supplied further inoffensive, blatantly obvious guff to bored journos:
I think it's the norm that as you get to the end of pre-season, you
start to formulate the team that is going to start the first game. The other
important thing is keeping players on their toes, and you give people minutes on
the pitch. (apparently) Alan Smith added:
"Going into the last game against Dundee United, we need to get somewhere
near the shape we start with at West Brom. It was the type of game that we
needed. Leeds are a good side. Yes, they're one league below, but I think a lot
of people expected them to come up last year.
"That was their strongest side, and they've played a lot of games together.
In the game our attitude and application was spot on. Probably the only
disappointment was that we didn't win the game, but we deserved to do it.
"One thing we wanted was a reaction from last week's game at Leyton Orient
and we certainly got that. We gave the crowd enough for them to get behind us
and I'm delighted they turned out in their numbers. It's something that we'll
experience this season - teams coming here to St James' and raising their
'Sh*t Scum B*st*ard'
I'm not a silly lad – I understood when I left there that there would be
repercussions. But I'm a Leeds fan myself. I'll never hide that I'm a Leeds
United fan, and it was a good occasion for me.
"I relished every minute of it. A little bit of stick never hurt anyone,
"I hope they get promoted, because they're a big football club like we are.
They're two teams that really should be in better positions than we are.
"My main focus is Newcastle United, and getting us back to where we should
be, which is in the Premiership. It was the first time I've ever played against
them. Leeds were relegated when I left, so it was a nice occasion for me.
They've got great support, as we have. Both clubs should be better off."
It wasn't meant to be like this.
A shade over ten weeks ago, the first appearance of our new white and black
home shirt saw Newcastle tragically unable to score at SJP against a team
clad in yellow. At the time, that defeat to Fulham seemed like the end of
the world - and a week later that was confirmed by defeat at Villa.
This first return to Gallowgate was hoped to be the start of a new era - or
at least confirmation that the old one was well on the way to being
banished. Instead though, nothing positive has happened and the players who
got us into this mess are still in post - save for a few who departed
Tonight was the footballing equivalent of a revival tour by old chart acts,
going through the motions in reduced circumstances. Desperately dreaming of
a return to the limelight and packed arenas, while shambling around with
rookie performers in front of loyal devotees. And if anyone doubts that,
just take a look at Alan Smith's boy band barnet.
And a throwback crowd they may be in both mood and subject matter (with long
memories to shout owt about Chelsea), but the assembled Yorkie throng
injected life and noise into what otherwise was a mournfully quiet arena for
much of the night. They also provided just about the only mention of the S
word (Shearer), with their chant of "he took you down....."
Hit for six by League One Leyton
Orient on Saturday, a goalless draw with another third tier side was a
slight improvement, but a desperate lack of pace, creativity and movement
was as depressing as it was expected.
Taylor returned to the team, playing in midfield while Steve Harper and
Shola Ameobi were also back. Alan Smith captained the side and took plenty
of stick from the sizeable away contingent throughout the evening.
it was Taylor who looked a certain scorer in the 41st minute from an Andy
Carroll knock-down, only for visiting 'keeper Higgs to blocked his shot from
point blank range. At
the other end, Harper barely had a shot to save in the first period,
although Jermaine Beckford hit a drive narrowly over his crossbar midway
through the first period.
Magpies should have taken the lead on 48 minutes when Ameobi centred from
the left and the unmarked Sebastien Bassong planted his header wide. And
three minutes later another Shola cross from the same side found Ryan
Taylor, whose first time shot from the edge of the box struck the Leeds
were made on the hour mark and fans were once again treated to seeing Kevin
Nolan in an advanced role - later joined by Xisco. Fellow replacement Fabricio Coloccini had a glorious chance to break the deadlock in
the 76th minute when Ryan Taylor's cross found him free but the defender's
first time shot was over the bar.
one-man pitch invasion from the Gallowgate end followed seconds later - with
the speed and movement of the trespasser in evading a steward of a higher
standard than much of what had been seen on the field earlier...
Most depressing of all was the lack of a cutting edge from messrs Carroll,
Ameobi and Xisco - with what chances we did fashion dropping to
midfielders/defenders. Three games against League One opponents have seen us manage just one goal
from open play against what are quite literally third-rate defences &
That hardly augurs well for the immediate future.
PS: Much was expected from the visiting duo of Beckford and Delph - both
linked with moves to us in the past - but neither player particularly caught