ALLON
By Joe Allon
Wednesday 14 Dec 2011 10:18:00
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If anyone had said to me in August that Newcastle United would be sitting in a Champions League place come the middle of October and be unbeaten in all competitions I would have laughed in their face. First and foremost you have to pay tribute to the players after another summer of ins and outs has given the dressing room a French feel about it. The new boys have hit the ground running and they have gelled as a unit both on and off the pitch. You also have to take your hat off to the manager Alan Pardew and his backroom staff. They have steadied the ship and are sailing the seas at a great pace at the moment and look invincible. The love affair with the owner is still blowing hot and cold but hey you can’t have everything can you?  We are entering a really hectic period now and in November we face the two Manchesters and then in early December Chelsea. It’s a run of fixtures I was looking at with dread in August but now I feel a lot more confident. We still need to strengthen the squad though. I still feel that the good start has papered over the cracks a little and that a few injuries or suspensions will see our skeleton squad exposed.

 

My old ‘NO.9’ top is still on its hanger at St James Park at the moment and that frustrates me. I really wish Demba Ba or Leon Best or even Shola Ameobi had knocked on the managers door in the Summer and asked for it. It carries great pressure that shirt, I should know, but it is the shirt of legends and I feel that one of the lads should have stepped up and took that chance. I have been impressed with the frontline so far. Ba has looked sharp and looked a bargain after he had recovered from fasting over Ramadan. Best has upped his work rate and pitched in with some goals to keep up his impressive strike rate at the club, and Shola showed his class against Tottenham recently with a sublime finish . And there we all were wondering where the goals were going to come from.

 

I really have been impressed with Yohan Cabaye. He has linked up well with last seasons surprise package Tiote and has left fans asking Joey and Kevin who? When you think about how well those two played last season and how disappointing it was to see them both leave the club in the summer it is testament to Cabaye and Tiote how little they have been missed. The odd glimpses we have had of Ben Arfa so far this season also bode well for the future. For any player to come back from an horrific injury like he had will take time but he has already had the fans off their seats at St James Park on more than one occasion.  The backline has been superb with Steven Taylor and Fabricio Colocini sniffing out the very best the Premier League has to offer. Tim Krul for me has been the player of the season so far but I do feel for Steve Harper who had to wait so long to take his chance at the club he loves and now finds himself back on the bench. Ryan Taylor also deserves a lot of credit for the way he has taken his chance with both hands this season. He isn’t a left back and when he was thrown in against Arsenal due to Perch being injured a lot of fans groaned. Fast forward two months and he’s most peoples first choice. He will never go short of a drink in Newcastle now either after that belter over the wall against the mackems. Legend.

 

Finally a big thanks to everyone who made ‘The Entertainers Reunited’ such a big success. Both the dinner on the Saturday where Holly Shearer made her singing debut and the game on Sunday where the ‘Wraithmeister’ made his goalkeeping debut were big successes for all of the charities involved and I was proud to be part of it. Bring on the next one!



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