Well, that could have gone worse, eh? In somewhat stark contrast to the end of last year's January window, Newcastle United was out of the brightest spotlight with the only real story emerging late in the night last night regarded a loan inquiry from Celtic for Leon Best. I'm not entirely certain when we can call time on all the late-announced deals, but I think we can rest fairly assured that if a deal was done for one of our big players we'd have known it by now.
And the time ticks on. . . we turn our attention to Blackburn Rovers... again... and for the last possible time this season. Thankfully. I have come to the conclusion that Blackburn are a miserable club to find on your fixture list 4 times in a season. Also in the news today, Yohan Cabaye denies the violent conduct charge, "a big signing still to come for Newcastle", and a massive clear out at the reserves level. Jump on in!
Cabaye and Blackburn
The spokesman added: "Cabaye was charged following an incident in The FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Brighton Hove Albion on Saturday, January 28. "A regulatory commission will hear the charge on Wednesday, February 1, 2012." Either way, Newcastle will know if Cabaye will be available or suspended for Wednesday's Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn well in advance.
There is inherent risk in this move. The initial ban was 3 matches and if this denial is deemed "frivilous", the ban could be extended to 4 matches... but I guess they feel the risk-reward ratio is right. Adam El-Abd is said to have sent communication to the panel in support of Cabaye, so perhaps the frivilous thing is out on that strength. Should know soon.
Pardew was still reeling from the FA Cup exit to Brighton today. But he genuinely believes the Mags were unlucky on the south coast. He said: "We looked at the technical and fitness stats, and they were good. "We played well. When you analyse the game, we should have won it. "Nine times out of 10, playing like we did, we would have, but we couldn’t get the goal, and a breakaway has cost us. We’re not too painful about the performance, but we’re painful about the result."
I think that the supporters, now being over the worry of the January window, are not going to react well to a "cancel-out" tonight on the heels of The Fulham Capitulation and The Brighton Botch-up. Just sayin'.
Ameobi had a final message for the Toon Army ahead of the midweek journey to the North West. "The fans were there in full voice and fantastic," Ameobi said about those supporters who made the trip to Brighton. "It is disappointing we did not give them a victory, but hopefully they will stay behind us and keep pushing us on, as they have done all season. "Hopefully, we can give them a performance and victory tonight."
Shola has been around a long, long time, so he gets to talk. But let's be honest. He was a big part of the problem v. Brighton. I'll not soon forget the images him wandering around like a zombie in the right attacking corner when we were searching for a leveling goal.
The Newcastle manager told the Chronicle: "Colo will be fine – he’s trained for two days now. "We look forward to him coming back."
Wrapping the Window +The Reserves
The Journal understands Fabricio Coloccini’s Brazil-based agent is due in Tyneside for the final stages of negotiations over a five-and-a-half year contract for the Newcastle skipper.
Mark Douglas at the Journal tried to tease this last night, but it was seen right through by Toon supporters. Clever paper is .. . not so clever.
NEWCASTLE reserves romped into the Northumberland Senior Cup final after dismantling Bedlington Terriers in the semi-final at Whitley Park. Willie Donachie’s side booked their place in the St James’ Park final after strolling to a 5-1 victory against the Northern League outfit.
So the Reserves have qualified for a cup final with a 5-1 victory, immediately on the heels of a 6-0 setback to Manchester United Reserves. As Willie Donachie has relied more and more on the younger players (read: not first team squad members), the results have gone downhill significantly. Which leads us to probably the biggest story:
Mike Ashley TOON owner Mike Ashley is believed to have ordered a major revamp at Newcastle United – in a move which sees the Magpies attempt to keep pace with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. United ended the January transfer window last night as third-top spenders behind Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers after signing Papiss Cisse. Although FC Twente’s Douglas is near the top of their transfer list this summer, Newcastle are looking to the future. The Chronicle understands United are not only hoping to add a clutch of quality additions to the first-team pool this summer, but they will also put emphasis on the layers beneath Alan Pardew’s senior roster. United have cleared the decks at the club’s Benton base with a host of younger players told they have no future at the club. A United insider told the Chronicle: "The vision is for a brighter future at Newcastle. "The owner is prepared to put money behind the latest project. "It will give the club every chance to compete with clubs around Europe and beyond to make sure they can unearth some of the untapped talent which is clearly already out there." The brief to United’s scouting network is set to be intensified with talent from across the globe being lined up as part of an exciting new chapter in the club’s forward-thinking blueprint. It means Toon players such as Hungarian international Tamas Kadar, Faroe Isles international Joan Edmundsson, Jeff Henderson, Greg McDermott, Patrick Nzuzi and Dan Taylor, Phil Airey – currently on loan at Gateshead – have been told to find new clubs, while Ryan Donaldson is also out of contract at the end of the season. The gulf in class between Newcastle’s second string and Manchester United was underlined last week in a 6-0 defeat which was one of the final deciding factors in a brave but exciting step forward.
Some of this is slightly surprising, a lot of it is not... but the statement is huge. Phil Airey has always looked like he was playing himself out of a contract renewal. Tamas Kadar has also failed to impress. This is the piece of the puzzle that makes the reports of January interest in players such as Wilfried Zaha and Anthony Knockaert make sense. Mike Ashley is said to have earmarked £15m over the next couple of years to accomplish this major re-forming of the reserve squad.
Also- I have been nervous to complete it, but I'll have a "wrapping the January window" piece coming up soon now that it appears that we have, in fact, survived January in tact.