Match Preview-Sunderland vs Newcastle United

•October 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Joey Barton may well start !

Joey Barton may well start !

The 140th Tyne and Wear derby arrives at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with Sunderland hoping to record their first home win over Newcastle for 28 years.

Sunderland fans won’t need reminding that it was back in 1980 when the Black Cats lasted tasted victory over their local rivals. Stan Cummins was the hero that day, scoring the winner at Roker Park as the home side won 1-0.

Last season, honours ended even at the Stadium of Light with Danny Higginbotham opening the scoring before James Milner equalised for the visitors.

However, the return at St James’ Park was even worse for Roy Keane’s men as Michael Owen scored twice to complete a 2-0 win.

With Newcastle one place off the bottom of the Premier League, Sunderland have the opportunity to inflict some real damage on the Magpies’ season and will feel they are long overdue a win.

Both teams were the victims of controversial refereeing decision in their last fixtures and Roy Keane has already piled the pressure on Saturday’s referee Mike Riley in a rant that had echoes of former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Keane was quick to point out a number of fixtures, including those against Aston Villa and Manchester City, where Riley has officiated his side and made decisions Keane feels have cost his team points.

As for Newcastle, they had Habib Beye sent off and a penalty awarded in their last fixture against Manchester City. Television replays revealed it was a harsh decision and Beye’s red card has since been rescinded.

Whilst Keane’s comments should not affect Riley’s performance, the referee and the players will all hope his decisions are not in the spotlight come the end of the match.

After suffering five straight defeats, Newcastle have stopped the rot in recent weeks picking up two vital draws against Everton and Manchester City.

Yet even more important than the points have been the performances the Magpies have put in to claim the two points.

Against Everton at Goodison, the Toon Army were two down after only 35 minutes and staring defeat in the face.

However, goals from Stephen Taylor and Damien Duff rescued a point and installed some renewed belief in this beleaguered Newcastle side.

This new found confidence was once again on show at St James’ Park as Manchester City’s millionaires rolled into town on Monday night.

After twelve minutes Newcastle were a goal and a man down but stormed back to take the lead in the game. Indeed, they were only five minutes away from a famous victory when Stephen Ireland snatched a late equaliser for City.

Even so, Joe Kinnear will be delighted with the battling qualities shown by his men, something which is vital in local derbies and which might just give the Toon the edge on Saturday.



Kenwyn Jones is nearing fitness and, after playing for the reserves in midweek, Roy Keane will make a late decision about whether to throw his striker straight back into the first team.

Possible Starting XI: Gordon, Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Collins, McCartney, Malbranque, Leadbitter, Whitehead, Richardson, Cisse, Jones.


Joey Barton could be in line for a recall after serving a six match suspension and coming through a reserve outing in midweek. With the news that Nicky Butt is doubtfull for the derby Barton may well start.

Habib Beye’s suspension for his dismissal against Manchester City has been withdrawn and the defender should keep his place in the side.

Joe Kinnear is also hopeful Jonas Gutierrez can play some part in the match after recovering from a shoulder injry. Michael Owen, however, is still out with a groin strain and Shola Amoebi may continue up front with Obafemi Martins.

Possible Starting XI: Given, Beye, Taylor, Coloccini, Bassong, Geremi, Guthrie, Barton, Duff, Martins, Ameobi.

Kuwait Billionaire To Table £300million Newcastle Bid.

•October 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Our next victim.

Our next victim.

A Kuwaiti billionaire is ready to offer Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley a way out of his nightmare at the North East club, with a reported £300million offer for the Magpies, according to The Sun.

Despite the deadline for bids for the troubled Premier League club expiring a week ago on the 17th it is claimed that Kuwait businessman Nasser Al-Kharafi is in discussions with Ashley about a proposed takeover at the Toon and is ready to table a bid for Newcastle.

The Sun said: “The Toon deal will be channelled through an Abu Dhabi company but Al-Kharafi is the man behind it. He is worth £9billion and is listed as the world’s 48th richest man.

“He made his money in construction and engineering and was linked with the club last month when a spokesman claimed there was ‘nothing serious going on’.

“But Al-Kharafi and his family have been studying documents about Newcastle’s financial state and are ready to make their move.”

Kinnear extending Toon stay.

•October 24, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Has impressed !

Has impressed !

Kinnear’s original deal was due to expire at the end of October, but the 61-year-old will extend his stay on Tyneside until November by agreeing a rolling deal.

The former Wimbledon and Nottingham Forest manager’s stay at Newcastle was scheduled to conclude after Tuesday’s clash with West Brom but, with Mike Ashley still to find a new owner, Kinnear will stay on for a little longer.

“I will be signing a new contract, but it will be for another month,” said Kinnear.

“It’s a monthly situation because I know they are in talks – who with, I have no idea – but they are in talks and what they are doing, it is just like a rolling contract, one month after another month, and then take it from there.

“During the week, there were three or four managers mentioned. Gerard Houllier – there were so many, I lost count. Sven-Goran Eriksson was in there as well.

“I don’t know, really. There are so many consortiums. My missus rang me and said, ‘There’s a new one come in tonight’.

“It’s amazing the coverage they are getting because when I was down in London, you got a little bit about Newcastle.

“I have never seen a back-page lead in the Evening Standard, when you have got Chelsea, Arsenal and all the other clubs, until now.”

Kinnear, who has helped Newcastle to two battling draws in their last two games, says he is enjoying being back in management.

“I love it. It’s the best thing I have ever done, it really is,” added Kinnear.

“I have tried on numerous occasions to get myself back in. All the interviews that I’d had, I had asked if I could just make a statement and have them to listen to what I had to say.

“But it was, ‘How’s your heart?’, ‘How’s your medical situation?’, so really, I was written off, to be honest.

This is a fantastic opportunity for me to let everybody know I am back in the business.

“If it’s not to be at Newcastle, I understand that, if Kevin [Keegan] is on his way back.

“But you never know what will happen to me, if I do a good job here, where it is going to take me.

“I have got to make sure a do a really great job here for the short period of time I am here.”

Barton – No forgive and forget

•October 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton is now eager to let his behaviour speak for itself and insists he does not want to be told ‘forgive and forget’.

Barton made his return to action on Tuesday night in a reserve team clash with Middlesbrough after serving the six-match ban he received for admitting a Football Association charge of violent conduct against former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

The 26-year-old also served 74 days of a six-month prison sentence in Strangeways in the summer following an incident in Liverpool city centre in December last year.

Barton, who pleaded guilty to charges of assault and affray, has made only one appearance as a substitute for Newcastle since his release, but he could feature in this Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland.

I probably have a few more things than the average person.

“I am not asking anyone to say, ‘forgive and forget’ because I can’t condone the things that I have done.

“For me it is a case of putting everything to bed and repaying a lot of peoples’ faith.

“From this day on I will try to live my life clean and rectify the mistakes I’ve made in the past.”

Barton is also eager to stay out of the spotlight as he returns to action to let his on-field actions do the talking.

“Hopefully this interview will be the last interview I do for a while because I need to stop talking about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it – and do it,” Barton added.

“All I’m asking for is the chance to put right my wrongs.

“In some people’s minds I will never be forgiven. But I know I am living my life clean.

“I have probably had more chances than anyone deserves, I am the first to admit that.

“I’ve never thought, ‘I play football, I’ll get another chance.’ I have been fortunate that people have given me another chance.”

Barton recognises that he will still make mistakes, but he is now hopeful that he will respond in a positive manner.

“Hopefully, there won’t be any more. But I’m a human being and people will criticise things that I do.

“But for me the time is to draw a line under the things that I have done and let my behaviour speak for itself .”

Ten-Man Magpies Earn Battling Draw.

•October 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

City were awarded a controversial penalty in the 14th minute when Habib Beye was sent off by referee Rob Styles despite appearing to win the ball in a challenge with Robinho and the Brazilian slotted home the spot-kick.Newcastle battled back and drew level at 1-1 just before half-time when the ball broke for Shola Ameobi and the striker sliced a shot past Joe Hart.

The Magpies continued to push forward at the start of the second half and were rewarded when Richard Dunne inadvertently turned Geremi’s corner into his own net after 63 minutes.Shay Given pulled off an excellent save from Ireland late on but the City midfielder was not to be denied and salvaged a point for his side four minutes from time.Beye had earlier handed his manager a boost by recovering from the Achilles injury which had sidelined him since the end of August, but his return was to end prematurely and in controversial circumstances.

Robinho looked to have got the better of the Senegal international as he burst into the box, but the defender dived in to poke the ball away. However, to his horror, referee Styles pointed to the spot and to compound Beye’s astonishment, then produced a red card despite replays suggesting he had a good case.

Keeper Given pleaded with Styles to consult his assistant, who had not flagged for the incident, but he was having none of it and the distraught defender had to go. Robinho calmly converted from 12 yards, sending the keeper the wrong way and leaving a club without a league win since 23rd August with a mountain to climb.

It could have been worse with Jo only just failing to covert a deflected Robinho shot and former Magpie Dietmar Hamann heading a Javier Garrido corner inches over with the Magpies at sixes and sevens.

But as they did at Everton a fortnight ago, Joe Kinnear’s men found a fighting spirit in adversity and managed to drag themselves back into the game.

They could have been level 10 minutes before the break when Obafemi Martins and Ameobi combined to set up Damien Duff, although his shot was saved easily by Hart.

However, the equaliser did arrive nine minutes later when Dunne smashed a clearance against the unwitting Duff and when the ball ricocheted to Ameobi, he controlled and managed to steer it past the keeper to repay Kinnear’s faith in him.

Both Sebastien Bassong and Martins were guilty of handing City possession deep in enemy territory within seconds of the restart, but Ireland was unable to make the most of a promising opening.

But for all City once again dominated possession, Newcastle repeatedly threatened on the break with Duff and Martins, who had adapted well to the role of left-sided midfielder after a shaky start following the reorganisation caused by Beye’s departure, keeping City on their toes. Ameobi too was proving a handful for Dunne to give the home crowd genuine hope that there was more to come. Their prayers were answered with 64 minutes gone when, in his attempt to clear Geremi’s right-wing corner, Dunne smashed the ball into the roof of his own net to send St James’ Park into raptures.

But the job was far from complete and Steven Taylor was relieved to see a shot from substitute Ched Evans loop up off him and clear the bar, with Jo doing the same with the header from the resulting corner.

Given produced a stunning save to deny Ireland six minutes from time, but he could not repeat the feat two minutes later as the midfielder fired home from close range to claim a point.



Match Preview Newcastle United – Manchester City

•October 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Newcastle United will be without striker Michael Owen for the Manchester City game after a scan revealed he had suffered a groin strain in training.

But the 28-year-old forward has a chance of being fit to play in the away game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on 25 October.

“I think we’re looking at between seven and 10 days,” said Joe Kinnear.

“He won’t be involved in the Manchester City match, but he has a realistic chance of the derby – about 50-50.”


We expect Martins to start alongside either Xisco or Duff. Joe Kinnear mite have different ideas and he may well put in Ameobi. We also expect Bassong to take the left back spot from Enrique who’s fitness is unconfirmed. Butt and Guthrie to play in the centre of midfield with Duff or Geremi and N’Zogbia on the wings. Beye to replace Taylor at right back who will be moving to the centre alongside Coloccini. We hope the team can follow up the impressive come back at Everton with a win.

Howay the Lads !

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Beye, Edgar, Enrique, N’Zogbia, Taylor, Coloccini, Cacapa, Bassong, Tozer, Butt, Guthrie, Geremi, Duff, Jonas, Doninger, Xisco, Ameobi, Donaldson, Ranger, Danquah.

Man City (from): Hart, Richards, Dunne, Ben Haim, Garrido, Ball, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Elano, Robinho, Jo, Schmeichel, Fernandes, Hamann, Evans, Sturridge, Etuhu, Glauber.

Cleland hopeful of Newcastle bid

•October 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The South African businessman Jonathan Cleland said last night he was “hopeful” of completing a takeover of Newcastle United, Cleland is heading a consortium of investors and has been in contact with the investment bank Seymour Pierce, who are in charge of finding a new buyer for Newcastle, over securing a potential £300m deal.

Cleland’s interest in Newcastle was made public this month, only to be discredited when three South African billionaires, Johann Rupert, Brian Joffe and Vivian Imerman, who were also said to be involved in the consortium, stated they had no interest in buying out the current owner, Mike Ashley.

The Cleland bid also took a knock from Keith Harris, the chairman of Seymour Pierce, who described it this week as not being a “serious” offer, but Cleland insists the takeover attempt is genuine – and having spent the past week in South Africa shoring up investment, claims to be in a position to move on to the St James’ Park board with immediate effect.

“We’re hopeful of still doing a deal for Newcastle United very soon,” Cleland told the Guardian, although he was unwilling to discuss who else was part of the consortium.