Good Morning, Toon fans! Here's a morning appetizer for the Manchester United match to come later in the day. It's interesting how news happens-- I was aware of a reporter from the Sun running into HBA on the street and having a conversation that ended up in the Sun (all knowledge thanks to the glories of Twitter), but had no idea that it would turn into a blast of HBA stories this morning. I guess I should have expected it. Today, then, we've got some conversation about Manchester United, on Hatem Ben Arfa, and on potential player movement- Steve Harper out to Hull and defender rumors that are going to frustrate me very quickly this month if the continue the way they're doing already.
I rant on it a bit after the actual link, but sometimes you have to extend a field of logic around a decision, step back and look at it and see if it really makes sense. For me, it's not working out logically in this particular situation. In the interest of not repeating myself, check it out down the page a bit after the jump. Go! Do it!
On Manchester United
NEWCASTLE United could face Manchester United tonight with a new sponsor emblazoned across their shirts, it is understood. The club’s kit sponsor Northern Rock may be replaced with the Virgin Money logo after a late deal was brokered between the team and the company.
I mean... I guess this is good... but how am I going to properly support my club if my jersey doesn't match?
"I am well informed there will be a few back for this game and I’m not surprised because I think Alex knows it is a tough game coming to Newcastle," said Pardew, who watched from the Old Trafford stands on Saturday. "I know 100% Rooney will play, and I think Ferdinand and Smalling will play, so suddenly their side looks a lot more balanced, significantly. "I think Giggsy might be involved because he sat in the stands on Saturday. "He (Ferguson) knows this will be a tough game. When he came last season (for a 0-0 draw), he said afterwards there’s something about coming here, it’s a tough place to come. He knows that from history so he will put out his best possible side out.
I guess this is a good thing. If they're not resting players it means our squad is stronger, right?
Newcastle's last victory over Manchester United - in any competition - was a 4-3 Premier League win on September 15, 2001, four days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that shook the world. The game was marred by a last-minute flashpoint between the two captains, Newcastle's Alan Shearer and Roy Keane of United.
Gutierrez believes the Magpies have a great chance of pulling off a famous scalp. He added: "If we do the things right, we can take the three points. "There is a long way to go – we are only halfway through the season – but it is a good opportunity. "We are in a good position, and if we collect the three points it will be perfect for us. "We are in seventh position, and we don’t want to lose that position."
Pardew is hoping that Ben Arfa can be the man who steps up to the plate in the next few weeks, with Demba Ba away on international duty with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations. Pardew told the Chronicle today: "We have Man United coming tonight and we have to see if he can make an impact in that game. "We have Blackburn in the FA Cup and then Queens Park Rangers – games in which we need more from Hatem. Hopefully we can get that." Pardew emphasised that with Ba’s absence, there could be no better time for Ben Arfa, who could be set for a place on the bench again this evening, to give him another goalscoring option.
Hatem Ben Arfa is all over the papers last night to this morning-- firstly with Steve Brenner of the Sun (who met Hatem on the street and had a conversation. I refuse to link that convo for the sensationalist headline put on it.) and then with a whole bunch of other people. So here's the Hatem Ben Arfa chapter of today's links.
The former Marseille playmaker said: "When I scored at Bolton, I was close to tears because I could feel the positive vibes from the fans sweeping down from the stands. "It was my first goal since coming back from injury. "The atmosphere when I scored was moving and it brought a tear to my eye. "It was one of the best moments of my career."
I love you. I love your talent. I think that you are under-utilized in the current system that AP is employing. I get it. However, before you start attempting to lay claim to THE Number 9 shirt, first score me a bunch of goals, eh? You look great in the number 10 until then. Please do not let your jersey number affect your goal scoring prowess.
Ben Arfa said the "working class" vibe in the city helped sway his decision to sign a five-year contract. He told the Chronicle: "I share the same values as the Newcastle fans. "I am from a working class background – my family work very hard too. "I know in Newcastle, people work hard during the week and when it comes to the weekend they want to chill out and watch a great game. "If we win they go to work very happy and I want to share that with them."
As I mentioned in one of my very very early pieces for CHN, the culture of Newcastle as a city is inseparable from the club's identity. I'm actually a little surprised to learn this about Hatem, but it certainly puts all my consideration about the him in a different light. Also, there's a video on this link that looks like it could be very very interesting if you speak French. I don't sadly.
On ACON Players and Transfer Links
NICK Barmby intends to act quickly to solve Hull City's goalkeeping crisis with a new arrival expected within the next 48 hours. Newcastle United veteran Steve Harper is understood to head City's shortlist, with Wolves' Dorus de Vries also under consideration. With current options Peter Gulacsi and Adriano Basso now both nursing knee injuries, recruiting a new keeper is an urgent concern.
Let's be honest. I want Steve Harper to be done right by. He deserves it. BUT. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why nobody is interested in going after Rob Elliott?
Pardew said: 'We're in contact with the FA to see what's been decided with every other club, because it has to be fair. There's an impact on us, losing those two players, and we're trying to make sure they play against Blackburn. 'We want to know when all the African players are going - on Saturday morning, or Friday, or after the game on Sunday. When is it they have to report officially?'
... is this not something that we should be able to get figured out without appealing to the FA? If every other club has it sorted... /sigh At least we're efforting to keep them, right?
Rodgers recently placed an £8million price tag on [Ashley] Williams in an attempt to scare off interested teams but it looks increasingly likely they have a battle to keep hold of the defender this month, with Newcastle reportedly ready to offer him a big increase on his present £15,000 a week salary.
Ostensibly, we're £3m apart in valuation as we're reported to be tabling a £5m bid. Guess we'll see on this one.
But a bid for Blackburn Rovers defender Chris Samba has been ruled out as under the club’s current recruitment policy the 27-year-old is deemed too old while his £60,000-a-week wages are too high for the club.
Let us take a moment to collect ourselves and establish ourselves a moment of logic. I understand that you, Newcastle United, are interested in primarily acquiring players aged 25 years and under. Now you understand, Newcastle United, that if you are making a very public show of extending the contract of your captain (a 29-year-old Argentinian centre-half) for multiple years, it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE NOT TO GO AFTER CHRISTOPHER SAMBA BECAUSE HE"S 27. I'm glad we could have this moment.
Hey! It's Match Day! Enjoy treading water until kick-off :)