Damaged Villa no pushover

Saturday sees Newcastle face Aston Villa in a crucial Premiership survival contest at the very ground which saw the Magpies related from the top flight in 2010.

Many will be expecting a relatively straight forward victory for Newcastle considering their recent form and the fact that Villa have been so poor this season. Rafa Benitez though, is far too experienced to assume that three invaluable points will be gift-wrapped and offered up for Newcastle to gleefully accept and take back to Tyneside.

Villa’s predicament means that they simply have nothing to lose. Already relegated with the crowd fully focussed on venting frustration at their ownership, the players have the freedom to perform without expectation. In fact, they are expected to lose. It is a bizarre situation that Newcastle will have to handle with defiant determination and controlled professionalism. Benitez is just the man for that kind of proposition and he has let his side know exactly what he expects of them.

Benitez will be prepared for the task at hand, make no mistake. Janmaat is available again at right back but is no longer a certain starter following the form of Anita who could well keep his place in the side. He may well field an unchanged side, which Rafa rarely did at Liverpool and Chelsea but he seems to see the value of consistency when results have gone so well in a relegation fight. The time for rotation and experimentation is not exactly now. Rafa must go with what he trusts. That is one of the reasons why it wasn’t exactly a shock to see Obertan and Marveaux leave the party early. With absolutely no chance of involvement in the final two fixtures, the French flops were given the opportunity to seek employment elsewhere.

If Newcastle are to survive, a victory is essential. The noises coming out of the squad are so much more positive than earlier in the season. The players seem to be united at last and there is a sense of togetherness that has been so dearly lacking for a number of seasons. The fans are up for it too with a considerable upturn in performances allowing fans to dream of a survival which seemed so unlikely five games ago.

Wins for Chelsea and Man United would certainly help ease the nerves too, but first and foremost, Newcastle must do the business at Villa.

In Rafa we trust!

513 thoughts on “Damaged Villa no pushover

  1. Kim, Sham, Stuart – it’s just more ******* from really poor journalists. Why would Ashley listen to a PR man that he appointed to tell lies on his behalf. Bishop’s not even very good at that.
    Sad state of affairs all round.

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  2. Clubs appoint people with experience, we ask a professional liar for help.

    And people think were too good for Hughton? More vice versa.

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  3. funkyjesus: Why go for him again?Because next season that will be OUR level while he is managing in the Premiership.Who are Newcastle as a club and its fans to claim anyone is beneath us anymore?

    We’re the most pathetic club this sport in England has ever known.We go beyond mismanagement and transcend into embarrassment.We’re a stain on the sport.We should be eradicated and made to start from scratch as a new club.It is permanently ruined.

    Errrr….no. There’s no way that we will appoint a manager solely to get us out of the Championship and then have to replace him again.

    As for the most pathetic club? Be real! Look at what happened to Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield Weds, Notts Forest, Man City and other big clubs that have won trophies before and dropped down the leagues. What about Southampton, Coventry, Wolves and others? The margins are so damn fine, it’s tough these days.

    Fans of this club should remember where we truly came from. The history of our club isn’t just winning 3 FA Cups in the 50s or exciting times under KK and SBR. Like most clubs, it’s a huge amount of mediocrity or worse.

    I don’t demand perfection at NUFC, what I do demand is that it’s run professionally and that everyone there is trying their best to give the fans what they deserve. Having the right appointments to run the club would be a start…

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  4. PR is HUGELY important. So many things that have been said before get misinterpreted by frustrating fans. There are very few managers, chairmen or owners who are experts in PR, who can communicate complex messages to the fans successfully. It’s a skill. And certainly one that very few people at our club have been able to do under Ashley, perhaps with the exception of Rafa, Mort and Hoots.

    The club is filled with negative energy though and it’s got to be hard for the players to play with that kind of energy around. I did have hope that Rafa could change that as a top manager would surely inspire everyone around him, but the weekend’s results have somewhat damaged that hope as it’s 90% we’re going down…

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  5. A football club is far from simple to run. But the best owners and chairmen make it look simple by appointing the right people.

    Clubs like Liverpool, Man Utd and Swansea have senior people who have come out and talked about the club ethos and identity and that owners, managers and players need to buy into that. What happened to ours? What was it before SJH got hold of the club? What was it after SBR was unceremoniously sacked? I know there’s no good answer of what it is since Ashley bought the club…because if he doesn’t know (and he doesn’t), how the hell can he ensure it’s run in a way to protect that identity?

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  6. And yeah, I’m writing a lot because basically, I’m pissed off. I’m pissed off that nobody at the club seems to be able to run it properly to ensure that the directors, the managers, the staff, the players and the fans are on the same page. In fact they are rarely in the same damn book.

    I’m damn sure that Ashley knows the identity of Sports Direct. He knows why his customers shop there and why it’s successful. Everyone making a decision for Sports Direct needs to make a decision that maintains or utilises that identity. Surely he should be doing the same for NUFC?!

    My two penneth would be that NUFC is a club where we like players and staff to show passion, to understand the fans and to work hard to play entertaining football. Sometimes that passion is shown by an entertainer like Robert, Asprilla or Ginola and sometimes it’s by a grafter like Howey, Batty or Barton (either one – even though I dislike Joey as a person). Anyone in senior management should be able to give an answer to the identity of NUFC and what it stands for. It should be the first thing they work work out.

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  7. NUFC hasn’t been run like a football club under Ashley. It’s been a trading company at best and Sports Direct’s company football team at worst.

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  8. ToonDarnSarf: Errrr….no. There’s no way that we will appoint a manager solely to get us out of the Championship and then have to replacehim again.

    As for the most pathetic club? Be real! Look at what happened to Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield Weds, Notts Forest, Man City and other big clubs that have won trophies before and dropped down the leagues. What about Southampton, Coventry, Wolves and others? The margins are so damn fine, it’s tough these days.

    Fans of this club should remember where we truly came from. The history of our club isn’t just winning 3 FA Cups in the 50s or exciting times under KK and SBR. Like most clubs, it’s a huge amount of mediocrity or worse.

    I don’t demand perfection at NUFC, what I do demand is that it’s run professionally and that everyone there is trying their best to give the fans what they deserve. Having the right appointments to run the club would be a start…

    Yes – that is what pretty much every club that is relegated has to do. Why should we be any different? Do you honestly expect us to get a top level manager in the second division? Really?

    The ONLY hope of that is if we put enough 0’s on Rafa’s pay packet. Outside that, Nigel Pearson is the type we will be and, honestly, should be after.

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  9. Stuart

    You’re basically right. But it wasn’t run like a professional football club under Shepherd either. Basically it needs to be run somewhere in the middle. I keep getting hints that Ashley finally gets that, only for him to do something stupid shortly afterwards…

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  10. Stuart79:
    NUFC hasn’t been run like a football club under Ashley.It’s been a trading company at best and Sports Direct’s company football team at worst.

    Agree Stu, fact is when TDS says Ashley knows his customers who shop at sports direct, well it’s hardly brain surgery. He knows that pile it high and cheap will get a lot through the door, that doesn’t work with a football club. For every grafter you sign there has to be a few flair players to lift you up and help you achieve the best chance of glory/silverware. Trouble is these players aren’t cheap and often there is no age limit on talent ( see Defoe ) So long as he sticks to his transfer strategy of youth with potential he will fail again and again. He admits himself he can’t get a handle on this football thing, so why doesn’t he hire someone who does? Quite simply he doesn’t want to hear the truth because he knows his original plan will be found wanting . If he understood the club he also wouldn’t stick Wonga and all it represents on the strip either. He needs top sell up to someone who actually cares and loves this club, it’s the only chance we have to build again. If he and we get lucky and bounce straight back up, he still won’t invest properly, and that doesn’t mean spending loads but investing in the right players for the positions needed not on players who make a potential profit no matter where they fit in.

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  11. funkyjesus: Yes – that is what pretty much every club that is relegated has to do.Why should we be any different?Do you honestly expect us to get a top level manager in the second division?Really?

    The ONLY hope of that is if we put enough 0’s on Rafa’s pay packet.Outside that, Nigel Pearson is the type we will be and, honestly, should be after.

    Hoots will never come back. No way would he go back knowing 100% that Ashley doesn’t think he’s good enough for the PL.

    The only good options are either (you’re dead right) persuading Rafa to build a legacy here, or appointing a youngish manager with the potential of success in the PL. Pearson is the right kind of profile from a football aspect, but I dislike the man.

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  12. ToonDarnSarf: Hoots will never come back. No way would he go back knowing 100% that Ashley doesn’t think he’s good enough for the PL.

    The only good options are either (you’re dead right) persuading Rafa to build a legacy here, or appointing a youngish manager with the potential of success in the PL. Pearson is the right kind of profile from a football aspect, but I dislike the man.

    The problem is that I am not sure there are any of these young types available at the moment. I think the three most realistic options are keep Rafa, get Pearson or take a punt with Cathro.

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  13. Kimtoon: Agree Stu, fact is when TDS says Ashley knows his customers who shop at sports direct, well it’s hardly brain surgery. He knows that pile it high and cheap will get a lot through the door, that doesn’t work with a football club. For every grafter you sign there has to be a few flair players to lift you up and help you achieve the best chance of glory/silverware. Trouble is these players aren’t cheap and often there is noage limit on talent ( see Defoe ) So long as he sticks to his transfer strategy of youth with potential he will fail again and again. He admits himself he can’t get a handle on this football thing, so why doesn’t he hire someone who does? Quite simply he doesn’t want to hear the truth because he knows his original plan will be found wanting . If he understood the club he also wouldn’t stick Wonga and all it represents on the strip either. He needs top sell up to someone who actually cares and loves this club, it’s the only chance we have to build again. If he and we get lucky and bounce straight back up, he still won’t invest properly, and that doesn’t mean spending loads but investing in the right players for the positions needed not on players who make a potential profit no matter where they fit in.

    It’s not even just about investment in the right players. With the right team spirit and management, our current squad should be pushing top 10, not getting relegated!

    Building and maintaining the Sports Direct brand has been hugely impressive and difficult. If it was easy, it would have been done successfully before. Don’t underestimate how hard and impressive that was.

    I’ve said for a hell of a long time, that we need someone running the football side of things who really gets football and is willing to get this club. I reckon Rafa could drive things, but I can’t see us staying up so that’s kinda a moot point…

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  14. funkyjesus: The problem is that I am not sure there are any of these young types available at the moment.I think the three most realistic options are keep Rafa, get Pearson or take a punt with Cathro.

    There are always options. We just need a man with vision and expertise in running a football club to appoint the right person. So we’re stuffed.

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  15. TDS, there is no big secret to his success, he loaned cash from his parents to get started, bought up lots of failing companies and brands and pays his staff a pittance so that he is free to maximise profits by undercutting his rivals. Mind you SD are struggling a bit at the moment so I fully expect all his energy to go into that , we know he’s left us in the hands of incompetents and there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon. For the life of me I don’t know why he doesn’t sell up .

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  16. ToonDarnSarf: It’s not even just about investment in the right players. With the right team spirit and management, our current squad should be pushing top 10, not getting relegated!

    Building and maintaining the Sports Direct brand has been hugely impressive and difficult. If it was easy, it would have been done successfully before. Don’t underestimate how hard and impressive that was.

    I’ve said for a hell of a long time, that we need someone running the football side of things who really gets football and is willing to get this club. I reckon Rafa could drive things, but I can’t see us staying up so that’s kinda a moot point…

    Highly unlikely. The squad is so unbalanced and is lacking in key areas like defence and attack! That can’t fixed with team spirit.

    Also under Shepherd at least it was a football club then first and foremost. Might not have gone about it right but his aim was always to get the best and try to win things – not just exist.

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  17. Kimtoon:
    TDS, there is no big secret to his success, he loaned cash from his parents to get started, bought up lots of failing companies and brands and pays his staff a pittance so that he is free to maximise profits by undercutting his rivals. Mind you SD are struggling a bit at the moment so I fully expect all his energy to go into that , we know he’s left us in the hands of incompetents and there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon. For the life of me I don’t know why he doesn’t sell up .

    What you just described isn’t simple! He had to buy the right sort of failing companies, negotiate to buy them at the right price and then take out the successful bits of them to make Sports Direct a success. If it was easy then everyone would do it! I don’t respect the man for how he treats his staff, but I do admire him from a business perspective.

    As for selling up NUFC…because he’d take a loss! If we miraculously stayed up this season and Rafa boosted us up the league over the next couple of seasons, then he could sell and make a profit! I doubt he’s received an offer that would see him break even so I reckon he just wants to get to that point.

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  18. So The Mail are reporting that Rafa might stay even if we are relegated. I think it is important that we show support for him and the team even if the result doesn’t go well against Spurs. If they choose to do a lap of “dishonour” stay and do not boo.

    I saw the pictures of the Man City lap of honour and that was a disgrace. It was Pelligrini’s last home game and most of them left. He won the league cup this year and reached the CL semi-final for the first time in their history with an aging squad that he doesn’t pick. He had recently won the league. What the hell do they want?

    I don’t think our club would act like that and we should make that clear to Rafa.

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  19. Stuart79: Highly unlikely.The squad is so unbalanced and is lacking in key areas like defence and attack! That can’t fixed with team spirit.

    Also under Shepherd at least it was a football club then first and foremost.Might not have gone about it right but his aim was always to get the best and try to win things – not just exist.

    Yeah. And Shepherd took out loads of money from the club and mismanaged it to put us in a bad situation anyway. A series of bad managerial decisions and bad transfer decisions put us there. Surely you haven’t forgotten all of those??? He just made the mistakes for different reason. Like I said, we need something inbetween.

    Squad isn’t that unbalanced really and every squad has a weakness. A centre half and a striker would do nicely. Sunderland are bloody lucky to have Defoe or they would be down already.

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  20. It hasn’t taken that long for success to breed complacency at Man City. They used to harp on about getting 30,000 in the 3rd division, now they cannot even be respectful to the Manager they have a massive banner saying “This Charming Man” for.

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  21. Eric

    City are a good example of a club that has lost its identity. I used to have a lot of respect for them for getting massive crowds in the lower divisions and supporting their club through thick and thin. A bit like our lot really. But they’ve been spoiled. To a lesser extent, so have some of our fans. We got hints of glory under KK and SBR and some fans expect every season to be progression. Not possible.

    I don’t like City showing a lack of respect to their outgoing manager who has acted with dignity. And I haven’t liked some of our fans showing a lack of respect to players like Shola and Taylor who have given a lot of passion to this club.

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  22. TDS, I didn’t say it was simple just not a secret. He is a bully who picks on companies who are failing and who can’t refuse his offer. The thought of him getting his mitts on BHS sickens me tbh. I don’t respect him in any way I’m afraid.

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  23. It also says Eric that he would require assurances from Ashley as to budgets, transfers and up grading the training facilities. What are the chances of that happening?

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  24. Kimtoon:
    TDS, I didn’t say it was simple just not a secret. He is a bully who picks on companies who are failing and who can’t refuse his offer. The thought of him getting his mitts on BHS sickens me tbh. I don’t respect him in any way I’m afraid.

    I don’t respect him. But he’s a successful businessman. It’s not the way I choose to behave in business as I prefer to work with people rather than numbers, but he’s made a great success of it.

    As always, the public could choose not to buy from his stores because of his business practices, but they don’t. I would refuse to stay in a Trump hotel for example.

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  25. TDS: Taylor is going out with a whimper as befits his career at NUFC for the whole 5 years of his last contract where he has averaged about 13 games per season. He has been loyal to the club but perhaps it would have been better for the club if he had not been. I think you are getting a bit too sentimental about players who tried hard but were never really good enough.

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  26. Eric Sykes:
    TDS: Taylor is going out with a whimper as befits his career at NUFC for the whole 5 years of his last contract where he has averaged about 13 games per season. He has been loyal to the club but perhaps it would have been better for the club if he had not been. I think you are getting a bit too sentimental about players who tried hard but were never really good enough.

    Not really. I just think he deserves respect. We need players who are willing to play squad/backup roles and I don’t think the injuries are his fault. Of course I always like the idea of better players coming into the squad, but I respect any player who pulls on the shirt and tries 100%

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  27. Stuart: supposedly Rafa has had assurance that he will have final say on transfers. Ashley has already said that basically NUFC can spend what they make so all he needs to do is sit down with Charnley to see what the budget is. At the moment the budget is dependent on who stays and who goes as that directly affects the money in the coffers and the biggest expense by far – salaries. As for the training ground, I am sure that could be done in stages and a refit of first team facilities wouldn’t be that costly.

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  28. Rafa joining us was one of the biggest ever management coups. Rafa staying when we’re in the Championship would surely be THE biggest! I don’t believe any article on him staying though. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that we’ll almost certainly be relegated and he’ll almost certainly leave.

    The club would have to operate a lower wage bill next season, but I imagine he’d already want to ship out a few of the higher earners, so if he miraculously did stay, I reckon he could persuade a few more top players to stick around for a season too…I’ll believe it when I see it though…

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  29. Although I would say Craig Hope seems to have good sources when it comes to Rafa. He was all over the story before he joined.

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  30. I have seen figures that promotion is worth 120 million. That is actually a massive underestimate because the relegation payments are about 80 million. Promotion is therefore worth about 200 million which is not that much less than Ashley has in NUFC including his loans. You would have to think that that is a big enough carrot for Ashley, as a businessman. to do all he can to get promoted first time.

    There is a clause in the relegation payments for them to be reduced for a yo-yo club.

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  31. Eric

    They don’t get the parachute payment AND the PL payment. Parachute payments stop if they get promoted.

    But yes, you’re right, he’s got a massive incentive to get promoted first time. But every club has a massive incentive to get promoted.

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  32. That’s not what I meant TDS. Let’s look at Boro. They are promoted and will get approximately 120 million for being in the PL. If they get immediately relegated, they will get 80-85 million over 3 years more than the other Championship teams. So, worst case scenario they are 200 million better off.

    Of course, if they stay up they would get another 120 million in their 2nd year after promotion. So that is even better, a 240 million pound windfall for promotion.

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  33. The new parachute payments have rigged the game for relegated teams this year. We will be earning much more than other Championship teams and as long as we adjust the wage bill and get a decent amount of money for the players we sell we have a massive headstart.

    Of course, we have Carr and Charnley and maybe no manager so that means we might even f up that advantage 🙂

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  34. The figures I have seen for extra revenue for promoted teams have been 100-120 million minimum. So, even if the figure is ONLY!!! 100 million then promotion means worst case scenario 180 million extra if parachute payments are taken into account.

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  35. Why is this important? Because the promoted teams will not see all of that money to begin with. They will have to get loans from banks and show how they will repay those loans. If you look at Watford, they changed almost their whole 1st team on being promoted. You need the money up front to do that and usually the 3 promoted teams are favourites to go back down so the parachute payments would be important to a lender.

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  36. miller
    ‏@DrCMiller
    Football clubs represented by Keith Bishop’s PR firm: nufc, Leeds and Rangers.

    That’s all gone swimmingly, I see.

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  37. Ashley only has two choices; Sell up or support the club to the max to get the club promoted at the first attempt.

    The supporters really do need to just ignore the players on Sunday (if we’re already relegated by then) and just concentrate on singing Rafa songs to show him how appreciated he is.

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  38. I am already sick of hearing “Boleyn Ground”.

    It has been Upton Park to the media for as long as I can remember, now all of a sudden everyone wants to look cool and use the older and seemingly correct name because it is a big day.

    Fuck off. Same to commentators who try to pronounce foreign names with all the accents. Alan Parry and his “Modaric”. Cunt. I didn’t hear a foreign commentator put on a scouse accent for Barton in France or a ****ney accent for Joe Cole.

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  39. So the game is delayed because so many fans blocked Man Utd’s coach and caused a hubbub. Rooney saying fans have left West Ham down.

    Didn’t we have a game where we were late and were forced to carry on anyway or am I mixing things up?

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  40. West Ham fans attack the Man Utd team bus and David Sullivan blames Man Utd for being late!!! That’s the sort of people the tax payer has paid for a stadium for!

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  41. Stuart79:
    West Ham fans attack the Man Utd team bus and David Sullivan blames Man Utd for being late!!! That’s the sort of people the tax payer has paid for a stadium for!

    Don’t get me started on that situation, lol.

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  42. Has there ever been anybody that looks more like what he is than David Gold – Sleaze Merchant son of an East End criminal? I find it very hard to like West Ham as I have said before because of this and the fawning over them by the whole of the media and especially the press. The Stadium for nothing deal just put the cherry on top.

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  43. Eric Sykes:
    Has there ever been anybody that looks more like what he is than David Gold – Sleaze Merchant son of an East End criminal? I find it very hard to like West Ham as I have said before because of this and the fawning over them by the whole of the media and especially the press. The Stadium for nothing deal just put the cherry on top.

    His daughter runs a chain of shops that sell foot long “accessories” and she gets OBE’s while the local dodgy shop ran by a guy is a blight on the neighbourhood. Don’t expect logic, equality and anything worth respecting with that mob.

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  44. Weren’t such fan fare when Arsenal or Man City moved grounds was there?

    Just a complete joke! But then again, a lot of journo’s are London based and West Ham fans

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  45. Stuart79:
    Weren’t such fan fare when Arsenal or Man City moved grounds was there?

    Just a complete joke! But then again, a lot of journo’s are London based and West Ham fans

    Punching the police horse is still a joke after a few years now but do you think West Ham fans smashing up the place and bus will be joked about in years time?

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  46. Watching West Ham makes you realise how monumentally ****ed up we were in the summer.

    West Ham get Slaven Bilic and we get Steve McClaren, lol.

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  47. Jesus, this is going on for about 3 hours. Sky Sports have been bought by the ***** salesmen.

    Maitreya is popping in for a quick word with Ben Shepherd too. Benjamine Crème was right after all.

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  48. funkyjesus:
    I am already sick of hearing “Boleyn Ground”.

    It has been Upton Park to the media for as long as I can remember, now all of a sudden everyone wants to look cool and use the older and seemingly correct name because it is a big day.

    Fuck off.Same to commentators who try to pronounce foreign names with all the accents.Alan Parry and his “Modaric”.Cunt.I didn’t hear a foreign commentator put on a scouse accent for Barton in France or a ****ney accent for Joe Cole.

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of that.

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  49. Nice send off by West Ham thugs smashing up the coach just having one last and harkening back to their true nature before seats and Sky sanitised everything. I saw they decided to open the Gates later not realising that a few would trn up outside the Ground without tickets to just breathe in the atmosphere. Wasn’t that Hillsborough decision just announced last week. Have the police and authorities learned nothing in 26 years?

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  50. I also saw that Mr. Roy is considering taking Jesse Lingard now that Welbeck is injured. Seriously!!! He has Defoe, Carroll and Townsend and is thinking about Lindgard? All of them are good Plan B’s as Rooney inevitably has a couple of very poor games and either Vardy or Kane get overawed by the occasion of their first big tournament.

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  51. With all of the cameras around football grounds now how can you be so stupid to throw bottles at a football coach? They all will be caught and get a large fine or even sent to jail. The guy that punched the horse at SJP went to jail. I just don’t understand it no matter if they had been drinking all day.

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  52. I keep seeing articles on newsnow linking Rafa with Everton. Wouldn’t Pelligrini be a logical choice though?

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  53. Some news of an ex-player: Brad Inman has been selected for the Socceroo Reserves to play England later this month.

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  54. Hate West Ham. Pains me to see where they are now, I suppose the one modicum of hope is how bad they were only a few years ago. 5-0 with a Bestie hattrick anyone?

    Still, even their scummy owners were willing to hire someone with some ability, rather than Schteve.

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  55. so west ham get a new stadium with 95% of it being paid for by tax payers and are on the brink of qualifying for europe – yet they think it’s appropriate to go on the rampage.

    you could possibly see your way to forgive them if it was because they were about to be relegated by their fiercest rivals.

    ycmiu.

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  56. So fat sam has told his players to kill off Newcastle then head for a night on the town. How inflammatory does he want to be. It’s also incredibly disrespectful to Norwich who should they win their last two would be on 37 and if Scum lose and draw theirs they would be on 36.

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  57. Kim, He forgot to mention that the night on the town would be Newcastle because nobody in their right mind would want to go out in Sunderland!

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