Titus Chalks Premier-League-Kolumne (9)
Dream a little toon dream Unser englischer Freund Titus Chalk guckt gerne Fußballspiele aus seiner Heimat – auch wegen der großen dicken Männer mit den großen nackten Brüsten. Gesehen beim Tyne-Wear derby: »It was the stuff Toon dreams are made of.« I am simple man with simple tastes – and sometimes all I want to see is semi-naked fat people dancing un-coordinated jigs of joy. I confess, that was my main reason for watching the Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland on Sunday and I wasn’t disappointed. The goals rained in, St James’ Park (or rather SportsDirect.com @ St James’ Park Stadium) shook with singing, and by the time Newcastle were 5-1 in front, Sky cut to a lovely euphoric man in the aisles shaking his massive, bare breasts. It was the stuff Toon dreams are made of.
All week, the talk around the game had focused on two things: Firstly, whether manager Chris Hughton would be sacked, despite leading Newcastle into the top half of the table on their first season back in the Premier League, with a limited transfer budget and marquee signing Hatem Ben Arfa out with a broken Leg. And secondly, what towering striker Andy Carroll would choose to read Kevin Nolan’s kids at bedtime: »All house guests are asked to read my kids bedtime stories,« said Nolan last week. »Andy might like Peppa pig – or there is a monkey one.« Carroll is staying with his team captain whilst on bail on assault charges – thankfully on Sunday the only thing he battered was Sunderland’s clueless defence.
A spinning vortex of delusion
Chris Hughton meanwhile is now set to enter talks about a new contract. That is sound news for a club that needs to remember the lessons learnt during a season-long exile in the Championship. For many years Newcastle has been a spinning vortex of delusion, denial and demagoguery, with fans, players, managers and owners talking the talk – but never walking the walking. Hughton is not a charismatic messiah in the style of Kevin Keegan – he is though an honest, hard-working manager who understands the realities of the club’s situation, preaches consolidation rather than glory, and fields an effective team capable of remaining in the top flight.
On Sunday, it was also a team who understood infinitely better than Sunderland, how to handle a big occasion. While Steve Bruce’s side were rash (leading to a penalty and sending-off), Hughton’s were composed and clever, executing their simple game plan to devastating effect: Get the ball into wide areas as quickly as possible and aim crosses at Carroll and Shola Ameobi, the two bruising strike behemoths.
An overhead kick in a packed six-yard box
While those two played their role perfectly, they were aided by stand-out performances in midfield from Nolan and Joey Barton. Ever since his Bolton days, Nolan has proved a cunning operator in the box, always able to fight for space, link up well, and finish cleanly. His three goals on Sunday were well-taken, with an overhead kick in a packed six-yard box the pick of the bunch. The midfielder, who during an otherwise excellent career has lacked the pace to ever make the England squad, deserved his day in the sun. It was his first-ever Premier League hat-trick and he became the first Newcastle player to put three past the Mackems since Peter Beardsley in 1985.
Barton, who played on the right, may be a very hard character to love (see his catalogue of misdemeanours, including once stubbing out a cigar in a team-mate’s eye) but here he was excellent. His deliveries were consistently high quality and he goaded the opponents with commitment and skill, rather than any provocative outbursts or scything tackles of dubious legality. It is unlikely he will ever be fully rehabilitated in the eyes of the general footballing public, but a few more performances like this and he will at least be grudgingly accepted as a player of genuine class.
Such a wonderful derby
Sunderland scuttled the ten miles home then thoroughly chastened, while the Magpies savoured their 50th Tyne-Wear derby
win and the latest victory in a rivalry that dates back to the English Civil War. The three points lifted Newcastle to seventh in a peculiar Premier League table that currently counts only eight points between the relegation zone and the Champions League places. While that may indicate that plenty of teams are set to scrap it out at both ends of the table, Newcastle should be happy to finish in the boring old middle for once. Sunday was a thrilling day for fans, and such a wonderful derby win will live long in the memory – but for the rest of the season, realism on Tyneside must prevail.
An dieser Stelle erklärt Titus Chalk die englische Fußball-Kultur auf Deutsch
Folge 9: The Octopus
Nein, leider nicht Paul (Ruhe in Frieden kleinen Krake!). Englands bekannter Fussball-Oktopus ist Tottenhams Torhüter Heurelho Gomes, der früher diese Spitznahme bei PSV Eindhoven verdient hat. Da, war er scheinbar ein Supermensch, der mit grossen Tentakeln alle Schüsse halten könnte. Dennoch in den tiefen Wässer der Premier League ist seinen Ruf irgendwie anders – mehr eine Qualle als einen Tintenfisch. Am Samstag gegen Manchester United hat er bestätigt, dass er allerdings keinen Orakel ist mit einem Schnitzer für die Annalen. Always play to the whistle!