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Season 2011-12

From my seat: Newcastle (H)

By Ken Buckley   ::  14/05/2012
 20 Comments (Last)
Last game of the season and Blues were out in force for this one as our local pub confirmed by the numbers in early, strangely the numbers in our ale house are a remarkably good guide to the days attendance. Today's turnout reflected the plus 39,000 at the game.

The sun was out and the wind was well up from the mersey and it was to get stronger as the game went on. Spellow lane and Goodison road were abuzz yet once again I could not find a seller to obtain a copy of the very last edition of 'Speke from the Harbour' perhaps that's why its folding ? write em, advertise em, print em and don't sell em. I jest, maybe they just sold out, I hope so as even in this day of instant internet it was always a great quirky read and solid Blue.

The team as announced was probably the strongest we could put out however Distin fans may not agree as he was benched. The numbers assembled suggested that this game was seen as a good attraction. Possibly the visitors could reach a Champions League spot whilst our lot could finish 7th as well as above our neighbours ? which was paramount for many but not me as, apart from extra place money, all it meant was we had won nothing nor qualified for anything; still let's hope the extra place money can be used by our manager to maybe give hope and encouragement to both fans and players with a trio of signings.

The game started in end-to-end fashion with the Magpies trying to dominate thus emphasising their CL credentials but the Blues were having none of it and soon the game settled with the Blues having the best of attacking moves even though the visitors had maybe more of the ball. Our play was soon of a high order and a wag near me suggested it was akin to watching Brazil and on 15 or so mins he could have been right as after a few niggely fouls by both sides a move of quality was put together that saw a Howard kick forward excellently dealt with by Osman who got a pass off to Fellaini who made ground then picked out Pienaar who made a few paces forward then hit one that deflected and arrowed into the top corner of the Park end goal. A giant roar erupted as the players

Next, from a Baines free kick, Osman played the ball across goal which went right across and beyond the far post where Pienaar was lurking, he controlled and shot and hit the post. The next item of note was when Cabaye who had become a right nark was wrongly given just a talking to for pushing a ball boy, he should have been booked at least.

On 27 mins, a back-to-front ball saw Jelavic, who had been presented with the Player of the Month award for April, control well, beat Colucini and hit a powerful shot that hit keeper Krul and bounced off him; Jelavic got onto the loose ball with Osman in close attendance but it was the Croatian who coolly lobbed the keeper. 2 - 0 and all happy.

The half continued with the Blues playing some excellent joined-up stuff and even Jags with his longer balls, shall we say, looked more controlled and found their target on a few occasions. Gibson was running the mid-field and had the odd shot but always just wide. Osman was in fine form and after excellent play pulled his shot wide. Fellaini went down and looked at least a hospital case but within no time at all he was running free and after a classy inter-change with Pienaar he fed Gibson who shot with venom and not wide this time but unfortunately straight at the keeper. As the half came to a close Cisse showed he could be a danger but pulled his shot wide and then the man who's shot beat us last term, Ben Arfa, hit a free kick well wide.

Half-time and the chat was of how well we had played that first half.

The second half started as I feared it might. Everton deep and clearances presenting the ball back to the visitors. Newcastle should have scored when great movement by Cisse saw him one-on-one with Howard who slipped but Cisse with no-one to hamper him slotted wide, a bad miss. Newcastle got a corner as they were almost camped in our half and the crowd becoming ever more restless. We just didn't seem able to get going ? not a good enough tempo to our play ? and all because we started the half to cautiously.

Jelavic got on the end of a punt forward and showed good control and a shot on the turn that went wide. We started to liven up then Cabaye fouled Pienaar within shooting distance, Gibson took it and Krul did well at his near post. Howard was struggling after a slip and received treatment but continued with Jags taking goal-kicks, he seemed to enjoy hammering those upfield.

Newcastle were still having the lion's share of play but that was rendered redundant when on 65mins Jelavic took the ball well out wide right but was pushed over, resulting in a free kick which the excellent Gibson arced in with pace and found Heitinga first to react which resulted in a free header which he duly buried into the net. Cue great celebrations and a rousing chorus of 'Oh Johnny- Johnny'! Five minutes later, he was replaced by Distin with the only reason I could find for the sub was to give Distin a game.

Newcastle had a pot shot that saw the injured Howard in ungainly fashion put it around the post for a corner. Then lack of communication by our keeper saw him come out for a through ball that Hibbert was already on and his header back to the keeper passed him as he came out so we had the spectacle of a goal for Hibbert causing no-one to riot as it was into the wrong goal. Cahill then replaced Neville.

Howard defied his injury to make a great save under his bar to deny Cisse. Pienaar played Jelavic in on goal but he neither did one thing or another and that petered out. Gibson hammered one in that hit Krul and bounced out at speed and hit Cahill on his knee and the ball rebounded straight to the keeper.

Jelavic came off to thunderous applause and was replaced by Stracqualursi with 7mins to go. Newcastle went gung-ho which allowed us to look to a counter attack and it almost paid off as first Gibson shot just wide then some sublime interplay from Pienaar and Baines saw Baines's cross sent for a corner. That would have been a goal of the season had it gone in. Osman had us drooling with his fast feet setting up a chance for himself but unfortunately his strong shot hit the post and came back into play, a great individual effort.

Final whistle and the big screen flashes up Swansea 1 Liverpool 0 and the roar was loud but on diverting the eyes back toward the players only to see a great melee involving players officials and stewards. It appears Cahill had Cabaye by the throat and was shown red. Stupid infantile millionaires came to mind, right took the gloss off a great win and some of the gloss of the players lap of appreciation toward the fans. Thanks a bunch, Tim.

MotM ? Gibson

Overall a good day out and, considering all the platitudes that Newcastle have been receiving, it was good to see we were indeed a better footballing side. If only we had the wherewithal to allow the manager those four quality players plus Pienaar then I am convinced we could challenge around top four and it would more than likely rid us of poor starts to seasons. As things stand at the present time, I expect very little difference from other seasons, maybe sell one get two or three maybes in. Still I can do nothing about it so I will wish those that can the best of luck and as I have renewed my ticket I will turn up to see how it has all panned out.

The way things are going on the ordinary persons finance front, many of us will have to consider away trips more carefully as they are getting very expensive now and with northwest teams being relegated to be replaced by long trips down south has done us no favours.

Still that's for another day. I wish you all a pleasant and enjoyable summer, it will soon be August and off we go again.


Reader Comments

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Dave Wilson
824   Posted 14/05/2012 at 06:07:30

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Great article Ken.

Another fair and accurate report. The Cahill incident did take a little of the gloss off, but my mate kept drawing attention to Cabaye (Suarezesque charm) mouthing off at him for a good ten minutes before the final whistle.

Your never too old to learn ? Wait till you get off the pitch, THEN kick his arse next time, Tim, lad.
Stephen Kenny
827   Posted 14/05/2012 at 07:43:55

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Funny how we all see the game a different way.

I thought we battered them for pretty much the whole first half with Cisse making himself the odd half chance.

It was all Newcastle for 15-20 mins after the break while we got our obligatory brain farts out the way but I thought we controlled it after that too.

There's about 7 or 8 really good players in this side and another couple would really see us with a team to challenge anyone. We've give some really good sides a hiding at GP this season. I just hope we start something like we're finishing.
Paul Gladwell
832   Posted 14/05/2012 at 08:31:40

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Same here Stephen, I thought the pressure they did put on us in that spell had a lot to do with Howard being injured and this unsettled a few players, I actually thought he should have been brought off and I think Jagielka thought that too as he was constantly questioning Howard.
We played some great stuff at times and I cannot believe some people coming on here telling us we should get shut of half our squad, keep everyone and add Pienaar and hopefully two others and we would go into next season with a lot of hope.
Moyes ballsed up big time in the season with his negativity and I have called for his head many times, however when the dust settles you have to admit since we brought in the January players our results have been superb.
Anto Byrne
835   Posted 14/05/2012 at 08:47:45

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Howard should have gone off when it was 3-0. Hibbert's own goal was down to him coming off his line and not calling for the ball. Maybe Mucha could have impressed but we will never know.

Moyes, if he stays, has to shuffle the deck, get rid of the jokers and get a few more aces in the pack. Uncle Bill has to deliver.

According to the table, we are the best team on Merseyside, so let's enjoy that while it lasts. Of course, not going to Wembley for the final has to be the biggest disappointment and compounded by those three losses to them. Roll on August.
Stephen Kenny
836   Posted 14/05/2012 at 08:56:55

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I agree 100%.

Thats why i find August to Jan so frustrating.

It's hard to watch players who demolished half the league including most of the CL wannabe's play like dog turds.

Moyes at his best is a great manager, at his worst he's infuriating. We never seem to coast or plod along so opinions are forcibly schizophrenic.

We go from being the worst side in the league to the best over the course of a season.

For all the criticism I've levelled at him I'd still rather he just lost a bit of caution and stayed than went.
Sam Hoare
838   Posted 14/05/2012 at 09:09:40

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Stephen, I think Moyes has his flaws but at least some of our slow starting syndrome has to be attributed to the board's consistent failure to give the manager any stability or progression every summer.

Each summer, we have been faced with the prospect of one or more of our best players leaving and January was the first time in 2 years the manager was given any money to spend. The result is that the team that finished the previous season strongly is very rarely the same that starts the next one. Let's hope the same isn't true this summer....
Alan Khan
844   Posted 14/05/2012 at 09:36:54

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Hi Ken... Thank you for the report. It was a great win and I have been impressed by the performances of late. What a wonderful way to end the season after the disappointment of the first half of the campaign, coupled by the Derby defeats and the Semi-Final capitulation.

Like many, I'd be interested to see if BK hands over any money to Moyes for the summer transfer window but as the manager has already intimated, he may need to sell in order to buy - something which he has been forced to do in recent years anyway...

However, retaining Pienaar must be high up on his TO DO list but I have a feeling that Harry will not make it easy. Besides, the player himself would need to have the desire to stay at Goodison. I would hasten to add that with Pienaar, Fellaini, Gibson, Baines, Heitinga and Jelavic, we have a decent group of players to build on.

Have a great summer - and I hope you have made a fully recovery...?


James Morgan
846   Posted 14/05/2012 at 09:22:18

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I watched the extended highlights on sky and it looked to me like we played them off the park. Heitingas first time ball for Jelavic was world class and the way the Jelly man readjusted to score was sheer class. The lad looks like he could play for any team in the world!
I was very disappointed with Tim at the end, I thought he would show some common sense and let things be, soured the celebrations somewhat. I think Tim's time has come at Everton and we should thank him for his service and let him see out his career back down under.

On a side note, I know numerous threads will pop up regarding transfers but I think we should go for Rodallega on a free from Wigan as well as Hoilett from Rovers and Mark Davies from Bolton. Would strengthen us somewhat all for next to nothing.
Christopher Timmins
848   Posted 14/05/2012 at 10:09:38

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Ken, enjoy the summer break and come back fit and well in August. Hopefully, one or two who are on loan will have been signed up when you file your next report.
Stephen Kenny
850   Posted 14/05/2012 at 10:13:17

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That ball nearly came off a few times. Don't know if it was a deliberate tactic or something Jela and Heitinga noticed in game but both were looking for it throughout.

The more I see of Jelavic the more I think we've got a world class player to build around.
Howard Don
858   Posted 14/05/2012 at 11:23:46

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Thanks Ken good report as ever, I thought early on they looked very energetic,closing us down quickly, but then we were just to good for them and looked much more like the CL contenders. No surprise, with two subs, they had a go at us for 15mins or so after half time, but apart from the cock up for the OG the defence looked comfortable most of the time.

Stephen 850 I agree the more you see of Jelavic, the better he looks. In a totally selfish way, I hope Croatia go out of the Euros early so:-

a) He's not knackered or injured for the next pre season.

b) Doesn't have a series of blinders that will have the big boys circling before we've had him five minutes.
Matt Traynor
861   Posted 14/05/2012 at 12:09:38

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James #846 free transfers are anything but. The player will get a 7 figure signing on fee and/or a premium on wages across the contract. They may represent better value to the club in the long-run, but they are anything but free!

Excellent report Ken, look forward to your reports next season.
Trevor Lynes
896   Posted 14/05/2012 at 13:30:02

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I would just like to add that Tony Hibbert is playing his best football this season and we now have a really good defence with cover for both left back and centre back in Distin who has amazed me with his pace and diligence in both positions. I have been crying that we have had no cover for Baines but I was wrong.. .Old Distain played Valencia better than anyone I have seen this season... he is a superb athlete and is worth another contract on his present form.

Osman seems to be enjoying the support of Gibson and Hibbert and seems to have more room... maybe just against Newcastle. Anyway, some of the football played was reminiscent of the 60s side which is high praise indeed. We just need to bolster the squad with two or three really decent young players who can take over from Cahill and Neville.
Stephen Kenny
920   Posted 14/05/2012 at 14:19:54

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Weve been slow starters since we signed Lescott and Johnson. I agree freshening things up helps but I put it more down to poor preparation(over-training and poor opposition) and Moyes attitude. It constantly baffles me when I try and make sense of it.

Even a mid table start would have seen us in a similar position to the geordies this season.


I think Rodwell will be replacing Neville as first choice in midfield with Fellaini pushing up as he's done the second half of this season.
Keith Glazzard
977   Posted 14/05/2012 at 16:27:53

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Great day at Goodison. The only resemblance it had to an 'end of the season' game was that Baines, Fellaini and Pienaar flicked the ball around like they might on the training ground, and the results were thrilling at times.

The defence was also great to watch. Newky's firepower hardly got a look in. They spent most of the game fouling our players - not that Mr Marriner would have noticed. Heitinga is simply the best, I'm a Jags fan and I'm so glad we've got Silvain too. No need to build in that department for next year.

Gibson - excellent. And he gives us the luxury of Fellaini playing up with Jelavic (how did he score that goal?). If we have the midfield to support this next season we can really motor.

7th, so much better after January, a season of 'what ifs', but we have the nucleus of a very good team.

Come on you blues - do us proud next season.
Peter Thistle
992   Posted 14/05/2012 at 17:59:43

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I thought Tim Howard was a bit selfish staying on the pitch when injured. Would it have killed him to let Jan Mucha have 20 minutes on the pitch? Moyes should've took him off and given Mucha a reward for all his patience this season on the bench.
David Stewart
065   Posted 14/05/2012 at 22:07:33

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Well that's it all over for another season, and I'm sure theres a myriad of thoughts on how the season went for the blues. Needless to say, that there's plenty of material there for many a letter over the off-season ? not for me this year though, I've decided to adopt a different tact this time.

I'm gonna switch off, this year I ain't gonna get caught up in the mind-numbing search of looking in sometimes the most obscure places to see what's happenlng in Toffeeland. Nope, I'll be back the day before the season starts and I sure hope I get some nice surprises.

So, as we bunker down for winter over here and our friends in the northern hemesphire get ready for summer, enjoy yourself and see you all in August for another crazy roller coaster ride on the ToffeeWeb mailbag.

Victor Chang
100   Posted 15/05/2012 at 05:13:44

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David Stewart, you'll be back on here by mid June. It's impossible,
Chris Fisher
135   Posted 15/05/2012 at 10:28:02

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So one of your own players getting abuse from a dickhead who pushed over a little kid took the gloss off a good win and the players lap of honour?! Get over it!

Tim doesn't usually react that way to things so what was said must've been quite bad as Cabaye came out straight after and apologised for what he said. Bloody hell ? always has to be a negative, no matter what happens, doesn't there!?!
Mark Staniford
192   Posted 15/05/2012 at 14:50:23

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Hi Ken,

Sorry that you didn't manage to get a copy. Yes, I'm afraid that we sold out. I can send you an electronic copy if you drop me your email address. I know it's not quite the same but it has got all the same content.

All the best,

Mark Staniford
Editor - SFTH

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