The Cup got a long overdue re-boot. Now the Toon need one. Send for Mourinho.

Published: Monday, 18 March 2024

If ever a competition needed a re-boot it was the FA Cup. This weekend it got it. And in some style.

Three of the four quarter-finals were breathless affairs. Absolutely brilliant.

Wolves and Coventry set the bench mark. We weren’t working until later in the day at beINSPORTS, so I watched the game with Andy. I’ve got to be honest - when Wolves equalised I left the room. I knew they’d get a second and I thought once that happens we‘re done for. I know. Shameful, but I can’t take too much tension these days. I’m getting old.

Down the years it’s also been the case that if I walk away from a match that Coventry are involved in something good happens. It worked at Wembley last May when Gus Hamer got us an equaliser v Luton. I should really have gone for a walk during the shoot-out. I’ll always regret that!

Again. I know. What a load of bollocks, but it works. 😂.

Anyway. What happened next was stunning. I’m so pleased for the boys and Mark Robins. I’ve said many times before - he’s a top operator. He deserves some time in the spotlight again.

I’ll come back to City/Newcastle. Chelsea fans were driven to distraction by their team (again) but at least they made it. It’s a pity really. I fancied us having a go at Leicester at Wembley!

And although Liverpool should’ve won comfortably at OT - fair play to United, who made the most of the presents that Klopp’s side handed them with.

Just a foot-note re-that game. I felt for both Amad Diallo and ref John Brooks. Brooks had no choice but to send Diallo off, but would anyone have cared if he’d joined in the celebrations moments later? It was ridiculous that he had to stay in the dressing room while everyone else at OT drank in United’s best moment of the season.

Mac Allister doesn’t come out of what happened very well either. It was churlish of him to kick the ball at Diallo so he got booked - appearing to stop a free-kick being taken. I hate that kind of ‘professionalism’. Apolgies if it wasn’t Mac Allister, but it was bang out of order shithousery.

City/Newcastle was awful. City didn’t need to break sweat. The Toon were never in the game. They’ve gone backwards. The project up there has stalled. They need a re-boot as well.

I’m genuinely sorry that all the hard work Eddie Howe and his staff have put in has come to nothing. Another year has passed without silverware. How many more campaigns can they waste?

I was never convinced that Howe was the right man for Newcastle, but in fairness he did a terrific job last season. It was great to see them mixing with the big boys again. He restored pride and belief, but it’s time for change if they want to push on.

I really don’t think Howe can take them to the next level. His team reflect his personality. They’re ‘nice’. And nice doesn’t win at the very top. You need some devil. City can be easy on the eye, but they’ve got devil. All the best teams have.

My answer? Jose Mourinho. Few people know more about winning than he does. He’s done it everywhere he’s been - including ‘half a trophy’, as he puts it, at Spurs. What madness that was - sacking him in the week of a final.

I know there’s a view that Mourinho is finished. That the game has moved on. Bollocks. The game will never move on from winning. There are no guarantees in football - except that Mourinho will win you a trophy.

He would be perfect in the North East. He’d energise the place again. Set it alight. Eddie Howe is a good man, but everyone has fallen asleep on his watch.

If Newcastle want to sign top players they need a top coach to attract them. Geography plays a huge part these days when players are making decisions about which club to join. London is always favourite. The North West - Alderley Wedge and surrounding areas are popular - even for players at Liverpool and Everton.

Newcastle is a big ask. I’m sorry, but it is. Keegan’s magnetism drew players. Mourinho would have the same effect.

It’s ridiculous to think that Mourinho still needs to prove himself after all he’s done, but for some, it seems he does. Where better than with Newcastle? When he started winning - and bloodying the noses of United, Chelsea, City and the rest again, Newcastle fans would love him. When he delivered a trophy they’d adore him.

One last thing - with Klopp leaving us, our league needs Mourinho back

On another subject - I read today that Newcastle will meet Spurs in Melbourne three days after the season ends. Er - player fatigue guys? Let’s hear no more about that.

And I can’t imagine how David Moyes is feeling this morning. One big handball decision after another has gone against his team in their last few games. The last of them took a record 5 minutes 37 seconds to sort out.

What sort of madness is this?

It took over 4 mins to allow Coventry’s first at Wolves. This can’t go on. If it takes more than 30 seconds to make a VAR decision - forget it. Go with the onfield decision. It’s ridiculous to make us all wait any longer. It’s discourteous and arrogant in equal measure by VAR operators.