The iPhone is a fabulous thing. I love mine. If you use it as an alarm, may I encourage you to adopt the following strategy when turning your alarm off. DO NOT SWIPE UNTIL YOU ARE FEET OUT OF BED STANDING UP! Always always always "snooze" until you are on the way to the bathroom. Now that that's out of the way, let me drop a handful of links down there so as you can carry on with your day holding a little more information about Newcastle United than you might have had prior to reading this.
Today's Links: Sammy Ameobi (with VIDEO!), Shane Ferguson, Captain Fabricio "Good Behaviour" Coloccini and The Inevitable Demba Ba Isn't Scoring So He Hates Newcastle And Wants To Leave On The Next Flight To Paris story. Jump and read!
"Obviously to play in Europe is what you want, to get as high as you can. Hopefully we’ll get there and hopefully I’ll get some games under my belt." Chances of qualification will improve with a win for Liverpool on Saturday, who Ameobi will be cheering on. He said: "That would be unbelievable, that is what we are hoping for at the ground, for Liverpool to win and to give ourselves a better chance of getting into Europe."
I would love to see Sammy get some time here at the end of the season... I think that the 4-3-3 is a formation that would suit him, and I'd love to see him get a shot. I'd rather not rush him out of fear of wrecking his knee permanently though... so prudence, dear Sammy.
"Shane gives us a bit of energy – he is positive. "You could tell we were lacking energy. "We were not bright in the mind against Swansea and Bolton – they were two tough games for us."
If Shane can make a career of influencing the tenor of matches like he did over the Easter weekend, he will absolutely have a brilliant career. Let us not try to fool ourselves here... the first half v. Bolton on Monday was WRETCHED... and it was Ferguson's introduction at halftime that kept the match from remaining that way.
United finished rock bottom of the Premier League Fair Play table last year and picked up 82 points as the league’s naughtiest team, after earning 78 yellow cards and two reds. This season United have slashed that tally so far to 57 yellows and two reds, with Jonas Gutierrez and Dan Gosling the only players to be sent off.
This is all well and good, and I do think that Fabricio Coloccini is a much more calm influence as captain than some of the captains we've had in the recent past... but again, let us not fool ourselves... Newcastle are still at the bottom of the Fair Play table. I'm all for taking the (numerous and sizable) victories away from this season... but this does not seem to be one of those victories.
And the Chronicle understands that Heerenveen hotshot Bas Dost’s goalscoring exploits have not gone unnoticed by Newcastle this season. Toon chief scout Graham Carr has spent plenty of time in Holland this season and strapping striker Dost’s 25 goals have made him the top scorer in the Eredivisie and a standout figure. Also in the frame are FC Twente striker Luuk De Jong – scorer of 21 goals this term – and long-standing target Crystal Palace forward Wilfred Zaha, who could quit Selhurst Park this summer. Dost is keen on a switch to the Premier League and sources in Holland have indicated that the idea of playing for the Magpies in Europe would appeal.
It was always going to be a matter of time before these stories picked up again... but I'm not going to lie- I give it a lot more consideration once it hits the Chronicle than if I see it anywhere else. It never seemed likely to me that Demba Ba would leave Newcastle for Chelsea or Spurs... but I can see PSG being a very real concern here. In light of the information that we are scouting excellent prospects at the £7m range puts Demba's future here in great doubt. If he does decide to go, I wish him all the luck in the world. He's been a tremendous asset to the club this year and will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Toon Army-- and I genuinely believe that he will always hold appreciation for that fact.