Spyin' Kop: Newcastle

Posted by Armin on December 17, 2004, 02:12:03 PM

Sunday sees the return of the Geordie masses to Anfield.  For many, one of the highlights of last years dire season was the cup tie which saw Anfield's pubs engulfed in a sea of black and white.  The Sky-determined early kick off makes it unlikely that the atmosphere will be quite as electric on Sunday but the history of exciting games between the two sides hopefully points to another fruitful encounter. As another team struggling to reach the champions league this game could well turn out to be a six pinter ;)

Our thanks this week go to Barry from www.toon-army.co.uk for kindly giving us his views on the two teams.  I would also like to thank Rushian and Nidgemo for stepping into the breech when the demands of my UN peacekeeping intiative forced me to abscond from 'Them n' Us' duty.  I think we can all agree they did an adequate job.

On with the questions as Kessler would say:

RAWK: How is the season shaping up for Newcastle?

Barry: It's not shaping up very well at all at the moment.  Were 12th in the league and we should be a lot higher but we havn't been getting results and against teams like Portsmouth, Everton, Fulham, no disrespect to them but we should be beating these teams every week and should have beat them when we played them.

RAWK: What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

Barry: Yes i would say that our expectations for this season have changed since day one. On day one the main aim was to get back in the Champions League which of course means a top four finish but if we continue to play in the manner that we are playing now than my fears are that we are going to get sucked into a relegation battle.

RAWK: Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

Barry: Shay Given is definatly the most important. He's one of the greatest goalkeepers in the Premiership and is a rock in goal.  We took him out of the team for the home match with Fulham (which was forced upon us by the way) and we got beat 4-1 so that shows how much we value Shay.  I have to mention Alan Shearer though because if he plays than everyone knows what he can do but that if is a very big IF because he is currently injured.

RAWK: Your worst player(s)?

Barry: The centre back Bramble.  I don't like to just pick on Titus like that but Titus Bramble is a player that has potential but he tends to make a lot of costly mistakes and quite often in games tends to lose concentration.
RAWK: What are your impressions / expectations of Anfield.  Do you enjoy the
atmosphere, pubs, pies etc?

Barry: I couldn't say because i have never been to Anfield. I have tried but getting hold of tickets to this match is very hard as they sell out very quickly.

RAWK: Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

Barry: The main player is Steven Taylor who is 18 or 19.  He plays centre back but we have used him in right back because of injuries to other players.  This lad is great, against Portsmouth he bombed up and down the wing.  This player is a future England international.

RAWK: Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between us?

Barry: Yes.  4-3.  We all remember those two 4-3 games in the 1990's. Even though we lost both game i have some very good memories of it.

RAWK: What do you make of Graeme Souness, how is he shaping up as a manager and do you think he's a long or short term appointment?

Barry: Hopefully he won't be here next season.  I don't mean to be vicious or rude but I don't think that Graeme Souness is the right sort of manager that Newcastle need.  A lot of people say wait until the transfer window, but why because apart from 3 or 4 players this is exactly the same team that in 2002/03 finished 3rd in the league and reached the second group stage of the Champions League.  We should be up at the top of the table and Graeme is dragging us down.

RAWK: Describe Freddie Shepherd in one sentence?

Barry: Freddy is a man who says he wants Newcastle to be a successful club but everything he does always seems to be the wrong thing.

RAWK: What sort of line-up will Souness put out against us?

Barry: The strongest line up he can pick. There may be no Shearer and Kluivert but if not we have Ameobi and Bellamy who are both very good strikers but Shearer and Kluivert will defiantly be missed.  The weakest area of the team would definitely be defence with Carr and O’Brien injured but I reckon Souness can still pick a team capable of beating Liverpool.

RAWK: Where do you expect N'castle and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League?

Barry: I expect Newcastle to finish above Liverpool.  I expect Newcastle to get a place in the Champions League but the more the season progresses the less likely that is but I think we will finish above Liverpool.

RAWK: Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Barry: Nobody! The only players that ever do well for Liverpool against Newcastle are Michael Owen and Danny Murphy but you don’t have them anymore. I’m a little wary of Hamann though because our old players tend to score against us.

RAWK: Why should you be regarded as a big club?

Barry: Because we are a big club. We are a team in England’s top division, we have been involved in a lot of title challenges even though mostly we were outsiders and were 11th in the official world rankings.  There is a link to the world rankings on  Toon-Army.co.uk.

RAWK: And your feelings on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool. Rafa Benitez himself
and our new recruits?

Barry: Luis Garcia what a player, he is brilliant. As for the Spanish flavour, Liverpool, it will never work. Benitez has sold the English players and replaced the  with Spanish and I actually believe that in a couple of years if Pool still have Benitez than they would field a starting line-up that doesn’t include a single English player. I also think that Liverpool were better as an English club when they had the likes of Fowler, Owen, McManaman, and Collymore.

RAWK: Care to predict the score?  Go on!

Barry: The only players that usually score for Liverpool against us are Owen and Murphy and you sold them both so I will go for 2-1 to Newcastle.

Thanks once again to Barry, lets hope Sunday will prove him wrong.  Two dashes of Arsenal, an Olympiakos mixer and easy on the Portsmouth should do the trick :)

© Armin 2004

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