Harper testimonial shows how it could be at United

What might be...
What might be…
Last night probably didn’t go to plan, with the AC Milan XI taking away the trophy from St James’ Park in what was Steve Harper’s final hurrah as a representative of United.

Granted it took penalties to do so and even Harps admitted that the script was written as he was supposed to convert his penalty, but last night was about much more than Steve Harper.

To all intents and purposes, Harper has spent most of his time as a backup at United. He’s played second fiddle to a range of goalkeepers from Pavel Srnicek to Shay Given and, latterly, Tim Krul but the attendance of 50,793 all the same showed what this place is about, what it is to be a fan of United and, rather disappointingly, what we once had versus what we have now.

In truth the crowd may not have been as big had the cast not been so littered with players from an era where glorious failure was achieved with swagger and bucket loads of entertainment along the way, but it does show how the crowd can get behind something they believe in.

There is a saying, something like ‘if you build it, people will come’ and back then there was a sense we were really building something. Ultimately it never succeeded and eventually we find ourselves where we are today. It’s not all Mike Ashley’s fault as his predecessor must shoulder a fair proportion of blame for our fall from grace, but if last night doesn’t show Ashley that he is just a few million away from garnering some support rather than disdain then I don’t know what will.

That’s my issue. There is a lack of real ambition at United and at the moment it just seems as though we are happy to tread water making sure we stay in the Premier League. The reality is that we’re not in the top tier of clubs who are challenging for the title or even for a Champions League place, but a failure to sign anyone over the summer doesn’t send out many positive signals does it?

I can’t recall any fan asking for tens of millions to be spent on players earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, but what we do want to see are signs of improvement. Despite how we are often portrayed, the average NUFC fan understands that we won’t be spending obscene amounts of money on transfers or wages, but the average fan also wants to see signs of improvement rather than no movement at all.

Our next home game is likely to see a lower crowd than was generated for Harper last night and you have to ask why? Surely that should set some alarm bells ringing? Are the fans losing faith in the ideal? Are they losing faith in the ideal because it seems to have been abandoned over the summer? Even I find myself less interested in the day-to-day goings on at United these days and for me that is saying something!

With a little bit of ambition, even a bit of communication perhaps, people would still turn up. People may still be pi**ed off about certain things, but if there is a reason, a genuine reason, then people will at least begrudgingly understand. At the moment though United is like riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma to pinch a quote from Churchill, and people find that hard to buy in to.

Last night showed what we had, but also with a bit of tinkering, what we could have again. Maybe not to the same level but certainly more than what we have right now.

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.

127 thoughts on “Harper testimonial shows how it could be at United

  1. Too static, Tino.

    I’d prefer a 4321 for defensive situations, transitioning through a 23221 as we move forward and then into a 2143 attack. 😎

    Maybe 2521 as a general whole-of-game average position, but if we’re on top that could easily become 2431 or even 24211 or 2332.

    I wonder if Ben Arfa will play wide again this game. He did well against Fulham there, so it might be worth playing him wide again instead of in his usual position. If so, we could go 223111 with a right-side bias when transitioning into attack. That could work.

    Maybe the more digitally formulated 01100011001110010010001 system might work, but that could leave Cisse isolated and it might not give enough cover in case of a counter attack, which Villa are quite good at these days.

    But who cares, we might as well play our own game and take no notice of what the other side is doing. There’s really only one team out there anyway.

    235. Now that’d surprise ’em. 😆


  2. I may be going out on a limb here… but I detect a little sarcasm in your post there Vegas 😯 😆


  3. @Aussie

    I’m not sure if Begas is being sarcastic. All his posts years ago were like that as he was bang into reading tactical formations. Can you not remember? Most of his posts were numbers. I used to think I was on a suduko site not a football blog. 😛 😛

    To be fair, the constant pointing out by me that his formations were flawed as they totalled 12 finally sunk in and no longer does them 😆

    If you visit his house, each door is now propped open with a footy tactics book. 😆

    I only wish Ashley was as quick as Begas to learn his mistakes. 😆


  4. Troy, Vegas has lost his cool a bit lately which is unlike him… watch he doesn’t go postal on you.. 😛


  5. Mark/Troy – sorry lads I was at graft last neet so wasn’t on.
    Nobody has upset me man, trust me I’m not one of those bloggers. I wont lie, i don’t like the beaten house wife comparison at all and the other day was just me explaining why. Nowt to do with either of you as your comments weren’t personal – you didn’t know.

    Far from huffed, just couldn’t access the last article coz of the number of posts and graft has kept me off this one 😉


  6. Actually, Troy, I think that’s the first time ever that I’ve posted about tactical formations – in a numberwise way, that is.

    It’s a pity your brain is so confused (probably from the boxing) or you’d recall that the discussion about tactics was because I said it wasn’t as easy as some were saying and that talking about 442 or 433 meant bugger all unless there were other strategies to go with it.

    So, wrong again, squire.


  7. Sharpy good to see you are not one of those bloggers but it looks like Begas is! He’s Uzzy Wuzzying for real ! 😆

    I can see him Uzzy Wuzzying – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJPesST-skg
    To his laptop ready to smash us with his formations and he see’s the ridicule which floors him like Uzzy! 😆

    Soz Oz for nicking your gag but Begas is the real Uzzy. 😆


  8. I keep trying to decide what I expect from tomorrow but the truth is that until I see Pardews line up I really don’t know.
    I wish I had faith in Pardew selecting his best 11, but I fear that if Jonas and Tiote are fit then they will be in – so that won’t be our strongest 11 IMO


  9. Hes pretty much told us that Saylor wont be getting straight back in rightly, Tiote and Jonas should have to wait their turn as well.

    —Ben Arfa———Cisse——–Remy———-

    Subs: Elliott, Saylor, Dummett, Tiote, Marveaux, Jonas, Gouffran

    ^^^^^Im hoping for that.

    I personally would have Sammy on the bench instead of Jonas but theres no way Pardew would…


  10. Bring Remy in to start and keep the rest of the starting team(against Stoke) the same.. Cabaye hasnt done enough to earn a start and should be made to earn his starting place as penance…


  11. CC – exactly what I’d like to see tomorrow and if we do we have a good chance of getting something out of the game. Being totally picky I’d swap Anita and Cabaye so Cabs through the middle and Ani the left of the 3.
    I think if Pardew wants to finish 10th or higher then he will need to play in a positive and hope key players don’t get crocked.


  12. Aussie – I’d agree if Marv had done as well as Anita when he came in, but I don’t think he has. I understand your point but I that may be cutting your nose off buddy.
    We need our strongest 11 out against the likes of Villa as I still see them as a team we should be able to get something out of.
    I also think that Sissoko, Cabaye and Anita could possible become a very effective midfield trio.


  13. I’m fizzin with Pardews latest quotes in the chronicle;

    “They all wanted a marquee signing but that would have taken us into our overdraft facility”

    “That was something we really didn’t want to do, although there were two or three bids that went in and that would have definitely put us in that”.

    “There was the will there but I definitely don’t want to say any more than that”.

    For the sake of sanity??!!! 🙄

    Was he not aware that a marquee signing would have taken us into our overdraft before the window opened???? 🙄

    I despair. I’m Uzzy Wuzzing overdrive here! 🙄


  14. I still can’t believe Kinnear has done nothing to bring Bramble back to the toon ( absolutely gutted). Great defender i think Santii would most certainly agree with me on that one. Charlton Cole a proven goal scorer and a free signing ? This is time to strike while the iron hot before we lose out.


  15. Sharpy – agree with that. Marv for me just has not got the drive/balls to go with his talent. Faint hearted!
    My real worry and I’ve been saying this for a long time is Cisse. This time last year I’d have said he’s the best striker in the Prem. But his performances since then have been truly awful. Headless chicken with zero footballing ability. He’s scored 8 in 40 appearances mostly as the main striker. For my money Shola, Campbell or Gouffran would have done better and all of them would have held the ball better and kept our attacking momentum. The number of golden chances he missed last season killed us. We were never as bad as the results suggested. Against Reading Pardew was crucified for going defensive when we were one up but before that Cisse had missed three wonderful chances. All created by good play. It sounds almost sacrilegious but I’d drop him for a three of HBA, Remy, Gouffran. Tin hat on!!


  16. Charlton Cole is the answer to our questions goal scorer wise and has had the honour of working with Pardew in the past. Pardew is a descent manager and has the insight to make NUFC into title contenders.


  17. With Ashley doing everything in his power financially there is no reason we can’t land our targets. Yes i’m taking the piss about Bramble and Cole but we are a laughing stock


  18. Cisse really has gone down hill last season and the problem needs to be addressed. Pardew must think his performance’s have been acceptable and see’s no reason to drop him. Do you think SBR would not have dropped him and tell him to shape up ?


  19. Sharpy, i can see what you are saying but Cabaye has played **** all football to date… so you are wrong but i am forgiving 🙂

    Troy, I notice that you have the same sunken chest as Uzzy 😆 but maybe it is a trick of the light due to your proud gut 😆


  20. @Aussie

    I’m practicing Uzzys moves as we speak. I’m giving it the big Uzzy swagger in Eldon square.
    The gut is an advantage cos I’ve improvised and added a bit of belly dancing. 😆

    The locals are loving it like. 😆

    I’m just aboot ready for some youngun to walk up to me and clean me oot with one punch. 😆


  21. Troy@101-No because he wouldn’t have known who was going out, and players whom he had perhaps thought of offloading such as Gosling didn’t go? It was touch and go with Cisse too for a while there. Only the Mancs and Chelski can really plan and buy whoever they like and then throw anyone they don’t like out the door like that. Most other clubs have to adapt to the window as it happens… 🙄


  22. Georgio-I agree with a lot of what you said tbh. I almost choked when people were suggesting he was our player of the season last year! Unbelieveable. A couple of late goals when he should have scored easier chances made for him earlier in the match doesn’t count. His problem is he spurns the good chances made for him and he is totally incapable of fashioning out a chance for himself.

    In all honesty you’re better giving him ****e delivery all match because he might just pop up with a wonder goal when he shouldn’t be doing so. Such an odd footballer 😕


  23. Aussie – wouldn’t that remain the case until he’s selected though?! 😕
    England played Rooney when he hasn’t played for Man Utd yet and Wales played Bale. Are you suggesting that Liverpool won’t play Suarez as soon as his ban is up?
    Teams play their best players!. Sometimes teams play their best players when they are only 70-80% fit over players who are fully fit.
    I will be hugely surprised if Cabaye is on the bench tomorrow to be honest mate.


  24. Troy – those comments from Pardew are typical of him. The man is a fool and tactics aside, he deserves sacking for crap like this!.
    With JFK there now he can easily avoid questions like this, yet he feels the need to get involved?!.
    How can he say this in the same week that our main transfer target – Gomis has said that the deal was as good as done until we went back and told him he’d need to drop his wages?.
    Which to me sounded like JFK had made agreements that Ashley would back!.

    Nobody asked for a marquee signing. But Pardew himself was asking for a CF to be brought in during his post match interview against Fulham. We only wanted the same as him!.

    The man is a prat, and whatever sympathy I had for him having to work with JFK and Ashley has completely gone after those comments TBH.


  25. Sharpy-can’t say I remember much about him, but Petric from Fulham would have been a better shout than nobody/Cole as well. Plus it would have buggered the hammers good and proper what with Carroll’s new injury 😕


  26. Sharpy, Cabaye chose not to play so he should wait for his chance.. he played ****e last year for the most part and does not deserve to automatically start.. however he probably will…


  27. Newkie – he’s a good grafter and can score a goal, about 1 in 4 for club and 1 in 3 for Country which isn’t outstanding but also isn’t terrible for a free transfer either like. At 27 I’d give him a years contract with an offer of a 2-3 yr deal if he does well. If he doesn’t work out then nowt lost from what I see.


  28. Honestly with every injury to Carroll that £35 million just gets better and better 😀

    Kinda feel sorry for him like

    I see an article on the 442 site has dubbed us the North East Drama Queens…

    CC @97

    I really like that team and is probably our strongest though I still think Tiote is in for a shot as he would balance that midfield a little better.


  29. Sharpy – I think you’ve forgotten there is a problem. It’s called money!
    The latest drivel from Pardew – any signing would have taken us into overdraft: Judge us after 8 games (last week it was judge us after WHU and Fulham): We want more local kids in the team. Bloke’s an idiot. Pure and simple.


  30. @Newkie

    Howay fella. Gosling? If we got a million for him we would be lucky.

    Pards stated throughout he was trying to keep his purples and get another striker in.

    The fact he’s mentioned the overdraft makes it sound like a master plan that they didn’t need to use it. WTF 🙄


  31. Georgio – being honest I’m not that fussed on either Cole or Marica, just looking at what’s available on a free. I can imagine either would command a wage close to what Gomis would have got.
    But you make a valid point mate and looking at the big picture, I wonder how close to this overdraft we are – to close to sort out Ben Arfas new contract?


  32. sometimes I just wish he would shut his effin mouth. I am pretty optimistic going into the game tomorrow and now after reading some of his **** I am instantly pessimistic about the result.


  33. If the local journo plonkers had any sense they wouldn’t talk to Pardew at all. He talks absolute rubbish and obviously doesn’t have a memory either. They should go to the games incognito and write the bloody truth as the fans see it not some rosy comfortable drivel day after day.

    I actually fancied us for a result at Villa but reading Pardew’s comments about Colo and Mapou taking care of Benteke fills me with dread.


  34. Actually it’s probably me who should stop reading the local drivel. Gibson’s the only one I trust to say something interesting. And he does it in English with his spellchecker on, unlike the others.


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