Three Things To Look Out For Against Birmingham

Newcastle United travel to Birmingham City today, in the third round of the FA Cup and Rafa Benitez’s side are no doubt confident that they have every chance of returning to the North-East, with their names in the draw for the next round.

However, things will not be easy for United, who have lost Ayoze Perez to injury and Mo Diame, Chancel Mbemba and Christian Atsu to international duty, as they are away for the African Cup of Nations.

With this in mind, here are three things that Newcastle fans could expect to see against Birmingham:

1. Two Up Front

With Diame and Perez both unavailable, Rafa may have no choice but to change his formation and play two up top. He has already confirmed that Aleksandar Mitrovic will start and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him partnered by one of Dwight Gayle or Daryl Murphy.

2. A Change in Goal

It is not unusual for Benitez to change his Goalkeeper for cup games and with Matz Sels needing confidence and Rob Elliot in need of minutes, either could feature today.

3. A Return To Form

Newcastle have been out of sorts lately but they will feel that they have every chance of returning to form today.

159 thoughts on “Three Things To Look Out For Against Birmingham

  1. OK, just looked at last year’s table and Burley were top on 93 points, with Boro 2nd on 89.

    We are on course for 96 if we carry on our form into the last 21 games.

    I am sure I saw some hand wringing saying the Championship is much harder than the last time we were relegated, but still we are on course to beat the points to total of last year’s Champions and are still in the FA Cup with a Manager who has said he is looking for reinforcements.

    I know that some will say that Rafa looking for players is an admission that we are not good enough. The stats say different and I would suggest he is making certain that we go straight back up. I have said it before, but I think the players acquired for this term can be sold next year if they are deemed not good enough for the PL and I am sure we would get close to our money back.

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  2. We would have to have a big collapse and that is not Rafa’s history. He nips losing in the bud and that is what I expect this time. The teams that had monumental collapses in the last 2 years were Derby under Schteve and Brighton under Chris. Who are our 2 main rivals 🙂

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  3. Stuart79:
    Sharpy – You say the wheels come off after Blackburn in November but after that we won 4 out of 7 of the following games including probably our best performance of the season when we battered Birmingham 4-0. Complete overreaction to the last few games if you ask me.

    We did Stu, but as you rightly said earlier, we’ve won games without really playing well. We were playing well and winning comprehensively before the Bburn game, and haven’t since.
    We haven’t been winning or playing well in the last few games, but I don’t remember anyone saying we were still going to get promoted, so I’m not sure what the overreaction is to be honest.

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  4. I remember a few on here saying the sky was falling after a draw at Villa. There is a tendency for knee-jerk on blogs and especially tw@tter so it is to be expected.

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  5. ERIC just off tack for a mo,the Reading v M/ud game,i had a good laugh Rooney went up to a Reading and offered to give him his shirt the guy shook his head and walked away 😆 😆 😆

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  6. Ice: that was the best game I have seen Rooney play in a while although his goal was lucky and he missed a sitter. Reading are 3rd and were outclassed.

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  7. Stavers update: ex-Brum manager 10th in 12 team SPL and one place above relegation; Pardew sacked after the worst points total of ANY team in the football league for 2016; Ugly John doing OK in a Cyprus pub league.

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  8. Eric, you have banished Troy to his washing up basket.
    He realises you have his number now and is running scared…

    Remember the good old days when this blog had 500 hits on match days ?

    Oh how the mighty have fallen… 😥

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  9. The overreaction is people all of a sudden complaining about the way we have been playing. I didn’t see anyone complaining when we were beating Bristol City, Rotherham, PNE, Barnsley, Brentford or Cardiff without playing well. We’ve played about as good against Blackburn or Sheffield Wednesday but we didn’t win. We played well against Blackburn but didn’t take our chances – it happens and we also lost to Forest due to a refs performance.

    Basically the point I’m making is that our performances haven’t really changed over the last ten games – it’s just the results have changed. In my opinion we can only get better and will finish the season strong.

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  10. 13000 today at the toon game, 17000 at the Stadium of Plight…. garbage attendances actually..

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  11. Stuart, ten points for optimism and Im right with you on that, i still think well get promoted.
    But I have complained about our performances all season… not my type of football, but most of the time effective. Not kean on the is deploying one striker at home etc, but so be it…

    Still, beggars can|t be choosers, though Rafa can only deploy the players he has available, and is trying to do it on the cheap, saving his spondoolicks for when we are back in the big league.

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  12. Holiday update. A particularly ugly fellow was spotted in a Newcastle pub having a pint with his best buddy who was dressed in a super hero outfit. Other patrons said the two were laughing and joking about their predictions with the one that looked like a pickled walnut with hair saying he was still the best manager in the Premier League even though he was catching a bit of sun in a pub league at the moment. The other one refused to name his predictions and just kept on repeating that he was right and everybody else was wrong until men in white coats took him away. His last words were Pardew is an average premier league manager and the best NUFC could do at the time, toot toot, get on the reality train, where are we going?

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  13. Stuart79:
    The overreaction is people all of a sudden complaining about the way we have been playing. I didn’t see anyone complaining when we were beating Bristol City, Rotherham, PNE, Barnsley, Brentford or Cardiff without playing well. We’ve played about as good against Blackburn or Sheffield Wednesday but we didn’t win. We played well against Blackburn but didn’t take our chances – it happens and we also lost to Forest due to a refs performance.

    Basically the point I’m making is that our performances haven’t really changed over the last ten games – it’s just the results have changed. In my opinion we can only get better and will finish the season strong.

    Stu – I can assure you I was making comment about those performances and i had a similar conversation with Sham then as I’m having with you now.
    I wasn’t hitting the panic button then and I’m not now. I’m simply using the blog for its primary function – which is to come on and discuss footy.
    I hoped & expected us to be better than what we’ve been and am disappointed we haven’t been.
    Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Keenan’s entertainers era, but I want to see entertaining football with those wins. Of course the win is most important thing, but I want to see us trying to do it in style as often as possible – and I don’t see that from us this season.

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  14. Jawdee: getting relegated was a problem for all blogs, but 52k at home matches shows there is belief. There is also the continued rise and popularity of twitter. I was able to watch all NUFC games last year but have only seen about 6 this year, and 2 of those were on delays. Can’t even get a lot of them on dodgy internet feeds now.

    The Troysta has a 100% record of being wrong so you just say the opposite of what he does. Simple really.

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  15. Sharpy: if Ashley backs Rafa we will see some entertaining football. That Liverpool team he built with Gerrard at the peak of his powers was a joy to watch. I think they won like 11 of their last 13 games and still finished runners up. Bloody Ferguson.

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  16. Icedog, the daft geordies always travel well to follow there team mate…
    Hope life is treating you well mate..

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  17. Eric Sykes:
    Our next 4 fixtures are Brentford (a) Brum (h) Rotherham (h) Brighton (a). Shelvey back for the last 2 and Brentford very winnable. We need another striker though with Perez out of form and not scoring.

    You can’t afford to carry a striker like Perez. When I was a kid I would watch NUFC and thought Alan Gowling was a plank. What he did though is score goals and I don’t care how pretty his football and technique is Perez is simply not doing his job. He also seems to be lacking a bit of confidence and is not shooting, or taking men on. I am not hammering Perez as such, just highlighting the need for another striker and perhaps giving Ayoze a few reserve run outs to score a few goals and get his eye in so to speak.

    Shelvey has now served 4/5, so he will be available for the replay (should Rafa wish to play him).
    http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/discipline/suspensions

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  18. Thanks, DJG. So the only game Shelvey has left to serve is Brentford who are 14th. Then he is available for the home FA Cup replay and against Rotherham at home who are bottom. I am not counting chickens but that is not so bad before we go to Brighton.

    I am not saying Shelvey is Iniesta but we have missed him, mainly because we do not have a direct replacement. Hayden, Tiote and Colback don’t work as a tandem as they are all too similar.

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  19. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: if Ashley backs Rafa we will see some entertaining football. That Liverpool team he built with Gerrard at the peak of his powers was a joy to watch. I think they won like 11 of their last 13 games and still finished runners up. Bloody Ferguson.

    Eric – yeah I know mate – and I guess Rafa can only set his formation & tactics around the players he has. He also seems the type of manager who places the emphasis on control & win – where Keegan was entertain and win. What I mean by that is Rafa would see a clean sheet as important – Keegan didn’t care as long as we out scored the opposition.
    The fact he looked at a different formation today pleased me and that he looked at some squad players – hopefully weighing up what he has and what’s needed.

    I like most of the players he’s brought in, and I like most of the players we are being linked with – so that’s also a bonus.

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  20. Eric Sykes:
    Stavers update: ex-Brum manager 10th in 12 team SPL and one place above relegation; Pardew sacked after the worst points total of ANY team in the football league for 2016; Ugly John doing OK in a Cyprus pub league.

    hows Big Ron, El Tel and Hoddle doing? 😛

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  21. A draw may not be what we wanted..more games n al that but I’m content with the draw

    Decent result considering the lineup and early injury to Mitro

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  22. icedog:
    just wish Rafa would dump Colback,hes got to go in the summer for my money

    along with Tiote, Vuckic & Sammy.. We need a player like Perez! skilful and an eye for goal…shame Perez isnt being himself. 😐 thought he would of suited this league

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  23. Gashley: along with Tiote, Vuckic & Sammy.. We need a player like Perez! skilful and an eye for goal…shame Perez isnt being himself. thought he would of suited this league

    i also thought it would right up his street,i agree on your rubbish we need out along with a few others

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  24. Gashley: hows Big Ron, El Tel and Hoddle doing?

    Gash: it is quite amazing that Troy never got anything he ever said correct. Just by sheer chance you would think he would make one correct prediction. He defies the law of averages and if it were possible I think he would be 110% wrong, that’s how bad he is. I sometimes thought he was joking, like with Clarky, but he would go on for days and weeks and actually have some warped reasoning for his suggestions.

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  25. I remember being ridiculed for suggesting Klinsmann as an alternative to Pardew. I am convinced he would have come to NUFC as he had the worst group of players for the men’s football/soccer team in a generation and he knew it. All of the good players like Landon Donovan, Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey got old together. But that was an outlandish suggestion and Big Ron or Ugly John would do the trick.

    I will give him that he said sack Schteve after 10 games so maybe he was only 99% wrong. However, there was never any endorsement for McClaren on here, just acceptance that he was the Manager and should be given a chance.

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  26. Eric Sykes: Gash: it is quite amazing that Troy never got anything he ever said correct. Just by sheer chance you would think he would make one correct prediction. He defies the law of averages and if it were possible I think he would be 110% wrong, that’s how bad he is. I sometimes thought he was joking, like with Clarky, but he would go on for days and weeks and actually have some warped reasoning for his suggestions.

    Eric – He did say he would show his arse in Fenwicks window, he got that one right! There was a ginger dwarf with manboobs over the Christmas period 😆 funnily enough, he kept going on about a source he had, it turned out to be Super Mac & Bernie Slaven he ambushed at a book signing in the metro centre. lol totally pied by SuperMac & Bernie 😛

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  27. Gash: I am on an obvious windup (backed by facts though), but he too scared to come on. Flat track bully!!! As the only one he can argue with successfully is his equally deluded brother.

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  28. Just watched a Saracens Ayer get sent off against Exeter. The ref examined the reasons why and the teammates stayed out of it. The player took it on the chin and walked straight off and then the manager admitted the ref got it right and there were no complaints.

    Footy could learn a lot from Rugby union about respect. Don’t take your kids to footy. Take them to Rugby.

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  29. Shamrock:
    Just watched a Saracens Ayer get sent off against Exeter. The ref examined the reasons why and the teammates stayed out of it. The player took it on the chin and walked straight off and then the manager admitted the ref got it right and there were no complaints.

    Footy could learn a lot from Rugby union about respect. Don’t take your kids to footy. Take them to Rugby.

    Sham – massively, but I also think video reffing helps in rugby. Players & managers have more faith decisions will be correct with the aid of video analysis. I also think the sin bin is an effect tool – 10mins cool off and it doesn’t ruin an entire game.

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  30. Just back from Birmingham, I thought it ended off a good draw. We didn’t play that well but didn’t get beat with a changed team and system that gave people some much needed minutes!

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  31. must be close, esp since Atsu is off

    fromnufc.com
    Winning run continues

    Newcastle U23s 1 Brighton U23s 0

    A seventh goal of the season in all competitions from Callum Roberts was enough to extend United’s winning run at the expense of the Seagulls on Saturday.

    The Magpies reserves remain second in the Premier League 2 table behind Swansea City, following a fourth successive victory and they’ve now lost just one of their last dozen league and cup fixtures.

    Roberts ended a typical solo run by powering a low shot beyond goalkeeper Rob Sanchez just before the quarter hour mark and both he and centre forward Tom Heardman missed chances to extend that lead.

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  32. Jake Swinburn:
    Just back from Birmingham, I thought it ended off a good draw. We didn’t play that well but didn’t get beat with a changed team and system that gave people some much needed minutes!

    well we done ok seeing we only had 9 players as Colback and Tiote are a waste of space

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  33. Ice – apparently Ashley was at the game yesterday, which might well explain the player selection – maybe yesterday was a case of ‘look at what I’ve got to work with! – giz some money tubz!!’.

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  34. Don’t think Rafa is taking the cup seriously. He knows damn well that if you make 8 changes to your team then you have no team at all. Nobody impressed. Sels is still a disaster zone, Tiote’s finished, Colbacks poor, Haidara hasn’t improved, Hanleys a plodder. ~Happy days.

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  35. Sharpy17:
    Ice – apparently Ashley was at the game yesterday, which might well explain the player selection – maybe yesterday was a case of ‘look at what I’ve got to work with! – giz some money tubz!!’.

    one should hope so mate,mind jabba has put 33 mil in the pot,and dont forget we dont get our money for going down until the “end”of the season so fair do!s

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  36. icedog: one should hope so mate,mind jabba has put 33 mil in the pot,and dont forget we dont get our money for going down until the “end”of the season so fair do!s

    I think things will be happening behind the scenes mate. The Everton players he’s supposedly interested in will not happen until they are up and running with their targets (Depay and Morgan thingy from Man Utd). Delph may well be allowed to leave, but it depends on if he’s Rafas first or second choice really. Forwards wise, I can’t really see those we’ve been linked to being allowed to leave unless big money is involved.

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  37. kimtoon:
    The £30m is another loan, how much does the club owe him now ?

    he gives nothing away,its the clubs own money well it will be when we get our payment at the end of season,what is we get 40 mill i think

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  38. Stuart79:
    Holiday was good, Sharpy thanks. Just come back to man flu though…?

    Tell me about it mate, just got over an ear, throat & chest infection!!. Don’t do things by halves, but our lass said I’ve been really brave ???.
    Where was your favourite place then mate & where did you see Xmas & New Year?.

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  39. icedog: he gives nothing away,its the clubs own money well it will be when we get our payment at the end of season,what is we get 40 mill i think

    AH right, makes sense.

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  40. Barbados is cool, but I also liked St Kitts. But having said that, I only saw beaches and I suppose over there they all look the same. New year was spent in New York City which I suppose you could say was busy…

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  41. Stuart79:
    Barbados is cool, but I also liked St Kitts. But having said that, I only saw beaches and I suppose over there they all look the same. New year was spent in New York City which I suppose you could say was busy…

    I’ve always fancied Barbados mate but it’s bloody expensive when we’ve priced it up. I reckon we’ll get one day but booked Mexico for this year and it will be St Lucia next year I reckon. I don’t really like the idea of cruises but I reckon a Caribbean cruise would be one I’d do to see all the smaller places and island more difficult to get to flying.

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  42. Sharpy, Barbados is expensive to get there but once there very cheap and so worth it. Been twice, one of best places I’ve ever been to. If you get the chance, go

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  43. Simon:
    Sharpy, Barbados is expensive to get there but once there very cheap and so worth it. Been twice, one of best places I’ve ever been to.If you get the chance, go

    Simon – Barbados is a place I’ll defo visit mate. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to go to from a very young age, because whenever one of my family members were asked how was your holiday – as a young un I always remember all of them replying “whey it was nee Barbados, but it was canny” – and I always remember thinking, it must be some place this Barbados like ?.

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  44. Kim I know mate. He seem’s to forget the fact that he own’s a 52,000 thousand seater staduim and get’s free advertising for sports direct. He’ll get that money all back when he sell’s up. I don’t understand why he loan’s us money ? Still the man’s a idiot and hasn’t changed one bit. His only polished up his act by hiring Rafa. This team will get slaughtered in the PL. Eventually Rafa will walk or turn into a yes man. Pardew’s waiting in the wings.

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  45. just saw a photo of mitro injury,its about 1in wide and right across the knee cap very nasty,that will take more than ten days they are quoting

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  46. Wow that’s a nasty cut and in a really awkward place to heal too. Every time he bends his knee it will pull on his stitches.

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  47. Ice: I think they changed the timing of the parachute payments and made at least some of it available at the start of the year. Our payroll was still really high so that new loan might be to take care of regular expenses for the rest of the year.

    If you look at the Mackems they are really up sh!t creek. Their payroll is about what ours is but they have nobody to sell when they go down. Their loan to their owner is about 173 million and he is no longer interested.

    Ashley wants us back in the PL because he knows we are screwed if we remain in The Championship and he will not get his investment back. I also read that there were negotiations about Sports Direct paying for the advertisements. It has never made any sense to me why they weren’t shirt sponsors as Wonga only paid about 3 million a year. With the expansion of the PL to world markets and especially China and the US you would think it would be well worth that.

    The Wonga deal is up in the summer I think and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sports Direct on the shirts as long as we return to the PL.

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  48. ERIC cheers for the update on payments,good shout on SD on the shirts mate.
    i always thought Gayle was just a wisp of a lad that must take some stick off ccc c/hs,but my son has seen him on hols and says he has a hell of a body just like Ginloa had,his bird was a real stunner too 😆

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  49. Ice, footballers always have stunners on their arms, even the ugly ones, I mean how the hell did crouch and Rooney get such attractive wives, money talks.

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  50. I read aomewherw that the £33m was to help with operational costs following loss of revenue from relegation. Expecting ££30m to be spent on transfers this month might result in disappointment. I’m not fussed what is or is not spent, so long as we are improved enough to get promoted.

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  51. kimtoon:
    Ice, footballers always have stunners on their arms, even the ugly ones, I mean how the hell did crouch and Rooney get such attractive wives, money talks.

    funny the son said he is quite ugly close up with goofy teeth,must be his lovely nature she likes 😆 😆 😆

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  52. Back in dubai now and disappointed with the result but then the cup always throws up surprises like Liverpool drawing with Plymouth today. We are still in it.
    One thing surprised me when I was at the matches. It was a full stadium on both home games but my god it was quiet! Really surprised… the away fans on both occasions were singing ‘is this a library’ which I found amusing but sad too… at one time it was a riotous cacophony of sound… I think we have lost our passion somewhere (we as in the collective fans – I’m as passionate as can be).

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  53. kimtoon:
    Ice, footballers always have stunners on their arms, even the ugly ones, I mean how the hell did crouch and Rooney get such attractive wives, money talks.

    funny like but since i was a young pup i never bothered so called lookers they normally love themselves first,a good old natter for a while you find the person out,always be a giver not a taker i found out

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  54. kimtoon:
    Ice, footballers always have stunners on their arms, even the ugly ones, I mean how the hell did crouch and Rooney get such attractive wives, money talks.

    Money is always attractive… it doesn’t matter what the guy actually looks like… if you are fat, old, ugly, or all 3 you can still get a babe if you are a millionaire! Sad but true… ?

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  55. Dubai Toon:
    Back in dubai now and disappointed with the result but then the cup always throws up surprises like Liverpool drawing with Plymouth today. We are still in it.
    One thing surprised me when I was at the matches. It was a full stadium on both home games but my god it was quiet! Really surprised… the away fans on both occasions were singing ‘is this a library’ which I found amusing but sad too… at one time it was a riotous cacophony of sound… I think we have lost our passion somewhere (we as in the collective fans – I’m as passionate as can be).

    the odd times ive been i thought that,it will take time as it was beaten out of us by Pardew and company

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  56. Dubai Toon: Money is always attractive… it doesn’t matter what the guy actually looks like… if you are fat, old, ugly, or all 3 you can still get a babe if you are a millionaire! Sad but true…

    surely all girls are not like that ive know some nice girls,money doesnt bother my mrs in fact she gives more away than she spends

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  57. Shamrock:
    I read aomewherw that the £33m was to help with operational costs following loss of revenue from relegation. Expecting ££30m to be spent on transfers this month might result in disappointment. I’m not fussed what is or is not spent, so long as we are improved enough to get promoted.

    its quaity he wants mate,heard a storey that Rafa turned down Gestede said he was not good enough for toon at this time

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  58. Women that are only after money are not worth the time of day anymore than men of the same type (can we say Donald Trump here?).

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  59. icedog: surely all girls are not like that ive know some nice girls,money doesnt bother my mrs in fact she gives more away than she spends

    Me too Ice, i’ll never be rich or beautiful 😆

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