Dissecting the Tyne-Wear draw: Mitrovic Header Avoids Disaster but Magpies Fall Short

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late equaliser may have got Newcastle out of jail on Sunday but in truth the performance fell way short of what is needed if we are to survive.

Maybe it was a little naïve to assume that Rafa’s arrival would see Newcastle despatch Sam’s Sunderland and pull themselves closer to Premier League safety. The feel-good factor of his appointment had all things pointing towards that eventuality, but the first half performance certainly brought Newcastle fans back down to earth as the players trudged off slightly fortunate to be only one goal down.

It was a dreadful half where the Magpies seemed frustratingly lacklustre and so disappointingly despondent. The midfield’s inability to keep hold of the ball and the team’s extraordinary ill-discipline, giving mindless free-kicks away, was utterly depressing and at half time I thought the Championship was most definitely looming. A towering header late on at least gives us some hope that all is not lost.

The positives are that again, just as at Leicester, Newcastle responded well to going a goal down and Benitez was able to influence the game with his tactical switches and substitutions. They showed fight and hunger in the second half and deserved the leveller. It is however very worrying that Sunderland, for large parts of the game, were outplaying Newcastle.

The point does keep us in touching distance with eight games to go, and don’t forget, there are eight games to go.

That is a lot of football left to play and points to play for. The sobering thought is that Benitez has only one point after two games. The phrase ‘must-win’ game has been bounded around all too loosely and I was pleased to hear Rafa say that he is treating every game as a ‘must-win’ game.

Newcastle need wins, not draws or anything else. We must start to win, if we don’t, I’m afraid we may be saying ‘Adios’ to Rafa and ‘Farewell’ to Premier League football.

95 thoughts on “Dissecting the Tyne-Wear draw: Mitrovic Header Avoids Disaster but Magpies Fall Short

  1. STUART Ime going to trump you mate and say 6 if he comes back fit of coarse,I think he has the “bit” between his teeth now,must get more crosses into the box from both wings which he hasn’t been getting

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  2. With regards to the Sunderland game, I was really pleased to see Mbemba coming in for Taylor (rather than Lascelles) and Townsend come in for Anita.
    What was disappointing though was to see Colback at LB (though there was little other option I know) and to see Sissoko on the LW.
    I suspect the Colback at LB to be addressed – one coz he’s now suspended for 2 games, but mostly coz players will be back from injury.
    But I also want to see the Sissoko situation addressed as well. He’s not a LW and he hasn’t played well all season. He should not be guaranteed a starting place just coz he’s a senior player, or French international or believer in his own hype.
    I want him dropped for the next game. I want to see either Perez moved over there with De Jong or Cisse brought in instead. If not, then I want to see Aarons as a LW.
    Alternatively, put Townsend on the LW, move Janmaat to RW and play Mbemba at RB with Colo coming back into CB.

    But now is the time for courage and dropping Sissoko would benefit the team. It’s team to be brave to ensure our young forwards are given the best possible chance to get the goals to keep us up.

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  3. Sharpy: Shamrock put up some stats on Sissoko showing he has most assists and crosses. However, he has not scored and that is simply not good enough for an attacking midfielder. I think he had 5 assists which is just about OK in a crap team.

    If we are to stay up we need more of an attacking threat so I agree Sissoko needs a kick up the arse. He is such a frustrating player.

    Colback had a nightmare but has done OK for the most part. I am not sure if I want to judge on one game but I will judge Sissoko on the whole season and he has not been good enough for supposedly a star player.

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  4. Eric – were those stats from this season?. I know about 2 seasons ago he was up there with Silva and Oscar for chances created.

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  5. Yes Sharpy: I was ****ing about Sissoko and Shamrock showed me the stats that he was one of our more productive players, which isn’t saying a lot. My view is that he always flatters to deceive and has huge potential but never quite gets there.

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  6. I am always left with the feeling with Sissoko that there is something more. But after 3+ years we have to come to the conclusion that there isn’t anything more. He will play 1 good game in 10. Be anonymous in 3 and average in 6. That is simply not good enough for someone who is supposed to be a star player and not scoring for all of this year is a crime.

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  7. If Sissoko has decent stats it’s from playing on the right side of the pitch, not the left as he’s been in the last 2 games.
    If his stats are decent from the right side then I’d be in favour of going for a 3 man midfield of Gini/Shelvey/Sissoko and the play Perez/Mit/Townsend.
    I would maybe drop Perez for De Jong or Cisse though.

    If playing De Jong then he’d be behind Mitro and Townsend.
    If playing Cisse then I’d go for Townsend behind Mitro and Cisse.
    I’d expect Townsend would probably go between wings in that set up so Gini would advance through a more central position.

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  8. I would play Sissoko at left back personally, he was much better than Colback for the 25 mins or so he was there and the amount of space which opened up for him (but which he didn’t have much time to exploit) was unreal. It’s time to throw the dice and I don’t want to move Mbemba or Lascelles when they are developing a partnership. And I don’t want Colo back in the team.

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  9. I am trying not to complain too much. But… When you consider the following non-defenders have not scored a single goal between them this season you get to understand why we are 2nd bottom:

    Colback
    Sissoko
    Anita
    Tiote
    Riviere
    de Jong

    I understand some haven’t played much, but some have.

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  10. Eric – exactly. It’s a poor show. Sissoko gets a lot of criticism, and a lot of it is fair because his attitude is often questionable. Problem is, I’d say the same about at least half of those in our starting line up. There is no way he was worse than Shelvey or Colback against the mackems, and they are supposed to be gritty brits who understand the importance of the match.

    Colback especially has been a waste of a player, he picks up more yellows than Tiote and provides none of the stability imo. Not honestly that bothered he’s banned because he was slaughtered at left back by the scum and he’s been carried by the midfield most of the season. At least Sissoko can still create something just by breezing past a player or two – we don’t have many lads willing to even try that in the current squad. Perez and Townsend, that’s about it.

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  11. Riviere has scored like 1 in 25. I know he has been a sub a lot but there is no excuse for that. He is not a forward and should be played on the wing, if at all. Sometimes stats lie and sometimes they don’t.

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  12. Even a holding midfielder should chip in with a few goals, 2 or 3 a season. Our lot all go up for free kicks and corners so there really is no excuse even if their main job is to sit in front of the defense. And why do we need 2 players to do that? Hopefully, Rafa will change that. Shelvey hasn’t scored either 🙂

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  13. I see people complaining that we do not have a 15-20 goal a season striker. We don’t have a fckin 1 goal a season midfielder!!!! Gini has played as a number 10 most of the season.

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  14. Remember Ryder defended Carver to the last and never said a thing about McClaeren until he was out the door. He has also never written anything about Carr’s dubious player choices until today, when Rafa has taken control and Carr has one and a half feet out of the door. This man calls himself a journalist and is chief sports writer of the main source of information on NUFC.

    The Chronicle needs a clear out, never mind NUFC.

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  15. So, not a peep out of Ryder questioning Carr’s role at the club and his player selection and the obvious power grab when reinventing the manager job as “head coach”. Not a peep. And now Wor Lee has suddenly seen the light after Rafa has pointed it out to him. He is even questioning why the U21s get thrashed all of the time. I know it is part of his job to go to these games so why has it taken this long to see it? He is a joke.

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  16. Everybody has to read that Ryder article. He may as well have just written “I am a c@ck” 50 times because he certainly shows he has no balls.

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  17. It is also quite amazing that the U21s were mixing with the senior players as much. It is like having an intern at a FTSE 100 board meeting. What have these people been up to? The reserves keep getting thrashed and nothing is done and now Ryder suddenly notices after his best buddies Ugly John and Schteve have gone. Nobody can question Beardsley’s skills as a player but he has demonstrated he is not a coach. He should go back to being an “ambassador” and take Concur with him to the corporate suites to help serve the sandwiches.

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  18. ERIC I have always agreed with you that RYDER is a complete **** and have said before I know another reporter that agrees with us,on Peter B it is known to be a right ass licker hence his clinging on to a job,a great player in his time at toon but cannot coach to save his live,even big Al kept him at a distance during his short spell in charge

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  19. Sorry to rant again but I am just amazed at how mismanaged our club has been and that the senior writer at the local paper never questioned anything. In fact, he happily went along with everything and sucked up to Ugly John and then Schteve. I would suggest it is a lack of journalistic integrity but as I said earlier I think it is just a lack of balls and intelligence.

    This blog and Ed’s had identified Schteve and the Management structure as a problem ages ago. Hell, even Troy saw it!!! Now Ryder sees it, after the horse has long since bolted. He actually has the ability to influence supporters as most of us read the Chronicle. He has chosen to abdicate all responsibility in favour of an easy life sucking up to his Pals at NUFC. What an absolute joke of a journalist and a total wimp.

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  20. good read SRF, Thanks.
    Thought we stank the place out first half, no impetus in our play what so ever and their midfield had us shackled. The only player causing them problems was Townsend. Second half was far better, Fat Sam ****ed up by sitting back to protect the lead, he can blame his players all he likes but he’s the guy that does the subs. Likewise Rafa tinkled and it worked, we looked far stronger and in the end the draw was fair imo.
    Next game is massive, Norwich look to of found some form and City and the Baggies could not break them down. I’m hoping it’s a case of City can’t be bothered cause they know Peps coming and West Brom are on their hols already. Otherwise we have a potential problem ahead of us.

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  21. Eric & Ice, Ryder is a first class idiot, if that bloke has a degree in sports journalism then all I can say is it’s certainly been dumbed down. He writes the bleeding obvious, never anything insightful or that makes you stop and think. He toes the party line where NUFC are concerned out of a desire to remain part of the scene there. God forbid the local chief sports writer should be banned, been there done that, don’t wanna go back. If he had an ounce of integrity he would be asking the hard questions, the questions the fans want asking. If he had a brain cell he’d be dangerous 🙄 Yes it’s fair to say he is poor at his job at best , damn right lazy at worse. I have seen him write articles very similar to blog articles I have read days previously as well. Just like his live match blogs which take yonks to update, the guy is slower than a sloth.

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  22. ERIC talk about RYDER his excuse for writing have you heard him speak??what a boring man you would never hear a full statement from him as you would fall asleep after half a dozen words

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  23. I am very happy that Rafa seems to be taking charge and not letting a failed Northhampton Manager and paper pusher dictate football matters. Charnley seems to have finally realised that he is not wedded to Carr and his job depends on someone who knows something about coaching and football.

    The Rafalution reminds me of a quote from Brian Clough. He said when discussing when players question him “we sit down for 20 minutes and talk about it, and then decide I was right”.

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  24. I just wanted to say it’s good to see the giant heed back with us. Back in training, racing down the wing losing the ball, running around, losing the ball, then racing off the pitch. If we need someone to lose the ball and run around a lot then Obertan is our man….

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  25. Ice: he doesn’t even have to be controversial, just interesting now and again and say something, anything!!! Not just the party line. He is even doing it now with his unconditional support of Rafa (which I happen to agree with, but that is not my point).

    I have said this before but he needs to read how a real journalist writes without antagonising anybody that much. Read Barney Ronay in The Guardian to see how to write at a level above GCSE English grade D.

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  26. So Ashley says he wishes he’d never bought us? But now we’re stuck with each other. Why is that Mike? Just sell up. Forget you ever went to Newcastle. Forget you ever hired a bunch of idiots to run a football club. Forget about us and we’ll forget about you. Come on Mike, you can do it.

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  27. Sissoko was so good when he first came to us Eric mate. What happened? It’s like so many other players we’ve brought in. Remember the early days with Ben Arfa? And Wijnaldum seems to be going the same way. What causes it? Is it that playing with a crap side slowly sucks the life out of new players? I’m worried it will keep on happening no matter who we bring in.

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  28. Someone on another blog mentioned that you can’t polish a turd. But it’s obvious we’ve spent years trying to polish Obertan. You just can’t tell can you?

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  29. FFS: if you want an indictment of lazy and c@cksucking journalism then look no further than Lee Ryder still supporting Carver for the job after we lost 8 in a row (Troy was also in that camp btw).

    When Ugly John was sacked Ryder never mentioned him again. Like he had been an apparition, a ghost, it had all been a dream.

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  30. If I type in PARDEW will Troy appear as if by magic? He has it linked to his phone that whenever Pards is mentioned on here he will be notified.

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  31. we’ve been beaten at home by shef wed, watford, b’mouth, leicester, everton

    drawn v Stoke, Villa, mackems

    weve only beat Norwich, Liverpool, west ham, west Brom at home 😯

    i can see a a couple of draws at home and maybe two wins altogether

    If Rafa pulls it off he’ll be a true miracle worker

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  32. Far be it for me to defend the treatment of Jonas by NUFC, but why is his mother involved in this? I really don’t care if she thinks that he was “thrown out like a bad dog” or that she wanted to commit suicide at SJP. That is irrelevant to the case isn’t it?

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  33. And Adam Johnson is being sentenced tomorrow.

    You really have to be one hell of an idiot to have a party when you are being faced with being sent down for 5 to 10 years? I mean, doesn’t he understand what that means? He will be in jail with a bunch of low life tossers and probably on the psych or kiddy fiddler wing. He will also be on the sex offender registry.

    Does this man’s stupidity know no bounds?

    And I said the Sunderland CEO would quit. They have been let off easily in my opinion and should have been condemned more for their actions.

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  34. There will also more than likely be some nutter who wants to take the law into his own hands and beat Johnson up.

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  35. Every article from Lee Ryder should start with the words:

    “I FULLY SUPPORTED JOHN CARVER IN EVERYTHING HE DID”

    or…

    “I WAS STEVE McCLAREN’S HOUSEBOY”.

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  36. ERIC should there be a case to be answered against playing the sicko when the club knew what happened,taking a few points off them would be nice 😆

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  37. It is absolutely disgusting how Ryder forgets how he took it up the ars@ from Pards, Carvs and Schteve and acts like it never happened and has a new best friend in Rafa. Ashley should ban Ryder for being a fawning, spineless weasel. Actually he gives weasels a bad name.

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  38. Ice: you cannot condemn the club for the stupidity of an employee. Otherwise, you would be going after every company in the UK or US for crimes that their employees commit on their own time.

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  39. The CEO of Sunderland had to resign and again that was her rank stupidity. I don’t think that the club should be deducted points for a moron employee.

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  40. ERIC I know dam it

    Nowt wrong with a good old rant mate,we need a few at the club having a rant at Ryder,give Rafa time he will suss him too

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  41. Agree Icedog. I bit my tongue about Schteve because I had gone on so much about Pards and Carvs that I thought I might sound bitter if I said my piece about McClaren.

    But, there’s more… WTF is Jenas criticising Sissoko for? He was worse. He was always a better talker than player. I went to see England play in Chicago quite a few years ago and said to friends that went with me to watch out for the NUFC player on the pitch. I WAS RIGHT. HE WAS THE WORST PLAYER ON THE PITCH BY A LONG WAY.

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  42. I am not saying Jenas is wrong either. Just that he is much better at talking than he was at playing. He must have been really good in training because he never showed it on the pitch. He was an England international as well – bring back Carlton Palmer and Michael Ricketts (and Jack Colback even though he was only in the squad and never played).

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  43. It was quite funny when Jenas went to Spurs. They thought they were getting a good player, an England International, but he was ****e. I hope it doesn’t work the opposite way with Townsend.

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  44. ERIC we seem to agree a lot today,I thought Jenas did us a big favour when he went to Spurs just in the same class as Colback imo

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  45. Icedog: we rarely disagree. I even agree with Stuart and Sharpy most of the time. Not Troy, he is a mental case 🙂

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  46. ERIC people that know the game and I mean rally know the game tend to agree,then there’s some that “think”they know the game,then there’s those that just love the game but don’t get the skills and tactics involved in the game but that’s what makes the blog,that’s why I hate it when people get personal with bloggers no need for it,takes all sorts mate that’s the beauty of the game

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  47. SD shares down by half since start of december. Ouch. Can see Ashley and Toon imploding unless he can work his magic. Cant see it though. Think his world is about to come crashing down.

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  48. Icedog: I freely admit I don’t know the game that well, even though I doubt you were directing that remark at me. I have been a fan of NUFC since I was about 8 and went to many games in the old Leazes end. I was never that good at football, just followed the Toon (I was good at cricket).

    I lived 6 miles from Newcastle and when I was 10 a schoolteacher and his wife would drop me off and they would go to the east stand and I would meet up with some mates who’s parents had took them. I had a paper round to pay for the tickets.

    We weren’t that good then either 🙂

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  49. Also Ice: I sometimes get a bit snippy with some on here but usually with the ones that I know can take it in good spirit like Troy, Sharpy and Stuart.

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  50. The good thing is that you can argue one day and then forget it the next. Part of being a NUFC fan I think.

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  51. ERIC no it was not aimed at you mate,you can easy find out who’s who by there comments.
    Used also to have some great laughs and carry on with the likes of big Dave,batty,richietoon,but it’s fell away lately like the way the clubs in decline doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind

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  52. Here is my match summary:

    – Sunderland outplayed us 1st half.

    – Defoe should have had more than 1

    – Colback was a red card waiting to happen

    – picked up a lot second half and deserved a draw

    – Yanks went bat**** crazy when we scored and I still cannot for the life of me understand why they chose NUFC to support. There were 25 of them in the bar in Chicago.

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  53. I was talking to me Mam today and she was saying that they had some Yanks on the local telly who had a Toon convention in Dallas/Fort Worth. I met one of them a couple of weeks ago and he was yelling toon-toon-black and white army in a Chicago bar when we were playing Bournemouth. At the top of his lungs, like he had supported us all of his life. 5 of the Chicago Toon fans (4 Yanks, 1 Brit) met up for the Arsenal game on New Year in London for the match. What the F is it about NUFC that gets people worked up?

    There were a bunch of Chelsea fans who took pictures of the NUFC fans in the bar 2 weeks ago because they couldn’t believe there were 20 Americans supporting our ****e. Nor can I 🙂

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  54. Icedog: Batty isn’t Troy’s alter ego? I always thought he was Troy except he was on some very special medication.

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  55. Interesting comments by Ashley regarding the toon, smacks of someone who is used to getting it right every time and let’s be honest from nowt to being a gazzilionaire within 15-20 years isn’t too shabby.
    Now he’s sailing in unchartered territory where the wheels are coming off at his beloved SD and our beloved NUFC.
    I reckon we will go down, and Rafa will stay at the Toon to bring us back up.

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  56. Must say I am loving the more open toon reporting mentality. Pretty much hands on reporting from Rafas every movement, reviewing the U21’s etc etc. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Probably has something to do with Rafas own image rights, and the fact that he would tell Wendy and the rest of the toon censorship brigade to bugger off anywa;-) y. Rafa obviously tells it like it is and will be muzzled by no-one, just what the fans want to see and hear.
    At the end of the day though football is a results driven business and if he blows it and we do get relegated, and I think we will, that will be a serious black
    spot on his resume. Will he stick around to put it right?
    A definite maybe?

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  57. West Ham, a club on an “upward trajectory” announce an increased ground capacity of 60,000, and the financial clout which comes with it. We have Spurs, Liverpool, Everton et al all readying themselves for the new fantasy era of the mega-rich EPL, increasing ground capacity and behaving like responsible community sporting institutions.

    Then you have Charnley, Ashley and the rest of the jokers struggling to make sense of this darn football thing. Noocastle… what a mess, what a bunch of amateurs. The MINIMUM requirement to making a Premier League player is a footballing brain, paired with athleticism, power and
    strength. Next comes a never say die attitude.
    Where on earth were our scouts living, and what were they smoking when they unearthed Luuk de Jong, Riviere, Gouffron, Amalfitano, Obertan, Marveaux, Cabella, and my absolute favourite – voted the worst player in the French league, yet we STILL went back 3 times for him – Thauvin ?
    There again the same diddys went back for the serial failure McClaren.

    Seems to me that Ashley, who knows nothing about football entrusted his baubles in Charnley, who knows obviously even less about football.

    Now Ashley has thrown all his bets on the Rafa card. Sorry mate, too little too late. Take a good look in the mirror Mr Ashley, and at the same time question your obviously dreadful management choices over the years… Get Mr Charnley back to crunching numbers and the rest of the board back to selling lottery tickets…

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  58. MM yeah they have made some monumental **** ups at our club.
    I just hope and pray that we stay up , as it would seem the appointment of Rafa ,Jabba has finally learnt that we need quality people that know their jobs, to run things properly

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  59. MM: Thauvin was the strangest Carr signing (wreck). It seemed like he wanted a do over on Cabella but ignored all of the signs. Thauvin was a highly touted youngster and has the skills but Carr seemed to ignore the fact that the French league is different to the PL and that Marseilles had almost given up on him.

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  60. If we had Keegan as manager then Thauvin may have stood a chance but not with Schteve. I expect we will have him back next year and can see what he will do in The Championship 🙂

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  61. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< thinks we should play sissiko in the middle meself and put gini out wide,sissiko is lost out wide and his pace down the middle were he can hurt teams and not run out of space,gini cross made the goal took the keeper out of the game,lack that sort of cross all season long

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  62. Eric, Thauvin is absolutely gash mate.
    There is something strange going on here which no-one is party to…
    a bit like the signing of the Argy from Russia last season who was absolutely minging…and the signing of Doumbia this season who has disappeared into a black hole……. and the signing of Saivet…who err….
    …and throw in Tiote who is being paid tens of thousands of pounds and is hiding somewhere with the worlds biggest bottom-lip on…

    What is it with this club and why do they make so many really ****e decisions ?

    Our owner obviously doesn’t mind trusting his millions in absolute fools.
    I wish he would hoy a paltry million in my direction, would go down very nicely indeed. He obviously doesn’t mind getting nowt back. I can promise him I would spend it all and he would get nowt back in return.

    Surely there must be a sensible gazillionaire out there who has a real interest in a fine old footballing institution ?

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  63. Well: I see Concur has said Schteve did a good job and Ed’s head nearly exploded after reading that.

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  64. What Concur said was that the players are responsible. Not Schteve, not the board. Ermm, who appointed Schteve and spent 80 mil on the players who failed??? YCMIU.

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