Rowan’s big 2020/21 Premier League Season Preview

After the crazy events of 2020 and Project Restart getting last season finished, incredibly it has only been seven weeks and it is the start of the 2020/21 when Fulham host Arsenal tomorrow. Personally, as a Newcastle United fan, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion the past few months with the takeover business. Is it happening, is it not? Then the saga keeps rumbling on with statements from the club and counter-statement from the Premier League. Despite signings this week, I have not really felt so much apathy coming into a new season but the quick return of football will be a joyous occasion for most football fans.

Last season saw Liverpool eventually win the Premier League title having gone 30 years since their league crown. Jurgen Klopp’s side were relentless as they beat every team, had the best start to a season of any Premier League side and were unbeaten until February. Manchester City missed the influence of Vincent Company and at the back, they were circumspect as their pursuit of a third successive league title fell by the wayside. Both teams will be seeking t battle it out for the title again. read more

NUFC EFL Championship Season 2016/17: December

It may now be 2017 but we had to get through December first. What’s not to like about December hey? Sure, the nights are colder and longer but there’s the joys of counting down to a New Year as well as the giving and receiving of gifts from friends and family under the guise of the big fat man with the long white beard. The day itself was saddened as the world lost George Michael and then days later with one of the most recognisable faces from one of my favourite film franchises in Carrie Fisher. May they Rest In Peace. However, life goes on and so does Football which brings me to…

10 Developments in Football: December 2016
  1. uefa_champions_league_logo_2The Champions League Group Stages came to a close in December with Leicester City, Manchester City and Arsenal progressing to the knockout stages while Tottenham Hotspur fell into the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their group, a position secured by a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
  2. Arsenal’s reward for eventually topping a Champions League group was the daunting tie of Bayern Munich (not much luck there) after PSG were held to a 2-2 draw by Ludogorets (their reward was a tie against Barcelona). Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn against AS Monaco while Leicester City paired with Sevilla.
  3. Southampton fell out of the Europa League on away goals in the Group Stage as a 1-1 draw at home against Hapoel Beer Sheva FC saw the visitors progress in 2nd.
  4. Manchester United progressed with a 2-0 win over FC Zorya Luhansk and will face St Etienne in the Round of 32; Tottenham face KRC Genk.
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or for the fourth time in 2016 and also helped Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid win the FIFA Club World Cup [Image from Sky Sports]
    Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time in 2016 and also helped Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid win the FIFA Club World Cup [Image from Sky Sports]

    December also marks the awarding of the Ballon d’Or to the best player of the year and for 2016 it went to Cristiano Ronaldo who won the award for the fourth time.

  6. That wasn’t all Ronaldo won in December as he helped himself to a hat-trick as Real Madrid needed extra time in Yokohama to defeat Kashima Antlers 4-2 to secure their second FIFA Club World Cup.
  7. Club Badge : 2004 - presentChelsea finished 2016 top of the Premier League after their 4-2 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge extending their winning run to an equalling record of successive wins in a single Premier League season; 13.
  8. Five managers lost their jobs in December with the oddest perhaps being the dismissal of Gary Rowett by Birmingham City to replace him with Gianfranco Zola. In the Premier League, Swansea City became the first club to look for their third manager after partaking company with Bob Bradley having only been in charge for 85 days. Elsewhere, the man who blames anyone but himself and that cringeworthy dance at Wembley, Alan Pardew was sacked by Crystal Palace.
  9. Carlos Tevez was one of the latest to join Chinese football [Image from The Telegraph]
    Carlos Tevez was one of the latest to join Chinese football [Image from The Telegraph]

    The increasing financial clout of the Chinese Super League surprised again after Brazilian midfielder Oscar left Chelsea for the league and was swiftly followed by Carlos Tevez.

  10. Football was also given some space in the Queens New Years Honours list which was released on New Year’s Eve: Wales and Northern Ireland managers Chris Coleman and Michael O’Neill were both recognised.
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Managerial departures in English football in December 2016
Breakdown of Managerial departures in English football during the 2016/17 season to the end of December by the top four divisions

Newcastle United News: December

Assistant coach Ian Cathro left Newcastle to manage SPL side Hearts [Image from Sky Sports]
Assistant coach Ian Cathro left Newcastle to manage SPL side Hearts [Image from Sky Sports]

Cath be gone: Apologies for the awkward subheading but Newcastle United had one departure in January in the form of Ian Cathro. The well-established catch was the only survivor of Steve McLaren’s First team coaching set up under Rafa Benitez but the lure of a management role was too much for the Spaniard to turn down. He departed to manage SPL side Hearts to replace Robbie Nielson who departed for MK Dons. The 30-year-old’s first game in charge of the Tynecastle club was a game with Rangers. He left with Rafa Benitez’s best wishes stating, ‘When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves.’. read more

NUFC EFL Championship 2016/17 Season: November

The clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer and darker while the nation celebrated Guy Fawkes night. That is where English football started in November and as the month progressed, developments in the world of football were getting darker and darker. Meanwhile, it was also Movember as men around the country attempted to grow some embarrassing stubble in the annual stubble against Prostate Cancer.

Football News: November 2016
  • England and Scotland faced each other for the first time competitively since Euro 96; England won the game 3-0 with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill.
  • The Republic of Ireland defeated Austria for the first time since 1963 to go top of Group D in EUFA World Cup Qualification; James Maclean scored the goal.
  • Wales were held to another frustrating draw, this time with Serbia as Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 5 minutes remaining in Cardiff; the game finished 1-1.
  • Northern Ireland defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 at Windsor Park and finished 2016 2nd place in Group C in World Cup Qualification
  • The FA ended the month announcing Gareth Southgate as the new, permanent Head Coach after going unbeaten during his interim period
  • Football was rocked by allegations of historic sex abuse allegations with over 20 ex-professional players coming forward by the end of November.
  • In the Champions League, Manchester City progressed to the knockout stages with a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach while Leicester City achieved the same feat at the first time of asking after defeating Club Brugge 2-1 while a 2-1 defeat in Monaco knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition. Arsenal also progressed.
  • Southampton celebrated perhaps the biggest night in the clubs history
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November
    Brazilian football club Chapecoense were struck by tragedy at the end of November

    after defeating Inter Milan 2-1 at St Mary’s.

  • Chelsea finished the month top of the Premier League after defeating Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
  • Lamia flight 2933 crashed in the Columbian Mountains killing 71 people, including 19 players of Brazilian club Chapecoense who were travelling to face Athletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final having defeated San Lorenzo the previous week.
  • Six managers in English football lost their jobs in November taking the tally for the season to 18.manager-sack-race
The managerial casualties of November 2016

NUFC in November

Away from those dark developments in football, there was, of course, the action on the pitch and the beauty of the beautiful game. In the EFL Championship, Newcastle United had only four fixtures in November; three in the league and an EFL Cup Quarter-Final. November would not be as stellar as the previous month when Newcastle won all 6 of their games but there were still some highs. read more

NUFC English Championship 2016/17 season preview

Football is back and so will this man on to our TV screens! [image from http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/10193888/watch-best-of-soccer-saturday]

Well, it’s that time of year again folks! It’s August and the football season will be back soon meaning the delights of live matches every weekend; Jeff Stelling and the boys on Gillette Soccer Saturday; Gary Lineker hosting Match of the Day (get your Y-fronts ready Gary!) and Chris Kamara with his odd expressions like ‘fighting like beavers’ and will he miss a red card again? There is also the much anticipated reuniting of the Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola rivalry at Manchester United and Manchester City respectively while Leicester City come into the season as defending champions! Who would have thought that 12 months ago? But, alas Newcastle United will be starting their season one week earlier; the Friday night kick-off at Craven Cottage to face Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship.

sky-bet-championship-logo-8x6549-3148790_613x460 read more

England EURO 2016 Part Two: Who should replace Roy Hodgson?

Roy Hodgson (pictured) resigned minutes after Iceland defeated England at EURO 2016; the FA are still looking for a successor...
Roy Hodgson (pictured) resigned minutes after Iceland defeated England at EURO 2016; the FA are still looking for a successor…

After the debacle that was England’s humbling 2-1 defeat to Iceland (I’m not intending to insult Iceland; they did marvellously well at EURO 2016 but this match, in particular, was a huge surprise) in the second round of EURO 2016; Roy Hodgson resigned minutes after the final whistle. So, The Football Association (FA) are now on the hunt for a new manager for the national; senior men’s team. In charge of this recruitment is chief executive Martin Glenn, Dan Ashworth; Director of elite development and vice-chairman David Gill.

Their task will be to find the best man for the job and hopefully someone who will secure a knockout round victory at a major international tournament. It’s something Roy Hodgson failed to achieve and in actual fact England have failed to do so since a David Beckham free-kick defeated Ecuador in Germany 2006. This three-man team are already underway in the recruitment process of replacing Hodgson with reports of Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce and Hull City boss Steve Bruce being interviewed within the past week. read more