Summer View From Rd End: Newcastle

IN the first of our series of interviews with opposing teams fans, This Is Anfield co-editor Matt Ladson met up with Newcastle season ticket holder and ‘True Faith’ fanzine contributor James Suggett.

Matt: So, your thoughts on the season? Roeder managed to salvage from the Souness mess right?

James: I think the word saviour might not be strong enough a word to describe Roeder. I like many other fans went through a slump were they didn’t enjoy or even look forward to games due to the fact that the team was not performing and Souness didnt have what it takes to inspire anyone. Roeder came in and sorted out the basics, getting the team to play together and keep things simple. I have gained a lot of respect for the man and his managerial methods. Plus taking us from nowhere to a european spot (albeit via the Intertoto) didn’t look possible under Souness.

Souness; describe the man in three words…

Coward, Inept, Golfer

He was a decent player though….

Having only seen him play on the odd old Match of the 70’s video I would say he looked like a quality player, shame it didn’t carry into management!

And he did sign Parker and Owen, or was that all Shearer’s doing?

Tough question. I have read the reports like everyone else and have to look at it both ways. Whether you like the man or not he was a good player and people respect him for that. Scott Parker said he relished the chance to play at a club like Newcastle and that Souness was a player he admired. Owen however leaned more toward hooking up with Big Al and how they were good friends on and off the field. I am sure Shearer will have similar pulling power to that of Keegan as the man is a true legend of the game. So I guess a bit of both with the status of the club thrown in for good measure.

Who was worse, Gullit or Souness?

Gullit was one of my heroes as a kid I even bought the dreadlock wig when he came to the Toon, but after managing us I lost a lot of respect for him. At that time we had one of the worst squads I can remember Silvio Maric, Duncan Ferguson, George Georgiadis, Temuri Ketsbaia etc… In all fairness to Ruud though he had to clean up some of Dalglish’s mess with signings such as Ian Rush, John Barnes, and Stuart Pearce being phased out. The comment about the Milan derby being bigger than Newcastle vs Sunderland tips it for me I must say. Try telling that to people in Washington (the town inbetween both cities that has half and half support!). And then the way he dealt with the game going against Shearer and not forgetting the way he treated Rob Lee. In all honesty thinking about him makes my blood turn cold!

So, Roeder’s got the job ‘long term’ – if long term is ever in Freddie Shepherd’s vocabularly? – you happy with the appointment?

Yeah he seems like a good choice keeps it simple and seems to have a rapport with both fans and players.

Any chance of some realistic (another word old Fat Freddie isn’t accustomed to!) signings this summer?

As always we need a good left back, two centre halves and someone to play upfront. Ameobi shouldn’t dare wear the number nine!

What about us, how do you see the Rafa-lution going? Have you been impressed with the job he’s done here?

I like the guy very much. The way he conducts himself should be prototyped and handed out to a lot of managers. He is honest which is a start, I can’t ever remember him making an excuse when interviewed and his English is better than mine. He has turned Liverpool from a quite negative team under Houllier to a stronger defensive unit that plays some attractive
attacking football. At times they look like the Liverpool I can remember from the late 80’s.

And what of our squad, do you feel we can cut the gap on Chelsea again next season, and could we even win the league?

In order to do that you need to get rid of some of the driftwood in your squad. Players like Pongolle, Le Tallec, Cheyrou, Traore are not strong enough for a Championship team and even I don’t see them as good enough to be Liverpool players. I hear there will be big changes in the summer your way so it will be interesting to see who he brings in.

The World Cup: Care a little, care a lot or couldn’t give a crap really?

Don’t care in the slightest as I can’t get excited about a team that plays 3 or more competitive games every 2 years. That and the fact the squad is made up of players I usually hate when the come up against Newcastle.
Your tips for next season?

Title: Chelsea (money can’t buy love but it buys
league titles)
Top Scorer: Thierry Henry
Relegated: Everton (hopefully) (Matt: too right), Sheff Utd,
Player to come from no-where in a rather Darren Bent-esque fashion award: Steve Sidwell (Reading)
Liverpool will finish in: 2nd
Newcastle will finish in: 6th or 7th

And finally, our friend Duncan Ferguson’s up for a free signing this summer, you boys are short on forwards, what dya reckon?

Sign him and make him train with the under 19 squad. After a few weeks of that I would put him in the reserves and get Titus Bramble to snap him in half and watch as his career ends officially!

  • We’ll be running a series of interviews with away fans over the summer, if you would like to interview your mate/family member who supports another club, get in touch with us and get your (and your interviewee’s) name and mug on TIA.

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