Well it's time to check in with a fan of the opposition as we provide you with a wealth of coverage of this week's derby, and whilst a decent Newcastle fan is hard to come by (that's a joke, untwist your knickers MagFans), we feel we've found one of the best of the lot.
Way back in January, older readers of the site might remember us chatting to The Football Ramble's Pete Donaldson, and the fella was just so nice, he's popped up again for us, even if he did in his own words 'pull a Donaldson' and leave it to the last minute. We still appreciate the effort!
So with that in mind, lets see what Pete had to say on all things NUFC, and a specially selected Ramble line-up...
A Derby game so early in the season – good to get it out the way or bad because new signings may not be settled?
Pete: Yeah, I can’t remember a derby coming so early…ever, in fact. I think the all-important gelling might more of an issue for your lads – Bruce has bought pretty much a whole new team! He’s spent really well and managed to finance it all with two (albeit important) departures. I think with us, we’re looking at perhaps only two players finding their way into the first eleven off the bat, so it’s a little more manageable.
There’s been a French invasion on Tyneside this summer. With the country having a penchant for surrendering, is this the wisest of moves?
Pete: There must be so much brioche kicking around. Yeah, it seems Mike Ashley’s willing to spend a little cash as long as it’s emulating his favoured business model, sorry ‘football club’, Arsenal – who are in the black and still not winning anything.
In all seriousness though, Newcastle’s transfer business so far has been far from quiet – what do you make of the new boys?
Pete: Cabaye looks decent, he just needs to adjust to the pace of the league a little – Marveaux’s a bit of an odd one, I don’t really know where he’ll fit in with Jonas on the field – at 18, I don’t think we’ll see anything from Abeid for a couple of seasons. Obertan looked like the only player interested in running at players at the weekend, if he keeps on doing that I’ll be over the moon – we’re still stuck in ‘knock it long to Carroll’ mode. And goodness knows Shola can’t hold up the ball nearly as well.
It took four questions, but here we are - the inevitable Joey Barton and Twitter discussion. What do you make of his Nietzsche-quoting, pompous, faux-revolutionary, sh*t hair-cutted antics of late?
Pete: On the field, I think he adds an extra steel, mettle to the team – something we haven’t had for a good long while. Off the field, he’s clearly trying to work on his image (bafflingly, Vampire Weekend’s manager is involved) and yeah, his Twitter posturing is a classic example of a semi-intelligent footballer overreaching. I do quite like his CM-Punk, Mike Patton hair though, I have to admit. And the fact that he called Alan Shearer ‘slap-head’.
Best we move on to the game itself a little. Any danger of the fire being lost with so many new faces potentially on show?
Pete: Yeah, I think certainly for our new signings it’ll be like any other game – but Shola’s bound to score a couple, isn’t he? He generally does. Our season is going to be a bit of a struggle up top – we’ve dispensed with a great crosser of the ball in Enrique, and one of our most prolific goalscorers in Kevin Nolan. I am scared we’re not going to get one in the net in this game.
We’ve both only had one game to judge on so far, but following your game v Arsenal, what needs changing in Newcastle’s personnel or tactics before the game?
Pete: I genuinely think we’re performing to capacity, certainly up top – there’s simply no one else to bring on – I would like to have seen Ben Arfa fit for this one, but other than that, I can’t see what we could possibly do differently.
What area of the pitch do you think is the biggest concern for Newcastle, and who from our side do you think will cause the most problems?
Pete: I thought Richardson had a good game apart from the first fifteen minutes – he seemed to get over his cock-ups fairly quickly. The main battle for me is going to be the two ‘C’s - Colback and Cattermole against Barton and Tiote. Tasty.
Joey Barton and Lee Cattermole are both players with a bit of a reputation - who will last the longest on the pitch this weekend?
Pete: Cattermole usually gets his red cards out of the way early doors in the season, doesn’t he? We could well see him walking first. He he! (shouldn't that be GLOL? - Si)
And to the most crucial aspect... what do you think the scores going to be?
Pete: Genuinely worried we might not score. But then I always am. Dare I predict a 0-0?
And to finish off, being part of the excellent Football Ramble Podcast - if for one week Marcus, James/Jim and Luke are all absent, but somewhat strangely Newcastle players of the mid-90’s are offering to step in, who do you choose...
Pete: Steve Howey. You had Lee…we had a man who resembled a gigantic potato – and he’s quite forthcoming in the press when it comes to newspaper opines regarding Newcastle. He’d be our Lukey character. We’d need an anchor, too – I’m thinking Warren Barton for his fine US television work. Keith Gillespie could do some betting tips. Tips you ignore immediately/do the exact opposite.
And there you have it ladies and gent's, the views of Pete Donaldson. We here at Roker Report love The Football Ramble, and suggest you get subscribed to it. Visit their site for some top quality blog action - www.thefootballramble.com - and get yourself subscribed to the podcast on iTunes by CLICKING HERE