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The big game - 19/03/2004

The big game
Curbs - he's developed a real team ethos
   Paolo Di Canio
   Aaron Hughes
   Alan Shearer
   Darren Ambrose
   Alan Curbishley
   Charlton Athletic
   Newcastle United
   Tottenham Hotspurs

The Charlton game tomorrow is massive - for both clubs! The points awarded should be crucial in the battle for fourth spot and resultant qualification for the Champions League. So the pressure’s on and Newcastle will be feeling it more than the London team. We’ll be expected to make the most of home advantage whilst Charlton will generally be seen as the underdog - they’ll be happy with that.

For me, the game will rest on whether Newcastle can play football approaching their potential. With a bit of confidence, there should only be one winner - the home team, but football’s more complicated than that, and the strength of Charlton is their team ethos and their organisation. They’ll play football, but their tactics will be to frustrate Newcastle and stop them playing. Alan Curbishley has created a squad that work for each other perhaps more than any other in the Premiership - and that’s why they’re challenging at the top of the table. They do have flair players, and in Di Canio they have an individual with something special. But even the Italian will be expected to muck in, if not, he’ll not be on the pitch for long.

I honestly thought that the Mallorca game would be the springboard that Newcastle needed to set up a decent run, but although the performance against Tottenham was improved, the result wasn’t!! I do think that it’s just a matter of time before it comes together - hopefully sooner rather than later. With Dyer out injured, it’s important that Ambrose stays out wide and puts some service Al’s way. Newcastle are at their best when they play with width, and although it’s getting boring to say it, we do miss Solano’s crosses. Ambrose has a tendency to play it back to Aaron Hughes when a good, early centre would be the better ball.

Some team will turn up one day and face a drubbing - but I don’t see that tomorrow. It’ll be tight, and I think a penalty may be the deciding factor with Al putting it away. So for me, 2-1 to Newcastle with Shearer getting the first from the spot…you know where you heard it first!!


Players Inc

I’ve accepted an invitation from Steve Wraith to give a pre-match talk-in in a couple of weeks, there’s no charge and I’m looking forward to meeting a few of you. You’ll find further information below and there’s also a website…

April 3rd at Bar XS (upstairs) prior to the Everton home game John Beresford

will be answering questions on his playing days and on Newcastle Uniteds

season so far. This event is free and the runs between 12-30 and 1-30. Fans

are urged to get there by 12 to get a good seat. "Malcom Macdonalds talk in

was a huge success with over 200 fans crammed into the venue, and we will

certainly be inviting Malcom back in the near future", said Steve Wraith.

On April 15th playersinc are hosting a talk in at 'Sutherlands The Venue'

formerly the Windy Nook Social Club in Gateshead. The proceedings start at

7pm with host Joe Allon asking the questions to former Newcastle and Ireland

great John Anderson and that makem who got sent off at St James in

the other one...Gary Bennet! Tickets are £10 and available from emailing or by ringing the hotline 07950 180922

players inc now has its own website which will be updated on a regular


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