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Timing: Our past, the present, our future? by NE5


James
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http://www.newcastle-online.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1160311232&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&

 

Success? What is it, in football terms, in Newcastle United terms, in the eyes of supporters. Do you think if we don’t win a trophy we have failed? Do you think that playing in Europe and being one of the clubs' capturing the focus of fans all over the country is success or failure? Or do you expect it? If you expect it, why do you expect it? And therefore if you do expect it, why do you think we haven’t always expected it?

 

Remember the night of 27th September 1994? It was our return to Europe, or rather our first match at home in Europe for almost 30 years. Having won the first leg 5-0 away in Antwerp 2 weeks previously, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would go through. In such circumstances, most clubs would probably play the game in front of a half full stadium, however the novelty of qualifying for Europe after so long, since November 2nd 1977 to be precise, the fact that for many supporters it was their first taste of such a thing, and the awareness that the club was at the beginning of a bright new era ahead, ensured the stadium was full of happy, smiling faces.

 

This European run only lasted 2 rounds and so was disappointing but it didn’t really seem to matter as we all realised we would be back the following year. However a shock was in store, that year we finished 6th and didn’t qualify for the UEFA Cup, sparking recriminations and blame, chiefly centred around the collapse of the team in the 2nd half of the season, and/or the sale of Andy Cole which undoubtedly played a large part.

 

Keegan Out? Sack the Board? Some supporters on the steps of St. James' Park thought so. Only 2 years previously we almost went into the old 3rd division. So much for the memories, such is the disgrace of not qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

 

We regrouped though, re-stated the clubs intentions and put our money - and ambition - on the line. The momentum of the club re-established itself and for most of the following season we were top of the league but suffered massive heartbreak surrendering the title in the last few games. By then, everybody knew we meant business, because we had said so, proved it and had the right manager buying the right players to back up the words. Success breeds success though, it also breeds new supporters, and younger supporters who knew nothing other than challenging for titles and cups.

 

Imagine the situation of taking over from someone who has built up a fantastic momentum like this, and been a big success, in any walk of life, not just football. Just think of the advantages, how can you go wrong? All the big titles, the prizes, the recognition, are all yours, within your grasp. You can almost touch them, they are so close. Then the manager who made it all happen for you departs.

 

I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things. But its not for the want of trying though, the club has spent the entire time since trying to get back to that situation, throwing money galore at it.

 

What would you do to get back to it? Firstly, the board appointed a man who had experienced the winning feeling, the winning situation, handled the big players at the big club and this was without doubt a statement of intent, which nobody can say didn’t show their genuine ambition to keep the momentum of the Keegan years going. Dalglish decided he wanted to be the first man to win the title with 3 different clubs, but unfortunately wanted to do it with his own players. So he set about ripping up the team, too much, too soon. He also played an ultra defensive system, but at least reached the FA Cup Final, our first visit since the League Cup Final 22 years earlier.

 

If we had won that one game, he would not have been sacked and replaced with Gullit, a reactionary appointment who would play “sexy” football rather than the negative stuff before. “Let Me Entertain You” became the order of the day. Another FA Cup Final came, amazingly, on the back of another mid table inconsistent campaign and a manager who appeared to spend more time home in Amsterdam than at the club. He certainly lost the respect and backing of his senior players, and left the club in disarray.

 

Bobby Robson followed, another reactionary appointment. The grand old man of football with his man management skills came home to restore morale and stability to the club. With immediate effect, the club moved up the league and reached the FA Cup Semi Final, outplaying Chelsea, scoring their first goal at Wembley since 1976 but lost courtesy of 2 opportunist goals by Poyet.

 

The Bobby Robson era was a good one, Champions League football came, after almost entering the title race right at the death. During this period the club also expanded the capacity of the stadium and opened a new state of the art training complex. All good moves designed for the future well being of the club, and all made while the opportunity was there to capitalise on success, increased revenue and a higher profile.

 

Eventually the Robson era stagnated, and in came Souness. The disastrous appointment. He has set us back a lot. The board have to take the blame for this, the appointment was crass, foolish and for the wrong reasons. Supporting managers is the remit of any good board, and they backed their manager to the hilt, but as he was the wrong one, it has resulted in a lot of money wasted, and players sold who should not have been sold. The mood since he came among the club's supporters, has largely been one of frustration and looking for scapegoats.

 

Since 1993, and promotion to the premiership, this club has finished 3rd, 6th, 2nd, 2nd, 13th, 13th, 11th, 11th, 4th, 3rd, 5th, 14th and 7th. We have qualified for Europe 9 times, played in 2 FA Cup Finals, bought major international players and fill a 52,000 stadium every home game. Not bad, especially put against the fact that in the previous 30 years we only finished in the top 10 of the top league 5 times, and spent the majority of the remainder either fighting relegation or in the old 2nd division.

 

Despite having largely the same board and major shareholders, the first 3 years of the above were with Sir John as chairman, the remainder with Shepherd. The time of SJH also coincided with Keegan as manager. We have never had a manager like Keegan since, so have not matched that success. This firmly establishes this era as the best chairman and manager we have had at Newcastle since the mid to late 1950’s at least, however lucky an appointment Keegan was, because you can’t say it was good planning or forward thinking, it was an inspirational gamble which hit the jackpot.

 

However, we have remained a top club after KK's departure, attempting to win things, competing with the top clubs, playing in Europe, and today still stand in that position. Yet the current board remain unpopular. Would they like to turn the clock back to 1998? Will Shepherd learn to keep his gob shut like he might do at home!

 

How does having the 2nd best record in over 50 years - the 3 consecutive top 5 finishes in Bobby Robson's time as manager is the first time the club have done this since 1949-1951 - equal unpopularity?

 

The club have made mistakes. You can say in 2003 we should have bought players, but the club spent a lot of money on the stadium, and also invested heavily during Bobby Robson’s time to get back into Europe. They also bought Woodgate in the January of that year, where we were the only club to spend money in January. This transfer was actually a forward thinking transfer because it is without question that, in view of Woodgate's ability and Leeds' demise, he would have moved to someone else and in the summer there would have been a queue of clubs in for him. We showed our ambition once again by signing Woodgate for a big fee.

 

Freddie Shepherd and Douglas Hall didn’t do themselves any favours when they were caught out in 1998 slagging off the fans, nor making comments about the “Geordie Nation” which make him look daft and encourage the Southern Press to take the piss out of us, along with comments about ManUtd being a “rudderless ship” when they win trophies galore, that do the same. People don’t forget these things. They don’t mention them when we are winning though... a bit like the missus remembering you didn’t buy her a card for your wedding anniversary one year but always forgetting the weekend in Paris the year before.

 

So would you prefer to take over a job from someone who did exceptionally well, and if you did would you have the sense to let your results to the talking? Or would you prefer to take over a sinking ship where you have nothing to lose?

 

Do you think the club has spent the last decade trying desperately to cling onto the love affair that was the Keegan era? They haven’t been able to match it but credit for trying... the thing is... now Shearer, the last link, has gone, it’s over. We have nowt but memories, especially the last spectacular one, but now they, or we, are on our own.

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Interesting read NE5, but there are a few loopholes - you regard the Keegan appointment as lucky, yet the appointment of Robson was exceptional. Couldn't they both have been lucky appointments, after all, in the end of the day, you never now how a manager/player is going to turn out at this club.

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Guest BooBoo

Well written but the same tired defence of Shepherd still holds little water. Saying that he's the best chairman that the club have had since the 50s isnt really something to be proud of. Its not as if he's got much stirling competition.

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Guest rudeboy

Got as far as "Remember the night of 27th September 1994? It was our return to Europe, or rather our first match at home in Europe for almost 30 years". 

 

After that bollox statement I couldn't be arsed to read the rest.

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Got as far as "Remember the night of 27th September 1994? It was our return to Europe, or rather our first match at home in Europe for almost 30 years". 

 

After that bollox statement I couldn't be arsed to read the rest.

 

well spotted.

 

Misprint/type and changed, where possible anyway. 18 years since last appeared, as was made clear further down, and 25 years since we won it, while finishing 10th in the league to qualify. As I was there, its hardly going to be deliberate misinformation is it  :winking:

 

 

 

 

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Guest The Fox

Quote "I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things."

So at last you admit it has gone backwards since Keegans days, all under the Chairmanship of Freddie.

Case closed.

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Quote "I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things."

So at last you admit it has gone backwards since Keegans days, all under the Chairmanship of Freddie.

Case closed.

 

So you expect a club to stay 2nd forever ?

 

I expect such naivety from people who don't go to games.

 

 

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Guest BooBoo

Quote "I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things."

So at last you admit it has gone backwards since Keegans days, all under the Chairmanship of Freddie.

Case closed.

 

So you expect a club to stay 2nd forever ?

 

I expect such naivety from people who don't go to games.

 

 

 

Out of order there. I go to all home games but i know lots of people who dont but who are still big fans and are pretty knowledgable about NUFC.

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Guest elbee909

Quote "I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things."

So at last you admit it has gone backwards since Keegans days, all under the Chairmanship of Freddie.

Case closed.

 

So you expect a club to stay 2nd forever ?

 

I expect such naivety from people who don't go to games.

 

 

So going to football matches removes naivety?  Does it get rid of dandruff as well?

 

 

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so ne5 in your infinit wisdom tell us what you think is the next logical step for nufc and fat fred to get back to those dizzy heights

 

Don't let any fan under the age of 30 into SJP.

 

You'll be left with a right bunch.  bluebigrazz.gif

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Quote "I think it is pretty obvious to say the club hasn’t reached the Keegan heights since, at least on the playing side of things."

So at last you admit it has gone backwards since Keegans days, all under the Chairmanship of Freddie.

Case closed.

 

So you expect a club to stay 2nd forever ?

 

I expect such naivety from people who don't go to games.

 

 

So going to football matches removes naivety?  Does it get rid of dandruff as well?

 

 

OK then, so - do YOU think clubs have a divine right to stay 2nd forever, or they are "shit" ?

 

You are into turntables, right ? Do you think a rega planar 2 is shite because it isn't as good as a rega 3 ?

 

I think it is pretty fair. The facts are that SJH was chairman while Keegan was manager and we have not done so well since.

 

However - we still have the same board, primarily, with the same major shareholders. Is this correct or not ?

 

Hall Jnr, Shepherd and Fletcher were responsible for appointing Keegan as manager, NOT Sir John Hall.

 

So - why exactly does Hall Jnr, Shepherd and Fletcher get zero credit for Keegans appointment ? And SJH all of it ?

 

The same SJH who showed outstanding leadership and "planning" that he almost lost him only weeks into his managerial career for going back on his word to sign a couple of players for a couple of hundred grand apiece ? Good leadership and good planning ?

 

Hall Jnr and Shepherd were also responsible for appointing Dalglish to succeed Keegan, who was a multiple trophy winner [ 4 League championships with 2 different clubs, 2 FA Cups and 3 manager of the year awards] and one of the highest qualified managers in world football to take on the Newcastle job. If you are not impressed with that, what is your criteria for appointing managers ?

 

I am sorry...I can accept you have an "opinion", but where plain facts show an opinion to be flawed, it is right that facts are pointed out and if people can't accept them because they have a paranoid opinion, and no mind of their own that enables them to arrive at a factual based opinion, then that is their problem.

 

As for Fox, he was a whinging bugger when Robson was manager, so as I said, I am not surprised he is whinging now. You know, the same Bobby Robson who got us in the top 3, and played in the Champions League while having a shite board.

 

 

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so ne5 in your infinit wisdom tell us what you think is the next logical step for nufc and fat fred to get back to those dizzy heights

 

Don't let any fan under the age of 30 into SJP.

 

You'll be left with a right bunch.  bluebigrazz.gif

 

Before 1992 mate, and currently among the vast majority of clubs that we have overtaken since - with the current shite board that has overtaken numerous better run clubs with better boards :lol:, there is plenty of room in the ground for people of all ages.

 

But don't let that fact get in the way of your paranoia and naivety

 

 

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Serious question NE5, do you type all those things out afresh every time?

 

just when I was beginning to think numerous people on here, all without much idea or grasp of reality, were all the same person typing the same thing.

 

Thats a serious answer Dave.

 

 

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Eh?

 

'Yes' or 'No' will suffice.

 

Well, the answer is no. What is yours ?

 

do YOU type the same thing. Are you secretly most of these other people on here, who all seem to completely ignore facts ?

 

 

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:lol:

 

Sorry then, I thought you'd been doing it for years but obviously not; try pasting some of your stock lines into notepad and save the file somewhere on your desktop. It'll save you loads of time.

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:lol:

 

Sorry then, I thought you'd been doing it for years but obviously not; try pasting some of your stock lines into notepad and save the file somewhere on your desktop. It'll save you loads of time.

 

Well then, I could say the same.

 

thanks for the "yes or no" reply

 

Unfortuntately for you however, I have the advantage of a longer view perspective, and a factually based one.

 

I thought that was a fair article. I am sure others will think so and I know they do.

 

 

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