School still out for what remains of summer. A good afternoon at the cricket. Heartening news – in the nick of time – on the transfer front. Sounds like a perfect day. What then possessed Pete Sixsmith to go and ruin it by watching the Reserves soundly spanked by the Mags? …
After a long, languid day spent in good company, watching good cricket at the EICGAD it was off to the Stadium with a spring in my step as I caught the news of Asamoah Gyan’s signing, courtesy of Simon Pride and Marco Gabbiadini on BBC Radio Newcastle.
It was a late one, but all good things come to those who wait and I assume that Gyan and Bruce were ironing out a few minor snags in the lead up to the closing of the window.
He looks a very good player, though not a prolific goalscorer. If Bruce has been tracking him, he may well see him as a Heskey type in that he will take the weight off the major scorer (Bent) and enable the midfielders to pick up lay offs and crack a few in. In theory……..
I was sorry to see Martyn Waghorn go, but I imagine Bruce was told he had to raise some money and with nobody desperate to take George McCartney or David Healey off his hands, the promise and potential of Waghorn was sacrificed for a player who shone in the World Cup.
Best of luck to him and to Teemu Tainio , who signed for Ajax within seconds of terminating his deal with us. I described him as another Stefan Schwarz a couple of years ago, but his propensity to injury meant that we rarely saw him at his best.
So, on to the Reserve game last night. Not a classic on the pitch and some scenes of sheer stupidity afterwards.
On the pitch, we were thumped 3-1, by a very efficient Newcastle team. Both sides included a mixture of youth and experience and I have to say that the Mags had the better of the younger players. They were bigger and more competitive than our Academy graduates and linked up well with their older role models.
We had Angeleri, McCartney and Reid as our oldies, they had Krul, Campbell. Taylor, Lovenkrands and Xisco (for an hour) as theirs. The Argentinian seemed no better than OK but was really looking for fitness, while McCartney, playing at centre half, looked as if he would rather be anywhere than playing second team football. What a disappointment he has been second time around. Never go back …
Reid looked well, has not put on weight and this was clearly a rehab session for him after injury and operations. He played a few decent balls and a few slack ones, so nothing has changed there.
Of the others, Adam Reed worked really hard in the centre of midfield, Ryan Noble galloped around up front and Jack Colback had a stinker.
The rest looked like players who will be struggling to find clubs as the season unfolds. Michael Kay and Robbie Weir seem to have been here since Victoria was on the throne and have never got anywhere near a first team game.
While chatting with the guy in front (in between ear piercing screams and squeals from the pubescent females sat behind) we wondered why it was that every internally produced goalscorer was about 5ft 7in tall. Lathan, Russell, Waghorn, Sharkey – Kevin Kyle apart, they are all relatively small and none have been really successful. A question to ponder.
As for our Tyneside rivals, they were superior in just about every department. Sol Campbell played for the first half and looked a solid figure rather than fat or fit. I was impressed with their centre forward, Nile Ranger. He is big, strong in the air and moves very well. I know Newcastle fans who speak very well of him. Add me to that list (speaking well of him, not supporting Toon).
Xisco’s sending off was a hoot. Jordan Cook rattled him, quite legitimately, so the WiseBuy Spaniard flicked out a foot and kicked him, right in front of the referee, the Sunderland bench, the fourth official and the bulk of the crowd. The many scouts watching must have immediately crossed him off their shopping lists.
After the game, the local brain surgeons were out and about, congregating in the car park and milling around like a flock of not very clever starlings. There were reports of a couple of scuffles around the Wheatsheaf area and as I drove across Wearmouth Bridge, 12-year-old hardmen were sprawling all over the road. They made themselves, their city and their club look stupid. The quicker they are back at school the better. I blame the teachers.