OhKay! – Newcastle Big Club? Bentley’s PR, Manchester Derby and FA Cup TV Coverage

Never one to bottle the crunching tackles, Andy Kay‘s two footed lunge puts football right in its place.

Are Newcastle Really a Big Club?

I hope, for the good people of the North East, that Kevin Keegan makes a real go of it at SJP second time around. The fans of Newcastle United deserve a bit of success for their unswerving support. But equally, a measure of reality is probably required too. You may have noticed that every time United is mentioned on the box, the radio, in the media or by fans, it is referred to as a ‘big club’. Is it? What makes it so? Having a great stadium? Well so do lots of clubs. Having a huge fan base? Helpful, yes but not decisive. Beijing Guoan in China has got more fans than you can shake a chopstick at, but I’m not sure they’d be classed as a ‘big club’. We all know that big clubs are those that go out and win things or play in the Champions League. United don’t do either. Popular they may be, but big is a long way down the road for the Toon Army, even with King Kev at the helm.

David Bentley: Arsenal Training is Boring

I’d love to know who is advising David Bentley on the press front. I only ask following a recently published interview where the Blackburn Rovers star had a pop at his former club Arsenal describing training as “boring – all statistics and no banter.” Bearing in mind Bentley looks a certainty to be included in the England squad for the friendly against Switzerland next month, I wonder what he’ll make of training under new coach Fabio Capello? Full of laughs, quick one-liners and tomfoolery? I wouldn’t bet on it. Not under a man known for his methodical preparation, business like approach and, sorry to mention this David, a love of statistics.

Munich Air Disaster, Silence or Applause?

Manchester United have opted for a minute’s silence at Old Trafford on February 10th as they mark 50 years since the heart was ripped out of the club following the Munich air disaster. The Supporters Club of Manchester City, United’s opponents on the 10th, asked their hosts if a minute’s applause might be more appropriate, given the hostility between the two clubs and, according to City’s Kevin Parker that “it only takes one idiot or buffoon to ruin the occasion.” He has a point as applause would, of course, drown out any boorish chants or comments. Eight United players died that day in 1958 as did 15 others including former City goalkeeper Frank Swift. Let’s hope, for the good of the game and British society as a whole, that the occasion is given the respect and reverence it surely deserves.

FA Cup TV Schedule

Being a sports scheduler isn’t easy, as you have to try and keep as many people happy and interested as possible. But I have to admit to being a little surprised that the BBC has chosen Wigan Athletic v Chelsea for its live FA Cup offering this coming Saturday afternoon. For a start, it’s an all Premier league game we will get to see at least twice a season anyway and in terms of meetings between the two sides since Wigan were promoted to the top flight, Chelsea have won 5 out of 5. For the neutral, a live Cup game should provide seat of the pants excitement plus the possibility of an unexpected result and I’m not convinced that Wigan v Chelsea is going to do that. Nor the Sunday match either, another all Premier League affair between Manchester United (aren’t they on TV enough already) and Spurs. Best choice the Beeb has made is showing League Two Mansfield versus Middlesbrough even if it is on Saturday lunchtime. Now that’s a Cup tie I’m looking forward to watching.

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