Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hilarious Alternative TV Shows To Geordie Shore

Being a daily reader of Football365.com, one of their articles they have going today is about the TV show Being:Liverpool and how boring it was. It was a bit dull to be fair. What was all the slow motion and dramatic narration from Clive Owen over a throw in...? They offer a top ten of 'alternative tv shows' for the world of football. Which is here: F365-s-Top-Ten-Alternatives-To-Being-Liverpool (If you haven't clicked this link to see what I am on about then the rest of this won't make any sense probably.)

Now we are all aware of a certain TV show set in Newcastle which brings nothing but embarrassment to our city and some of it's people. So here are my 'Alternative Football TV Shows' for our fine city and football club in the spirit of Being:Liverpool and possibly replacing Geordie Shore:

Ash In The Attic: Mike Ashley sells off every piece of cheap junk he can possibly find in his attic, in his garage or behind his sofa as he desperately tries to raise funds to buy new players for his football club, without having to resort to using his own cheque book. Presented by Ant 'n' Dec.

or

Ash In The Attic: Geordie girl Cheryl Cole shows us the things in her attic she got off Ashley Cole from the divorce to sell of to auction. His many medals, England caps, his little black book, his air rifle, penis pump, sex toys, years worth of condoms, boxes of unsold copies of his autobiography and many more hidden treasures. Presented by Donna Air.

T.I.O.T.E: Time Is Of The Essence: A '24' type tense thriller starring Cheik Tiote. The force of nature has 24 hours to play a game, get his haircut just right and save the world from nuclear destruction. All in a days work for the Newcastle number 24 (nice link).

Bigi Smalls: Gael Bigirimana embarks on a new career as a gangsta rapper. BBC Three looks into the players past as a refugee, his rise to the Premier League and hopefully to the top of the charts. Sucka.

The Simpsons: A satrical sitcom starring Danny Simpson and his dysfunctional family. A laugh a minute comedy has him as a part time defence lawyer who is at the butt of most things in which he shows a complete lack of ability to defend himself, never mind his paying client. No matter how hard he tries, he just can't defend.

Krul Intentions: This TV movie sees Tim Krul make a bet with his step-sister that he could bed every single member of Geordie Shore over just one weekend. If he loses, she gets his Jaguar. If he wins, he'll get chlamydia.

Jonas: This disturbing 'Saw' like horror sees Jonas Gutierrez join the Jonas Brothers Disney Channel TV show as their long lost cousin. Things soon turn ugly as they discover he is nothing but a fraud and carries out his intent of violently murdering one brother at a time. Each one more graphically disgusting than the last. Not for children. Certificate 18.


Band Of Ameobi Brothers: This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows brothers Shola and Sammy Ameobi start a 'Robson and Jerome' type band duo - SAS (Shola and Sammy). They travel the length and breadth of the country in there black and white van getting into adventures and solving mysteries. They end every show with a show stopping gig in the pubs and clubs. "Oooooh myyy loooovvee..."

The Lone Ranger: This sad show depicts the demise of the main character, Nile Ranger. He is a loser and a total waste of space. He ends up in court on several occasions and refuses to learn from his mistakes. He eventually completes his path of self destruction as he loses his employer, is kicked out of his home, gets beaten mercifully by drunken tramps and is left for dead. How will this lone ranger go on...? Does anyone really give a ****...?

If you have any more add them into the comments box. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano

Monday, 29 October 2012

Is NUFC European Side Better Than League Team?

After possibly the worst display from NUFC this season I couldn't help but look through my hands that were over my eyes and think...would our 'European team' beat our Premier League outfit? The more I thought about it, the more I decided, probably yea. If the two sides squared up against each other at St James' Park, the team in green would look the more impressive. So considering clubs get criticised for playing 'weaker' sides in Europe, what's going on?


Our line up versus West Brom had more of our senior players but it did not play anywhere near as well as the younger ones did on Thursday night, or against Bordeaux a few weeks ago. So how can this be? For me, the answer lies in the balance of the side. I asked the question in my last post, is Shane Ferguson our best choice at left back? From what I saw again from us in the league without him, I would say definitely yes. The reason being he brings that balance to the side, particularly in attack, by being naturally left sided and sticking to the sideline. Something Jose Enrique did very well for us. All to often when Santon got forward against West Brom he instantly cuts inside into a wall of traffic. He's then forced to play it backwards or to try something impossible like an eye of the needle pass or a 30 yard strike. He does this in every game he plays at left back. When he does find himself in behind the opposition, he doesn't have the left foot to whip the ball into the box. On the other side at right back, Danny Simpson showed again what I have witnessed for years now, he doesn't even get forward full stop. How many times did Danny Simpson go beyond the halfway line and attack WBA's left back? Hardly any. It's criminal. I'll be glad when he's gone I swear.

With Shane Ferguson in the team he gets forward down the left and attacks the defender down the outside. He then has the ability to whip the ball into the box with outstanding quality. He doesn't go wandering around the centre of the pitch and get crowded out like Santon. He finds half a yard and delivers. Simplicity itself. What this also does is push Santon to right back. When Jonas went to left back and Santon went to right back in place of the hopefully soon to be exiting Simpson, Davide never cut inside once. He didn't need to. He was on his comfortable side and he at least attempted crosses into the box. Santon supports his winger. Simpson does nothing but cover him. At home against team's like WBA, that isn't good enough. Ferguson at left back and Santon at right back is the way forward. I am adamant about this.


Another problem I am afraid is Jonas Gutierrez. I mean what is he? He isn't a winger. He isn't a central midfielder. He isn't a full back. I am all for versatile players but there is a difference between being versatile like Perch and not actually having a specialist position. Perch is a centre back. He can fill in other positions when needed. Jonas is a specialist at nothing. He's nothing but a hard worker who loves being fouled. He is statistically the most fouled player in the Premier League over the past few years. You know why? Because when he receives the ball everything suddenly seems to move in slow motion. It's like watching a scene from The Matrix. Jonas time and time and time again will receive the ball, not have a clue what to do with it, not get his head up to look for a pass, put his body in between the ball and the opposition player, feel a nudge...and then go down. Constantly. That's all he does. It's beyond frustrating now. It's just plain pathetic. The sooner he is out of the team and a specialist player is used instead for the position he would otherwise take up, the better. Once this happens our team will start to play with some assertiveness, with some speed in attack, with some cutting edge and some quality on the ball. Jonas needs to be dropped. Now.

I stress that the problem with our league team is at home on our turf. Away from home we haven't been that bad with dogged results gained at the mackems, Everton and Reading. This isn't a knee jerk reaction either from myself. We played poorly 90% of the time at home last season as well and managed to grind out wins, rather than play teams off the park.

The main problem with our League team compared to our European team, is it seems to lack a clear and effective identity. Does Pardew even know his best team? I don't think he does. We have played 9 league games now and in every single one, without fail, Pardew has changed the system at some point during the game. Sometimes after 20 mins, sometimes at half time, sometimes after an hour. The change is usually from the failing starting system of a flat and narrow 4-4-2, to some kind of version of a 4-3-3/4-5-1. Ironically it was almost the opposite on Sunday. 


We started with some kind of 4-3-3 and we actually dominated the game for half and hour up until we scored. We had Shola on the right and Benny on the left with Ba up front. It worked up to a point but West Brom threatened to hit us on the break and got in twice with Lukaku in a one-on-one situation. We had to rely completely on Krul. What scared me about Pardew's decision to play this system was to choose Shola over Cisse. Shola assisted Demba's goal but it wasn't down to the system, it was a lump up the field from our keeper flicked on by big Shola himself. Apart from this and a decent cross in the first 10 mins, Ameobi did nothing of any note. After a slow start to the second half Pardew than abandoned the system on the hour and went to 4-4-2. He dragged off Shola by bringing on Cisse. It didn't really work. We were even worse after we switched to this if anything. Now this sums up our league campaign. In the league there is no clear direction as to how we are going to play. There is far too much chop and change during games, never mind from one game to the next. This confusion, indecisiveness and lack of consistency is stalling our campaign from kick starting into gear. This is my point and the clear problem. We need to decide on a way of playing and stick to it.

Whereas if you look at the Europa League team, it's clear what our 'European' identity is. 4-2-3-1 with two sitting players, a player in the hole and two out and out attacking wide players. They know what they are doing. They know their jobs. So far they have carried them out admirably. Look at that team that has swept aside Bordeaux and Club Brugge to the one that has struggled against West Brom, Norwich and Aston Villa. Relying on luck or just plain individual brilliance...it's unrecognisable. It's a lesser team in my eyes even with the better individuals. It needs to change.

Our Premier League team needs to reflect our European team in everything except the individual. It needs to be the same system, same tactics, same mentality and same direction. When you add the fact of better players, it should be the better team. At this moment in time, I kid you not, my last tenner would be on the team in lime green against the one in black and white if they lined up against one another. Look at them potentially here:

European Team


League Team


The top one may look weaker on paper with individuals but they will play as a team, have balance, have cohesion, dominate the centre of the field with possession, get the ball out wide and drive at the defence. The full backs would get forward offering more width and cross the ball constantly into the box, they would have a player in the hole linking the striker to the midfield and not leave him totally exposed, they would look to play passes into feet and dominate the possession.

The team below would hoof the ball forward, have no width and would deliver no quality into the box. The right back would never get forward and the left back would constantly cut in and be crowded out easily, the central midfielders would be outnumbered and suffocated in front of the defence. They would resort to kicking it long for the majority of the game and hope for the best.

At the moment in time, the latter is what we are getting in the Premier League more often then not. The former is what we are getting in Europe. The Premier League team is struggling and has three unconvincing lucky wins. The European team has two dominant wins and is yet to concede a goal. I am not saying it's perfect but those two home performances against decent teams on a Thursday night, were a damn site better than every home game on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon so far. Head to Head - my money is on the Euro team.

We got the win against West Brom but we got lucky. Now I am not going to just discard that luck quickly as we have had our fair share of bad luck so far this season. The derby Demba Ba own goal being the latest. But I want this lucky win to be the catalyst to our season. I want it to be the catalyst to Alan Pardew to say, do you know what, we have had our moments of fighting against adversity like the mackems and Everton games, but overall we've been awful in the league so far. Call a spade a spade. Then say, well we have been impressive in Europe so we're getting something right there. Maybe what we are doing on a Thursday night in the more experimental team is the way forward for the senior team as well. The system I am picking along with certain personnel in specific positions, like at left back with Fergie and two sitting midfielders, brings a balance and a control to our game. We look to pass the ball instead of lumping it in hope. We're top of our group and have yet to concede a goal. This is the team I want to take into the stuttering league season.

Having said all of the above, the best team for me from what I have seen and taking everything into account is the following:



Ba and Cisse would swap position every 15 mins or so giving each player a fair crack at centre forward. Ben Arfa would be given the free role in the hole he craves and is most effective at. Cabaye and Tiote (Bigi in his absense) would marshall midfield they do so well. Obertan or Sammy would provide the constant width from the right without wandering around the pitch too much, which Ben Arfa tends to do. The full backs would support the wide men and offer delivery from out wide instead of just covering the winger defensively.

The above team should be the Plan A for all home matches from now on. That team would get our league campaign back on track. That team would be able to string 3 passes together. That team would refrain from kicking the ball long in sheer blind hope and would look to pass the ball through midfield. That is a team I would put my last ten quid on to be able to sweep away sides the likes of West Ham and Swansea, who we play in our next two home league games, without much of a drama

Whether Pardew will come to this conclusion is still to be seen, but he should. Once and for all.

Howay The Lads!

(Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Shane Ferguson - First Choice Left Back?

After another fine performance from Shane Ferguson last night in the 1-0 win over Club Brugge, is he now our best option at left back? I am starting to think so.


Santon has been pretty solid at left back but there is one obvious weakness in his game and that's a lack of a left foot. When he charges up the left hand side he looks to cut inside whenever he can, once he does so, he hardly threatens the goal nor find a cutting pass to open up the opposition. He is no where near as effective as Fergie, who does the good old fashioned thing of whipping a cross into the box for the striker to feed off. And what a cross it is more often than not. He already has a few assists to his name in a handful of games. If it weren't for Cisse's bullet header hitting the keeper last night, he would have had another one added to the list.

I am not saying drop Santon altogether because with Fergie on the left, Santon has been given his chance at right back and he is just as solid. He is a better player than Danny Simpson and seeing as Vurnon Anita seems to have somewhat 'refused' (I use the term lightly) to play full back any more in favour of midfield, Davide Santon could/should make this position his own. Plus this may sound obvious but when he goes on one of his marauding runs via the right hand side of the pitch, there is nothing hindering him to whip a ball into the box. I can see him and Benny being a nice little partnership down that right hand side, they suit each other somehow. The pair of good looking bar stewards... ; D.

As far as Fergie goes, there is still a question mark over his defensive capabilities at the highest level. He started against Man Utd twice this season and I can't really remember him being totally exposed to an alarming level by any means. Not on the scale of James Tavernier unfortunately in the Europa League a couple of times. Plus there is only really one way to find out...play him.


Danny Simpson's contract runs out in the summer and I reckon it is safe to assume he won't be an NUFC player come next season. Can't say I am that bothered, never really been a fan. So having Davide Santon fill this 'gap' seems like the best option to me with Shane Ferguson given his fair crack at the left back spot. I think we should come to this decision now and see how it goes. Especially before January because if Fergie does seem to be lacking that defensive quality we need, than bringing in Mathieu Debuchy (remember him) could be the best option after all. However, if Ferguson continues his rise and get's even better than what we have seen so far than the club could save itself a bit of money in scrapping the Debuchy deal once and for all and use it for other areas to strengthen. Like centre back for example. I would much rather the club spent £5mil on Douglas than Debuchy as it stands.

Give Fergie a crack Pardew and see what he can do. He brings balance and quality delivery from that left hand side. Something we lack desperately at the moment. Jonas aint no left winger, sick of saying it. Shift Santon to the right in place of the soon to be gone Simpson and we can all look to the future of our defensive line. In my opinion, it looks pretty healthy...we can always add Debuchy next season once Simmo's wages are off the books.

Howay the lads!

(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Marveaux Left Out In The Cold?

Pardew has confirmed a few starters for this evenings match in the names of Cheik Tiote, Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi without giving the full team away. So assuming Gabriel Obertan will start as well as Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi, where is the place for Sylvain Marveaux? I can't see one.

I hope Pardew goes for a 4-2-3-1 come 4-4-1-1 formation which he has tended to do in Europe so far with Shola dropping in behind Cisse. Sammy on the right with Obertan on the left like he did with great success versus Bordeaux. This suits us then better the flat 4-4-2 Pardew insist's with in the Premier League. The man 'in the hole' is the key. He's the link between midfield and attack. I don't care whether it's Shola, Cabaye or even Marveaux himself, this postion is key to how we want to play. Lumping it forward is for school kids, Stoke City and Fat Sam. Not for us thanks.

So going back to Marveaux I am disappointed by his lack of chances in the first team. He is a class act. He got once chance away at Everton in a containing role to try and stop Leighton Baines. It didn't work and it seems he has suffered for it. This seems far too harsh to me. There was also confusion in August when he wasn't originally in the squad, someone got injured, but no-one could find him to tell him he was now on the bench. Marv's gone AWOL was the cry from some. It was later explained that he had to leave the stadium to tend to his sick daughter, whether this is actually true or not, who know's.

I really hope there are no problems with Marv and Pardew as I think he is well worthy of our first team. There are few better players on the ball at our club that can effortlessly drift with it and always find the right pass. Cabaye is always looking for the right ball but Marveaux brings a balance to the midfield with that left foot of his. Something Jonas Gutierrez simply does not have for e.g. I like Marveaux, if it is true that he won't be starting the game versus Brugges tonight than I will be disappointed. He deserves a chance. More than some others.

The team tonight as far as I can guess will be the following:

Krul; Simmo; Saylor; Perch; Ferguson; Tiote; Anita; Obertan; Sammy; Shola; Cisse.

I hope I am way off the mark and Sylvain finds himself a spot in the team after all and I look a little stupid for even writing this. I am not holding my breath though.

Good luck anyway lads. Howay!!

(Comments welcome. Follow me on twitter @ToonBano

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fabricio Coloccini - Best NUFC Defender In My Lifetime

After The Derby on Sunday a few things were confirmed. a) the mackems are absolutely awful. They played for an hour against 10 men on their own patch, only managed one shot on target and had to rely on a lucky own goal off Demba Ba's face. Demba is now mackems second top scorer this season. Charity case of a club. b) Tiote needs to just calm the hell down. We all love his commitment and the way he plays but his card record of one every two games is shocking. It's like he wants to be booked. c) Fabricio Coloccini is the best defender I have seen play for Newcastle United football club in my lifetime.

The lad is class. Pardew said he played like Bobby Moore. I am not going to disagree. Although I am not sure whether Pard's had actually seen Bobby play in the flesh but never mind, I knew what he meant. Captain Colo displayed yet another cool, calm and collected performance that sets him apart from every other centre back we have on our books at the moment. In fact, he is a class above anyone I have ever see line up for us at centre back.

Jonathan Woodgate had the talent but he was injured too often and hardly played for us before his out of the blue transfer to Real Madrid. Philippe Albert is a cult hero and will be forever remembered as a legend on Tyneside. He summed up Keegan's era really by playing as a centre back but yet having keen a eye for goal. We all remember THAT chip over Schmeichel. I think he even played up front for Belgium. Speaking of goal scoring centre backs, Nicos Dabizas may have been a bit lacking in defensive greatness but he is still the highest scoring defender in our history. Including at the home of the mackems stadium of plight. I respect that. Amongst the talented however, we have also had more than our fair share of duds. Deep breath...Bramble, Boumsong, Cacapa, Charvet, Dumas, Goma, Johnsen, Marcelino, Moore to name but a few. Plus this doesn't include full backs. We've had our fair share of jokers in that position as well. No matter who look at as part of our defence in the Premier League era though, Captain Colo is a cut above them all.

If you're looking to rate a defender than you look for positioning, marking, reading of the game, interceptions, tackles, blocks, heading, starting attacks as well as stopping them. Coloccini has all of these qualities. The player we have now is a much better player than the one that arrived for a good £10m in 2008. A lot better. In fact, he wasn't rated as up to much at all in sum sections of our fan base. I was one of them. He seemed another example of the expensive, overpaid, not good enough for our club transfer policy that plagued our football club for the years after Sir Bobby was sacked. He was a part of the team that got relegated in his first season and we all expected him to move on along with the other vastly paid 'footballers' we had on our books. But he wasn't sold. He stayed. He didn't look for the next plane leaving Newcastle Airport. He stuck to the cause and played for the shirt in the Championship season as if it were the Premier League. He won us over. It has to be said that I am unaware of anybody actually being interested in him to give him a decision to make, but who cares. He didn't down tools and force a move away like some others that will remain unnamed.

He is our highest paid player on something in the region of £80k a week, which is way above our wage cap of £50k for all new signings, but who thinks he isn't worth it? Considering his age of 30 and the fact he is on so much wages it could be seen as a surprise that he was given a 4 year extension on his deal back in March of this year. Derek Llambias makes it well known to all of us that we have a transfer policy of 'buy'em young and cheap; sell'em on for profit'. Plus we all know Ashley is tighter than a duck's rear end on a frozen pond when it comes to spending money on the actual team. So even they can see how important and crucial he is to our football club. He must be good then...

The way Colo plays I cant see why he should lose his powers over the next few years as he runs down (probably) his final contract as an NUFC player. He has never really had any pace but he makes up for it with excellent anticipation and his reading of the game. Hopefully Steven Taylor will learn enough to take his place admirably when the time comes for Captain Colo to hopefully move into the coaching staff one day. But until then, I sincerely hope our leader keeps himself off the treatment table as much as he can as we are a much better team all round, never mind in defence, when he is on the pitch leading by example and showing the rest of the Premier League defenders how it done. He was voted into the PFA Team Of The Year last season and if he plays like he has threatened to in the handful of games he's starred in so far, he will be knocking on the door for that achievement again. If not even win the league's best defender out right.

Keep up the good word Colo. The memories of Bramble, Boumsong, Marcelino & others fade by the second...

Howay The Lads!

(Comments welcome below. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Sports Direct Signs Ripped Down - Pictures

I'll keep this short and sweet. Today the dog-awful, shameful Sports Direct signs (and spit) that have defaced our famous stadium are being ripped down and hopefully will never be seen again. Look!


This puts an end to a sorry year or so where Sky Sports, Match Of The Day and newspapers alike have been calling our stadium by this cheap nonsense. All of which was completely unnecessary. Let's face it, how much are Wonga actually paying us to call the stadium what it should be? A million quid? That's certainly way short of the '£8 to £10 million' Mr Llambias told us re-branding the stadium name would bring. The fact that Wonga have called it St James' in the first place just shows how ridiculous the whole thing was.

I am not going to go on a rant. But this image reminds of when a few 'fans' tried to do this themselves during a reserve game a few months back. Now I don't condone vandalism and as you may have noticed I use the term 'fans' loosely, they were just louts for all I know. But I certainly didn't mind the fact these signs were being ripped apart. I'd probably do it myself if I could have managed to bear stepping into the stadium surrounded by that cheap crap. However, I just took the high road. Now that these signs are down and the St James' Park sign will be back, I may be tempted to step back into the stadium I love. Maybe. Mr Ashley is still in his seat in the stadium and I would find it very hard to sit within 500 feet of him. Reason being for the good that has come from his tenure, financial stability being the main one, he is still the man responsible for some of the most embarrassing and totally unnecessary moments in our history. Since he came here we have had a year of Joe Kinnear in charge, a year in the Championship and a year in the Sports Direct Arena. All of which make me want to throw up and find one of these signs and smash 'em in his face.

At this stage right here and now we find ourselves back in Europe after 5 years of his 'leadership' but at what cost? Was is necessary to drag the club to the depths it has gone to? No. No way. Before he came here, we had a year in the Uefa Cup under Glenn Roeder and we weren't a million miles away from being a top 6 European team again then. What we are experiencing now could, if not should, have been met within the first year or two of when Ashley first wore the black n white shirt downing a pint with the fans. After all, what kind of a football club that is on the edge of being a top team again is the subject of a billionaire takeover, then goes backwards? So backwards that it gets relegated? Relegated just 2 years after being in the Uefa Cup? Embarrassment.

Anyway, I said I would keep it short and wouldn't rant. I'm resisting. The signs are down. St James' sign will be back up. So can we all just forget this sorry affair ever happened please? Thank you!

.........until the next one.

(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

National Journalists Attitude Towards NUFC Is A Disgrace

Can I just try and shed some light on the real issue some of our national journalists have as regards to this 'controversial' 'disgraceful' new sponsorship deal for Newcastle Utd.

Now I could go on for days about this but I wont, I will leave that to my Twitter feed in which some of you may or not have seen @ToonBano

In fact, speaking of my Twitter feed, Simon Bird of the Mirror has been making himself very heard towards some of our local journalists in the Newcastle area over the past couple of days. His main gripe isn't the deal itself but the fact he and other National Hacks weren't invited to the press conference Wonga and the club had put on yesterday to announce this deal. Now this seemed to infuriate Mr Bird no end and he let his feelings known. You can check out his Twitter feed over the past 2 days if you like. It's quite a read if you're into biased, hidden agenda, tripe. @simonbirdmirror

So reading into why The Mirror and others are so upset is because never mind the feelings towards Wonga that are argumentative at best and are a sub story to the real news. Never mind this nerver ending attitude towards Newcastle Utd as a football club the national hacks seem to have sub-consciously imprinted in their brains for some unknown reason. The real reason Simon and others are so annoyed beyond belief and are intent on making a storm out of a non-event wet fart like this, is because they weren't invited to the press conference? Leaving the local journalists to ask all of the questions and the nationals left sitting on their hands in seemingly fists of fury. How pathetic do you want to be?

Simon Bird summed up his disdain and arrogance nicely when he tweeted one of our local journos from The Journal, "I hope the local journos ask the tough questions about their (Wongas) business ethics"

Yea because;
a) local journos are completely incapable of asking 'tough' questions.
b) I think you'll find it was local journos who wrote stories about some local residents and supporters feelings about this potential deal and this wouldn't even be a story if it weren't for them reporting on it in the first place.
c) Forget the fact Wonga will be paying the local team the biggest amount of sponsorship money it has ever received. Forget the fact they have bought the local stadium naming rights and have decided to call it St James' Park again which has been met with huge support from the local people. Forget the fact that Wonga have agreed to invest in not just NUFC's academy for local talent but also in a foundation ran by the club which helps local youths find work in these tough economical days. The real tough question that needs to be asked at a Newcastle United Football Club press conference is, 'Why do you charge 4000% on your loans?"

Absolutely, laugh out loud, ridiculous.

As for the general press who are not based in the north east like Mr Bird. Can I ask an obvious question? Where were the stories about Blackpool and Hearts football clubs when they brokered a deal to be sponsored by Wonga? Well? I haven't seen any. Blackpool were a Premier League team when they were sponsored by Wonga and nobody wrote any stories criticising that football club. So what's so special about Newcastle? One argument is that Newcastle is full of some of the poorest people in the country and the exact type of residents Wonga target and exploit. Well so lets look into shall we?

If you were to look at the Chuch Urban Top 10 Poorest Areas In The UK no Newcastle area seems to appear. However, if you look a bit closely at the top 10 list you will clearly see an area of, that's right, Blackpool in there. South Shore, Blackpool to be precise  Now, where were the stories telling the whole world that Blackpool football club are a disgrace for associating itself with this loan lending firm when they have one of the poorest areas in the UK in its city? There weren't any. But yet we are chastised and subjected to national disgrace once again. My point being that Newcastle seem to be Fleet Street's favourite poking space is well and truly just.

Another story I have seen around that has emerged overnight is the fact that some of our Muslim players may refuse to wear the Wonga logo on their shirts due to religious reasons. Apparently the Muslim faith does not approve of the act of lending money whilst charging interest for financial gain. A rich people taking advantage of the poor and needy if you will. Now none of us would have a problem with this if indeed our players refused to wear the new sponsorship logo for religious reasons. However, one major flaw with this story is as obvious as the nose on our Muslim players face. Alongside these stories, the national hacks have numerous pictures of Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheik Tiote proudly wearing the black and white shirt with Virgin Money on the front. Now correct me if I am wrong, but don't banks offer loans to customers with an interest rate attached so they can make some financial gain from the transaction? I think they do. So let me get this straight. They are more than willing to wear a bank, but somehow they will be unwilling to wear a loan lending company?

Again, absolute laugh out loud, ridiculous, tripe. How dumb are these people?

National Hacks. You're a joke and a disgrace. Please get a life and stop with this misguided agenda towards this proud football club. It's beyond a joke now. I mean tell us, what exactly did we do to you? I'm fascinated to find out.

(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Show Me The Wonga! St James' Park Is Back!

It has been confirmed that Wonga.com, the money lending website, will be NUFC's new main sponsorship for the next 4 years and will have pride of place on the black and white shirts. The club officially announced it on their website earlier this afternoon, but it had more information in it then I was expecting. Which you can read here... Newcastle-Agree-Four-Year-Wonga-Deal

The sponsorship agreement is for the shirt and no mention of the stadium rights was within it. However, according to reports such as from The Chronicle, the stadium rights have also been sold or at least have been agreed to change. But have no fear Toon fans, it won't be called 'The Wonga Arena'...St James' Park is back! 

It was expected that Wonga would only be the shirt sponsors and not be involved in the stadium which is what the statement from the club seemed to confirm. However reports from local media are saying that Wonga has in fact purchased the stadium name, or have at least requested the name to be changed as part of the sponsorship deal and have decided to rename it back to St James' Park. This does sound strange as you would expect Wonga to be in it somewhere but they probably will replace the dog awful Sports Direct signs for that of shiny new bright blue Wonga.com one's instead. Now these may be as much of an eyesore as SportsDirect but it's a small price to pay to have our identity, history and dignity back. More details on this will be released I am sure, but as for now I am aware that the stadium name is back. Thank the lord. Read here: Wonga Revert Stadium Name

Now, the announcement today included that as well as being the club's shirt sponsor, Wonga will be investing in the youth academy as well as other projects such as the Newcastle Utd Foundation which helps 15-16 yr olds find work as well as being involved in a new fan's forum. That could be interesting...

My initial feelings on this is that I don't have a problem with this deal at all and welcome it. If Wonga are paying us more £££ than Virgin than so be it. That's what it is about at the end of the day. The announcement that Wonga will also be investing into our youth academy is what caught my eye the most though. I wasn't expecting that.

Our youth academy (disgracefully) has not met the grade of Category One status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). The reason NUFC failed to reach this level was because they failed to meet the criteria of investing at least £2.5m and have 18 full time staff dedicated towards it. Like I say, absolutey disgraceful. Especially when you consider Sunderland and Middlesbrough do meet the criteria. People say Mike Ashley has invested heavily into our club...but he cant stump up or invest in the academy properly? Fat useless Joker. All this being said, if Wonga.com want to do Mike Ashley's job for him then so be it. It's very much welcome in my eyes. Having the best possible youth academy set up is never a bad thing, so the announcement that Wonga.com will invest £1.5mil towards it is good news and not something any of us were expecting. I may also have to check out this new forum they mention. Look out...

However, with every announcement our football club makes these days there are arguments against it. I am usually on the side of these grumbling masses but I can't see the reason for being with them on this one. Some people are unhappy that with a new sponsor comes a new shirt for next season. Seeing as this season shirt is different to the last, in which that one was even different to the one previous to that, then that will be 4 new shirts in 4 consecutive seasons. If parents have a child/chidren who has to have the most up to date shirt no matter what, then another birthday/xmas present may have been added to the list. Again. 

Other people are just unhappy at the sponsorship company themselves. Wonga have a bad rap on most fronts for having over the top interest rates for the money they lend people. Not to mention those annoying adverts. Now I have some sympathy for those parents who have fashion driven kids, I was a new shirt every season kid myself, but I dont have any agreement with these other grumbling fools. I mean, whats the problem? Are Wonga associated with the Taliban? Do they sell drugs to kids with every loan? Do they provide funds to the Syrian Army? Not to my knowledge. So what are you going on about now? So they have a high interest rate or some rubbish. So what. You don't have to use them. Just because they sponsor the club doesn't necessarily mean the club supports their business methods and should be now associated with everything they do. Its a sponsorship deal, not a company merger. If they want to pay us vast's amount of money in which we can use that to buy new players for the team and if they want to invest in our academy to help bring youngsters into the first team, then let them. Moaning and complaining because you wont like their logo on the shirt is so short sighted it's ridiculous. Get over it. It's not like it's SportsDirect.com for the sake of no return in investment, like the stadium was. Now you had my full support on that one.

No actual number of how much the club will be receiving has been announced by the club as of yet but it will be in the region of £5m and above, as this was what Virgin were reportedly paying the club. Now, I know Mike Ashley is a lot of things, but I cant see him cancelling one sponsorship deal for another for less money. So it's safe to assume this. I think...


So a bright blue Wonga logo will don the shirt next season and for the next 3 season after that. If this brings with it a huge chunk of wonga that the club use wisely on new players and the academy then it's very much welcome. Plus having the rightful stadium name back is music to all of our ears and it's about bloody time. The fact a money lending company had to make this happen is slightly staggering. But I am sure Mike will now claim that changing it in the first place has now been justified. That's his style after all. I can also get over being linked, not associated, with those annoying adverts on telly or the criticism the company receives from some sectors. I dont really care to be honest.
Although I am still upset slightly that the club have declined my offer of ToonBano.com to brand the shirts for the foreseeable future. I made them a canny offer they will never see the likes of which again...their loss.

Howay The Lads!! St James' is back!

(Comments welcome. Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano)