Swansea silence the Sports Direct Arena at St James Park

Christmas shopping?  Not on your nelly…Abi Davies boarded the Swansea fun bus and headed as far north as you can in the Premier League with a visit to the St James, errr Sports Direct Arena.

Swansea City made the long journey North on Saturday in the midst of a busy Christmas period looking to capitalise on Newcastle’s current poor form which sees them without a win in their last 4 fixtures, in order to record their first away victory of the campaign.

Alan Pardew’s much depleted back line has left him with little resources at his disposal over recent weeks so it would have come as much relief that he had both Coloccini and Williamson back to bolster Newcastle’s defence.

Swansea had Joe Allen available again after the midfielder sat out last weekend’s victory over Fulham due to a one match suspension. He returned to the starting line up in place of Luke Moore who may have felt aggrieved to have to settle for a place amongst the substitutes given the magnitude of his performances in Swansea’s last two fixtures.

The only other change made by Brendan Rodgers saw Danny Graham restored to the starting XI to make his 250th career league appearance in place of Leroy Lita who has also delivered outstanding performances of late, looking hungry and eager in front of goal. Continue reading

My first game – Michael Hudson

Many thanks to Historical Kits for picture

Newcastle United 0 Coventry City 1
St. James’ Park
April 17th 1985
Attendance: 19,577

I had just turned nine years old, it was a sunny, end-of-season Wednesday evening, and Newcastle United were playing at home to Coventry City. It was the day that Manchester United beat Liverpool to reach the final of the FA Cup, exactly a week before Everton made the Cup Winners Cup Final, and just under a month until Heysel and the Bradford Fire. Not that I knew any of this at the time. Besides, I had enough to think about just trying to stay upright on a concrete crash-barrier.

We arrived before kick-off, climbing the zig-zag steps up from outside The Strawberry Pub, the doors of which men would famously topple out of five minutes before the game began. There was the smell of cooking hops and barley from the brewery next door, mixed in with open-air urinals, cigarette smoke, watery onions, eggy farts and beer breath. We found a place under the Gallowgate scoreboard, halfway up the open terrace, a little to the left of the goal. Continue reading

Some common sense please

In less than two years time the 30th Summer Olympics will officially open in East London.  Two hundred and five countries will be sending over eighteen thousand athletes to compete in thirty different sports and over three hundred events.  One of the most eagerly anticipated sports is the football, as for the first time in our living lives we will see a combined Great Britain team try to win Gold.

But unlike many other sports (Boxing being a notable other exception), the football has a number of stipulations as to which players can be picked to play.  Each team will consist of its “under 23’s” team, which is interesting as we don’t actually have one, and can be supplemented with three over aged players.  Whilst there will be a Great Britain team, to be managed by Sir Alex Ferguson so we are led to believe, quite who will be playing is unclear.  The tournament comes right in the middle of pre-season preparations, and starts (the football tournament actually commences on the 25th July) just 24 days after the final of Euro2012 in Poland and Ukraine.  Also, whilst it is a “Great Britain” team, in a letter to the IOC in May 2009 the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Football Associations said that they would not be allowing qualified players to play in the team, although they would not stop the team being called a “Great Britain” XI.  So all round happy faces. Continue reading