The #StretchOfDoom is 2/3 over, and we've taken one point so far. Chelsea are next up, and Newcastle will be looking to bring the point total for the 3 fixtures to 4 points-- on the outside of the wildest dreams for most fans when looking at these fixtures. The naysayers are getting quieter and quieter in volume. So- the links. Today there will be a small section in memoriam of Gary Speed. A truly tragic situation, but not one that there is much need to hash over but no need to gloss over, either. There were a couple of poignant pieces out there, and we'll share those.
There are some bits and bobs of news, including a new shirt manufacture agreement- strike that... a lucrative kit manufacture deal. Player reaction to the Manchester United match, and a bit of news regarding player movement or non-movement as the case may be also make the cut this morning.
In addition, I'm going to drop a Digest Version of the last week here at Coming Home Newcastle in the Monday Links as well... there were a number of highlights from the last week that are worth bringing back to the front briefly for anyone that may have missed them. Eventually, this may spin off into its own little happy thing, but for now this should be fine.
Also, although I can find no evidence of an 11 am GMT press conference at Sunderland, it looks like Agent Bruce may just have two more matches to save his position. Time to allow a result or two, agent, and then you can resume normal operations.
R.I.P. Gary Speed
Robbie Savage is Robbie Savage. You love him or you hate him, it seems... but this memorial is tasteful and touching.
The whole situation is heart-wrenching for everyone directly involved. Dan Walker had extensive conversations with Gary Speed on Friday.
One more from Wor Al.
Player Reaction to Man U Point
If you've read the Reasonable Reaction, you know I don't disagree. Not only for the point, but for the attitude displayed on the pitch, I think that there is much more take away from this one than from City the previous week.
Goal hero Ba told the Chronicle: “My thoughts when we got the penalty was that, after the lucky goal they got, we needed to have a lucky goal as well. “We got it. We were very happy, even if we did not win. “We were playing with one man less yet we still kept our shape and gained a result.”
Demba Ba did some yeoman's work on Saturday. There were a couple of times that it would have been nice had he held the ball up a little more effectively, but you sure can't complain about his work rate on the day.
"I think if we gain in confidence, we can go and get the title,” he told The Sun. "I think the only thing that makes a difference is the confidence. We really have good footballers here. If we carry on like this, then we can do something."
Oh, Hatem. Never change. On a related note, although I was very close to being a Leon Best convert I don't think that, having seen what HBA and Demba could be capable of with time, there is any way that Leon makes it back in the starting XI without help.
Of course it wasn't a penalty, never in a million years, but that doesn't mean the entire incident wasn't hilarious. The only two men in the stadium who seemed to think a spot kick was the right outcome were the linesman and Hatem Ben Arfa, but even he didn't seem convinced, just thankful he negotiated a challenge without breaking a leg.
So far as announcing can be scandalous, Steve McManaman was that on Saturday. One would have thought that ESPN would have vetted their writers and heeds a little bit on the back of such a performance. Apparently not. I find this comment to be of questionable taste at best. Yes it's an opinion piece, but where is the Ombudsman when you need him?
Harper has been undergoing a series of routine injections on his knee after suffering from an injury that resulted in him requiring a small operation at the end of last season. But the long-serving goalkeeper looked in good spirits as he helped raise vital funds for the Sunshine Fund this week in a sports quiz in the city centre where he enjoyed a fantastic reception.
You're all class, Harps.
If I hadn't heard it before...
And here we go... 33 more days of this before the window opens.
Lucrative is good... and I've been happy with Puma. One wonders what influence this may have on any potential Nike partnership regarding St. James' Park, however.
In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from Coming Home Newcastle over the last 7 days. Some fun, some in-depth, but all worth the read.
Africa Cup of Nations Report
Robert takes a look at the effect that the ACON will have on Newcastle United.
Can We Anticipate Who Might Leave In January?
I took some of the principles identified in the book Soccernomics and added a bit of the Mission Statement that the club put out early in the season, added soap and looked at what came out in the wash.
Getting to Know Manchester United
This Q+A between johnjmurphy17 and SBN's The Busby Babe (and the linked return post on TBB) was tremendous and worth the read even though the match is past.
Did You Know That We Haven't Won A League Match At Old Trafford In
39 40 Years?
A lot can happen in 39 years. Nothing useful here... just a bit of fun marking the years since our last league victory at Old Trafford.
Reasonable Reaction To The Manchester United Match
The ManU match is available on ESPN3 to view, so I watched the game again with an eye to answer a couple of questions:
Objectively, did we deserve a point from the match?
Was it, in fact, a slaughter as Sir Alex Ferguson asserts?
Is Alan Pardew a nutter for saying we were the better side in the first 45 minutes of the match (as Sir Alex Ferguson asserts)?