Ok... I can't get this video embedded or move it where I want it (down at the very end)... so here it is. It is the cheat sheet for the reference that I make in the very next paragraph. Major life events going on in the OSotP household (well... for a short time longer, at least), but that is not what you have come here to read. We're at Thursday, and really there's still very little talk about Stoke in the news... I'm sure if we set our collective minds on the question we can maybe figure out why. At any rate, Tiiiiime... is marching on. . . and tiiiiime. . .is still marching on! and so shall the links.
Today, Steve Harper talks, Steve Stone talks on the basketball break, Cisse speaks, Pardew looks for advice and JAMES PERCH IN THE LINKS!!! Also of interest... there is a little snippet from an article that I would dearly love to see spark some discussion... I'm sure you will know which. Jump! Read! Discuss!
JAMES PERCH IN THE LINKS!!!
"In the dressing room we have just got a good, honest bunch of lads. We all work for each other, no matter who is injured, who is out of the side or whatever. "No matter what the team is, we all know what the gaffer wants from us. The bare minimum is work rate and that is what we give the manager no matter what. "I moved up here 18 months ago and even when I wasn't playing last year and people were saying to me 'You must hate it up there' I was loving it. "I love the place, I love the town, the beaches and everything about it. Even though I wasn't enjoying my football I love the place and I love the club."
I am one of several who had started out the season with a very low opinion of one James Perch. I'm glad to stand here before you today and say "I was wrong." The man has done a job for our beloved club, and not just done a job... excelled at it. Tremendously difficult when your job is "You're a CB today... no... LB... no ... RB... no ... CM..." Even better (as most of you know), I'm a sucker for any player that will stand up and speak to how much they love playing for Newcastle United. It could be garbage... but it makes me feel good inside anyway. Cheers to you, Perchinho!
The Legend Of The Lost Goalkeeper
Harper’s recently coached two teams at Newcastle School for Boys in Gosforth, where his son James is a pupil, to cup final victories, with one especially memorable. "I took the Year 5 down to Durham," he said. "It was really tough, but we beat Sunderland in the final with a golden goal winner by a certain James Harper! "’Harper scores Newcastle winner against Sunderland’ was a headline I’d longed for for 20 years!"
This article is a fun read to a certain extent... but it is sad that it needs to be written in this voice. I would just as soon Steve Harper be the number 2 goalkeeper and take a match or two away from Tim Krul every now and again. If there is anyone that will stand here and say "I'm confident in Rob Elliott getting significant playing time either in Europe or in giving Tim a rest in the PL", I will stand here and laugh in your face. If we're not going to deal Steve somewhere to get some playing time (which he deserves), he has absolutely GOT to be the number 2 keeper.
It was all part of a deliberate plan to keep the players fresh ahead of hugely-important games in the run-up to the end of the season. With European places up for grabs and all eyes on the possibility of a sixth successive Premier League victory when the Magpies take on Stoke on Saturday, the coaches have been firmly focused on stopping the squad getting stale. The double-header of soccer and basketball was just one part of the plan, which included training on the turf at St James' Park.
I understand the idea behind a fun day like this one was... and I like them to do things for charity. I just hope this doesn't backfire. I guess perhaps shooting some hoops and jumping around a bit could be considered training for Stoke, however... so maybe.
Pardew, wary of the demands a European campaign would put on his squad, is keen to talk to Pulis about his experiences in the gruelling competition, which would be certain to take a toll on United, even if the club’s squad is significantly strengthened in the summer. "Stoke are a team we’re trying to emulate," said Pardew. "They got in the Europa League last year through the FA Cup, but they played in Europe on merit. "That affected their league position this season, and it’s something I’ll have a conversation about with Tony Pulis after the game." Stoke – who played 14 games in Europe – are 14th in the league, and struggling for form, having won just one of their last seven games.
This article is factually inaccurate (Stoke played only 12 matches in Europe instead of 14) but it does bring up a valid point to consider- If Newcastle take the first league spot into the Europa League (5th in the table), they enter the competition in the round that I've been talking about when I've discussed it on here... 2 matches then the group stage. If they qualify through 6th in the league, you are looking at an additional home-and-home tie before where they would enter if they qualified in 5th. I'll have to go and do some looking about where the 4th place Premier League squad enters the Champions League... I'll report back.
Cisse Says What You Might Expect Him To Say
He said: "That's my objective, Europe. I like it. I sleep with it, I wake up with it every morning. "I know it's tight at the top of the table, but I'm trying to do my best and hopefully we'll get there. "I think Newcastle will go far in the future. If we keep doing what we're doing at the moment we will get better and better. I've noticed we have some very good players in the academy and eventually they will come into the first team and do their bit to take the team further."
Ok... so that clip is a little outside of what you might expect Cisse to say... I just found it tremendously humorous. The rest of the article says what you would expect him to say. Interestingly, he seems to trust the club more than I do.
Weigh In On This!
Not for the first time, footballers' judgments can be faulted. Clint Dempsey, who has scored regularly from August to April, is especially unlucky not to earn official recognition. Goalkeepers and defenders, whether Tim Krul, Michel Vorm, Vincent Kompany or Fabricio Coloccini, can claim consistency, too, but by the nature of their position, they are less subject to the vagaries of form. Inspiration is not a prerequisite for them to excel and given the physical, technical and mental demands, it is utterly unrealistic to expect, say, Steven Gerrard to be at his barnstorming best game in, game out
I cannot even begin to describe how flawed I find this line of thinking to be. I almost spun this one off to it's own post as well, but I would like for you all to write it for me. Reserving my thoughts until the discussion is under way... no pressure.