Home advantage gives you an advantage! (Sir Bobby Robson)
By @geordiedentist
Thursday 21 Feb 2013 15:03:00
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Without a league game this past weekend we've been left to focus solely on Europe and have a weekend kicking our heels thinking about what could have been in the FA cup. The first leg against Metalist Kharkiv was a frustrating affair.  Typically after I blasted Cisse for straying offside a few times too often it was actually then down to 2 dodgy linesman calls that saw 2 good goals chalked off.

It has to be said that with all the recent talk of match fixing and various lines of enquiry, when you see decisions being made that are just so wrong it's untrue and with no real mitigating circumstances you do start to wonder. Where does bad become deliberately so? Not that I'm suggesting that here of course.  Interesting though that finally FIFA look set to look at having some sort of technology in place to help officials. I'm all for that and although it is likely to be goal line first surely that can't be any worse than the 2 extra numpties serving little purpose in Europa league games.  In time if it is successful I could see offside technology being trialled. It's difficult to balance mind you. Even in American Football a line was drawn about just how often tv can be used to challenge decisions made on the pitch, and that's a game with far more natural breaks in play.  It became a shambles at one stage with an extra hour going onto game times on occasion. And so challenges became limited and the current system seems to work well and everyone seems happy with it. These things need trialled properly too. And don't get me started on things being introduced at the highest level only distorting the game further. That's an argument for a different day.

As for Cisse I hope that Alan Pardew has got out the cruet set and demonstrated just what is and isn't offside to the lad. I think I've only seen Obafemi Martins get caught more in offside positions and given that he's low on confidence at the moment things like this can't help.  That said for all he seems to be missing chances that he could have buried last season I'd far rather he is still getting into the position to miss the chances rather than not getting them at all. That would worry me far more. And when I hear criticisms of him I can't help but think back to Andy Cole being criticised in a similar way at one stage early in his Newcastle career and he didn't turn out to be too bad did he?

So what else has got my goat this week?  In a word, Arsenal. Or moreover their fans. Acting like spoiled brats over their current "plight" and getting some sort of moral backing from sections of the press. Let's look at it bluntly. Ranked 6th in Europe on UEFA coefficient. 5th in the league and well in the chase for a champions league place and should they qualify this would be for the 14th year in a row and 17th out of 18 years.  They are relatively debt free and have massive match day income based on attendance and ticket prices alone. They are financially secure under FFP and in a strong positioto keep
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2281405/Arsenal-1-Bayern-Munich-3-Gunners-taken-cleaners-pitch-fans--Neil-Ashton.htmlgrowing organically.  They are having a blip in form. Their fans are behaving like it's the end of the world as they whine about "8 years of hurt".  Assisted in their misery by tripe such as this by Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail

60000 "poor souls". Apparently Mr Ashton also supports alcohol being taken into the ground, drunk in the stands and then thinks its totally fine to use the empty vessel as a projectile towards the celebrating travelling support when you go a goal down.  Different story when it was Mike Ashley downing a pint in a plastic glass in The Emirates wasn't it?  Get real. Try supporting your team when it hasn't won a damn thing in your lifetime. I remember your gloating when you beat us in a Cup Final and acted like it was a given before you got there. If you don't like the prices stop going; I know plenty of Geordies who have drawn their line and won't go based on cost alone, be that to St James' Park or to away games when clubs are now, frankly, taking the piss. Nothing in football is certain; a season in the Championship woke a lot of people on Tyneside up. No one has the right to anything, it has to be earned. And perhaps it is time to change, everything runs its course, but how come do they get a free ride on this while other clubs supporters (us included) get called for "hounding out" managers and being deluded or having too high expectations. Pathetic and I have no sympathy at all.

But then it also makes me reflect back to a time when there were boos at St James' for finishing fifth. Remember?  The manager was the source of the quote at the top of the page. Yes we were disappointed but perhaps should have been grateful for what we had. Hindsight makes us all clever. And then his sacking was, ultimately a disgrace.  Though we all know who carries the can for that debacle.  Sir Bobby has been in our thoughts this week as his birthday was remembered with a celebration at The Sage.  I wonder what he would make of the game now?  Man U insurance, onesies, talk of goal line technology, phenomenal money and upset at a club that wouldn't know a "crisis" if it slapped it in the face?  He'd probably have loved some sort of televisual assistance in Mexico.  Not the hand of god but the "hand of a rascal" as he put it. And just how would he be managing to make this crop of rich men "sweat"?  Yet his love for the club and his ability to transcend all of football's divisions sees his picture still hang in the managers office (inherited by Pardew from Hughton yet not moved and when it is it will be for a "happier one") and his association to Newcastle United stand the club in good stead world wide.

Well back to the desert for me now and tonight's second leg against Kharkiv, let's hope next week we hove something to shout about! Howay the lads!

Follow my twitterings @geordiedentist if you like. Or even if you don't.

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