Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Newcastle v Stoke City match preview

While the this Saturday's clash is bathed in a survival fight for Newcastle, it would be inappropriate for me not to mention something that is terribly needed to be said.

Now twenty years ago, in a time long before the "Premier League" was conceived, ninety-six individuals lost their lives in the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. For some, twenty years seems like an eternity and yet for those of us with a few flecks of gray, it seems like only like yesterday when so many lives were lost. I ask each of you to stop for a moment and remember those whose lives were lost that day. No words can express the sorrow or ease the pain those lost their loves ones that day but as always, my thoughts and prayers go out to them

As Alan Shearer leads his Newcastle side against Stoke City this Saturday afternoon,
he knows full well that match could be the deciding fate for his clubs future in the Premier League. With the Magpies three points behind Sunderland, a win is likely to pull them level with their rivals who are faced with the doomsday scenario of facing Manchester United.

The balance of the schedule is a mixture of uphill challenges of clubs fighting on towards European efforts (Liverpool and Aston Villa), those who are free and clear of relegation concerns (Tottenham and Fulham), one too close for comfort (Portsmouth) and still another (Middlesbrough) on life support. The advantage of St James' Park could never be more important, however points are needed on the road against the Potters or it could simply too late.

However the Magpie's need for a victory won't be received warmly by the Potters manager Tony Pulis. After pushing his side into the top division for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, Stoke City has stubbornly fought valiantly through the year and are nearing a point where safety can be assured. However a loss would pull them back into that "too close for comfort" group as the Magpies would be within three.

For the match Newcastle will be without the services of José Enrique and Steven Taylor but do have former Metz man Sébastien Bassong back. It is time for Newcastle to play United and fight will the might of their supporters, to never surrender and wear the crest with pride.