Transfer: Steven Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)

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Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor has signed for New Zealand side Wellington Phoenix. Making over 200 appearances for Newcastle, since leaving in 2016 Steven had a brief stint at American side Portland Timbers and has played for Ipswich Town and Peterborough United before making his new move at the age of 32. Capped at England youth level and up to U21s, I always enjoyed seeing his progress after breaking through as a teenager.

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Relegation – Newcastle United

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Failing to beat Aston Villa last week backfired for Newcastle as Sunderland went on to beat Everton on Wednesday night. That ended the Premier League run in what has been truly deserved after an awful season! Even with that though it was still very disappointing  to have it hit home on Wednesday that we will be leaving the top flight of English football (again).

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It was back in 2009 when Newcastle last suffered relegation but the difference with that time to this time has to be the players who stayed and played in the Championship. That is going to be very different this time. Shocking that a couple of days after relegation was confirmed that Moussa Sissoko has been called up to the France squad for Euro 2016. A player who has been truly shocking nearly all season and some how undroppable gets to go and represent his country in the summer makes it all even worse.

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2015/16 Season: Newcastle 2-1 West Ham

Following on from the 3-3 draw against Manchester United on Tuesday it was a quick turnaround and back to St James Park for another match, which believe it or not was a 3pm Saturday kick off. It’s nice to know that those matches still actually exist. It’s been quite a long time since I have been looking forward to a match (let’s face it we have played awful football recently) but I really was up for this one yesterday.

Jonjo Shelvey No12 Newcastle United

I was very eager and excited to see how Jonjo Shelvey would fit into the side as found his signing earlier on in the week to be very positive and exactly what we have been missing this season. It didn’t take long for the new man to make an impact being involved in well pretty much everything good in the first half.

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Wolves 1 – 2 Newcastle

Our fantastic start to the season continued with a 2-1 win over Wolves. Although the scoreline makes it sound a lot closer than it actually was. Although at the end of the game Wolves did have the ball in the back of the net which would have made it 2-2. But before that we really did outclass them all over the pitch. They seemed to completely crumble after scoring our first goal. Which saw Demba Ba get his 4th goal in 2 games, with a good header from a Cabaye corner.

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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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Prem: Manchester City 4-0 Swansea City

Last night we saw the first and only home win of the opening set of fixtures in the Premier League. Most of the results were draws with a couple of away wins. The match started off very slowly and let’s face it everyone was waiting to see Sergio Aguero in action for the first time, but he was on the bench. So everyone would have to just wait to see him.

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Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal

After last seasons thrilling 4-4 draw and the greatest comeback in Premier League history, this game was bound to be a disappointment. Chosen for ESPN TV coverage making our opening day of the season a 5:30pm kick off. Possibly a reason the edge was taken off the game? Well it is never the same when a game does not kick off at 3pm on a Saturday, just a totally different edge surrounding the game.

However, opening game of the season and I was excited and very optimistic. Until of course the first 20 minutes of the game when even in that early stage it looked like both teams were happy playing for a draw. Both clubs in slight turmoil with more players leaving than any hope of players coming back in. Nevertheless the fans turned up to support them, plenty of away support for Arsenal.

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2010/11 Season Review

First season back into Premier League (where we belong, I must add) and obviously at the start of the season we were very much tipped to go straight back down. We did not really make many signings or at least proven in the Premiership players. We brought in James Perch who became quite the scapegoat amongst the fans. Dan Gosling on a free transfer, but would be out until at least Christmas due to injury. Sol Campbell who was already clearly past his best, and would just cost us money. But then an exciting new player would be signed on loan (but then permanent in January) Hatem Ben Arfa who looked fantastic but suffered a horrible injury when he had his leg broken after a Nigel de Jong tackle. So those being the new players brought in not really much was placed on them. We had to rely on the team who done so well making the Championship look easy the year before. Not forgetting of course our signing and possibly player of the season Cheik Tiote.

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Newcastle 3-3 West Brom

Last game of the season fell at St James Park, seeing West Brom being the visiting team. Already safe for the premier league next season. The game started as everyone would expect it, not really much happening and that last game of the season feel to it. Nothing to play for . . . well I think we should have played to get the highest league finish possible and bragging rights over our close rivals. At half time that looked very good, finishing in top half looked very much on being 2 up thanks to the third goal in three games from Steven Taylor and a Peter Lovenkrands goal from Scott Carson’s error.

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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!