Everton go in to the Monday night football full of anticipation as Roberto Martinez goes in search of a third consecutive league victory as manager of the Blues. Ahead of the match with Newcastle, we have spoken to Ed Harrison from The Newcastle United Blog to get his views on Newcastle, Everton and the Premier League.
Newcastle appear to have endured a difficult summer, with the appointment of Joe Kinnear questioned by many. What is the feeling of the Newcastle supporters and who if anyone do you blame for the lack of signings? Newcastle fans are not happy with the appointment of Joe Kinnear as the Director of Football, and he embarrassed himself and Newcastle with that interview he gave to talkSPORT. The blame for the lack of signings over the summer goes to owner Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear – and Mike seems to be too miserly with the club’s money.
Two years ago Newcastle had a brilliant season, what went wrong last season and what are your hopes for this year? We didn’t have a big enough squad last year to take on the Europa League, and we also had long-term injuries to some of our top players like Tim Krul, Fab Coloccini, Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye to name just four. We hope to do a lot better this season.
It feels like Everton have not won anything for ages, but for Newcastle fans that wait is even longer. Do you long for a trophy or would you rather see Newcastle competing in the top six of the Premier League? We haven’t won anything since we won the Fairs Cup back in 1969, I watched
the first leg at St. James’ Park when Bobby Moncur was the captain. Our best bet for a trophy is one of the local Cups, and if Wigan and Birmingham can win one of them – so can Newcastle.
Supporter power remains strong at Newcastle, do the fans support Alan Pardew or would you like a change at the top? Not all fans think Alan Pardew is the right man for the job but since Joe
Kinnear came on board, it has made Alan look a lot more professional – but any manager who won the LMA manager of the Year and PL Manager of the Year a short 16 months ago, isn’t suddenly a bad manager.
Cabaye was linked with a move to Arsenal and refused to play for the club at the start of the season. He is a fabulous player, have supporters forgiven him, or has he got his work cut out to convince the supporters of his commitment? Yes – the supporters have just about forgiven him for that, and he came out and apologized for his actions, and Newcastle fans are forgiving, although they didn’t like what he did – but that’s all behind us now.
Gazza, Beardsley, Sheedy, Speed and Ferguson, just a few ex Blues to play for Newcastle. Who would you select as the best Newcastle player to have played for Everton as well? Gary Speed, who we tragically lost almost two years ago.
What were your thoughts on Everton last season and under David Moyes for the last 11 years? Over or under achievers? Over achievers because there was so little money to spend – and Newcastle fans have been pointed to Everton as a club who haven’t spent big money, but have often finished in the top six in the Premier League – David Moyes was brilliant for Everton, and he got his just reward when he was hired by Manchester United to replace Alex Ferguson.
We are under a new manager for the first time in 12 years, what are your thoughts on Roberto Martinez? I’ve always though Roberto was a good manager who knows the game inside out – and he seems to have made a good start at Everton – but it may take time to get your players playing in the Martinez style – similar to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool a year ago.
Where do you think Everton will finish this season? In the top ten.
Which Everton player do you most admire? Leighton Baines – he scored a scorcher against us last season, and I see he scored twice in the last Premier League game at West Ham – he could be the danger man on Monday night.
On the Premier League
Who do you think will be…
The Champions? Manchester City
The surprise package? Newcastle United – hopefully
Relegation candidates? Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, West Brom and Fulham
The best signing? He was expensive but former Real Madrid Mesut Ozil looks fantastic for Arsenal
Player of the Year? Could be Mesut Ozil or Wayne Rooney
Top scorer? Wayne Rooney
On the Monday night fixture
What is your score prediction? 2-1 to Newcastle – that shouldn’t come as a surprise – laugh
What do you expect to be the Newcastle starting XI? Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Santon; Anita, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy.
Cabaye is a bit of a doubt with a groin injury
Who should we look out for? Do you have any hidden gems? Ben Arfa and Remy have looked good – watch out for Loic Remy – he’s been great in the last two games and has two goals and two assists in his three appearances, Ben Arfa has been brilliant at times this season and has two
The Newcastle supporters have a fantastic reputation, but this is a Monday night game and live on Sky. Should we expect a full travelling contingent at Goodison Park? Yes – as usual.