Newcastle 3 – 1 Blackburn

It had felt like forever since we had a home league game, after a few away games. We don’t usually have the best of times at home against Blackburn. They have a very impressive record playing at St James Park, over the past few seasons. Coming out on top quite a few times, but things can only change and get better right? Yes that is very right!

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Newcastle 2-1 Fulham

After a first half which offered very little from both teams, the game really did look like it was going to be a 0-0 draw as goals did not look likely. But after half time a fierce shot from Cabaye from outside the box could only be parred by Schwarzer for Leon Best to slot it home. It took the striker just under 20 minutes to double his and teams tally, with a good turn and shot to make it 2-0. At that point it looked like we would easily see out the rest of the game with a second consecutive league win. However the final 10 minutes seemed a little bit tense, with the ref seeming to want Fulham to get a goal. Tim Krul continued his fantastic form producing some very good saves to stop Fulham from finding the back of the net. In the 88th minute a well worked free kick and header from Clint Dempsey saw the consolation goal for Fulham, although the 5 minutes of injury time were rather tense!

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Scunthorpe United 1-2 Newcastle AET‎

It took until extra time against League 1 side Scunthorpe for us to get the victory which after 80 minutes was not looking likely at all. But another fantastic free kick from Ryan Taylor, his second in as many games took the league cup tie into extra time. Just when penalties seemed to be the most likely outcome, up popped Ameobi to seal the tie with a fantastic strike! But it wasn’t Shola who scored the winner, it was his younger brother Sammy. Scoring his first ever senior goal, and one that will live in memory for a while yet!

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Sunderland 0 – 1 Newcastle

Only the second game of the Premiership season saw the Wear/Tyne Derby taking place. With Sunderland bringing in 10 new players and more players leaving St James Park than we have brought in, it was always going to be a strange game to guess the result of. Pre-match all kind of facts and stats were flying around including that we had scored against the Mackem’s the previous 22 games, and let’s face it they don’t manage to beat us very often. They seem to just crumble under the pressure, therefore we have a very good record at the Stadium of Light.

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Jose Enrique Speaks Out!

Only a week after leaving St James Park for Anfield, Jose Enrique has begun to open up wounds by saying how he fears for Newcastle. This transfer has annoyed me the most on behalf of the club, we all knew that Enrique would not be in a black and white shirt come the first Premier League game of the season. So why did we not bring in a replacement and wait until the day before the first game? No answer to that question, just showing that the club seems to want to screw us over yet again in regards to transfers out!

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Spanish Super Cup: Barca 3(5) – 2(4) Real

The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was always going to be more on edge than the first leg which took place on Sunday night. This game saw a red card for Marcelo in the last few minutes with a tackle on Cesc Fabregas, causing a brawl to break out. David Villa and Ozil were also shown red cards due to their part in the brawl, baring in mind both players had already been subbed off the pitch. The only player who can keep his dignity after that is Brazilian Kaka who calming stood back and let them all go at it, brilliant to see!

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Newcastle 0-0 Fiorentina – ABANDONED

After 63 minutes of play and the scoreline being 0-0 referee Mark Hasley had to call an end to proceedings at St James Park. On an afternoon which saw the rain go from bad to worse, after raining from the very early hours of the morning. It was surprising to see the game last even that long, the pitch was extremely waterlogged. The ball was hardly moving, whether that be by a pass, dribble or run with the ball.

Even with the weather conditions I thought that Yohan Cabaye stood out with his passing and ability. Looking like a brilliant signing already. Being able to tackle and make the passes he did on the waterlogged pitch bodes well for when we have the perfect surface at St James Park minus the water.

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Parents on the line

After a very interesting discussion on Twitter last night with members of the coaching family – that’s something for coaches on Twitter to help each other out in the world of football coaching.

The subject was brought about after Anth had made comments about being shocked with the way parents had behaved on the line for a U11 game at the weekend. This then started a discussion with Chris, Rich, ChrisNick and John which I also joined in too.

We touched upon some very important problems which occur when coaching and on match days. Not that everyone has problems, a lot of parents are fantastic support towards coaches and let them get on with it. However, that is not the case for all of them. Every coach out there has probably had some problems whilst coaching at grassroots level.

I have very recently too, which in all honesty was a good job it was not my introduction to coaching as I would probably not have wanted to coach anymore. But with the experience I have now, I decided that the best thing for myself to do was step down as nothing worked in order to stopping the problems.

The respect campaign from The FA is supposed to have the parents not right on the line, which has been brought into place throughout the different leagues. But does it really make much of a difference? If they are going to shout they will be heard even if a few feet from the touch-line.

The parents are supposed to be supporting their child and the team, nothing but encouragement and well done should be shouted from the sideline. Thinking about the younger players u10s and right down to the start, if everyone is shouting and telling them different things the players easily become confused and then have no idea what to do. They start to become scared about making a mistake and getting told off afterwards. This is something that we as coaches must try to stop and do the most important thing . . . develop players. Therefore trying to help the players understand that they have to just play their own game and try not to listen to shouts from the side-line (other than the coaches of course).

Match bans could also be something to think about if they are very abusive towards any of the players (on either team) or towards the referee as well. While some people may just be beyond help, for some of them a couple of games being banned from watching might just help them to see a bit of sense and remind them that it is kids football – and it should all be about the boys and girls who want to just play.

I think personally after coaching at the girls centre of excellence last season, I actually forgot what it was like at grassroots games. It is the total opposite end of the spectrum and I really cannot understand why! Isn’t it all about the kids enjoyment as well as helping them develop skills as players? Some people need to remember that more.

Nobby Solano signs for Hartlepool

This sees Nobby back in the North East as a footballer again, showing that this is the area he most likes to be in. Such a fantastic signing for Hartlepool as I am sure he has what it takes to play at that level and really push the club forward.

I plan on going to a game next season to see Nobby play again, I hope a lot more Newcastle fans have that same opinion. Which will be a massive boost for Hartlepool.

Referee first to get abuse!

After going to watch the under 12 boys team I have been coaching play on Wednesday night, it got me thinking how bad the referee being shouted at is. But it gets worse than that, the guy who was shouting was supposed to be in charge of the team. Yet every single little thing that happened on the pitch he was blaming the ref, and not quiet about it at all.

Why can’t people accept that players will commit fouls and give away free kicks? It’s just part of the game, a slightly mis-timed tackle will happen every now and then. The other team will get a free kick so get on with it right? Well that’s what players should be taught to do.

As the game progressed this guy seemed to get worse but not only towards the referee but to the players as well. Screaming at the goalkeeper to come out for the ball (that has to be the goalkeepers decision, someone shouting at the keeper is not going to help at all). He was always shouting at them for missing a tackle, with a massive basis towards his own son. In all honesty I was shocked at the behaviour.

Everything was starting to get more edgy as well, the boys were then starting to get wound up by the shouting from the sideline. This guy even blamed the ref for the players getting more on edge, don’t think so at all it was his shouting from the line which started to get them fired up and not in a good way.

If you take away all of that shouting mainly directed at the referee it had the potential to be a very good game. I am sure this is not the only grassroots boys game that has been spoilt by people shouting from the sidelines and it most definitely won’t be the last which is such a shame spoiling the game for the players (and the other parents who just want to watch their child play football).

I think The FA need to push the respect campaign even further and really have a bigger attempt at getting this side of the game sorted out. Having someone shouting at the ref from the sidelines is not creating a very good environment for the players to thrive from a footballing sense.

This then links me to attending premier league matches and hearing the majority of the crowd constantly shouting abuse at the ref. I guess this is the environment a lot of the people who stand on the lines at grassroots football are used to and take that same shouting to the games. I don’t understand the blaming of officials at the top-level either, yes they will make a few mistakes but why go and watch your team if you are just going to come out at the end blaming the ref for something no matter what the result?

Another thing about the grassroots game has to be when the offside rule is brought in, obviously the ref is going to miss some offsides. They do not have linesmen or that should be assistant referee’s to be helping them out with those. So just remember if they miss some for your team they will miss some for the other team as well. The play will move faster than the ref can at times, so they will not always end up in the best position (not due to fitness, just the speed the ball can be moved).

It all makes no sense why can’t people concentrate on the game and just let the ref control the games and get on with it. This does seem to be something more related to the men and boys game than it does for the women and girls side of football.

So as coaches we must coach the players to concentrate on playing the game. The ref will not see everything but we must focus on playing our game!