The DA’s Dan Green continues his journey of discovery, mystery and away trips to Barnsley.
Allow me to set the scene for this week’s blog: I returned home late from work (which is standard); There’s just enough time to inhale some dinner before sitting down to the task at hand; Finally, I assume my position, laptop on knees, and contemplate how to begin this week’s entry…and then I breathe a long overdue sigh of relief. Relief, because for the first time in 4 months Newcastle finally have the comfortable lead ahead of the chasing Championship pack that was expected of them following relegation.
West Bromwich Albion are a full seven points behind the Magpies. Better still, Newcastle’s relegation ‘buddies’ Middlesbrough find themselves back in tenth place, massive SIXTEEN points off the league leaders, after a humiliating 0-3 home defeat to Holloway’s Blackpool Town. In an interview with BBC Sport, Strachan had noting but praise for the Boro faithful stating, “…the supporters are absolutely fantastic. They’re very, very patient.” Unfortunately, he then went on to elaborate – “Having said that, they are a bunch of fickle English f***-buckets, lacking the delicate palette to appreciate the intricacies of battered cuisine!” Over the past few weeks Strachan has reportedly been seeking advice on how NOT to offend people from his close personal friend, comedian Jim Davidson.
For once, Jim Davidson wasn’t the biggest t*t on display…
So, how did the Toon Army find themselves in the luxurious position of league leaders? Simple – two 2-0 victories and six points in a week from Newcastle, whilst West Brom could only muster a disappointing point at Derby before a loss against Cardiff. The Championship has recently come in for criticism, with some claiming the league lacks quality. However, like any league, a string of good results and solid performances will soon result in a surge up the table: Fortunately for Newcastle, no other manager has been able to emulate Papa Hughton’s fantastic seven-game winning streak this year – long may it continue.
Peter Lovenkrands continued his rich vein of form on Saturday against Watford, once again linking up with his strike partner after good work from Harewood, chasing down the ball and sliding in a cross that Lovenkrands tapped into an empty net. Nolan’s dismissal just after half-time was unfortunate, though only to be expected from time to time due to the player’s ‘determined’ (that’s a technical term for dirty b******) temperament. Newcastle finished off cash-strapped Watford through a fantastic individual effort from recent trialist Fabrice Pancrate. The intrinsic difficulty of turning and finishing in the style he did was only matched by the difficulty faced by phone-in football fans and pundits alike, as they attempted to pronounce his name (I’m sure someone referred to him as ‘Francis Pancake’!).
Wednesday’s victory against Coventry was the ‘icing on the cake’ – even another goal by Shola Ameobi (with every successful strike registering like a dagger penetrating my very soul) was strangely welcome. Congratulations are also in order for two Newcastle strikers, one present and one past. Niles Ranger notched his first senior goal for the club against the Sky blues, whilst Michael Owen scored his first hat-trick for Manchester United. Wolfsburg in the Champion’s League or Coventry in the Coca Cola Championship – I think I know who I’d rather be playing on a rainy mid-week night!
The busy Christmas fixture-list is now well and truly upon us and this Saturday’s fixture is certainly a match-up that I’ve been eagerly awaiting for some time…That’s right, on Saturday 12th December 2009, Newcastle United will finally play the hallowed ‘away trip to Barnsley’ that has become a permanent fixture of my blog’s caption. If ever there was a time to be nursing a healthy seven point lead, it’s this weekend.
You just know something’s going to happen – Shola Ameobi will accidentally score three hat-tricks worth of own goals or Ian Hume will score a brace using only his testicles… I’m sorry; I have some very abstract (and extremely disturbing) football-related nightmares. However, it could be worse…I’ve heard rumour that Gordon Strachan hasn’t slept since a dream involving lap dancing, a butcher’s knife and a shadowy figure that strongly resembled the fictional comic-character Alan Partridge…
Was this what Gordon saw? … God help him if it was!