"Clown Prince"

“Clown Prince”

As I took my seat in the East Stand at St James’ Park for the first home fixture of the season, everything seemed normal. That of course is if anything can be classed as “normal” these days at “The Cathedral On The Hill”.

The same beer, same pies, same friendly match steward that I chat to for a while before each game, comparing views. All the lads and lasses, all with smiling faces, bedecked in their black and white shirts.

But as we know, behind the scenes there is turmoil. A star midfielder Yohan Le Sulk with a pet lip on claiming to be “traumatised” by a paltry bid for his services from Le Arsenal.

A Director of Football, responsible for bringing in new players who has so far only managed to borrow one from the Championship.

An owner who apparently just does not want to spend any money on getting the right players of the right quality in – even though he knows there’s buckets of money coming in from TV revenue this season.

The match itself was sort of OK in a lot of respects and worrying in others.

In the OK department, I would point to a good performance by Vurnon Anita and an improved performance by our defence.

In the “worrying” box, I would point to the chances created and fluffed by West Ham and our ongoing inability to fashion any chances ourselves. Yes the midfield looked slick at times, but the end product in the final third was abysmal.

One of the highlights of the match was the unfurling of a banner at the front of the Leazes End which read “Joe Kinnear Clown Prince of the Premier League”. The stewards pounced, and that was that.

In summary, we were never going to score against a West Ham defence in which Collins was outsanding. West Ham created enough to win the game but missed their chances. And in the dying moments of the match Gouffran managed to miss from two yards. Had he scored, we would have won – but it would have just been papering over the cracks.

On the way home, I heard Alan Hansen on the radio claiming that West Ham had “annihilated” us. I don’t know which match he was watching but it was typical of the man to put us down. I wonder if a geordie once strangled his budgie or something?

What do you think? As ever, comments, opinions and views welcome below.

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