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FA Carling Premiership, 20/11/99
Newcastle United
Factor X
By Farzana Chaudry

Excitement, a real buzz and an air of optimism around Vicarage Road
New blood, fresh rested legs
Warming-up - we look in superb form, full of confidence and determination
A very streamline Mr.Miller
We've even got our very own Frenchman - ou la la
We begin so promisingly; first-half Watford possession, passing and dominance very commendable ("Match Of The Day" interpretation - the first half was very dull)
End of first-half - and feelgood factor soaring high; yes, yes, we're gonna do it
Second-half - we score!
Well, we've had enough crap decisions against us!
Heaven for two nanoseconds
Opposition stirred into action
Opposition scores after five minutes
Our possession, passing and dominance not commendable
Heart-stopping opposition shots at goal
We should have had a penalty
Last dying five minute flurry
Too little too late
Oh well, what could have been
Long cold journey home

Factor X is a psychological problem our lads have. They begin so well, confidence and belief riding high, inevitably we score, then it all goes to pieces.

I can almost see it happen on the's almost like an anxiety/ panic attack sets in. We've scored, how can we be leading, why are we playing so well, we're the underdogs, what are we doing here, why are we here...then within five minutes the opposition has scored....and it all goes downhill after that.

Lads, lads, we haven't come into the Premiership through the back door, we've come in through the front door, red carpet, flags and all. We have earnt our right to be in the Premiership, to win and to stay.

For the first time in ages I took my binoculars along to the match. As Newcastle ran out to warm up, I zoomed in on Shearer's face. Seconds later there was an almighty roar, as the Goldens ran on. The look on his face was not one of self-confidence and belief, he was in awe of us! Believe me, I know what I saw!

It's simple, regardless of whether you're playing in the local pub league or the Premiership. If you score first, you light the opposition's fuse then hold onto your possession, keep it tight and frustrate them even more. You protect your advantage with fearsome grit and determination and more importantly you keep that initial confidence and belief in yourself and your team mates. What you don't do is panic and just throw it away.

Factor X is reduced by the catalytic properties of our chanting and cheering , but that catalyst has been working overtime recently and with very little to show for it.

Factor X is a problem that the lads have to deal with themselves, no amount of chanting and cheering is going to help now. They have to start believing in themselves.

So come on you Goldens, get the thermals and ralgex out, start taking the Sanatogen Gold, and more importantly please believe in yourselves, thousands of people on planet earth can't be wrong and we can't all be "Blind, Stupid and Desperate"!

Alan Shearer: the Captain of the England squad gets his very own paragraph, now there's respect for you.

So the fifteen million pound national treasure, Captain of England, boring, McDonalds-eating scorer of 28 England goals is booed by the 'normal genteel' following of Watford. Well, what else would you expect after that England performance?

Of course, had England played well and our national treasure played with the pride and respect that his title entails him too, I'm sure he would have received a positively lovely reception, jolly hockey sticks and all that.

Rightly or wrongly in football you are only as good as your last match, GT should know all about that.

I heard the disgusting verbal abuse dished out to Hornets, outside the ground after the Leeds match. Yes indeed, times are changing.

Anyway, I thought they were chanting "hanker" - you know, someone who craves attention....