Winter Trips Result In Poor Form!!

Fresh from a 5-1 drubbing at Chelsea and dropping back into the relegation zone, Newcastle head into an 18-day break before their next fixture. Having won only 6 games in 26 since he took over, the Grin Reaper Steve McClaren will shockingly be given even more time to turn the team’s form around – starting with a ‘training camp’ in Spain. But what can the fans expect from such a trip?

This will be the third season in a row that the Magpies have gone abroad for a ‘winter training camp’. Every time the club packs up for one of these warm weather camps, the media and fans alike voice their opinion that it looks like the club is off for a jolly when they should be rolling their sleeves up instead. I can’t help but notice these trips always seem to coincide with most other clubs around us playing in the next round of domestic cups, which we almost invariably get dumped out of in the earliest rounds. I don’t like to buy into or start conspiracy theories, but I have to ask if it is a club strategy to exit the Cups early in order to spend time abroad doing club and Sports Direct advertising? Are we sacrificing ambition for a quick buck again? It just seems odd to keep going away to places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the middle of our fixture list, which is primarily played in the rain, wind and cold. How does warm weather training prepare us for our forthcoming away fixture at Stoke for example?

Lets look at how the previous two warm weather camps have gone, beginning with Alan Pardew’s charges visiting Abu Dhabi. We had just gone out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round and Pardew had this to say; “It was scheduled in to give us a lift for the fourth round of the FA Cup, we used to do something similar when I was at Crystal Palace. It was already booked before we lost to Cardiff. Fans need to know that. The players deserve a bit of sun, but they’re not getting a break because we’ve penciled in hard work.” We had started the season quite strong, but exited the Cups early and then went on a run of 4 defeats in 5 leading up to this trip. I’m not sure that form warrants the players deserving a trip. However if the club is going to sell these trips as an opportunity for team bonding, working on fitness & conditioning and getting injured players back, then I’d expect the team’s form to pick up on their return.

This is what Pardew said on the team’s return prior to facing Norwich;”We had planned it before our cup exit because we thought it would give us a nice boost for our fourth round tie but that unfortunately didn’t happen. What it has given us is a boost in terms of a bit of sun on our backs. It has boosted everybody’s character and personality and given us an appetite to try and chase a Europa League place, or even a Champions League place.” We did not challenge for the Champion’s League, or the Europa League. Instead – we finished 10th. The boost the trip gave us was nothing of the sort. We lost 3 of the next 5 games, picking up only 4 points out of 15. In total for the rest of the season, we picked up 14 points from 48. Well that did not work out did it?

The following season saw John Carver take the team to Dubai. Again we had no Cups to play for having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Leicester. The team had picked up 1 point from 9 and lost 3 out of 4 games in the run up to this trip. Again, not really a squad deserving a trip away. But did form pick up upon their return? Well the immediate reaction was winning 5 points out of 12. Not exactly a success. We would slide from relative safety to relegation fodder, narrowly avoiding the drop on the last day of the season. In fact we only won 2 fixtures out of 15 following that trip.

So here we are in 2016, this time going to Spain having been dumped unceremoniously out of the Cups at an early stage yet again, stuck in the relegation zone and with 5 of our next 7 fixtures away from home. Given that out away form has not been poor, but abysmal – with the wrong tactics, wrong line ups and wrong attitude employed on every occasion – what is Steve McClaren trying to achieve? What is the club trying to achieve? I repeat – we are travelling to Stoke City for our next game, in almost certain cold conditions. What is a warm weather camp going to do to help the players prepare for this fixture?

This is what the Grin Reaper has to say; ”It’s definitely not a jolly. We could have gone to warmer climates and more luxurious places. It is a training camp and we believe there is a lot of work and preparation to be done. There are players coming back, we need work and togetherness because after the Chelsea game from Stoke onwards it’s game after game. It’s the most critical part of the season when you are coming into the last 10. We are in a position where we are still in that battle to climb up the league and get away from the bottom three.”

Newcastle face Norwegian outfit Lillestrom in a game at the La Manga camp.

McClaren said: “We also needed a game. It’s difficult to find one here because everybody else is playing and if they aren’t they need a rest. So it’s an ideal opportunity to arrange a game behind closed doors.”

Do the Grin Reaper’s words sound familiar? If we need game time, then get a friendly arranged on our own patch, in the cold – where we will playing our next few competitive games? The club does not seem to appreciate the negative perception that these trips have with fans. Given our form following and leading up to these trips on other seasons, the fact we have been dumped out of the Cups yet again – it does look like a jolly and I’m not inclined to believe that the players deserve it or that it will do us any good. 5 games from 7 away from home coming up. Is there any hope for us? Nope. We have lost our last 5 away games on the bounce, conceding 13 and scoring only 2. This trip is a bad idea. So is allowing Steve McClaren to be on the plane.

About Shamrock

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

191 thoughts on “Winter Trips Result In Poor Form!!

  1. I always thought SM would be a safe pair of hands – not great but better than Carver. I’ve changed my mind. Going to Chelsea with that line up and expectation we would play like v WBA was plain stupid. In our situation he should have gone and parked the bloody bus for a 0-0. You could have driven a bloody bus through our midfield and defence. Pathetic.

    I thought we’d survive but looking at the fixtures it’s not great. All of our rivals will fight for it and they’re the teams we have to beat. Can’t see it.

    Let’s hope he leaves Sissoko in Spain for a start.

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  2. Well done, Sham!

    But to be perfectly honest, I really have no idea why the club couldn’t train here. McClaren’s excuse was that we couldn’t get a game here, but Lillstrom are from Norway so why couldn’t they come here? It’s just *******!

    The club don’t want to make any knee jerk decisions. Knee jerk? 26 league games and they think that’s knee jerk? Muppets! Theyt also hope the extra 18 days will give McClaren time to fix the problems. So he can’t improve any part of our game in 6 months but they expect him to do it in 18 days? I blame Charnley, Moncur and Carr now as they the board and they are the ones responible for these horrendous mistakes we are making and that includes appointing McClaren and not replacing him now!

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  3. Sorry Shamrock – tried to paste that into the last thread mate.
    Good read though and I agree the trip to Spain is meaningless.

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  4. Stuart they’re playing the Norwegians who are there for pre season. There’s six foot of snow on their pitch at home.

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  5. Georgio – We need to be looking at our goal difference and McClaren picks the same team regardless of who we are playing. He is out of his depth and it’s only the fact that Charnley gambled everything of his reputation (cough) on getting him, (even trying three times to persuade him) that he is still here because it would look like Charnley doesn’t know what he’s doing. HA! Who knew!

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  6. Thanks SHAM what would do without you 😆
    I’ve never known any of these trips do anything for any club,
    What. needs to happen is manager and players stand outside SJP for a full shift and let the fans tell them what they expect from them,shame the bloody lot of them

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  7. This is radical but the easiest way to sort our club out is to employ a good manager and let him get on with it. Someone who is proven at the highest level. So far under Jabba we have had Hughton, Kinnear, Shearer, Hughton again, Pardew, Carver and now McClaren!

    And everyone wonders why we are consistantly ****!

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  8. Sham – thanks for the new article mate, and I note you have adopted the grin reaper 😉 😆

    I have to be honest and say that I really don’t give a **** one way or another about this ‘warm weather training’ trip.

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  9. Sharpy, rumour has it we could have had him for about €15m in the summer but there was no value in it. Looks silly now doesn’t it…?

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  10. Mike Ashley has put his money where his mouth is this season so I can’t fault him there. Lee and Carr have not strengthened the defence and deserve to be sacked. Thuavin is a waste of 13 million. We could have signed a very good CB with that money. It’s unforgivable and sheer incompetence. A LB rather than Saviet would have made more sense.

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  11. We’ll be alright in the championship next season. Perez and Armstrong up front. We still have Shelvey and Townsend. Get of these overly hyped foreigner’s like Colocini, Sissoko and an end to McClaren.

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  12. There are many teams that would have accepted a game in the North East no doubt. Steve’s excuse does not wash.

    Sharpy, ’tis a great nickname for him mate. Would be sacrilege not to use the term from now on!

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  13. A few pointers for Steve whilst he is on holiday:

    1. Do not play a left winger at left back when you have a left back available (Colback)

    2. Take Tiote off at half time when half the Chelsea team are dancing around him. We are 3-0 down so give Saivet another go.

    3. Do not piss off your best player.

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  14. I have watched NUFC for a long time and have seen some **** (Amdy Faye) and our current players are not ****. They need someone to organise and motivate them and I am not sure if Steve is that man. Obviously we need a competent centre back as well but West Brom showed we can overcome that in some games.

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  15. Sham , thanks mate, I agree it’s a bloody joke this trip of theirs. I would have them in for hours every day going over basic defending and practice shooting because for me at this moment in time most of them are impersonating professional footballers. Ye gods, I have seen kids of 8 and 10 defend better, and I am not even joking there. Where was the marking, why weren’t they tracking runs it goes on, none of them got anything right on Saturday and Shelvey was the only one trying for me and he was losing it on the sideline. It’s a bloody mess on an epic scale and a bit of sun won’t fix it. 👿

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  16. Colo was nothing short of embarrassing on Saturday, and I am struggling to figure out why Aarons was played at LB over Colback?, If Jack was fit he should of slotted in there. Poor Aarons confidence will be on the floor before he even has a run of games, it’s shameful putting the kid in that position, especially against Chelsea.

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  17. Aaron’s being played at LB is a joke Kim. Colback doesn’t inspire me at LB either. Janmatts always up the other end of the pitch. Colocini is to slow and anyone with an onze of pace can humiliate him. McClaren hasn’t noticed this yet. His still calm with a big cheesy grin on his face. His totally delusional

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  18. It’s painfully obvious we need a manager. It’s painfully obvious we need a new back four. It’s painfully obvious Lee, Carr, Moncur and McClaren needs sacking. Ashley just does nothing.

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  19. We have a potentially decent side making very heavy weather of a really average league; I was listening to Moyes on GOS yesterday. He was ripping into Valencia about unrealistic expectations, Crowd patience, Local media pressure etc, the stuff we constantly get accused of.

    He then came to us after the highlights and I expected the same cliches but it was all praise for the supporters and potential of the club. Ashley has approached him twice in the past & should try again quickly

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  20. Schteve is a spineless coward and his comments defending the trip prove it – look how defensive he is.

    His lineups are a joke and he keeps leaving out of one our primary goal threats when we can’t score.

    Agree about the trip SHam, i’d be sending these boys to the arctic, not to ****in Spain. If they pick up a new manager on the trip it will be worth it though.

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  21. I was watching Janmaat closely against Chekski following the discussion ‘re: our fullbacks the other day. He is not a full back suited to a back 4. He either needs to be a wing back with 3 CB’S behind him, or he needs to be a winger.

    He can tackle, he can’t header – we already knew these things. But what I learnt was he can’t mark either. It was shocking when Chelsea had set pieces/corners at our end of the pitch he would stand off the man he was marking, allowing the Chelsea player to be goalside. I mean that is basic stuff he was getting wrong. That says to me he does not have a defensive brain and also says to me that our club does not do defensive coaching very well, even after bringing in several new staff.

    I don’t blame him. He’s one of our best players. But it highlights the fact we still have problems for one reason or another using the correct systems and using Ayers to their strengths. A huge part of that is the failure to have a mass clearout of the dead wood over the summer and winter. It has left us with lots of players we can’t use and means we are very rigid with little options or fluidity.

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  22. I’d welcome Moyes at the club really I would because as Troy say’s McClaren will take us down. I would even consider bringing Souness back out of sheer desperation.

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  23. It could be that Colback wasn’t full fit to risk from the start – either way, I don’t think the fact that Aarons was on the left ahead of Colback was the reason we lost 5-1 like.

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  24. If Taylor could manage a full 90 mins after being out for about 3 months then I am sure Colback would have been fine after being out for 2 weeks. It wasn’t the whole reason but it certainly didn’t help.

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  25. Aarons was all at sea as expected. Not his fault but when players were running at him he was for some reason running 10 feet alongside them. Other times he was actually getting outpaced, which was surprising. He is a winger. Not a fullback in a million years. The club knew we needed a LB but for some reason did no homework/negotiating prior to the window and ended desparately trying to sign a n unfit, unmotivated and past it Enrique in the last day instead. Baffling.

    I personally believe Charnley, Carr and McClaren have a huge amount to answer for and should all be sacked. Ashley has tried to invest but he has trusted the wrong person (Charnley), who in turn has handed too much power to our hit and miss scout and massively Coc&&d up by being hypnotized by the Grin Reapers teeth when be should have got a reputable manager in.

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  26. Sharpy he was on the bench mate, if he ain’t fit then don’t select him at all I say.

    CC@30, Totally agree.

    Sham@32, That’s it exactly, that’s what I mean about the basics not being carried out. What do they do in training? You could of drove a bus through our defence on Saturday. How could we not of significantly strengthened that back for since we got promoted, it’s shocking. Mbemba looks good but still learning, Lascelles will be one for the future, but we needed experienced players coming in. You simply have to get it right at the back in this league, there is no excuse for it.

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  27. I agree, Sham. For me Ashley needs to make a clean slate of the football board. Carr is the only one for me who can have an argument for staying but Charnley must go as he makes the big decisions and what does Bob Moncur do?

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  28. Kim – Every pundit I hear, say one of the easiest things to do in football is get a back 4, teach them how to work togwther and be tight and then get a midfield to protect them. It might limit our ability to score but Jesus, we ain’t scoring anyway so why not tighten up the defence with a more negative, defensive set up away from home?

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  29. Good read Sham 😉 I really cant get my head round the team going on a warm weather break instead of staying here and working on their game or lack of it.
    As for playing young Arrons in a position he has never played in is beyond me, and even more so when it was a team like Chelski, for me that is a sure way to destroy a players believe and confidence if it goes wrong , as it did.
    I would love nothing more than to never see Schteve and his daft ****ing grin again, and maybe he cot take that gutless yellow ****er Colo the clown with him.

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  30. Are toon fans as bipolar as they seem? Last week at this time it was all sunshine, Shelvey the quarterback superhero, Aarons did really really well at fullback. I figure most fans are like this – I am for one. Stuart’s the only constant doom monger amongst us. High praise indeed. 🙂

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  31. Thanks, Georgio. Just basically means I have absolute faith that my opinion on the manager is right and has been since the day he was appointed.

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  32. Although it has to be said I do offer praise when it’s due, but I also know it will be short lived so have to put that caveat in too!

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  33. Kim – who else would he have put on the bench?. I’m not saying he made the right decision but if Colback was only say 80% fit (and let’s not forget he’s not a LB either by the way), then is it better to play Aarons 100% fit?.
    Neither is ideal, let’s be right.

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  34. Nah, Sharpy. Colback at 80% has to be used at left back instead of a 100% fit Aarons. The kid is just that a kid. He hasn’t played 10 senior games yet and the only reason he played was because McClaren wanted to keep the same team because it won – regardless if the next game was to be a totally different match. Lascelles would of been better in there before Aarons, at least he has a defensive mindset.

    Everything about the match was wrong from team selection, to game plan (was there one even?) to what he said before the game.

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  35. Sharpy we would of lost anyway. All season we have been hoping team’s around us **** up. It certainly didn’t happen this weekend. We have a much worse goal difference now. It doesn’t look good for us. Bournemouth can win games. Imagine the confidence Sunderland have after beating united and getting a valuable point against Liverpool. They got us in a month’s time and I’m dreading it.

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  36. Stu – hindsight is a wonderful thing. A lot of use questioned the use of Mbabu in the last meeting with Chelsea. A similar age, with a similar lack of experience – yet he was arguably man of the match that game.

    But if you look at the game back, it was mainly Saylor, Colo and Tiote at fault for the goals. The goal Aarons was at fault for had nowt to do with him being at LB – it was a sloppy pass.

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  37. Sharpy, If he wasn’t fit he shouldn’t be any where near the bench imo, it’s not fair on him or the team. Choice or lack of doesn’t come into it really. Jack may not be a LB but the transition from DF mid is surely easier than shoving a green young winger there?
    When I saw Aarons was LB v West Brom my immediate thought and post on the thread was ‘Oh dear’. As it turned out the lad coped well, but let’s be fair here, he wasn’t tested by a very poor West Brom on the day. Against Chelsea it was never going to work, they are a different kettle of fish all together, I think it’s fair to say we all knew he’d struggle, and so it proved. What was shocking was how poor they performed as a unit at the back.

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  38. Terry – aye I bet the Mackems are ****ting themselves. They’ve strengthened at the back and we can’t score for toffee.

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  39. Well firstly Mbabu is a defender, playing at home against a Chelsea team that had been on a poor run of form, not a left winger playing at Chelsea who were unbeaten in 9 so that is a huge difference.

    His mistake in my view was because he panicked and was in a unusual position with players pushing up on him. His positioning all game was woefull and that’s not his fault but it will have made it harder for Taylor and Colo even though they were pathetic in their own right. What did he see in his performance against Everton that made him think he could handle the likes of Willian, Hazard, Costa and Pedro?

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  40. Oh and I don’t think hindsight is valid as a lot of people weren’t happy with the team before the game. How can McClaren not see this when supporters can?

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  41. Kim – I agree, but I’d ask you again – who else does he put on the bench if not Colback?
    It’s madness that we didn’t strengthen at the back in Jan.

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  42. Stu – Mbabu would understand the role better granted, but he was still a huge risk, regardless of Chelsea’s form at the time. A difference maybe but certainly not a huge difference. Chelsea may be unbeaten but they haven’t been playing well and only scrapped a draw against Man Utd.
    As for Aarons mistake – watch it back. There was no pressure on him and no one near him at the time he made the pass.
    Willian running past Tiote and him not following had nowt to do with Aarons. Colo being out paced by De Costa had nowt to do with Aarons. The ball being played over Saylors head had nowt to do with Aarons. The fifth one, yeah maybe a LB would have done better.

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  43. Also as most defensive pundits say the positioning of the full backs has a direct impact on where the centre halves are. They must have been aware of Aarons poor positioning throughout the match. I am not saying we would have won with someone else at left back but his presence there had a big negative impact on the defence and midfielders.

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  44. Sharpy: Colback played most of his games at left back for Sunderland and only a few in midfield. He has experience at left back Aarons doesn’t.

    Perhaps Schteve didn’t ask him like the time Carver had to be told that Sammy could take corners.

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  45. Well imo reading a interview by Townsend he’s stating that none of the players held no fear about playing Chelsea which only leaves the tactics used by SM,but will SM take the hint from his own players that he has it all wrong

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  46. Stu – watch the 2nd goal back. Also, even if Dummett was at LB, Colo & Saylor would have been ****e – Tiote wouldn’t have followed the runners from Chelsea’s midfield.

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  47. Eric – I’ll take your word for it mate. I only ever saw him at midfield, and my dad & dad in law who are both Mackems have Colback as a midfielder.

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  48. So how do we approach our remaining away games now? should we sit back and defend at all cost for the odd point and try to get a late goal for the 3 or go all out attack?

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  49. If McClaren wants to mix it up the player that should be dropped is Sissoko. If MBabu is fit we have many options on that side – switch Janmaat to a winger, play Perez there, put Townsend on the right. Sissoko has not scored all season has he? That is not good enough and I bet he has very few assists as well. He is great at running at people but has no end product – a bit like Jonas but without the defensive qualities.

    I know Steve said he wanted to build the team around Sissoko but he also said that about Wijnaldum and he took him off at half time.

    I don’t trust Tiote either. I said earlier that Chelsea’s tricky players just danced around him. He played one good game in a year where the opposition didn’t press him at all and suddenly Steve is desperate to keep him.

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  50. Sharpy: they switched Colback more to the midfield in his last year there. I think he prefers midfield but started as a back.

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  51. The worrying thing is that Saylor and Colo normally do ok together but Colo has lost so much pace it’s unreal. Add in the fact that Saylors injuries must be having an effect now and it spells major concerns. I think Mbemba is due back for the Bournemouth game so that should help, unless of course they do their normal trick of changing their minds on his return date 🙄
    Also read the other day that the club doctor has left and they were seeking a replacement.

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  52. I don’t think NUFC fans are particularly bipolar. There was a reprieve after West Brom and a collective sigh of relief that we actually might have a decent team and avoid the drop. Similar to West Ham where we also played well. Pulis set his team up to get a point and that flattered us (it worked for him against Everton who had 27 shots).

    Before that we were getting beat 1-0 but showed some signs of life. I think it is us desperately clinging to signs of hope and then the reality sets in that Steve doesn’t know what he is doing. His body language ranges from desperation, to despair to no clue!!! What must the players think when they are given no instructions from the manager? Poor Shelvey pulled all his hair out.

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  53. I could curse that bloody capital cup final, by the time we eventually play we could be deep in the poop. At least my birthday won’t get ruined watching us get stuffed by Man City 😉

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  54. Eric, I agree, I saw some good stuff in patches which made me stick with him but it’s just not clicking on a consistent level and really the guy has to go now if only so we could get a new manager bounce. I so wanted him to do well but it’s just not working is it.

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  55. I don’t know Kim to be honest. Just read the link. It just say’s his bored of being in the relegation zone and that Ashley’s had very little to cheer about. Apart from a 5th place finish and winning the championship. It doesn’t say anything about who might take over.

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