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Mountain Energei - Newcastle Eye Witness Report


blandy
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Blandy was there:-

So to our second game of the season, to be witnessed from the upper slopes of St James' Park, Newcastle. Another tea time O'Clock kick off, thanks to those oh so considerate TV men - though for once the later kick off suited me. It meant a leisurely morning and a drive up to SJP, at a civilised time and still plenty of time for some convivial beers with fellow VTers, Bicks and Chris, in a local bar before making our way to the game. Good chat. Thanks.

After doing my usual daft thing of speeding up the multitude of steps to the concourse, I had time to catch my breath and wait for Bicks and Chris to more sensibly amble up.

The view from the seats never ceases to amaze. It's bloddy miles high. You can see both Spain and Iceland from the away section (possibly). I detected the annual migration of the buffalo across the tundra, too. You can also just about make out the pitch, in the far distance, many fathoms below.

Anyway - the match. We started with a similar team to last week, but with Stuart Taylor perhaps unluckily making way for Scott Carson (dressed as a banana) in goal.

Being as it's quite late, now, typing this, I guess that you will know it was 0-0. But it wasn't a bad game, nor was it a belter. It was one of those "good point" away from home type results, where we perhaps had slightly the better of things, but didn't do quite enough to win. I felt we had the better chances, though neither keeper was overly troubled on too many occasions.

Early on we definitely had the better of the game, Martin Laursen who had a visibly exasperated Viduka in his pocket all afternoon had a header from a corner brilliantly saved by Harper, Gabby streaked clean through, got caught, won the ball back, and then instead of squaring to an unmarked Ashley Young decided to shoot himself, rather lamely. It's at times like that that you don't know whether to curse his greed or applaud the fact that he got there in the first place. Bit of both I guess. He'd certainly looked a threat all afternoon, and Newcastle were wary of him.

He doesn't though seem to link really with Carew. They're just two forwards, rather than a partnership. Carew was a lot better than last week, but still didn't look completely fit, though he maybe took an knock early on, again.

We played with different tactics to last week. Ashley Young stayed wide, and had a great game, full of energy, not just going forwards, twisting and jinking, but also helping out defensively. He caught the eye again.

Others who played really well were Martin Laursen, who was immense, Olly who was tidy, and Nigel Reo Coker who didn't impress me at all last week, but this week was a bundle of energy and looks to have slotted in perfectly. He made some great runs and surges forward, and almost scored a blinder after a long run. He's got his own, unique, song now, too.

In the "did OK" group were most of the rest of the team. Barry looked to be caught on the ball just a bit too much, Petrov was classy in patches but not quite convincing, though he did make a great chance for Carew to lash miles wide. Barry did similar for Petrov later on. He missed too. But it looks like the "dinked" cross to the far post might have been part of a plan.

Talking of which, the overriding impression of the two teams was that they are both exceedingly well coached, but both lack a touch of invention. The players of both sides were clearly playing to a plan, but neither side was quite able to break the shackles of the opponents. For us, it's quite pleasing to see progress in away games, where we won't be "undone" easily. For Newcastle fans, perhaps remembering how they used to blitz sides with abandon, it's maybe not so edifying. It can be a bit "samey" the Prem. All sports science, defensive tracking back and endeavour, and slightly lacking in spontaneity. The teams that can either afford or develop and also accommodate the extra ingenuity will be the ones who prosper.

Back to the players that were on the pitch, in this random ramble, Bouma was defensively excellent, as we've come to expect, but wasteful at times with the ball, and offers little offensive support. Craig Gardener on the other side was again defensively undone several times, and isn't a full back, but he did a job there, for the team.

Luke Moore came on as a sub with maybe 20 minutes to go and looked lively. He links well with Gabby and Ashley and is making himself available for the midfielders more than perhaps he did last season. We seem to play more as a team with him on the pitch.

Scott Carson was reassuring in goal - one first half save was excellent, and there were few, if any, misunderstandings with the rest of the defence, though he was scarcely troubled, truth be told. Looks a good signing, though.

There's only two more things to say. 50,000 people can make a lot of noise, and they're great fans, the Geordies, but there were only really about 2000 of them, and 2000 of us singing in the ground, up in the Gods. It used to be bedlam, before they enbiggened the ground. Shame that's gone, that atmosphere.

And finally, the drive back. being later than usual, I got to drive through the part of the country with the best scenery, but at twilight, and it was great. Though grey and rainy, the half light, the low clouds and the lack of towns and industry across the cumbrian and northumbrian hills interspersed only with the occasional lit up edifice of a giant factory, seemingly generating clouds, or perhaps mining for grit or clogs, or black puddings was like something out of Lord of the rings, or maybe a Bond villain's lair.

I'm glad football's back. Watching the cricket on the telly in the pub, made me sad that summer never really got to happen, this year, but today was good. Villa will be fine, too. We've got good players, are well coached, good support and just need something adding. If we get it , we could be really good.

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And finally, the drive back. being later than usual, I got to drive through the part of the country with the best scenery, but at twilight, and it was great. Though grey and rainy, the half light, the low clouds and the lack of towns and industry across the cumbrian and northumbrian hills interspersed only with the occasional lit up edifice of a giant factory, seemingly generating clouds, or perhaps mining for grit or clogs, or black puddings was like something out of Lord of the rings, or maybe a Bond villain's lair.

LOL! I used to think the same when coming through Stoke. :o

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There's only two more things to say. 50,000 people can make a lot of noise, and they're great fans, the Geordies, but there were only really about 2000 of them, and 2000 of us singing in the ground, up in the Gods. It used to be bedlam, before they enbiggened the ground. Shame that's gone, that atmosphere.

You've highlighted one of the biggest problems with St James' Park. That being away fans dont have a clue whats actually going on in the Gallowgate! Away fans generally spark a reaction from home fans, but you're so far away no one gives a toss, its just those 2000 you mentioned, known as the Ultra's in cup games, that are all that compete with you, the rest on the other side of the pitch, gallowgate and the corners there often even sing completely different songs to what is being sang by the newcastle fans next to you. The acoustics are very poor. If the away fans were moved down into the corner below you it would generate a better atmosphere. Milburn stand, which would have been to your right is too executive, john hall to your left the lower areas dont do much, east stand, the smallest one, the length of that towards the john hall is old men who can remember our last trophy! (Inter Toto Cup excluded). I moved season tickets towards the Gallowgate but in the east stand a few years ago and it made a massive difference! But its been measured that away fans are something ridiculous like half a mile away from the goal at the gallowgate end.

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...Thanks for the low down

"Luke Moore came on as a sub with maybe 20 minutes to go and looked lively. He links well with Gabby and Ashley and is making himself available for the midfielders more than perhaps he did last season. We seem to play more as a team with him on the pitch"..... sorry i should have pressed quote.

I agree.

While I think it was a very good point, I still think we play within ourselves at times and other teams with the same ability as us but more belief and a little more nous in respect of passing decisions, would possibly have come away with a win.

we must push on this year and turn draws in to wins..... as draws can very easily slip in to defeats.

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I was trying to count the steps to see if Blandy was right

oxygen starvation addled my brain at around 65 steps

at least the actual stand isnt as steep as Bolton though

Fair assessment of the game I think Peter, good report and an excellent titular reference :mrgreen:

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Fair assessment of the game I think Peter, good report

Ta, but then the report, such as it was kind of combined my perspective and the comments of the bloke stood next to me. :)

and an excellent titular reference :mrgreen:

It was nearly Kate Bush - Cloudbusting. But I just couldn't.

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Hooray!

Makes me feel like the season's begun...another Blandy report.

Well I have to say I'm happy you mentioned your position in the ground, because when the telly showed the villa faithful clapping I was shocked to see your lot so high up? It really looked odd.

Also, just have to say...while I rate Carew's foot and all that, I find myself slightly pleased (two weeks in a row now) when Moore comes on to partner Gabby. Which further pisses me off we have Harewood and not SWP.

Back to topic, Blandy I don't know what you mean when saying the summer never got to happen? Too much into the cricket, or did the summer just breeze by?

Just wondering.

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Back to topic, Blandy I don't know what you mean when saying the summer never got to happen? Too much into the cricket, or did the summer just breeze by?

Just wondering.

we've had no "summer" 3PO = we've had no sun/decemt weather.

which is a lie. We've had at least 2 days of decent weather this "summer" :winkold:

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Pretty much as jon said, Chris. We had a cracking spring, but since the middle of June all it's done is frigging rain - it's been like Autumn/Fall for the 2 months of the year where the weather is supposed to be the best we get.

Cricket is a fantastic sport, but spectating is not so much fun when you have to be wrapped up against the elements.

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