Good morning, Toon Army. Sorry for the lengthy delay with no posts. One of us took a new job with new hours and the other had a baby. (Can you guess which of us is which?) In any case, we're back and, for now at least, we're switching roles. RKW will be taking care of rounding up the news every day or two and I'll be doing the game previews, match reports, etc. Because we've been gone for a week, I'll reset the headlines by hitting the highlights. Look for that and a brief outline of upcoming features after the jump.
Brian McNally of MirrorFootball reported that Mike Ashley was on the verge of selling Newcastle United to Anil Ambani, an "Indian billionaire businessman" who has previously been linked with the purchase of the club as recently as 2008. Several outlets, including The Chronicle, released a short statement from NUFC denying the report.
Alan Pardew continues to insist that he will not rush Hatem Ben Arfa's injury recovery, and we continue to applaud him for that attitude. (Scott Wilson, The Northern Echo) Pardew also hinted that Jose Enrique Sanchez and Joey Barton may be unavailable for Saturday's tie with Stoke City. (Lee Ryder, The Chronicle)
Fraser Forster continues to tell the Scottish press that he's enjoying his team with Celtic and wants to play first team football again next year. This story isn't over by a long shot. (Yahoo!)
Reserve team manager Peter Beardsley is impressed with young defender James Tavernier and believes his ongoing loan with Gateshead has helped his development. (Lee Ryder, The Chronicle)
Finally, EPL Talk looks at card statistics to determine which Premier League team is the dirtiest of the past 20 years. The Toon Army will not be surprised at all to learn that the runaway winner is Sunderland.
- I'm still planning on doing a Death & Tactics review for the Everton game. I'd really like to do this because I've seen some chatter about Pardew's formation and I think our conversation would benefit from a closer look. Realistically, I'd put the chances of this happening at about 60-40, but I'm committed to it.
- We're going to debut a new feature this week that will be part of our preview package going forward called "If I Were A Betting Man." We'll look at the weekend's games and highlight a few wagers worth watching. It will be our way of taking a light-hearted look at the rest of the league without invading the turf of any of the other great bloggers on SBN. We look forward to reading your feedback on this once it's posted.
- Homosexuality and homophobia have been hot topics in the football world recently. My muse is somewhere in the recesses of my mind writing a piece about this, and when he's done, I'll publish the results.
- We're really excited about several ideas we've got rolling around in our heads about what to do with the upcoming offseason. Our goal is to make CHN a place that you want to visit every day, even in the dead of summer when there's no breaking news. As I said, we've got plenty of ideas, but we'd also love to hear from you. What will keep you coming back when the only thing coming across the wire is yet another Pardew quote about spending the Andy Carroll cash responsibly?