Perhaps you thought "Is there no news on Tyneside at all today?" and you would be fair in wondering. Although delivered a little later than I'd normally hope, I've come round a couple of stiff challenges and arrived at the goal with the news.
Today: Toon Army to annex DW Stadium? New boy for Newcastle midfield? Erik Pieters wants to come to Newcastle and Wor Jackie on the move. I'll try not to waste much time today and just get right into it. Jump!
SOME of football’s biggest stars could be heading to Tyneside after it emerged Spain and Brazil will play Olympic football at St James’s Park this summer. FIFA’s organising committee announced today that Great Britain, Spain, Brazil and Mexico will be the seeded teams, meaning they will avoid each other in the group stages of the 16-team tournament.
The Olympic schedule has been announced and St. James' Park (yes, St. James' Park. No Sp*#$ D!r#@t Arena for these Olympics, sirs and ma'ams) will host one game each for seeded teams Spain, Brazil and Mexico. Once again, it seems that the FA and their National Team setup will be ignoring the Northeast.
"Wigan’s going to be massive for us," Pardew told the Gazette. "I don’t know how many tickets we’ve sold, but I hope we get some more tickets and fill the place up. "They could probably do with the money. "It would be nice to see 8-9,000 Geordies somehow get in there, because it would feel like a home game."
8-9 K Geordies in the DW (with a capacity of around 25,000) would have to feel like a home match to an extent. I'm wary of this Wigan match... but if the Toon Army can somehow finagle an extra 3500 tickets, it would have to be considered a good start.
Jack Milburn Jnr said: "It’s great news that the statue has been moved, I’m really pleased. "He was in a dark shadow where he was but now he’s back at his favourite end of St James’ Park, the Gallowgate. "That’s where he wanted his ashes scattered, at the Gallowgate End and that’s what we did 23 years ago. I have no doubt that if he’s looking down he’ll be thinking ‘that’s a great spot’.
The statue of Wor Jackie was a Chronicle-sponsored, fan-funded statue... not only in stature but in a somewhat olive-branchish way it seems somewhat fitting that this particular statue at this particular time is now placed at the Gallowgate end near the Strawberry Pub.
The room fell silent as he also recalled, vividly, the tragedy on 1989 when 96 football fans lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster. He said: "It was a 3pm kick-off, and after about four minutes I hit the bar. "At the time, I was disappointed. I remember turning round and looking behind our goal, and it was chaos. "In hindsight, if I had scored, things could have been worse. That’s just how I felt." He told how the players, who had been ushered into their dressing rooms, had no idea how serious the situation was, or that people were losing their lives. He said: "We were sat in our kits for an hour and 40 minutes. If we had known what was happening outside, we would have been out there helping."
I would have loved for this to have had much more of the meat from Peter Beardsley's talk. It must have been an amazing event.
Look At All These Rumors
Romain Amalfitano has again refused to confirm that he has signed for Newcastle United, although Sky understands a deal has been concluded. The 23-year-old midfielder has agreed terms on a three-year deal and will move to the North East on a free transfer this summer.
If indeed this is a done deal as is being reported, it will end up in the "Utter Lack Of Surprise" folder as it's been consistently floating around out there since January. I suppose the take away from the story would be that Graham and Alan still think the guy is the real deal.
Pieters’ agent Piet van Der Pol has revealed to The Journal that the versatile left-back would be keen to link up with Dutch team-mate and friend Tim Krul if United follow up their long-standing interest in him this summer. The club are yet to open formal negotiations with either PSV Eindhoven or the player himself but he is understood to be one of the names in the frame as United look to bolster their defensive options. Newcastle have grasped the initiative in the Champions League chase and with four games to go, there is a sense of excitement and possibility at St James’ Park.
If this deal does not end up happening, it will end up in the "This Has Shocked The Crap Out Of Me" folder. This is another player that has been linked with the Mags since January and has not gone very far from the tip of peoples' tongues when talking about the summer window. We could have used him in January, so the summer window seems about right.
Currently on Tyneside
But the key to making the 4-3-3 work is not Cissé and his attacking menace or Ben Arfa and his brio and imagination – it is the continuing commitment of Demba Ba. Ba has 16 goals this season but if anything, his selfless performances since Cissé’s arrival have impressed even more. On Saturday Stoke had no answer to his industry and workrate, and while his goal didn’t come he was a gigantic part of Newcastle’s winning effort. You can see that it is hurting the Senegal star to be on such a prolonged barren run, but his endeavours are a big part of why Cissé is scoring so freely.
There are other writers that I follow more closely than Mark Douglas from the Journal... but this was a pretty good read. Cheers to you, Mr. Douglas!
Newcastle United utility player James Perch has admitted even he and his team-mates were unaware of Papiss Demba Cisse before his arrival at the club. The Senegal international has scored 11 goals in 10 games, nine of which have come in the last six matches since his £9m move from Freiburg in January. "I didn't know of him and I don't think many of the other lads did," Perch told BBC Newcastle.
This is a curious one for me. I should have to think that as Papiss was rumored as a target in the summer that some of the players might have sought out information... but maybe not. Of course then there was the other small matter that he was the second leading scorer in the Bundesliga... Surely professional footballers follow the other major leagues enough to know a little something about a player like that?