Newcastle 3-4 Man City: Toon go toe to toe with the Champions in Friday night thriller

Premier League manager of the month, Steve Bruce versus Premier League winner, Pep Guardiola was the big match tonight – and what a crazy 90 minutes of football it was!

We gave Man City a proper challenge tonight but sadly fell down to Man City’s fantastic attacking display. We started the scoring fest with Emil Krafth’s first goal for the club and refused to accept it when Man City romped back to 2-1.

After bringing the match back to 3-2 through an emphatic Joelinton penalty and yet another goal for that man Joe Willock, we quickly crumbled at the other end as Ferran Torres scored twice in three minutes to complete a hat-trick.

After that, we then looked too tired to make another dent in a City side we had been cutting open with ease on the counter. Overall, a very positive display from Newcastle, with this another step in the right direction after last Friday’s 4-2 win at Leicester.

Disappointing to lose a game we scored three goals in, but it was great to see us have a go, play with freedom and commit bodies forward on the counter the rare occasion City let us have the ball!

Prior to the match, Man City pipped us by just one point in the form table but had actually lost one more than us in the last six matches.

This game was a free-hit for both teams as Manchester City had secured the Premier League title after Manchester United’s loss to Liverpool and we were safe from relegation after Fulham decided to be much worse than us.

Team news wise, we were very much unchanged to the Leicester win with only Joelinton replacing the injured Callum Wilson.

The big news came in Man City’s much changed side with Scott Carson making his first Premier League appearance since May 2011 when he played for West Brom against us!

With 15 minutes gone, the match seemed to be going as expected with Man City dominating possession and us sitting back. Definitely felt like the absence of Callum Wilson was harming our ability to break forward.

GOAL! I’ve always rated Emil Krafth! In the 25th minute, the stand-in centre-back headed in a fantastic goal from a Shelvey corner! 1-0 Newcastle!

Shelvey almost doubled the score in the 34th minute with a cracking free-kick that rattled the crossbar. Despite Manchester City’s dominance, we were definitely posing a viable threat. If Callum Wilson were fit then I genuinely think he’d be thriving in the game.

Man City equalised in the 38th minute with Cancelo benefitting from a Murphy deflection to beat Dubravka to make it 1-1.

Man City doubled their lead in the 42nd minute with a great finish by Torres but questionable defending by us. A pity for us because arguably, despite their dominance, we’d been deserving of a draw – however we soon drew level.

GOALINTON!!!! Joelinton scored a cracking penalty for us in the dying minutes of the first half. VAR seemed desperate to find an offside before awarding the penalty, with lines being drawn for one of the most obvious onsides ever, but reason prevailed and Joelinton was allowed to take the penalty that he himself won after drawing Ake into a clumsy foul.

The first half was a strange one! I’d argue that we fully deserved to be going in with a point and the way were playing harkened back to the end of Rafa’s reign where we made use of the ball when we could. Yes, Manchester City dominated possession but we consistently looked dangerous on the break.

Allan Saint-Maximin was a brilliant outlet for us in attack and the likes of Ake really seemed to struggle with his running and skill.

All in all, a really good first half and the sort of “expectations” that we have for our team. We just want to see them go out and have a go. If we had gone in losing 2-1 then I would still have been pleased with our performance.

Predictably, Man City started the second half by dominating the ball but we thankfully continued to press and attack when we could. Good to see a hint of consistency from our play.

WILLOCK! 3-2 to the Toon in the 62nd minute!!! He did fantastically well to win a penalty from Kyle Walker and the young midfielder insisted on taking the penalty. Scarily, the initial penalty was saved by Scott Carson but Willock quickly followed up and knocked the ball into the net. Sadly, the lead didn’t last long…again.

3-3… Man City instantly go on the attack and Torres gets on the end of the ball and equalises for them.

Torres struck again in 65th minute to make it a hat-trick and Man City turn the match around again to take the match to 4-3. Really disappointing. Our general defending has let down our overall team play. An exciting match but the poor defending has really let us down.

The final few minutes of the game arrived and we were clearly knackered. We’ve given so much to this game but Man City’s quality were hard to deny.

Full time and we unfortunately lose 4-3 but we can really hold our heads up high. To produce this level of quality in two consecutive games against top level opposition is really admirable and I hope that this is benchmark for next season.

This type of football is what we’ve been expecting all season and Bruce now has no excuses to not provide this level of football in future games.

Play like we have in our last two in our final two against Sheffield United and Fulham and we’ll end the season with six more points!

40 thoughts on “Newcastle 3-4 Man City: Toon go toe to toe with the Champions in Friday night thriller

  1. Jonny – outstanding summary mate. Couldn’t put it better myself & nothing to add really.

    I could have watched that game all night the way it was being played. Our boys put in a great performances & no Newcastle fan expects to win every game – we just want to be entertained & see our team compete.

    The only disappointment was there wasn’t 52k getting behind the players tonight coz that could have been the difference in winning that one.

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  2. Missed the game but maybe our management have realized we are built for speed now.

    We had Almiron, Gayle and Murphy.

    Then we added Wilson, Fraser and lewis. All speedsters.

    Finally we needed pace in midfield so got willock.

    This is not a battering ram team. We should be playing more like Leeds.

    Even joelinton supposedly has pace although I haven’t seen evidence yet.

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  3. Eric – this formation has cracked it for the players we have mate. A good balance of defence & counter attack & when Willock is in the team it really works – he is that player that bursts forward from midfield to support our front 2 – Almiron goes and either Ritchie or Murphy down the side. All of a sudden we have 4 or 5 in attack rather than Joelinton or a lone striker fighting for the ball with the nearest player 30 yds or more away.

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  4. Entertaining game. Don’t know what happened to Rafa’s defence though. Any idea Steve?

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  5. Hope we keep up the attacking play for the final 2 games. If we win, Bruce will act like all of the dire football never happened. He will need one of those giant foam hands you see at American sports events to pat himself on the back.

    Even yesterday in his post match interview he was acting the victim again and lashed out at the press. The transcript is on nufc.com. He makes it very difficult to like him.

    But. Persuade Fatty to sign Willock play (counter?) Attacking football and I might just give him a pass on the stupid things he says.

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  6. georgio:
    Entertaining game. Don’t know what happened to Rafa’s defence though. Any idea Steve?

    Georgio – Rafas defence would have been 9 men behind the ball similar to how we’ve been complaining about how Bruce played against the top 6.

    City have world class players, even in that 2nd string side most of those players would walking into most teams in the league.

    I know the fact we are safe maybe encouraged Bruce to allow the team to play with a bit of freedom that we wouldn’t if we were still seeking points for survival – but the all out defence & hope of nicking something hasn’t ever really proven so successful either – and makes it a bloody long 90mins by the way!!.

    Rafas defence wasn’t too fun to watch, that was last night.

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  7. Eric Sykes:
    Hope we keep up the attacking play for the final 2 games. If we win, Bruce will act like all of the dire football never happened. He will need one of those giant foam hands you see at American sports events to pat himself on the back.

    Even yesterday in his post match interview he was acting the victim again and lashed out at the press. The transcript is on nufc.com. He makes it very difficult to like him.

    But. Persuade Fatty to sign Willock play (counter?) Attacking football and I might just give him a pass on the stupid things he says.

    Eric – I’d work towards tolerate first mate, build up to like 😂😂

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  8. I think our CBs will be looked at and hopefully improved in the summer too.
    It looks like Fede will leave, but Lejuene & Watt will come back in – though Lejuene in particular may be returning to be sold & Watt may need further development.

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  9. It seems somebody has been working with Shelvey on corners. I think because he was seen as such a goofball striker they left him alone in the past resulting in his dinked floater. Now he is putting more whip on the ball and hitting it harder.

    It always baffled me how he couldn’t take a corner.

    Still should be dropped though. I think he has 1 goal and 3 assists and that tells the story when he is supposed to be the playmaker.

    Having Willock as his legs seems to have helped a bit. Now we need someone be Donkey’s brain and feet.

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  10. Would be good to see what Longstaff and Willock can do together. Shelvey and Sean are just too slow to play together.

    Willock is deserving of the praise he is getting but remember cabbage had him as a sub before he forced his way in for Leicester.

    I haven’t given up on Sean yet. I just don’t think he can play with jomjo because we then get overrun.

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  11. Eric Sykes:
    Would be good to see what Longstaff and Willock can do together. Shelvey and Sean are just too slow to play together.

    Willock is deserving of the praise he is getting but remember cabbage had him as a sub before he forced his way in for Leicester.

    I haven’t given up on Sean yet. I just don’t think he can play with jomjo because we then get overrun.

    I pretty much have mate. He runs around a lot but contributes next to nowt.

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  12. Gilly Toon:
    So Leicester win the FA cup! Good game and the right team won!

    Yeah agree Gilly and I’m over the moon for them. I’m a big fan of Leicester and how their club is set up & ran. I hope they get the top 4 spot too & keep one of the ‘top 6’ sh!thouse clubs out of it.

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  13. Sharpy17: Yeah agree Gilly and I’m over the moon for them.I’m a big fan of Leicester and how their club is set up & ran.I hope they get the top 4 spot too & keep one of the ‘top 6’ sh!thouse clubs out of it.

    Agree mate

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  14. All these years later I am still not sure what Jermaine Jena’s did at NUFC. He didn’t tackle and he didn’t shoot. He wasn’t a defensive mid nor box to box. He certainly wasn’t a false 10.

    He seemed to just block a space in the middle and lay it off for someone else to do something with. Like Butch Wilkins later in his career where he was ridiculed for all the sideways passes. People forget this in their eulogizing of his career, rewriting history.

    Nobody needs to rewrite history for Jenas. He was one of the most overrated players I have ever seen. I think I saw him score one goal and that was in part due to him being scared to shoot.

    He talks like he was a superstar. He was actually the worst player on every team he played for. Us, Spurs and England where he inexplicably got 21 caps. Worst player ever to get double figure caps.

    Then there is his punditry. He is a complete know it all. And if anybody challenges him he is a total tw@t back. Some people must like him because he sounds like he knows what he is talking about. It is a mask though. A facade. If you listen to what he says 99 per cent of it is shyte. His backers are as shallow and uninformed as he is.

    But in these days of Twitter and untold podcasts all you have to be is controversial and mouthy. How else do you explain Jenas and even more, Savage? Or Simon Jordan?

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  15. Olly: I agree that Jamie wrote a good piece but he did get a bit caught up in the pundit narrative of conflating form and results in staying the case for the defense of Bruce. He got very lucky in our 2 wins in April. Even the Spurs draw where we played quite well needed a 96th minute equalizer.

    If we go by points then Pep or Bielsa should have won MOTM.

    We/He got very lucky in the 2 wins and Liverpool should have been out of sight by half time. So should Burnley actually.

    Again. Do these pundits ever watch our games?

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  16. Eric – I disagree mate. I don’t remember too much luck in those games & I watched every minute of every game. Few of them were particularly pretty, but luck didn’t play any part.
    Burnley was an ugly game, but won thanks to 5 mins of brilliance by ASM.

    Bruce’s MOTM was a lot down to an inspired month from Joe Willock, who should have got player of the month imo. His form was more to do with our results than luck.

    Bruce deserves credit for switching the formation back to 3 CBs and putting Murphy & Ritchie in as wing backs. I think both have been brilliant since coming in & Ritchies presence & leadership out on the pitch has had a huge impact on the team. Add to that Wilson & ASM coming back in & Willock settling in and hitting form.

    Like I say, even when we’ve picked up points it’s not been pretty, then the Arsenal game was awful again. But there we pull the Leicester game out & the City performance.

    I think consistency has been and will always be a problem for us. But I would hope that we stick with this formation now as I think it gives us the best balance between defence & attack – and let’s recruit in the summer focused on strengthening around that formation & try to get more consistent performance like the Leicester & City ones which will no doubt yield a higher points return imo.

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  17. I am not going to be too disappointed if we finish 15th. I expected 12th but that was only after the summer arrival because I thought Bruce would relegate us.

    I suppose that is some sort of vindication of Bruce when he says with better players you will get better results. But it is not, because that is simply stating the obvious and we played appealing Bruce ball even when they were fit. FFS he didn’t even select Willock buti is happy to take credit.

    Enough about the cabbage. I hope we win the last 2 games even though he will crow and act all smug if we do.

    I think there will be a more disappointed fans than us. Because…

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  18. 8 into 4 doesn’t go. There are 8 clubs who think they deserve CL.

    Top of that list is Spurs. Their whole business model is built on it. The new stadium is looking increasingly like a Levy vanity project.

    Everton got Ancelotti and are spending 500 mil on a new stadium. That can only end in tears.

    The top 4 are really the Manchesters, Red Bindippers and Chelsea.

    Arsenal have fallen off and join Leicester as mainly pretenders.

    Most years these other fours fans will be disappointed going forwards.

    And they call us delusional.

    I am happy about the Spurs relative failure. I hope Kane leaves just to run it in.

    8 into 4 don’t go!!!!

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  19. A lot of people credit Jones for masterminding everything – I don’t buy into that.

    But I think what he maybe has done is help find that formation that gets the most out of the players we have.

    Eric is right. Bruce did have key players available for large parts of the season, but didn’t seem to know how to fit them into the same team.

    He started the season with 3 CBs – but he was following the Rafa way with the 1 up top. He had Manq or Krafth RWB – not a natural position for either, and young Lewis LWB who needed time to settle in imo.

    But playing that lone forward left it totally disjointed up top.

    Bruce clearly didn’t know how to fix it because instead of tweaking that formation to what we have now, he switched it to more of a 4-4-2 which created its own problems.
    I think it was at that point he realised he needed help and brought Jones in.

    I’m not saying it is all on he & it was him that fixed it all. But the changes coincide with his arrival. I don’t remember Murphy at RWB much, and Ritchie had little to no game time. ASM was very much a left winger until Jones came in, now he’s a CF.

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  20. There is no way Bruce scouted Jones. He had a face like a slapped @rse for the first few games Jones was on the touchline.

    He eventually accepted that maybe the other 2 Steve’s needed help. Our set pieces have certainly improved although I still wouldn’t have Shelvey on direct free kicks.

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  21. Latest to defend Bruce is Steve Howie. He says nobody could have done a better job. He goes on. That’s because top Managers would want to spend more money. That is not the same though is it Mr Howie. The issue is could they do better with the current players?

    The answer is yes. Would even the managerless teams take Bruce.

    These pundits are all on the golf circuit together and seem to have some sort of groupthink when it comes to Bruce.

    Some are also a bit thick. You just have to listen to Sutton and Savage and hear the inane drivel they pass off as banter.

    Plus. They all flipped on Bruce saying he should be sacked and are now back on his bandwagon after some good results but only a couple of good performances.

    Still want us to win our last 2 games. Will avoid press conferences if we do!

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  22. Eric – genuine question mate, do you credit Bruce for anything?.

    I know he’s a gobsh!te in his interviews, and he’s got an awful lot of things wrong this season without doubt. But if you have given him any credit at all, I’ve definitely missed it.

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  23. I think he has done well to get some money out of Ashley for transfers. He was probably useful in the recruitment process for Wilson, Lewis and Fraser. I think he comes across as OK until you hear it every week.

    By hook or by crook he has kept us up and I am happy for that.

    If he can press on and not play so defensively I will give him credit.

    I do not think he had an easy job and he should have sacked the Steves. He says himself he doesn’t do much on the training ground so he would have helped himself by parting ways at Xmas.

    Apart from what has been dire football what most annoys me is his gobshytery. If his pundit pals would just shut up as well I think I would let some of it slide.

    There is a grain of truth I some of what he says but he does like to put his foot on his mouth.

    He did make up with Ritchie which was gracious of him. I really didn’t think his ego would allow that.

    I don’t want Bruce to fail. I thought 12th and 48 points was our ceiling. So win the next 2 and we will be close.

    I am glad he arrested the death spiral.i think that is the first time he has done it.

    Just play better football Brucie.

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  24. Eric – I’d probably agree with all that mate. I don’t watch any of Bruceys interviews & try to avoid thick head pundit chat about Bruce – especially Talksport. Simon Jordan is just another Richard Keys imo – he says controversial things to goad fans to say in the limelight.
    He openly says he had no interest in NUFC, yet has such a definite opinion on us & the fans.

    But if we are honest mate, take Rafa out of it & we should be used to gobsh!te managers – Pardew, Carver, McClaren & now Bruce 🤷🏼‍♂️.

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  25. Ha. Kane wants a move. Levy might price him out of it. They are screwed either way.

    Without Kane they are no better than West Ham or Wolves.

    I don’t think they will make top 4 for at least 5 years and that is what was supposed to pay for the stadium who h costs about 100 mil a year
    .

    No CL. Manager. No Kane.

    Remember who they used to get as Manager before Jose?

    Rrdnapp

    Sherwood

    A gamble on Poch.

    At least they will always have the cheese room. They scrapped that you say!

    And the 50 mil per year stadium naming rights. No takers you say!

    As I said pointing out the obvious when it comes to the CL – 8 into 4 don’t go. I think Spurs will be the biggest losers from the demise of the Super League.

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  26. Eric – I know Kane wants to leave, but the muppet signed a new contract – he’s effectively handed Daniel Levy ALL the cards & is completely at his mercy.

    Levy is ruthless & won’t take a penny less than what he values Kane at. He won’t consider injuries or anything like that, he will only consider how many goals Kane has scored and what money works for Spurs.
    If Kane goes on to have a good Euros with England, Levy will sling another £30m on his price tag.

    Kane might want a move, but Spurs don’t have to sell – especially as Kane happily signed a new contract.

    I will be amazed if Kane leaves for anything less than £120m.

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  27. In terms of their next manager, I would put Ledley King in with someone like Harry Redknapp in an advisory role – similar to what we did with Keegan & Arthur Cox.

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  28. Kane signed the 6 year deal in 2018 so it has 3 years to run. I think it is a lose/lose for Spurs. If they sell Kane for 120 million that is not enough to rebuild that aging squad. No CL means a loss of what, 80 mil a year, so the Kane money goes into a black hole. If Levy digs his heels in then he is stuck with a very unhappy player. It will be very interesting to me at least to see how the fans react to this. I think they will be in Harry’s corner.

    Levy is not dealing from a position of strength because of the fans’ love for Kane. They are Managerless and featureless after Jose. They will find it about as hard to attract a good manager as we did when we settled for Bruce. Everybody must see that Spurs are in for a 5 year hard slog given their financial situation. It is not just the stadium debt, they borrowed 150 million from the Govt as a Covid loan.

    Levy has made quite a few missteps. He has certainly pandered to the wealthy corporates with that new stadium and put up the prices for the regular fan by I think 50%. Did he give Poch enough time and money? Jose was on a downward spiral when he appointed him. He had changed from cheeky and confident to morose and a blamer. Then there is the squad. It is Kane away from being not just Wolves or West Ham but maybe even Palace ( is that an exaggeration?).

    Levy led a bit of a charmed life when Poch was good. He spent next to nothing and the team still did pretty well. That was not the Spurs of the past 20 years though when they were lucky to get into Europe let alone the CL. They now have a very high commercial revenue. I have no idea why, as I dont think their brand is that attractive (London?). We’ll see how many renew without CL football for at least 5 years.

    They needed a miracle before Kane wanting away. There are rumours of perhaps a swap involving Jesus, maybe that will do it.

    I am enjoying this because Spurs and West Ham are the darlings of the Southern Press. They have many fans amongst Journos and when they do well they spaff all over them.

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  29. What I am saying about Kane signing in 2018 was that the future looked bright back then. The stadium was the crown jewel in Levy’s tiarra and the team was on the up with a dynamic young manager. Now the stadium may be a yoke around Levy’s neck. It may pay off in the long run but there is already a template for this – Arsenal. They stopped funding the team. Somehow Wenger kept getting them CL but eventually it caught up with them. The competition for Champions League places is even stiffer now.

    This is beyond fixing by selling your best player and talisman. Levy is in for a rough ride and it will be very good watch – did they renew that Amazon documentary? It could be like that 2nd season of Sunderland ’til I Die where they imploded.

    I have nothing against the regular Spurs fan, it is the journos, I want to see squirm. They have fawned over Spurs top brass for too long. Remember Alan Sugar?

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  30. Almost make or break for Leicester and Chelsea today for CL. I think the red bindippers will win their games. Of course Chelsea could win the CL but City must be favourites.

    I am also going to watch Man U / Fulham. Scott Parker is linked by some to the Spurs job. WHY? What has he done? Their results have been terrible. Is dressing in designer gear and looking intense on the sidelines enough to get you a (so-called) top job now? I am not even sure Spurs are a step up from Fulham where Parker would have a good shot at promotion.

    Go to Spurs, have no money, lose your best players because of age and transfers and still be expected to get to the CL. That;s a hiding to nothing if you ask me. But he can always go to the corporate bar and watch as beer fills glasses from the bottom. Pity they didnt complete the cheese room as he could have had some nice aged stilton on a Spurs brand cracker – Ritz, the official cracker of Tottenham Hotspur !!!

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  31. And they are dragging this arbitration on by giving the PL a month extention. WTF. I have stopped watching some of Wraith’s content because all they do is repeat the same things week after week about the takeover. “The Geordie Dentist” is particularly annoying on a Friday as nothing he has said has ever been correct. He seems to think he has the inside track because he lives in the Middle East now. They spend 1 1/2 hours each Friday on it. It is supposed to be about football lads, stop fcn repeating yourselves.

    Then when the football ends this week I think there will be a feeding frenzy on all things takeover. I can hardly wait 🙂

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  32. But back to Spurs and England. Harry is putting a lot of pressure on himself for the Euros. Does he really think a transfer will get done before they start. He is England Captain FFS and all he will be asked about is his transfer status. It will be the biggest distraction in the history of distractions.

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  33. Remember the Russian WC where the WAGS were considered a massive ditraction and they were sort of banned from future tounaments. They werent even England Captain either ! This will be a tabloid feast, a distraction of mammoth proportions that poor little Gareth will have to deal with. We will see if he has it in him to manage this or will he take Ray Lewington on a River Cruise before the biggest games of their lives like Mr. Roy did. I hope to God that Southgate doesnt make Mr. Roy’s other 2 mistakes and put Kane on corners and give Rooney rule over the team. Has Rooney officially retired? I would worry if he hasnt.

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  34. Kane moving is of course being compare to shearer. It is a bit strange that as one was coming home and the other leaving home. The pundits, with perfect hindsight make fun of Shearer choosing NUFC over Man U. They completely forget what a team NUFC were back then under Keegan. Shearer was the last piece of the puzzle. It didnt work out like that with Keegan quitting but how was Big Al to know that. It looked like we would challenge for titles for 10 years at the time with Kev having the Midas Touch.

    But, the journos have their own narrative, and Shearer was an idiot according to them. And Fergie had not won 13 titles at that time, he had won like 3 and no European Cup either.

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  35. Brighton beat City… 😳😳😳. We are down to 17th… Sheffield and Fulham will not role over… both have picked up points. Fulham drew with manure.. I think 17th may be where we end up. 😕

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