Ahead of tomorrow's full house at Elland Road, I had time to speak to the Anonymous Newcastle Fan about all things Toon and what he expects to happen tomorrow and the rest of the season.
How long have you been a toon fan?
Hi, I've been a Newcastle fan all my life and I attended my first game against Watford in 1978. My first away game was in the League Cup coincidently against Leeds in 1982 in a 1-0 win only to be beaten 4-1 at home and a 4-2 aggregate defeat.
Who has been your favourite player? This season and in the past.
This season my favourite player has to be Matt Ritchie who has been superb for us having turned down West Ham United to come and play for us.
My very first hero was a guy who is well known to Leeds fans as Imre Varadi and was devastated when he was sold to Sheffield Wed but we got a chap called Peter Beardsley with the cash and look how he turned out. My overall hero would have to be Kevin Keegan over Alan Shearer simply because he came to Newcastle as an international Superstar dropping down a division to play for us and the two years he was a player here transformed the club and the city. A true legend in my eyes.
Best and worst time you've had as a supporter?
I've has some very bad times as a supporter. The late 70's early 80's were bad simply because we were in decline with very little money until We managed to sign Keegan which was a master stroke. The best has to be the arrival off KK as manager taking us from the brink of 3rd tier football to just missing out on the Premier League title. The football was superb and the city walked with a swagger. Great times.
Any memorable games against Leeds that you remember?
Leeds has always been a fixture I look for. I was brought up at a time when Leeds United were one of the best teams in England. When we played you in the early 80's the away support by both clubs was massive and with Sunderland being in the division above Leeds was the next best thing. I'll always remember the first game of the 82/83 season when we won 1-0 at Elland Road and the 4-3 win there under Bobby Robson was superb football by both sides. The history and tradition of both clubs are huge and because both city's have just one club it means everyone wants their club to do well. You
We both have owners that leave a lot to be desired, at the moment both are leaving their Head Coach / Manager to do their jobs. How does this help the men in charge?
I'm not a great lover of the DofF or transfer committee to be honest. Benitez wouldn't take the job unless he was playing by his own rules. Mike Ashley had no choice but to accept as he was in last chance saloon. Gary Monk did a decent job at Swansea under difficult circumstances and should be given the chance to manage his way without interference and I can see he's making a difference already. Leeds are a massive club with real potential. Monk can be a real success but he needs backing whether that's with Cellino or not time will tell.
Would you still want Ashley out?
The Mike Ashley out campaign hasn't gone away but I'd say it's dormant. He's make some horrendous mistakes but his situation isn't redeemable. We now nearly experienced 10 years of Ashley and it hasn't been good. By appointing and giving control to Benitez it's given the club and the city a manager of honesty and integrity who commands respect and up until now has delivered which can only help Mike Ashley.
Apart from Newcastle, who else do you think will go up? Automatically and four teams you think will challenge for the four Playoff places?
Newcastle and Brighton are looking good but il never say it's a certainty. Norwich and Huddersfield will be there or thereabouts and I'd then be looking at Reading and Leeds. It's a hard league with so many twists and turns and I'm sure there could well be a late runner like Sheffield Wednesday to be in there.
Three to go down this season from the Championship?
Rotherham United look doomed. Blackburn are a club in turmoil and I'm sure both Newcastle and Leeds fans sympathise with their supporters on their current position under Venkys. After that it's any one from Cardiff, Wigan, Notts Forest, Wolves or Burton. Wigan and Cardiff are sinking like stones. Vincent Tan anyone?
Players you think will occupy the much improved Leeds defence on Sunday and your stand out player or players so far?
Pontus Jansson has been superb for you lot this season and there's a few admiring glances coming his way and quite rightly so. Kyle Bartley and Luke Ayling are from the Arsenal youth set up like our very own Isaac Hayden so it's obvious they have a good footballing pedigree. Charlie Taylor is a young footballer who is a rare commodity in English football being a natural left back who can get up and down the wings and in Rob Green you have an experienced player who can guide the younger players much like Steve Harper did for us.
Rafa is very hard to second guess his teams change every week and it's horses for courses and keeping the team fresh. Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey will be dangerous for us and both Gayle and Mitrovic have been on fire for us this season and I can see this game being a great contest.
Any player you'd put on Rafa's shopping list in January to boost your squad?
January will be interesting for us as Rafa could well be looking for PL quality in case we go up. It's a gamble for both players coming in to drop in to the Championship as it is for the club buying them and increasing the wage bill. The squad we have now is to get us up and will be dismantled by Benitez if we go up. I'd expect Rafa to sign a few up and coming players and Charlie Taylor has been mentioned. We have also been linked with Steve Gerrard (we laughed too!) one interesting link is Fernando Torres whose contract is up and wants another crack in England before he finishes. I'll leave the signings to Rafa as his contacts and experience are huge.
Prediction and Scorers for tomorrow's match?
It's always a hard game at Elland Road and your fans will play a massive part. The ground can be a Bear Pit. Newcastle need yo be professional and do a job, play football and not the occasion. Interesting that if we go ahead we don't get beat but it could be a different game is we concede and have to chase the game. I'll go for a 2-1 win for us. All the very best to you for the rest of the season and look forward to seeing you at St James Park. Respect.
We'd like to thank Mr Anonymous for answering our questions and wish him and the Magpies the best of luck for the season, in which they are currently playing brilliantly.
Whatever the result tomorrow, this game will be one of the best to watch this November if not the season. The game is one of the biggest advertisements for football in England and I'm sure it'll be a massive spectacle. It's better than them pansy derbies you see in London.
By Ryan Ingham
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