Tag Archives: Newcastle United

Classic Programmes #12: Newcastle United vs. Bela Vista, 1958

A few days late, the latest in our classic programme covers series. Today we go back to 1958 for an international floodlit friendly, with Bela Vista of Brazil visiting Newcastle United at St James’ Park. The hosts were comfortable winners, by a score of 12-1.

Newcastle United vs. Bela Vista, 1958

Cover courtesy of the brilliant Footysphere.

Classic Programmes #7: Portsmouth FC Sail to Victory (Almost)

Portsmouth programme

This seems like a week that Portsmouth fans need cheering up, so here’s a reminder of olden days: a beautiful programme from 1956, featuring what Portsmouth is best known for, its naval heritage: H.M.S. Victory was Lord Nelson’s ship in the Battle of Trafalgar, and is now docked in Portsmouth as a wonderful museum ship.

This fixture also had considerable historical significance, as the first English league game played under floodlights; the only thing missing was the actual victory part for Pompey fans, as Newcastle beat Portsmouth 2-0.

Image courtesy of the excellent Footysphere once again.

The Sweeper: sportsdirect.com @ StJames’Park? Seriously?

St James Park

Big Story
So, despite protests from fans and politicians, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has further cemented his unpopularity on Tyneside by announcing the renaming of St. James’ Park — apparently believing that adding an “@” symbol to it means the club is respecting history. The name will be “sportsdirect.com @ StJames’Park”.

“With the renaming it was always going to be whatever brand it was, at St James’ Park,” Managing director Derek Llambias said. “For the remainder of this season, we already have sportsdirect.com on the Gallowgate so we’d like to take that branding through the rest of the stadium.”

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust already has a petition up against the renaming of the stadium, stating “Derek Llambias has announced on 03/11/09 that the ground will be renamed to “Sxxxxs DxxxxT.cxx @ St James’s Park”. We strongly believe the name and soul of our ground is not theirs to sale. Our petition stands. NO to the renaming of SJP!”

Right on. And hell, just in terms of a name, something new entirely would be better than this travesty of an attempted compromise.

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The People’s Clubs?

Mike Gumballhead returns for another rant, wondering what’s going on with the rich men running Liverpool and Newcastle.

This is AnfieldWhy is it that whenever a grotesquely rich businessman buys a football club, we’re surprised to find that he doesn’t run his team like a corporate Mahatma Gandhi but instead shows all the philanthropic patience of Donald Trump?

This past week, we’ve gorged on Mike Ashley’s madness — please, football gods, let him add Alan Shearer to the Wor Kev Movement at St. James Park — as pundits have wondered how a man brilliant enough to make a fortune selling polyester shirts could have lost his head so suddenly as soon as he bought a football club.

The man made a success of Milletts, for god’s sake, but give him Nicky Butt and Sam Allardyce’s twenty-five man entourage and suddenly he’s sunk in a diving bell 60m below the northern Caspian Sea giving an interview only Cristiano Ronaldo digs.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of northern England, those damn Yanks have completely lost it, running Liverpool as if they had no history, no glory, as if they were merely the Montreal Canadiens of English sawker!

No, This is Anfield, and I’ve heard Jamie Carragher’s chirpy voice enough on Five Live to know those Yanks wouldn’t recognise the genius of Rafael Benitez even if they were an entire 24 points behind Man Utd right now, instead of a mere 12. This is a man who sees coruscating winger where we see Jamie Pennant, and goalscoring talent where we see Dirk Kuyt turning away from goal for the eight hundredth time.

What is going on, friends? How can men who have long robbed the poor to feed themselves fail to bring instant success to England’s two People’s Clubs? (Sorry, Everton.)

Photo credits: AndyNugent; Pose

Kevin Keegan Says Be Smart, Be Safe

Kevin KeeganYou will watch this video, the classic Keegan rant against Man Utd, innumerable times, and if you’re unlucky, others will join Gramsci’s Kingdom in unearthing nostalgic and frankly disturbing photos of “Wor Kev” as the Messiah returns to Newcastle.

You will hear the sounds of barrelous laughter from football fans across England, as Mike Ashley does what we all hoped he’d do, apart from the bit about involving Alan Shearer as well.

You will see approximately 824,000 Geordies dressed in Black & White to welcome Kev at St. James Park, and hear 18,999 commentators state they’re the best in the land and deserve better than they’ve had since. . .well, since Kev left.

So how will it go? Brian at the Run of Play isn’t quite sure.

There’s something about Kevin Keegan that makes it impossible to say. On the one hand, he did sort of save the club the last time he managed it. On the other hand, he’s Kevin Keegan. He seems to exist in a small dead spot on the resonating surface of tone.

What do you think? Will Keegan don the boots himself and lead the line in a revolutionary 1-1-8 formation? Will he resign in the toilets next week when he finds out Joey Barton’s on his team? Or will he lead them back to where they belong by rights historically, about three places higher than they presently are?

Photo credits: dug_da_bu and davidwatts1978

An Exclusive Interview with Newcastle Owner Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley laughing in the stands.The owner of Newcastle United, the eccentric billionaire Mike Ashley, is famous for taking his obsession with privacy to extraordinary lengths. He’s thought to live somewhere in Herefordshire, in a large mansion protected by an elaborate security apparatus, and to emerge only in order to distribute lager to fans at Newcastle games. He never gives interviews.

But in an astonishing turn of events, he agreed last night to sit down with Pitch Invasion writer Brian Phillips for an in-depth discussion about the decision to sack recently departed Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce. What follows is a transcript of their erudite and wide-ranging conversation, conducted over a dish of pickled herrings at Ashley’s favorite dining spot, a diving bell sunk 60m into the northern Caspian Sea.

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