Newcastle United

St James’ Park (68,386)
Distance from OT: 153 miles
Position 07/08: 12th
Head-to-head 07/08: 6-0 (h), 5-1 (a)
When do we meet? 17/8 (h) 4/3 (a)
17/08/2008 08:05

Northern rocks: Newcastle

A team on the up? Well things can hardly get any worse than last season…

Headmaster The game has evolved since Kevin Keegan's first tenure ended in 1997, but he retains his 'attack first, defend later' approach, which spluttered into life against Fulham in March after no wins in his first nine games. He wants to spend; Mike Ashley and Dennis Wise would rather save the pennies and gamble by "nurturing young talent".

Head boy Steven Taylor: the Greenwich-born defender, having penned a new deal, is key to plugging gaps in a defence that boasts more holes than Augusta.

Maths In the second half of the season, the Magpies conceded 43 per cent of their goals in the last 20 minutes.

English ‘Buy British’ we’re told. Hmm… Owen is injured again, Smudger hasn't scored since his arrival from Old Trafford, and then there's Joey Barton...

History Take a pinch of that Terminal 5 chaos, throw in a bit of Steve McClaren's England and you get something resembling last season's St James' Park carnage.

Tuck shot item Flake: sexy image but crumbles under pressure.

Predicted grade C+ The Barcodes still lack quality and tactical nous, and excite and frustrate in equal measure; the 54-year wait for a trophy will rumble on…

Detention Who else but Barton.


Premier League