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Prem Survival Series Part 2: Wolves & Newcastle

After the weekend FA Cup distraction our focus sharply shifts back to our upcoming trip to Manchester City in our Battle for Premiership Survival.

Our series of interviews with our recognized relegation rivals continues as we seek insight into the goings on at the clubs around us and begin to realize that it is not only ourselves reaching for the horse tranquilizer.

Jonathan at Vital Villa got the ball rolling, providing us with harrowing detail as to what has derailed Aston Villa's season and left them languishing in the bottom three.

Second up, our focus shifts to Newcastle United. Many thanks to Ken for his quick, detailed & humorous reply.



VITAL WOLVES

What were you expectations at the start of the season?

VITAL NEWCASTLE

Expectation is a difficult word in the Premier League as anyone can beat anyone at some point, use Hull as an example a couple of years ago, Blackpool this year etc, Chelsea and Villa this season too, all dropping points...I hoped we would stay up and still do...



VITAL WOLVES

With 25 points on the board, there are plenty of other sides who have more to worry about than yourselves, but a couple of defeats can drag you right back into the relegation zone. Are Newcastle over achieving, under achieving? Tell us what is going right, and wrong.

VITAL NEWCASTLE

We're doing OK, I think, given the squad we have, we're probably slightly over achieving, if someone told me that we would sit 10th in the New Year or even finish the year in our current position, I would say that would be a massive achievement for us, long time to go, I'd be happy to just stay in the Prem so far.



VITAL WOLVES

What players would you like to see brought/sold in January?

VITAL NEWCASTLE

Selling is tough, our squad is thin on the ground, and we need to add players before selling, so nobody out yet, doesn't mean all our players are good though, just we don't have the luxury anymore - for me if we did, and I'll probably get slated for this by the NUFC fans, Jonas Gutierrez can move on, he's a luxury we can't afford as the end product is practically nothing, same can be said for Routledge of course, but, as I say, we don't have the luxury. I would like to see SWP at St James' Park, think he has a lot to give and experienced enough to help our plight. Our funds are limited so it's very likely we will see no exits and only the Ben Arfa signing will come to fruition, that said, Dan Gosling is on his way back so that will be like a new player for us too.



VITAL WOLVES

Will the sacking/hiring prove Ashley's greatest blunder to date?

VITAL NEWCASTLE

Ashley is a tw*t, he will be forgiven by some fans if we get reasonable success, ie, mid-table finish will be seen by some as a major success, but lets not forget, if it did happen, Hughton had us there not Pardew. Ashley and Blunder are associated words, but he seemingly manages to ride the storm every time, another major blunder that some forget, Pardew is on a 5 year deal, longer than any other European manager, so any potential buyer of the club has a long assed managers contract to buy out should they consider buying the club.

VITAL WOLVES

Where will Newcastle finish this season?

VITAL NEWCASTLE

I think we'll qualify for Europe, possibly even Champions league, we'll sign Messi shortly and that might even push us to top spot, I got Fifa 11 for Xmas....15th will do nicely thanks, good luck and lets hope you lot can stay up, not at the expense of us of course...



Please note! Ken replied to the interview January 4th, a day before Newcastle put five past West Ham, so...........

As things stand, Newcastle sit pretty in 8th, 7 points from a place in Europe, 7 points from a place in the bottom 3. If that doesn't underline the nature of this season then nothing will.

I think Ashley's treatment of Hughton was an absolute disgrace and I wished relegation on Newcastle, not aimed at the club, but him.

As Ken points out, 'Ashley and 'Blunder' are associated words.' After his years of mishandling this club I am amazed he is still somehow there and when you look at who is running that show it makes me grateful we have Steve Morgan at the helm.

As far as the relegation battle goes, I think Pardew would have to oversee a calamity of absurd proportions for them to fall into the bottom three at all again this season.

They had a very good first half season and with 28 points on the board already, they, like Blackpool in my book (they have 25) are probably only 3 or 4 wins short of ensuring Premiership football next season.

Fixtures?

Despite the derby next week and Spurs the week after, Newcastle are 'free' of the FA Cup, and have from the following 5 fixtures, Fulham, Blackburn, Birmingham, Bolton and Everton of which I can see them taking 8 or 9 points.

That would put them on 36/37 and have them steering very close to safety by the first week of March.

If that proves of comfort to Newcastle fans, I'll revisit the fact they are 7 points off a place in Europe, and ask how many points Wolves are behind Newcastle?

SEVEN

Will Newcastle be playing in Europe next year? Will Wolves be playing in the Championship next year?

My answer to both would be no.



Once again, many thanks to Ken for his detailed insight and best wishes shared.

Who is next in the series?

Fulham, West Ham & Everton have all responded to our interview request. You call it, I'll publish it.

Regards.



New York City Wolf




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The Journalist

Writer: New York City Wolf Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 9 2011

Time: 8:48PM

Your Comments

A remarkably low-key appraisal of Newcastle's performance to date. If we were in their position, I would be leaping about. But, of course, Newcastle is a big club with plenty of tradition so expectations run high. Hang on, doesn't that apply to us too? Well, in theory, yes and for me certainly. But, even if I can remember the glory days, I am pragmatic enough to realise that we have to improve by degrees. But we do have to stay up and I am not certain that the mind-set of the manager and team is always a realistic one. As I have said before, there is a degree of complacency in the reported comments. Neither can we close out the winning (or potentially winning ) games properly, giving me palpatations in the last 15 minutes of the game. I could hardly bear to watch the last 15 minutes of the Chelsea match. Getting back to the Newcastle interview, Ken's comments provide interesting insights into the feelings of the fans. Clearly, the sacking of Hughton was a disgrace and it could rebound on Ashley and Pardew. If the results nose-dive, the fans will soon turn on the management and the players could follow suit. We could see a Liverpool situation.
Southbank60
Newcastle certainly over achieving and doing very well on it!.I think the manager was badly treated but think this will all be forgotten if they continue in the form they have shown so far.A five year contract was the price Ashley had to pay to get anyone to take over given the treatment he had dished out to various coaches over the years.And yes I'd take 15th spot as well but if Newcastle occupy that berth,16th would do very nicely too!!.UTW.
Crete Wolf
Well, I think they have done a lot better than many, themselves included- would have expected. The jury is still out on Pardew and will be for some time. Under him, they have beaten Liverpool, Wigan, West Ham, lost to Man City, Tottenham, all results which could reasonably have been expected, and of course lost to Stevenage which wasn't. From the upcoming fixtures, as mentioned I think they have plenty enough to pick up points but we shall see how they respond to being under the spotlight as the big FA Cup shock. They have two tough games next, and if they lost those, and they continue to struggle in the ones that follow, namely the five mentioned above, then the fans may begin to turn- I don't see it though. Anyway, in good timing with relevance to the article, today's transfer rumors suggest Barton is on his way to Villa and Cokey in the opposite direction. This did leave me having a think and picturing with a wry smile on my face Barton holding up a Wolves shirt standing next to Mick and meeting the players at a first training session and seeing who got kicked first.
New York City Wolf
Over the weekend I was only able to afford a humorous reply to what will now prove a problem with regards filling the left back role. As the club have decided against an appeal, our options have inevitably slimmed. Ward is the obvious candidate to be switched back, which at least provides an opportunity for Fletcher over the next two weeks. I truly hope he takes his chance with a few goals and can stay in the team. As for the longer term, as in until the end of the season, I would like to see us pull out the shots, and the money to bring Wayne Bridge in. I think if we could bring in Bridge AND Lescott, a tall order I know, we would stay up at a canter.
New York City Wolf
Well, you have to laugh (about the on-going left back problem) otherwise you would lose the will to live. I agree that we should focus on a couple of marquee signings (is that the right word for players, who would actually improve our team?) and the two you mention would fit the bill. It looks like we are going to lose out on Wheater as well as Sidwell. It's a pity that Bolton were interested and, just think, they ended up last season a mere point ahead of us. And they did not spend 17m in the summer!
Southbank60
Well, I'm glad you tacked that onto this article Banksy because it adds to the wider perspective I'd hoped to broach if that sentence even makes sense, ten pm just back from work and still working etc etc. Whilst hoping the series would help relieve our anxieties I knew it would get the rats running their wheels and you raise a superb point, that a player would choose Bolton over Wolves. Of course I am biased, of course I dreamed off running out for the Wolves when I was a kid and my knees weren't collapsing (I exaggerate, the left one has had it, but - waves fist at God, there's another joke in there, I'm a whipper snapper at 33) but when I see some of these players choosing other clubs over us I have thought on plenty occasion, you must be nuts, why? why go there? I don't mention the likes of Fulham Ginger here- Londoner, we offered six months, they've probably given him a 3 or 4 year deal, fair play- yet whilst at first irked, I sat back and thought, unless you are a Wolves fan, the way things stand where would you go right now. A 5 month relegation battle or chasing an unlikely European dream. No, they didn't spend 17 million. They did finish one point above us, and I had wished after turning his back on Burnley for Bolton I wished relegation on Coyle and survival for Burnley, but the clarets relegation, Bolton's survival (added of course to where they are now) I tilt my cap to Coyle and say well done. Fact is he hasn't done it on much has he. I'll end as I always try to, with some sense of positivity. I mention those names whilst acknowledging I don't think we will get them. We should. I think we could sign those two alone and stay up. I'm just wondering at what cost it will have come, and wonder, if we do stay up this season, 'build' again, how much more money will Morgan throw at it, and would/will we suffer a third relegation battle. Plant the seed and let it grow. The seeds cost money so how many beans are we going to throw at it. I'm too tired to read over this post and I'm not sure even half of it makes sense. I'm fairly sure it didn't end positively! Rest assured, any negativity here is based around my thinkage that we will stay up- my mind ran away and I am thinking long term for this club of ours. Nuts to it, I said yesterday I would take 17th if someone offered it, will I be happy with 17th looking back at the end of the season, no. We finished 15th last season and if your wife spent 500 quid on a black and white telly when the colour one was working pretty well you wouldn't be happy would you.
New York City Wolf
The victory over Chelsea and the move out of the bottom three have given us a small window of opportunity (within the bigger window, as it were) to bring in some players. It indicates to potential recruits that we are not doomed and that there might be a PL future for them at Wolves. Naturally, to open the window further we should beat MC this weekend. It's a pity we did not turn up against Wigan and WHU as we would be half-way up the table by now but this indicates that we can all fall into the trap of would haves and should haves. But, it's so frustrating. Regarding Coyle, I also wanted Bolton to fail because of his defection. However, as a Bolton man there were extenuating circumstances and one can only admire the progress that the team has made under his guidance. [Edited by southbank60] [Edited by southbank60]
Southbank60
Indeed, I salute what he has done for them, it has been pretty miraculous considering who he inherited the club from- their progress in any regard under his stewardship is admirable, and it is painful to look at the table and realize that two wins (all very well looking back I know) would see us 11th- shows where we can STILL climb to however if our present pattern of returns continue. I think I just read somewhere Bridge has gone to West Ham, but I can't find confirmation anywhere such as the BBC- I hope this is wrong, because if they can sign him/temp him 1/ have we even tried to sign him 2/ if we did and he chose West Ham we seriously have to address our sales pitch. The Sidwell saga was all inevitably all over the papers as there were rightfully several clubs in for him but in the past our transfer business has been conducted in an admirably quiet manner- we can only hope this is the present situation and that they will pull a few surprises out of the bag. Thus far, Craddock & Henry have returned to training with talk they may be involved whilst Vokes is apparently a week away, not that I imagine him getting a sniff. I await the next surprise but I have more hope Liverpool will be this seasons Tottenham for us, as in where our next 3 points come from- just seems more realistic than Saturday- anything but defeat will bonus but we have already beaten them once so the unlikeliest of doubles? Now what better way to entice players, namely BRIDGE & LESCOTT.
New York City Wolf
 

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