Recently in Mark Douglas Category
IF there was ever any scintilla of doubt about where the power lies at Newcastle United, it was brutally removed yesterday.
By sending Joey Barton's agent packing without even the sniff of a contract offer yesterday, Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias sent a message. It was a clarion call to the dressing room, to the manager and to any agents presuming the club's need to recruit gives them a licence to make unreasonable demands - and it leaves no-one in any doubt that they are in firm control of events at St James' Park.
AFTER 38 games, roughly 57 hours of football (give or take some chunks of injury time) and a barrel load of blood, sweat and tears, how remarkable that in the end it all came down to the last 60 seconds of the season.
Early Cup exits combined with European dreams frittering away in mid-March meant the battle for regional bragging rites became the sole focus for Sunderland and Newcastle as the campaign wound to a less-than-compelling conclusion.
ANDY Carroll's boos problem at Anfield carried a potent warning for Jose Enrique, the Newcastle player most vulnerable when the transfer window re-opens later this month.
ERUDITE, engaging and frequently eviscerating, there is a reason why an interview with Joey Barton is considered the sports journalist's equivalent of winning the lottery.
Forthright opinions are not rare in the world of Premier League football but finding someone at the peak of his powers willing to express them certainly is, which is reason why any dialogue with Barton is invariably dynamite.
I MAY be setting myself up for a fall with this one but as a veteran of that infernal 2008/09 campaign I feel qualified to make a bold judgement. Newcastle United will not be relegated this season.
The advance of the struggling pack combined with United's own flat-lining form has rightly raised alarm on Tyneside but panic is not the appropriate reaction. Not yet, anyway.
FORGIVE me for turning this blog into a commercial break for a minute but if you're a Newcastle United fan it might be worth reading on.
While United were effectively securing Premier League survival in the Second City on Tuesday evening, another potentially significant moment for Newcastle supporters was taking place in our own city.
THERE was something fitting about Obafemi Martins presence last night as Newcastle United effectively clinched Premier League safety with an accomplished win in Birmingham.
The mercurial Martins, of course, was part of the team that took United down in the Second City two years ago and he proved to be something of a divisive figure among the Toon Army during the fag end of that infamous 2008/09 campaign.
SCRATCHING around for a North East performance of the weekend in the wake of the multiple footballing failures delivered by our frontline clubs?
Well look no further than the Kelvin Hall international sports arena in Glasgow - the modest but intimidating venue that played host to one of the most impressive displays of this or any other year by the Newcastle Eagles.
IN this week of telephone number transfer fees and tales of treachery, perhaps Newcastle United fans should pop outside the goldfish bowl and spare a thought for a few new friends in the south.
Yes, the wounds inflicted by Andy Carroll's departure for Liverpool are still raw - and seeing him unveiled as the Reds new number nine yesterday will hardly have salved them.
AND so to that familiar feeling. You know the one: the raw, numb feeling of hurt and helplessness at yet another indignation heaped on Newcastle United football club.
Perhaps the Toon Army should be immune to all now, given the frequency with which Mike Ashley seems to visit these mini-crises on St James' Park but yesterday felt different. More profound somehow, as if a line had been crossed and there is no going back from here.