So, it has been a week to remember at St. James' Park- An historic victory over Manchester United followed up by a last minute winner over another team that Newcastle have had trouble with over the last several years. I suppose we should stop a step or two short of saying that the lads have broken out of their mid-season slump, but the indications sure are promising. Let's check out some news, check out some awesome and have a good laugh. Jump! Read! Discuss!
Check in at 1140 CST (1740 GMT) as I'll live-blog the 4th Round FA Cup Draw. Tremendous excitement to be had!
From the Department of "Of Course" Department
On Thursday the club announced a limited number of patches bearing the Virgin Money logo would be handed out, free of charge, to allow fans to update their existing Northern Rock shirts. Hundreds of fans arrived at the club’s St James’ Park shop from 9am yesterday - only to be told the logos’ delivery was running late. Fans were still queuing by 1pm – while many others were turned away as it was revealed the consignment only contained 200 patches after all.
All those who are surprised that this whole situation got botched? I thought so.
Toon icon Moncur told the Chronicle in a no-holds-barred interview: "I think the comments are unethical, and if true I am really disappointed in Harry Redknapp. "I know if the roles were reversed he would be furious. I just do not know why he would make such irresponsible remarks about a player at another club."
I couldn't get the second page of this article to pull up for some reason, so perhaps there are better quotes after this one... but the spirit remains here. I'll say it because Alan Pardew can't: 'arry- You have made Bob Moncur angry, and thus you have made me angry. KEEP DEMBA BA's (AND ANY OTHER NEWCASTLE PLAYER, FOR THAT MATTER) EFFING NAME OUT OF YOUR EFFING MOUTH. I hope the FA gets into you with their full venom and does you for tampering. I'm glad we could have this little chat, and wherever that whole wishing ill-will line lies, I wish you something right up close to it.
From the Department of Actual Player News Departent
Cabaye told the Chronicle: "Cheick and Demba will be big misses for us, they are great players, but we have trust in Danny Guthrie and Dan Gosling – and every player in the squad. "Everybody at Newcastle is in this together and we are all striving to take the club forward." Cabaye also singled out two of United’s youngsters for praise in Haris Vuckic and Mehdi Abeid. Vuckic starred alongside Cabaye at Liverpool in the final game of 2011 and grew into his midfield role gradually. Abeid has shown promise behind the scenes and also shone in his sole appearance so far in the Carling Cup.
I know that Cabaye has to be diplomatic and all about this, but this is really not so much a story as it is a Mouseketeer roll call of our center midfielders. It's great that we have the depth in center mid that we have... but Tiote's time out of the lineup with his knee showed us that Cabaye is nowhere near as effective with any of the other options. Perhaps this will be less pronounced this go around... at least we can hope.
The 5ft 7in winger is hoping for a February or March return but will be put under no pressure by the United medical team and won’t be rushed by a specific comeback date. The good news for the United backroom staff, though, is that Marveaux is back in the picture. The former Rennes star had been patient up until the Everton victory back in November, with the encounter with David Moyes’s troops his first start in the Premier League.
It's sounding that Sylvain is a little ahead of schedule in his return from his groin surgery, which can only help. With a shuffling of positions, it will provide additional Alan Pardew approved first team depth in the midfield (particularly if Raylor continues to get midfield run outs), something that we don't necessarily have for Jonas (remember Lovenkrands as the replacement after Spiderman's red card v. Man United?). Marveaux was quite exciting in his limited exposure at the beginning of the season, so this can only really be a good thing.
But Pardew reckons his United pass the ball better with Guthrie in the engine room – and he refutes the idea that Best has struggled since his stellar start to the season. "(Leon’s) started 10 and we’ve won seven of them," he said. "He’s had a good season this year. He hasn’t got the goals Demba has but with Demba out the way maybe the opportunities to score will come. "But he’s had a good season for us. "I think the Irish team need to have a very good look at him (ahead of Euro 2012) and he will get a lot more action now."
I have publicly argued Best's merit in the squad and I go back and forth on what I feel about it. I still believe that Best is our best choice in tandem with Demba (when he's here), but I'm unconvinced that he's our best option in the starting lineup without. Of course, I can't make a strong case for Shola, either. Please, Leon: AP is going to run you out regardless... please score a goal so I can quell this internal dialogue.
From the Department of Transfers Department
The West Ham boss has to decide if defender James Tomkins will feature against Sheffield Wednesday and in so doing wreck his chances of a dream move to link up again with his old boss Alan Pardew at Newcastle. Pardew has already had a £2.5million bid for Tomkins turned down by the Hammers, but is expected to up that to at least £3m. But the deal will almost certainly be scuppered if Tomkins plays today and is cup-tied as a result.
I'll be checking in to see what Big Sam does here. Not much more to say about it than that.
Disclaimer: The following is included purely as farce and is intended to get a little laugh.
Press reports have suggested a £10million offer would trigger his release and Liverpool are said to be keen to activate the clause, as Luis Suarez, Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll have managed just 11 league goals between them this term. However, any transfer will have to wait until the end of the season, as Ba is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
BAhahahahahahahahahaha. That is all. You see- Liverpool's forwards aren't scoring... Demba is... and ... release clause... meh... I just can't do it. Laugh accordingly, but reserve all vitriol just in case.