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Daily Mail:

 

MANAGER: Sam Allardyce (Appointed May 2007)

LAST SEASON: 13th

 

 

MAIN ARRIVALS: Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough, free); Joey Barton (Man City, £5.8m); David Rozenhal (Paris Saint-Germain, £2.9m); Alan Smith (Man United, £6m); Geremi (Chelsea, free); Cacapa (Lyon, free).

MAIN DEPARTURES: Scott Parker, (West Ham, £7m); Antoine Sibierski (Wigan, free); Titus Bramble (Wigan, free); Alan O'Brien (Hibernian, free).

 

 

CAPTAIN: To be confirmed.

TOP SCORER: Obafemi Martins 11.

FANS' PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR: James Milner.

LAST MAJOR TROPHY: 1969 Fairs Cup (now UEFA Cup).

DID YOU KNOW? Newcastle owner Mike Ashley started out by running the 'Mike Ashley Sports' shop in Maidenhead.

TICKETS: £26-62 (children £11); 0191 261 1571, nufc.co.uk

CLUB MASCOT: Monty Magpie.

LADBROKES FLUTTER: To win a major trophy — 6/1

 

 

VERDICT: An improvement in quality but not in depth. Joey Barton, Mark Viduka were welcome. More welcome still might be the re-emergence of a fit Michael Owen.

THIS SEASON: 9th.

 

SKY Sports:

 

Over in the North East, there seems to be no front-runner for who will steal bragging rights, but all eyes will be on how Roy Keane adapts to managing in the top flight, after stealing all plaudits last season in the Championship.

 

Sam Allardyce will soon realise the pressure at Newcastle is a whole different kettle of fish to that which he experienced at Bolton but the signing of Mark Viduka looks shrewd, and providing he manages to fend off any interest in Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen, St James' Park should become a fortress once more.

 

League table

 

1 Man Utd

 

2 Chelsea

 

3 Liverpool

 

4 Arsenal

 

5 Tottenham

 

6 Everton

 

7 Portsmouth

 

8 Newcastle

 

9 Blackburn

 

10 Man City

 

11 West Ham

 

12 Aston Villa

 

13 Bolton

 

14 Middlesbrough

 

15 Reading

 

16 Fulham

 

17 Birmingham

 

18 Sunderland

 

19 Wigan

 

20 Derby

 

BBC:

 

The Times:

 

Newcastle

 

2006-7 record: League 13th FA Cup 3rd round Carling Cup Quarter-finals Uefa Cup Last 16

 

Manager: Sam Allardyce

 

Chop rating: 1/5 Having outgrown Bolton, former Sunderland stopper Sam Allardyce takes on the task of his managerial life. He needs time, but having waited more than half a century for a major trophy, the faithful may be inclined to initial patience. Mike Ashley’s billions and the Gallowgate’s goodwill are a good start and even Albert Luque scored preseason. Rumours Allardyce and the new regime have had a ‘clear the air’ meeting sound ominous

 

In an ideal world An end to the chaos, a proper challenge for a Uefa Cup spot and some silverware (even the Carling Cup would be nice). A massive clear-out

 

In the real world Tyneside’s tendency to be ludicrously overoptimistic may rear up once more and Allardyce will need all his customary man-management skills and tactical nous to fashion Newcastle into contenders. Peace, quiet and a cup run may have to suffice

 

If they were a pop star they would be... Whitney Houston Huge fanbase, but haven’t done anything of note for years

 

Joe Lovejoy’s prediction 6th Enter Big Sam, exit chairman Freddy Shepherd, cue a ‘Where’s the money?’ crisis. But cometh the hour . . . Title odds 100-1

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Guardian

 

Premiership preview No14: Newcastle

Comedy is no longer on the bill at St James' Park, where Sam Allardyce's ethos is anathema to the romantic values of the club in modern times.

Rob SmythAugust 7, 2007 10:32 AM

 

Guardian Unlimited writers' prediction: 6th Odds: 250-1

 

Sometimes, the laughing has to stop. For Newcastle United, the comedy club of the Premiership (some might cite Manchester City, but they've always done a nicer line in tragicomedy), that time has come. We may think that Newcastle are simply here to amuse us, but Sam Allardyce will warm to that idea about as much as Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Funny? Funny how?

 

The external perception of Newcastle is not all that is going to change. The club's fans pride themselves on the quality of their football; not anymore. While Allardyce's Bolton were never quite as insultingly direct as received wisdom had it, there is no question that he will prioritise substance over style every time. Behind that booming, gregarious laugh lies a very shrewd, serious manager, who will stop at nothing to achieve success. He didn't win a trophy at Bolton but, in real terms, his achievements were worth at least a couple of doubles. If Allardyce cannot end Newcastle's 38-year trophy drought, nobody can.

 

It is a long-term project, of course, and a top-half finish with a decent cup run would do for this season. But there is no doubt that Allardyce's ethos is anathema to the romantic values of the club in modern times; a culture could not change so dramatically if Jeremy Paxman started presenting Big Brother. Forget what you know, or what you think you know, about Newcastle United. Everything is up for grabs. Allardyce will probably even ban fans from going topless.

 

He certainly won't allow his team to be as naked at the back. In a revolutionary development, he has bought three real defenders this summer and will surely put an end to the lamentable, however-many-they-concede-we'll-concede-one-more culture fostered under Kevin Keegan. Titus Bramble was always a little unjustly maligned, but he was the poster boy for Newcastle's slapstick defence and it was hugely significant that Allardyce got rid of him in his first day in the job, a symbolic gesture to match the removal of the 'Comedy' from the 'Mark Thomas Comedy Product'.

 

Now the club will have an almost entirely new defence - new to the Premiership, never mind the club - and while that carries obvious acclimatisation risks (although Allardyce, smartly, has said he will phase them in one by one), Allardyce's success in spotting the likes of Tal Ben Haim and Radhi Jaidi has earned him enough slack when it comes to buying defenders, especially when they have a pedigree as good as that of Claudio Caçapa, an ultra-experienced Brazilian international who won six titles in a row at Lyon, David Rozehnal, Paris Saint Germain's Player of the Year last season, and the Spain Under-21 left-back José Enrique.

 

The quality of Allardyce's signings further forward is not in dispute: Mark Viduka, Geremi Njitap, Joey Barton and Alan Smith are all proven at this level, and after taming El-Hadji Diouf and others, Allardyce should have few problems even with Barton. If anything, his biggest concern - apart from rumours of a frosty relationship with the new owner Mike Ashley - is that he now has too many cooks. The depth of the squad is startling (a second XI might be: Harper, Carr, Taylor, Ramage, Babayaro, Dyer, Butt, Emre, Duff, Martins, Luque), and there is more chance of correctly predicting when Allardyce will next talk to the BBC than what his team will be for the opening game at Bolton. It is an entirely clean slate, especially as Allardyce's healing hands have the ability to find life in the deadest of wood: in pre-season, even Albert Luque has looked the part. And that, as any Newcastle fan would tell you, really is funny.

 

In: Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough - free), Joey Barton (Manchester City - £5.8m), David Rozenhal (PSG - £2.9m) Geremi Njitap (Newcastle - free), Alan Smith (Manchester United - £6m), Claudio Caçapa (Lyon - free), José Enrique (Villarreal - £6.3m).

 

Out: Titus Bramble (Wigan - free), Antoine Sibierski (Wigan - free), Scott Parker (Newcastle - £7m), Alan O'Brien (Hibernian - free).

Edited by GafferTape
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In a revolutionary development, he has bought three real defenders this summer and will surely put an end to the lamentable, however-many-they-concede-we'll-concede-one-more culture fostered under Kevin Keegan.

 

Still that old shocker. :lol:

 

Really that ended with KK leaving, some seasons we've been quite good defensively and those we haven't have often been as much to do with injury as anything.

 

Bramble was prone to costly fuck ups, but it wasn't as if even he let every ball in possible.

 

 

Yeah our defence is a lot better than it has been in the last 2-3 seasons, but I suspect it may not be that much better than Robson's best defensive setup although probably quite a bit different.

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Guardian

Sometimes, the laughing has to stop. For Newcastle United, the comedy club of the Premiership (some might cite Manchester City, but they've always done a nicer line in tragicomedy), that time has come. We may think that Newcastle are simply here to amuse us, but Sam Allardyce will warm to that idea about as much as Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Funny? Funny how?

:lol: What a thoroughly brilliant piece of journalism. How hard is it to be interesting and mildly funny as a journalist? A game which as a sports journalist becomes your life? You would never EVER see a piece of reporting like this from Alan Oliver. Alan if you're reading this, I know genuinely you're not a bad bloke, you're not I've spoken to you a few times, but you're pish, and too old, can you not take over the Rugby from Duncan Madsen?

 

I think some of the pieces as have been mentioned show lazy reporting. If we come lower than 7th, or below Everton I will pledge £100 to a worthy charity. Fuckin 9th. Some of them mention a weak squad, the piece in today's Racing Post has us 9th, because we've only made "a few" buys. I can't remember us making 7 QUALITY buys in the space of 2 months ever.

 

I'll stick my neck out and say 5th. Fuck Tottenham. Jol for the sack 25/1 - seen worse bets.

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Guardian

Sometimes, the laughing has to stop. For Newcastle United, the comedy club of the Premiership (some might cite Manchester City, but they've always done a nicer line in tragicomedy), that time has come. We may think that Newcastle are simply here to amuse us, but Sam Allardyce will warm to that idea about as much as Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Funny? Funny how?

:lol: What a thoroughly brilliant piece of journalism. How hard is it to be interesting and mildly funny as a journalist? A game which as a sports journalist becomes your life? You would never EVER see a piece of reporting like this from Alan Oliver. Alan if you're reading this, I know genuinely you're not a bad bloke, you're not I've spoken to you a few times, but you're pish, and too old, can you not take over the Rugby from Duncan Madsen?

 

I think some of the pieces as have been mentioned show lazy reporting. If we come lower than 7th, or below Everton I will pledge £100 to a worthy charity. Fuckin 9th. Some of them mention a weak squad, the piece in today's Racing Post has us 9th, because we've only made "a few" buys. I can't remember us making 7 QUALITY buys in the space of 2 months ever.

 

I'll stick my neck out and say 5th. Fuck Tottenham. Jol for the sack 25/1 - seen worse bets.

 

Fucking hate Jol, hope the twat gets the sack. Personally with an average season we will finish 8th and with a good season 6th. If injuries are avoided and our defence is as good as it looks atm then 5th is a possibility. However, id easily settle for sixth in BS's first season.

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Guardian

 

Premiership preview No14: Newcastle

Comedy is no longer on the bill at St James' Park, where Sam Allardyce's ethos is anathema to the romantic values of the club in modern times.

Rob SmythAugust 7, 2007 10:32 AM

 

Guardian Unlimited writers' prediction: 6th Odds: 250-1

 

Sometimes, the laughing has to stop. For Newcastle United, the comedy club of the Premiership (some might cite Manchester City, but they've always done a nicer line in tragicomedy), that time has come. We may think that Newcastle are simply here to amuse us, but Sam Allardyce will warm to that idea about as much as Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Funny? Funny how?

 

The external perception of Newcastle is not all that is going to change. The club's fans pride themselves on the quality of their football; not anymore. While Allardyce's Bolton were never quite as insultingly direct as received wisdom had it, there is no question that he will prioritise substance over style every time. Behind that booming, gregarious laugh lies a very shrewd, serious manager, who will stop at nothing to achieve success. He didn't win a trophy at Bolton but, in real terms, his achievements were worth at least a couple of doubles. If Allardyce cannot end Newcastle's 38-year trophy drought, nobody can.

 

It is a long-term project, of course, and a top-half finish with a decent cup run would do for this season. But there is no doubt that Allardyce's ethos is anathema to the romantic values of the club in modern times; a culture could not change so dramatically if Jeremy Paxman started presenting Big Brother. Forget what you know, or what you think you know, about Newcastle United. Everything is up for grabs. Allardyce will probably even ban fans from going topless.

 

He certainly won't allow his team to be as naked at the back. In a revolutionary development, he has bought three real defenders this summer and will surely put an end to the lamentable, however-many-they-concede-we'll-concede-one-more culture fostered under Kevin Keegan. Titus Bramble was always a little unjustly maligned, but he was the poster boy for Newcastle's slapstick defence and it was hugely significant that Allardyce got rid of him in his first day in the job, a symbolic gesture to match the removal of the 'Comedy' from the 'Mark Thomas Comedy Product'.

 

Now the club will have an almost entirely new defence - new to the Premiership, never mind the club - and while that carries obvious acclimatisation risks (although Allardyce, smartly, has said he will phase them in one by one), Allardyce's success in spotting the likes of Tal Ben Haim and Radhi Jaidi has earned him enough slack when it comes to buying defenders, especially when they have a pedigree as good as that of Claudio Caçapa, an ultra-experienced Brazilian international who won six titles in a row at Lyon, David Rozehnal, Paris Saint Germain's Player of the Year last season, and the Spain Under-21 left-back José Enrique.

 

The quality of Allardyce's signings further forward is not in dispute: Mark Viduka, Geremi Njitap, Joey Barton and Alan Smith are all proven at this level, and after taming El-Hadji Diouf and others, Allardyce should have few problems even with Barton. If anything, his biggest concern - apart from rumours of a frosty relationship with the new owner Mike Ashley - is that he now has too many cooks. The depth of the squad is startling (a second XI might be: Harper, Carr, Taylor, Ramage, Babayaro, Dyer, Butt, Emre, Duff, Martins, Luque), and there is more chance of correctly predicting when Allardyce will next talk to the BBC than what his team will be for the opening game at Bolton. It is an entirely clean slate, especially as Allardyce's healing hands have the ability to find life in the deadest of wood: in pre-season, even Albert Luque has looked the part. And that, as any Newcastle fan would tell you, really is funny.

 

In: Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough - free), Joey Barton (Manchester City - £5.8m), David Rozenhal (PSG - £2.9m) Geremi Njitap (Newcastle - free), Alan Smith (Manchester United - £6m), Claudio Caçapa (Lyon - free), José Enrique (Villarreal - £6.3m).

 

Out: Titus Bramble (Wigan - free), Antoine Sibierski (Wigan - free), Scott Parker (Newcastle - £7m), Alan O'Brien (Hibernian - free).

 

yawn.

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I enjoyed that Guardiamn article. Nice to see a bit of positive spin about the club from an outsider.

 

It is a long-term project, of course, and a top-half finish with a decent cup run would do for this season.

 

Titus Bramble was always a little unjustly maligned, but he was the poster boy for Newcastle's slapstick defence and it was hugely significant that Allardyce got rid of him in his first day in the job
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The Sun:

 

Verry Terribles prediction:

 

1.Chelsea

 

 

CHELSEA will be the team to beat and the one to catch. Under Jose Mourinho they have been the most consistent side. The fact they are unbeaten at home under the manager is no coincidence. Titles are built on results at home and Chelsea look stronger and hungrier. Mourinho is worried about losing players early next year to the African Nations Cup but I think with their signings they’ll keep their nose in front. Didier Drogba will once again be a big player as will Frank Lampard.

ONE TO WATCH: Florent Malouda

 

2.Manchester United

 

UNITED will battle to the last to retain their crown and you’d be hard pressed to slide a piece of paper between the top four this year. Alex Ferguson has made exciting signings to add to his terrific squad. I’m looking forward to seeing Owen Hargreaves play week in, week out in English football. But I wonder if some minds will re-focus on Europe. And it’s hard to play two seasons consecutively at the very top of your game and that is the challenge for their wing ace Cristiano Ronaldo.

ONE TO WATCH: Owen Hargreaves

 

3. Arsenal

 

ARSENAL will improve and I see them contesting the title for much longer than last term. They have immense talent and just need more consistency. Their younger lads have matured, though, and I like the look of Eduardo da Silva. I’m surprised he hasn’t been picked up before because he’s a clever player who will get goals. Nicklas Bendtner has improved, while Robin van Persie will inspire them.

ONE TO WATCH: Robin van Persie

 

4. Liverpool

 

LIVERPOOL have broken their record fee for £21.5million Spanish hitman Fernando Torres and it’s a bold statement of intent.But I worry about the numbe r of players they have brought in and now it will affect them. Ii will be very hard for Rafa Benitez to accommodate everyone. It may cause unrest and it will be hard to keep everyone in check. They remain a very talented side but fourth place is as good as they will achieve.

ONE TO WATCH: Fernando Torres

 

5. Tottenham

 

I’VE been very impressed by Tottenham and the way they have gone about their business. The £40million has been spent wisely and Darren Bent reminds me of Gary Lineker in his prime. I’d love the problem of picking between their four strikers. Gareth Bale and Younes Kaboul are top defenders as well.

ONE TO WATCH: Darren Bent

 

6. Newcastle

 

NEWCASTLE are one of the dark horses in this year’s title race. Sam Allardyce has spent wisely and is the kind of boss to get the best from players. Mark Viduka will score goals for them, as will Alan Smith. The crux for the Toon will be how midfielder Joey Barton responds to his move.

ONE TO WATCH: Joey Barton

 

7. Everton

 

EVERTON are another of the teams chasing a place in Europe. Phil Jagielka will prove very useful. He did very well for England B and, along with Andy Johnson, will be staking his international claim. They are still short of a striker, though that could be sorted if they get Yakubu from Boro.

ONE TO WATCH: Phil Jagielka

 

8. Blackburn

 

BLACKBURN will continue their fine form of last season and European football will help. Mark Hughes has concentrated on adding to his squad and bringing in the likes of striker Roque Santa Cruz is clever. They need a bit more consistency but hanging on to Benni McCarthy is huge.

ONE TO WATCH: David Bentley

 

9. Portsmouth

 

HARRY REDKNAPP has really great experience in the transfer market and has put that to good use again. I like the look of his range of strikers and David Nugent, signed from Preston, makes them more competitive. Veterans Sol Campbell and David James will help them impress again this term.

ONE TO WATCH: David Nugent

 

10. West Ham

 

WEST HAM have spent a lot of cash and clearly have big ambitions. Mark Noble will just get better this season and is the kind of midfielder to feed Craig Bellamy the passes the Welshman loves to run on to. I’m thrilled to see Dean Ashton fit and scoring goals. He has huge potential.

ONE TO WATCH: Mark Noble

 

11. Manchester City

 

MAN CITY will be another of the season’s interesting tales. Sven Goran Eriksson has done what I’d call a Portsmouth or Bolton - signing players he hopes will have an immediate impact. Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov is dynamic, Elano is also good and Geovanni is technically excellent.

ONE TO WATCH: Martin Petrov

 

12. Aston Villa

 

VILLA’S Martin O’Neill has let more players go than he has signed. The second season will be harder for the manager and expectations have increased. Gabriel Agbonlahor showed glimpses of what he can do last term and we will see Luke Moore and Ashley Young shine. Nigel Reo-Coker will add steel.

ONE TO WATCH: Luke Moore

 

13. Bolton Wanderers

 

SAMMY LEE has a difficult task to follow in Sam Allardyce’s footsteps. I don’t expect them to change their style but they could slump down the table. And striker Nicolas Anelka was unsettled this summer after being linked to Arsenal.

ONE TO WATCH: Nicolas Anelka

 

14. Fulham

 

LAWRIE SANCHEZ has wasted no time spending money at Fulham and has practically brought in a whole new team. He’s gone for a few players he knew as Northern Ireland boss. They know him and he knows how to motivate them.

ONE TO WATCH: Diomansy Kamara

 

15. Sunderland

 

ROY KEANE’S new-boys will be the best of the three promoted sides. They haven’t panic-bought and Keane has chosen to spend most of his money on a goalkeeper - £9million for Craig Gordon. I think that’s money well spent.

ONE TO WATCH: Craig Gordon

 

16. Middlesbrough

 

I WAS impressed by Gareth Southgate in his first season in management. He coached well and kept his cool. My concern is the lack of signings. Losing Mark Viduka was a big blow and he needs to keep Jonathan Woodgate fit.

ONE TO WATCH: Tuncay Sanli

 

17. Reading

 

STEVE COPPELL already seems to be suffering the second-season blues. He hasn’t improved the squad and lost Steve Sidwell on a free to Chelsea. But Leroy Lita’s England Under-21 displays were one of the highlights of the summer.

ONE TO WATCH: Leroy Lita

 

18. Wigan Athletic

 

THE Latics have done very well in the last two years and performed the great escape on the last day of last season. I don’t see that happening this year, though. They haven’t invested enough in strengthening the team.

ONE TO WATCH: Jason Koumas

 

19. Birmingham City

 

STEVE BRUCE has spent a lot of cash at Birmingham but he encountered some difficulty. Controversy over Tottenham duo Mido and Hossam Ghaly has left a bad taste and Bruce may have to do more shopping.

ONE TO WATCH: Olivier Kapo

 

20. Derby County

 

BILLY DAVIES has decided not to go for broke in the transfer market which unfortunately means Derby will go straight back to the Championship. Robert Earnshaw tends to be a player who signs, scores goals and then leaves.

ONE TO WATCH: Steve Howard

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