It's another Monday and the weather has turned glorious in celebration of Newcastle's victory over West Brom on Sunday. Well, perhaps the two events are unrelated... but you'll never convince me of that. Sitting level with Chelsea on 50 points (5th in points, 6th by our awful goal differential) with now 8 matches left in the season- and by the way, only 5 points behind a struggling Tottenham Hotspur side for 4th... It's certainly easier to start another week as a Newcastle fan.
Rumors are running through the press like Mexican water these days as they'd much rather talk about the dismantling of our club than actually deal with our continued presence at the top of the table, with Mark Lawrenson notably suggesting a £10m + Demba Ba exchange for the former number 9 shirt. With Lawrenson's track record predicting things about the Toon, worry levels won't be high just at this time about such a move. I think he's off a bit, however. I think a cash + player deal such as that would have to be more in the line of £33.5m cash plus the player if it were to be made (not that I would welcome the former number 9 back at the club anyway, mind). Sooo.... let's get to real news!
Steve Harper eyes move from Newcastle | Mail Online
'I've got another year on my contract after this season and I've got no thoughts of retiring yet. 'Tim has the potential to go on and have a fantastic career. The good thing about him is he willing to listen and learn. 'But I want to play, though whether anything can happen I don't know. It is a bit tight now. I got a call from Brighton earlier in the season. People might have been surprised, thinking I wanted to stay closer to home, but I had a really good time there under a fantastic young manager Gus Poyet.
Next year, Steve Harper will celebrate his 20th year anniversary at the club. We are told that Steve has been battling a knee problem, but what we do know is that he has repeatedly seen Rob Elliott selected to the bench ahead of him, which is a travesty. The club refuses to loan him out for some reason. It is sad to say, but I think the greatest thing that the club can do to honor 20 years of service from Harper is to not let him see 20 years of service. I implore you, Cerberus, do right by this man. Let him play. Somewhere.
FABRICIO Coloccini is desperate to rejoin Newcastle United’s battle for European football – but the club’s captain admits he’s unlikely to be involved against Liverpool. The defender suffered a hamstring strain in yesterday’s 3-1 win at West Bromwich Albion. Coloccini was withdrawn at the break, with Newcastle leading by three goals, as a precaution by manager Alan Pardew.
It's hard to sort out exactly what is going on with Captain Colo at this point. On the surface, words say that he is out for LIverpool for sure, but if you read the words that don't specifically say "he's out", it is impossible to rule him out completely at this point. He'll probably miss Liverpool, but I maintain that people think in language, and the thoughts that follow specifically saying "aw, nah... he's out" are always followed with less definitive statements. Here's hoping that the strain is something he can overcome by Sunday.
ALAN PARDEW is confident that James Perch can fill the boots of Fabricio Coloccini in Newcastle United’s clash with Liverpool next weekend. Newcastle United fans branded the battling former Nottingham Forest skipper "Perchinio" at the Hawthorns yesterday after the Mansfield lad oozed quality against West Brom. Fabricio Coloccini – who went off at half-time with a hamstring injury – will miss the game with Liverpool at St James’ Park.
Perchinio indeed. Perch has looked solid over the last several matches... but it should never be forgotten that Perch was playing "centre-half" for the Norwich debacle. If Norwich can capitalize off set pieces in the manner that they did, you have to think that it's a bad plan to give Liverpool the same opportunity.
"I think Cheik and Ryan will be fine," Pardew told the Gazette. However, the positive news on Tiote and Taylor is tempered by the hamstring injury suffered by Coloccini at The Hawthorns. The 30-year-old was substituted at half-time as a precaution, and the problem will be scanned tomorrow. And Pardew – who tried and failed to sign a defender in January – admits centre-half is the one position where he couldn’t afford to suffer an injury, with Steven Taylor having been ruled out for the season back in December
Good news here with Tiote and Raylor looking to return for the Liverpool match, but I'm going to soapbox here for a sentence or two. I'm disappointed that the narrative about the centre-half situation is playing out just as I assumed it would:
It was worse than the persistent rumors that the former no.9 was coming back or that Demba Ba was on his way out. I am speaking, of course, of the late-January Adrian Mariappa Debacle. This situation was the ultimate wool-over-the-eyes move from the club. Ultimately, we were sitting there yet again with a clear need in a transfer window, and we had made no progress in addressing it. #AllTransfersAWindowLate... Not too dissimilar to the end of the summer window, we suddenly fixed in on Adrian Mariappa, making a couple of ridiculous offers that we knew Watford would not accept and then drug it on. And drug it on. And didn't really want to sign him. If you want him in January, shouldn't you want him in the summer?
"We have made our last bid now and it's a final bid so if he doesn't come today then he probably won't come to this football club because in the summer we will probably look elsewhere," said Pardew.
Soooo, yet again the management of the club insulted the collective intelligence of the supporters by perpetuating this smoke screen so that they could throw their hands up at 11:01 pm GMT and say (honestly, but dubiously) "Hey, we tried."
Hey. We tried.
He told the Chronicle: "Demba’s an emotional person – it isn’t all about money. "And it might be nice for the fans to make him want to stay. "I think he’ll respond to that."
Newcastle fans have completely and whole-heartedly embraced Demba Ba, and all information suggests that he has done likewise. I don't see him wanting to leave, but as members of the Toon Army we're always going to be nervous until talk of this "escape clause" is gone completely. There is a rumored contract offer out there from the club to Demba- let's just get that done. On an aside, I just want to pop up and say that I would be extremely surprised if Mike Ashley would enter into such a disadvantageous contract agreement... doesn't seem like his style.
ALL that glitters isn’t gold. But nobody told that to Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique. Or Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, for that matter. Carroll and Enrique left Newcastle United for Champions League football – and pay rises. Yet the pair will return to St James’s Park on Sunday with their team, Liverpool, eight Premier League points behind their old club, in sixth.
This narrative has also been here all season long, but the closer we get to the end of the season, the more possibility we have of clinching it as a story etched in the history of the Barclays Premier League. It is up to us- if we can seal the deal and finish above Liverpool, every transfer window for years will feature a reference to "player beware" and what not. Make it so, lads!