of the season he was happy with his squad and would be pushing for the top four. Was he lying? Did he actually believe the words coming out of his mouth? Now he is bleating on about how they are not ready and how we ‘undercooked’ it in the summer. Either he was happy with his squad in August or he wasn’t. If he was, like he said he was – then I worry for us. If he wasn’t, then he has willingly destroyed the careers of these young pro’s just to toe the line with the Board. Spineless if that’s the case.

Lets stop making excuses now Pardew and start producing results. Have a nice big clear out in the summer of all these players who have not ‘made it’ and give us a proper squad – then take more care developing the next batch of youngsters. Fair enough, you had no other options – but don’t dress them up as youngsters. Say it how it is – our squad is woefully short of genuine competition thanks to the results of a poor and wasted youth strategy combined with a board using it as an excuse to not invest in first team playing staff properly.

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

341 thoughts on “What’s all this ‘development team’ spiel?

  1. Mick Lowes on total sport just said we are in serious negotions with 2 players and are going for 3 or 4, he said we dont mind paying abit more money for good players but wont be taken for mugs, sounded very confident as well. went on to say expect a signing in the next 5 days.

    Any one know serious mick lowes can be taken.

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  2. Talk of 3 or 4 players means nothing at this point. Let’s see some forma bids and actual discussions with players before we get excited. This has happened all too often in the past and lead to nothing. Don’t even bother starting up the helicopter stories Llambias. πŸ‘Ώ

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  3. Alex – I wouldn’t take Mick Lowes’ statements too seriously….

    He’s been fed a line by a so-called source – but the fans have been fed bull**** for at lest the last 2 transfer windows too

    No difference really – he knows as much or as little as we do – which is nowt!

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  4. He said he heard direct from nufc player and non- player source and we are quite far dowl the line with 2 players but loic remy is early stage discussions at this stage.

    He said the sources said we wil definitely DEFINITELY be signing players and he said more than people may think

    He expected movement in the next 5-6 days.

    Being honest he sounded really confident. like he wanted to throw names but he couldnt.

    Anyway we shall see 😯

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  5. It sounds interesting Alex but again until we see some real offers and players coming in for medicals I won’t get too excited. If we lose to Norwich perhaps that will add some urgency to whatever negotiations are actually happening? I would hope so.

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  6. Geordietwo.

    I agree mate lets wait and see but you dont usually hear some one sound so confident about signings

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  7. Alex…He does the toon matchday commentary for BBC Newcastle but no idea how “ITK” he is, probably a bit more than we are……but not much more πŸ˜‰

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  8. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Mark

    I did say I was happy we kept all our players in the summer but I also stated it was a disgrace we didn’t get a CB.

    We’ve needed one for several seasons.

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  9. I like Laudrup as a manager. Has a very organized side who know how to defend and attack. How would he compare with Pardew? I would have to say Laudrup looks good right now but let’s give it another season. Will Pardew still be here to compare him to though?

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  10. I can’t believe there was a list of players up here the other night of all the usual suspects but nobody fancied Laudrup.

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  11. Considering there’s not many decent managers around that would come to Newcastle I think we should take a look at him before someone like West Ham start sniffing.

    Swansea are really well organised. Always look to pass out of trouble and have a great team ethos..

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  12. Actually I think Swansea are just sitting deep and defending with two banks of 4 and 5 in defence, and just letting Chelsea have the ball. It’s not pretty, it’s just getting men behind the ball, and clearing it when it comes in. It’s not particularly pretty, and not particularly difficult I would imagine. Swansea mark zonally whenever anyone comes ino the zone. We were doing something similar last season, and we had Demba Ba to sniff out the goals on the break. I would not go overboard about Laudrup’s tactics on this occassion, he’s not doing anything that Pardew wasn’t doing last season.

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  13. Swansea have played the least long balls in the Premier League this season. I think we were at the top.. 😯

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  14. Yes so far this season Laudrup has done well. I do think we need to see a bit more of him. Michu’s goal gives him the opportunity to play a defensive game and they are doing it well away from home. No panic in that defense unlike ours several times this season. Interesting debate on here today again as usual.

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  15. lol Demba booked for a dive in the last min. he didnt really dive, LOL

    2-0

    nice goal…

    terrible back pass by Chelsea..

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  16. Mark@248, no problem mate, I wasn’t having a pop at you. I just watched 25 minutes of the Chelsea Swansea game, and although Swansea are winning they haven’t been out of there own half, and haven’t seen much of the ball. It is obviously effective but not particularly attractive.

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  17. why arent we going after ppl like Danny Graham??? Why is it always France we visit when players are right under our nose?

    Graham set to join Sunderland for Β£4m once Swansea agree deal for Stoke striker Jones

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  18. What if Mick Lowe is right? – what if we do get 2-3 quality players in this window?
    Would people give the board credit, or would it be a case of too little too late and this should have been done in the summer?

    I’m not deluding myself here, I’m just interested to know how people feel?

    And before everyone posts “it’s irrelevant coz its not gonna happen anyway” – just entertain me please.

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  19. @Sharpy17

    Yes m8 I would be happy. I’m just stuck in a pissed-off rut at the minute lol

    Hopefully a cpl of players and some of our purples coming back is enough and Pardews tactics can take us forward.. i do have my doubts tho..

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  20. 3-4 players 😯 we must be selling a few 1st then maybe thats what the hold up is

    Troy I didn’t know you were in the Happy camp last summer ? there was me thinking you were the inspector on the reality train πŸ™„

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  21. Andy – I’d take him tomorrow. He’s exactly the type of player we need and would improve our CF options hugely. Would he get him before Shola, Ranger and Xisco? – absolutely! Is he scoring more than Cisse – Yip!. Forget his age, Debuchy is 27!!, if we could get Graham in for Β£3-4m I’d take him without question.

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  22. @Big Dave

    aye see, Troy made a few comments that tickled me, you took your eye off the ball m8 πŸ˜‰ woooo hooooo πŸ˜†

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  23. Mark my fault I haven’t been about too much so have missed out on things πŸ˜† So are you still a happy clappy member or are you back on the fence ? did you say you were happy with the summer window ❓ ❓

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  24. @Big Dave..

    Lol ahhhh didums..

    I call Troy, u step in to defend him as usual and Troy admits he said he was happy πŸ˜† , now you have a dig with the fence talk lol

    woooo hoooo

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  25. Is Danny Graham just having a good season or is he worth a bid?

    He is 27. looks a good player tho and is different to what we’ve got..?

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  26. Mark I didn’t defend him 😯 I just stated that I thought he was on the reality train ❗ where or how did I defend him ❓
    As for having a dig at you how I just asked if you were still a member of the happy clappy club or were you back on the fence πŸ˜‰
    Jez you are paranoid

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  27. Mark – Graham had a canny season last season as well to be fair. He’s really hard working IMO, not the quickest but gets into good positions and can finish. Like I said before, he’s a better player to those we currently have backing Cisse up.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’d want others in aswell, but if we are loosing Ranger and Xisco in the summer, Graham would be a good replacement.

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  28. @BD. u did m8 @192. jumped straight in like batfink with your protective wings of steel after I said Troy was happy.. πŸ˜‰

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  29. @Sharpy17

    for us to even mention Ranger and Xisco in our squad of forwards is embarrassing. They should be long gone. Take out Shola who can be dangerous but can’t play every game we are desperately short of quality.

    Even Shane Long would give us a different option. Lets get the center-halves sorted first tho lol

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  30. Mark 😯 is that what you call defending πŸ˜† πŸ˜† ok

    So are you going to tell me are you still happy with the clubs summer window ? ❓ or is that a touchy subject πŸ˜† as you seem very defensive tonight

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  31. Mark – I think Long is also a very hard working and very good CF who also has pace. But I reckon WBA would want close to Β£10m for him I reckon.
    I’d even look at someone like Charlie Austin from Burnley 23 and can score goals.

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  32. Re Danny Graham, Has been at Boro, loaned to Darlington, Derby ,Leeds ,Blackpool, and( Carlisle both as loanee and player . ) Scored 11 times in 56 appearences on his loan spells but since then , 2007 has gotten more prolific Carlisle 89 apps 29 goals

    Watford 91 apps 38goals

    Swansea 51 apps 15goals to date and been at Swansea since 2011.

    If anyones interested.

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  33. @BD

    Aye, I was pretty happy with the window for not selling but not as happy with the one purchase. I was led to believe that we would sell sell sell by some neggers infiltrating my simple little brain πŸ˜† So I was over the moon we kept out better players, this obviously wasnt enough tho.

    we should of definitely strengthened as our squad was thin. I’m more concerned now with Pardew and his tactics /excuses/ team selections.

    We’re you happy with the window?

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  34. Going by those figures ,he’s o.k and could do a great squad job but he’s no Shearer like πŸ˜‰ so best not to go overboard in our desperation ,but yes I would be happy to see him arrive.

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  35. Mark no I wasn’t happy with the window it’s a disgrace that we weakened the team rather than strengthen it especially with the Europa lge.
    As for the rest of this season I am sure once we get a few players in and our other players back we’ll be ok , but we need players in

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  36. Well, congratulations to Swansea. Can only think we missed a real trick by forcing Carr to stay in France and ignoring the certainly more talented and at the time, better value for money La Liga players…Michu would have been a steal.

    Funny, I don’t hear the Swansea chairman being a smarmy c*nt about getting deals doen either..

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  37. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @mark & Dave

    I did state I was happy with keeping the main players in the summer. In fact I was blown away by it. I was certain Jabba would sell at least one.
    I do believe that was good fortune that nobody came in for them tho. πŸ˜‰

    As far as the squad went, I consistently stated we should have built on our strong position. We should have strengthened.

    I was disappointed we didn’t as I wanted us to try and push on from 5th.

    I was openly critical of the board about this and in particular the CB which we failed to get again.

    Due to the lack of strengthening of the other clubs around us I felt we could still get 6 th place.

    However, as we’ve seen, no one could have predicted this slump just like we never predicted 5th last year.

    Mark, your not accurate in your assessment. To clarify, I was not happy with our strengthening at all, but was satisfied we kept our star players.

    I stated if we don’t qualify for Europe this season then its been a failure by the board. I believe we should have gone out and bought extra players to ensure it.

    Don’t try and get me on your side with the regime.
    πŸ˜‰

    Dave, take no notice of him. He’s using Oz tactics of unfair play πŸ™‚

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  38. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    Aye. Since those days when I constructed the reality train with my bare hands, ( I knocked in every bolt and rivet, welded the iron framework during the night between work, collected the coal from seaton sluice beach and took my steam engine the far reaches of England.

    The train was put in storage for last season but I never stopped polishing it, knowing it would be back in service in the near future.

    There’s an old steam train museum in Tanfield on the borders of Sunniside, Gateshead, where I store it.

    I’m off up there now to get it out. All aboard. πŸ˜›

    No credit to me mind Mark! It was my deceased grandma Baba Vanga who told me thru the spirits that I had to build the train.

    Grandma Baba RIP but keep in touch.

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  39. Troy Aye the sameway he was trying to accuse me in the wrong 😯 he must think we’re still wet behind the ears πŸ˜†
    Although I don’t think he is on the Regimes side anymore I think he has got his head outta the sand and is probably sipping a coffee now thinking ” what a fool the Regime made of me ” πŸ˜‰

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  40. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    Dave

    Ha! Love it! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    We did warn him. He worshipped the ground Jabba walked on and rumour has it he had a crush on Dekka. πŸ˜› 😳

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  41. Troy don’t be too hard on him, he’s maybe just young and foolish. But hopfully he has learnt a lesson now and knows that you cant trust the regime.

    I see Joey has tweeted that Remy is staying now in answer to a toon fan asking him to talk Remy into joining us.

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  42. Dave @287 ,Did we ever think he was actually coming anyway? I know I didn’t/don’t. πŸ˜‰ I’m not totally sold on him ,his form hasn’t been great but maybe a change is what he needs who knows.

    No CB in yet then I see πŸ™„ I won’t hold me breath on that one either. πŸ™

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  43. Troy, I must say I laughed out loud in regards to this snippet in your reality train piece ” I never stop polishing it” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  44. Kim I agree about Remy.

    Aussie are you still blanking me ? About what got you so pissed off ? Was it our season so far- the players, lack of signings, Ba or just a mix off them all ? You know Uncle Dave is here for ye πŸ˜‰

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  45. Morning Aussie ,Did you see my news years resolution to be a glass half full type ? ,I been repeating my POSTIVE THOUGHTS mantra ,but the board have made it very hard for me to stay focused.Think I’m falling off the wagon mate. πŸ™

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  46. I’d never blank you mate.. πŸ™‚ I went to bed after my last post yesterday…. It’s just the lack of real effort and desire on the park mate. It boils my piss to be honest. I can take losses when effort has been applied but I struggle with losses when players are not giving it their all.. And the poor form and results snowballs and everything bad off the park gets magnified as a result. Shit stuff all round at the moment.

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  47. Think Arry is losing his touch ,First he can’t land Remy now his Β£5M bid for Olsen has been rejected πŸ˜†

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  48. Kim πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I did see that. Those positive thoughts will be hard to maintain for a whole year, you have set yourself a tough resolution πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  49. Kim never mind you falling of the wagon, I just hope the wheels don’t fall off the Toon wagon as there is allready a few broken spokes.

    Aussie atleast you know now what its like for us being pissed off with the Regime.
    I honestly think with a few more signings (good ones ) and our best players back and we’ll be ok again.
    Fuk to think im normally classed as one of the neggaKim never mind you falling of the wagon, I just hope the wheels don’t fall off the Toon wagon as there is allready a few broken spokes.

    Aussie atleast you know now what its like for us being pissed off with the Regime.
    I honestly think with a few more signings (good ones ) and our best players back and we’ll be ok again.
    Fuk to think im normally classed as one of the neggaKim never mind you falling of the wagon, I just hope the wheels don’t fall off the Toon wagon as there is allready a few broken spokes.

    Aussie atleast you know now what its like for us being pissed off with the Regime.
    I honestly think with a few more signings (good ones ) and our best players back and we’ll be ok again.
    Fuk to think im normally classed as one of the neggaKim never mind you falling of the wagon, I just hope the wheels don’t fall off the Toon wagon as there is allready a few broken spokes.

    Aussie atleast you know now what its like for us being pissed off with the Regime.
    I honestly think with a few more signings (good ones ) and our best players back and we’ll be ok again.
    Fuk to think im normally classed as one of the neggas and here’s me trying to cheer you up πŸ˜†

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  50. (THIS IS A GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING. THIS POSTER IS LIABLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR POINT OF VIEW. ONLY ENGAGE IF YOU AREN’T SENSITIVE AND DON’T TAKE HISSY FITS)

    @Dave

    WTF was gannin on there?? πŸ˜›

    WTF was gannin on there?? πŸ˜›

    WTF was gannin on there?? πŸ˜›

    WTF was gannin on there?? πŸ˜›

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