Jose Enrique For Spain?
Is Jose Enrique good enough to squeeze into the Spanish World Cup squad? The question has been raised on our message board. Toon Cusader: "I've said this. If he played any other position, I'd say no, but at left back, they are not that strong. Joan Capdevila is good, but not world class, and then you're looking at the likes of Alvaro Arbeloa, whose a right footed unspectacular utility player." What are YOUR thoughts? Join the debate. Daily Express Reporter Once Again Slags Off Toon Fans! If ever there is a man in urgent need of a blow-job it has to be Daily Express reporter Mick Dennis. Let me remind you of his comments last week (covered on this site): Today Daily Express reporter Mick Dennis has come up with the headline: "Disloyal Newcastle fans still deluded!" Mick Dennis: "Since celebrating their promotion commendably early in the season, some Newcastle fans have been making worrying noises on phone-ins. "Nonsense about bringing back 'King Kev' Keegan or Alan Shearer as manager has started, along with tosh about Hughton not being the man to take the club to "the next level". "Newcastle were relegated by a point last May and might have stayed up but for the instability of having five managers in one campaign and the final, flawed idea of letting Shearer have a go. He delivered one win from eight games. But he is a Geordie and, as they keep telling the rest of us, Toon fans believe all Geordies are special. "Newcastle have sold only 81 per cent of their tickets this term, despite being top or near the top since the start. Twelve per cent of their alleged supporters deserted them in the Championship. Three clubs in the division have had fewer empty seats. "Those fans have not been especially loyal and, if they had a less deluded view of themselves, they might make a more realistic appraisal of the club." Obviously Mick Dennis has been to every Toon game this season and knows what he is talking about ... or then again ... perhaps he is just another Cockney tosser who talks about something he knows f*** all about. If Newcastle fans are not loyal ... what club has the most loyal supporters? We are about to break the Championship attendance record with more than one MILLION fans in a season at St James' Park. When Arsenal could hardly fill a double-decker bus for their trip to Man City in the League Cup, the same day we took 6,000 to Barnsley! I tried to get him to phone me but apparently he was off to Carrow Road, to Wembley, to see his gran, feed the cat, and clip his toenails ... although not necessarily in that order. But he insisted "I will not skip the issue and I will answer your questions by e-mail". So here are the questions .... and here are his answers: DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK TOON FANS ARE DISLOYAL? The writer has nothing to do with the headlines. That's how newspapers work. I would not have said "disloyal". My view is more nuanced than that. It is that Newcastle fans are not especially loyal. Plenty of other clubs have loyal support in much more difficult circumstances. It is the claim by some Newcastle fans that they are special to which I take exception.However, headlines have to be short and I understand why the sub-editors could not put all of the above in a headline! SINCE YOU KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT NUFC .... WHEN WERE YOU LAST AS ST JAMES' PARK ? A REPORTER TOLD US YOU DON'T GO, JUST AS THE EXPRESS REPORTER WHO COVERS SUNDERLAND DOESN'T GO TO S.O.L. EITHER. I haven't been to St James' since you were relegated. Sadly, the Express expect me mostly to cover the Prem and Champions League. I occasionally persuade them to let me go elsewhere, because there are lots of interesting stories outside the Prem. Additionally, as a fan of Norwich, I pay to watch them home and away when their games do not clash with my work. Tonight's game at Orient will be my 11th away game of this campaign. But, as you will have noted, they are not high enough up the Football League for me to have been to St James' with them! IF YOU DON'T GO .... WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO SLAG OF THE FANS THAT DO GO? I don't claim to be a particular expert on Newcastle, but, just as you have views on other clubs, I have opinions on almost everything (!). After 30-plus years of football journalism, the Express (and others) ask me to voice those opinions. YOU MUST BE THE ONLY MAN IN THE COUNTRY WHO COUNTS ATTENDANCES BY EMPTY SEATS, RATHER THAN JUDGE THE FANS WHO PAY TO GO! SO PASSION IS ALL ABOUT HAVING A SMALL STADIUM! I think it is significant that, despite some having bought three-year season tickets, despite prices being reduced this season and despite the fact that you have been winning, a fairly big percentage of last season's fans did not turn up in the Football League.This season I wrote about the number of Southampton fans who suddenly appeared for the Johnstone Paint Trophy final at Wembley. In other years, I have made similar points about other clubs. I don't have an axe to grind about Newcastle -- except that I am irked by the claim by many Newcastle fans that they are especially passionate. IF NEWCASTLE FANS ARE AS 'DISLOYAL' AS YOU SAY ... GO ON ... TELL US WHO ARE THE REAL LOYAL FANS I think all clubs have some very loyal fans. For example, Rochdale fans deserve some praise after years of having absolutely nothing to cheer. I am proud that Norwich attendances went up when we were relegated. I think the attitude of Liverpool fans has been good -- it took a long time for the Kop to show any disquiet about this season's performances. They were still cheering Benitez long after other fans of other clubs would have booed. And I think those Newcastle fans who turned up on Day One this season have been loyal. I just don't think they are special. That is my point. Now, allow me to elaborate. I don't pick on Newcastle. But because I have strong opinions and am not afraid to express them, I sometimes upset people. Stoke and QPR loathe me particularly at the moment.Supporters of my club -- Norwich -- swore in my face after the first game of this season because they know I back our majority share-holders. My contention about Newcastle is that too many (by no means all, of course) of their fans believe theirs is a special passion. Since I started writing pieces which challenge that view I have had countless letters and emails from Geordies asserting that they are special, that the region is special, and that I just don't get it. You will remember that when, in 2008, Kevin Keegan was reappointed, it was the club’s official website which announced his return under a headline referring to him as the Geordie Messiah. Also at that time many Geordie journalists banged on about how special Newcastle is. John Richardson (Sunday Express) said on “The Sunday Supplement” that the rest of us should “buy into the Newcastle thing. It is special. It is unique.” Shaun Custis (The Sun) greeted me with at a match at Arsenal with the words: “I see you’ve upset the Toon. You don’t understand how special the club is to those fans.” It is that attitude that is profoundly irritating and insulting to supporters of other clubs who are just as passionate and to whom their clubs mean just as much. I have received several emails this week from around the country from fans who are pleased that someone is trying to puncture the inflated self-regard of Newcastle fans. I am sure many of your readers will continue to be outraged by my views and to regard me as a Cockney wanker, as you so elegantly put it. I am not a Cockney. Good luck next season. I hope you stick with Houghton. Mick Dennis WHICH MAKES ME THINK .... ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THE SAME CLUB, THE SAME FANS AND THE SAME MANAGER ... BECAUSE WHO THE HELL IS "HOUGHTON"? THIRTY YEARS OF JOURNALISM? A NORFOLK TOSSER WHO KNOWS IT ALL .... FROM THE COMFORT OF HIS OFFICE. DON'T FORGET HE'S BEEN TO ELEVEN AWAY GAMES THIS SEASON! WHAT ABOUT THAT FOR 'NORFOLK PASSION', EH? I REPORTED ON A NORWICH/IPSWICH DERBY A FEW YEARS AGO, AND THE PASSION .... OH MY GOD ... YOU HAVE SEEN NOTHING LIKE IT! WELL ... TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH ... I SAW MORE PASSION AT ST JAMES' PARK TWO DAYS LATER WHEN THE RESERVES PLAYED HARTLEPOOL! BUT WHAT DO I KNOW? PERHAPS THOSE NORFOLK PEOPLE HIDE IT WELL. MICK DENNIS: firstname.lastname@example.org GEORDIE ROCKERS BACK ON TOP! Geordie boys Tygers Of Pan Tang are back on the road ... heading to Germany next week to represent the UK in a star-studded Heavy Metal bash at the massive "Keep It True" festival that includes top American and European bands. GIG LIST - April 22 2010 BridgeHouse 2 - BH 2 London, UK April 24 2010 Keep it True 13 Festival Konigshofen, Germany May 8 2010 Champions Bournemouth, UK May 12 2010 Fibbers York, UK May 14 2010 Asylum Birmingham, UK May 15 2010 The Diamond Rock Club Ahoghill/Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK May 29 2010 Patriot Party In the Pub 2010 Crumlin, Gwent, Wales, UK May 30 2010 Tackeroo Cannock, Staffs, UK May 31 2010 Classic Rock Festival Farnborough, UK June 11 2010 Robin 2 Bilston NWOBHM celebration Bilston, Wolverhampton, UK August 6 2010 Cambridge Rock Festival Cambridge, UK August 7 2010 Sportovni Areal Rejsice Mlade Boleslavi, Czech Republic August 14 2010 Legends Of Rock Festival Colegio Carrion - San Javier, Spain September 10 2010 The Lancastrian Suite Gateshead, UK
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