Hanging On…

Well, Newcastle do it again.

Just when you think that they are nailed on certainties to achieve expected thing A, they go out and do something completely different. Our last eight trips to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea have resulted in defeat, going back to a time when Chelsea were not as strong as they now are, and also a time when we were a considerably better team than we now are.

So if ever I’d seen a nailed-on certainty home banker for Chelsea, it was today against Newcastle.

Yet somehow, Newcastle managed to hang on. Granted, there were suspicions that the ball might have crossed the line at one point, but when you see some of the penalty howlers given against us (including one resulting in Habib Beye being sent off — reversed on appeal — and seeing us effectively start a goal and a player down against Manchester City), then it’s about time something went our way.

The BBC stats tell the story of the match: Chelsea had 26 shots, 14 of which were on target. Newcastle in the entire game managed two, neither of which were on target.

Yet somehow, we held on. That must go down as another plus mark for Joe Kinnear, the man I don’t really want as manager yet am finding it progressively harder to dislike.

However, it’s not all good news. Because while Newcastle hung on in there at Stamford Bridge, it looks like Ashley is hanging on in there at the Toon, yet still in a selling mood. That gets us nowhere.

If he can’t find a buyer, then don’t sell it. Appoint a full-time manager, and back him. Give him money to spend in the transfer market and allow him to pick and choose which players he wants. If he does that, I’m happy for Ashley to stay — I’ve nothing against the man personally, it’s the setup I object to.

But something needs to happen, and soon, because without an injection of new blood in January, we’re going to be in and around the relegation zone for a long time this season, and it’ll be luck of the draw whether or not we are above it after the final game of the season.

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