Alan Pardew: "I don't know how to put into words how good Fabricio Coloccini is for us, really. He is very, very important, a very steady, calming influence.
"Last year when he wasn't playing, there was something missing from the team.
"That's why it's so important that he stayed - and hopefully he will stay for a lot longer than this year as well.
"We have got a new back four this year because Mapou has played all year, and Colo, Mathieu and Davide.
"That's been our back four, with Tim, quite settled, thank goodness and long may that continue.
"We have Steven [Taylor] and Willo [Mike Williamson] in the background, so we have got good options there.
"I think Mathieu will certainly improve as this year goes on, there's no doubt about that.
"He gives us real thrust down that side. But in terms of a person, he is really committed and focused on being a great player for Newcastle, and I hope he is."
GOODISON PARK - EVERTON
What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Away fans are located in one corner of the two tiered, Bullens Road Stand, which is at the side of the pitch, where just over 3,000 away fans can be accommodated. If a small following is expected, then only the lower tier is allocated, which holds 1,700. For larger followings the upper tier is also made available. If you can, try to avoid getting get tickets for the rear sections of both the upper and lower tiers, as the view can be quite poor. For example, in the rear of the lower tier there are a number of supporting pillars that can hinder your view, the seating is of the old wooden type and the gap between rows is tight. The front of the lower tier is a lot better having newer seats and no supporting pillars to contend with. The rear of the upper tier also has problems as Neil Theasby a visiting Hull City supporter informs me; 'Our seats were on the very back Row S and the view was awful! There were two obscuring pillars but worse than that the angle of the roof meant that you couldn't see the video screen and the view of the opposite touchline was also partly obscured'.
The facilities within the stand are basic and it is really showing its age (it was first opened in 1926). However, away fans can generate some noise from this area, making for a great atmosphere. The catering from the small concourse area, includes amongst other things; a Scouse Pie (£2.30), Steak Pie (£2.50), Cheese and Onion Pie (£2.30), plus Sausage Rolls (£2.30). They also offer a huge meat pie for £3, which is the size of a small plate, but I wasn't particularly impressed as it seemed to be more pastry than anything else. Lager is available from the sponsors Chang at £3.60 for a 600ml bottle, plus bitter at £3 for a 500ml bottle and even small bottles of white wine are on offer at £3.70. Please note though that the club stop serving alcohol 15 minutes before kick off and the queues at half time can get pretty horrendous.
I have enjoyed a number of good days out at Goodison. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with both sets of fans mixing freely before the game. Neil Thompson a visiting Preston supporter adds; 'The stewards inside the ground were superb and the best I have seen at any ground. They just ran things with a sensible head and communicated with people, first class. There are lot of grounds that can learn from the Everton stewarding'. The Club have automatic turnstiles, meaning that you have to insert your ticket into a bar code reader to gain admittance.
On a poignant note, if you do happen to notice some flowers lying around the perimeter of the pitch, this is because the ashes of a number of supporters (over 800) have been interred around it.
Where To Drink?
About a 15 minute walk away from the visiting supporters entrance, is the Thomas Frost pub on Walton Road. This Wetherspoon outlet, is a fair sized pub, that had a good mixture of home and away supporters, when I last visited. Rob Elmour adds; 'We found the Thomas Frost on Walton Road packed out, so we tried the Bradleys Wine Bar, which is just further down and across the road. It was very good. not a wine bar at all but a proper family run local with a good selection of beers including some real ales. Good mix of fans all very friendly.' More information can be found on the Bradleys Wine Bar website. Peter Bennett suggests the following; 'Pubs on Walton Lane or The Spellow outside Goodison are recommended.'
Tom Hughes adds 'The city centre is usually the best bet for a pre-match drink, There are hundreds of pubs available ranging from designer types to real-ale and saw dust bars. Near Lime Street Station there is the big house (the Vines) next to the Adelphi which is worth a visit. Nearer Goodison 'The Hermitage' (a friendly pub, 5/10 minutes walk up Walton Lane and under the bridge) on Queens Drive is also okay'.
There is a Wetherspoons across the road from Lime Street Station, plus at the station itself, is the Head of Steam, which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and also has a large screen showing sporting events. Also, the nearby Crown pub also recommended to me. Alcohol is served in the away section of the ground, including beer from the Club's sponsors Chang.
How To Get There And Where To Park
Follow the M62 until you reach the end of the motorway (beware of a 50mph speed camera about a 1/4 of a mile from the end of the motorway). Then follow the A5058 towards Liverpool. After three miles turn left at the traffic lights into Utting Avenue (there is a McDonalds on the corner of this junction). Proceed for one mile and then turn right at the corner of Stanley Park into Priory Road. Goodison is at the end of this road.
If you arrive early (around 1pm) then there is street parking to be found around Walton Lane. Otherwise park over towards Anfield or in Stanley Park itself (the entrance to the car park which costs £8, is in Priory Road). Randy Coldham adds; 'If you approach from the M57 (to join the M57, leave the M62 at Junction 6), and then leave the M57 at Junction 4. Take the A580 towards Liverpool, and on the the right you will reach the Walton Lifestyles Sports Centre (L4 9XP) where you can park for £5. It is then a 15 minute walk to the ground with a very good Chinese Chippy on the way. By parking there you are well away from the traffics jams that you tend to get at Stanley Park after the match and only a five minute drive from the motorway system.
Post Code for SAT NAV: L4 4EL
Kirkdale station is the closest to the ground (just under a mile away). However, it may be more advisable to go to Sandhills Station as this has the benefit of a bus service to the ground, which runs for a couple of hours before the game and around 50 minutes after the final whistle. The bus drops you off within easy walking distance of Goodison.
Gary Beaumont adds; 'The best route for away fans from the city centre if they want to use public transport is definitely the Merseyrail Northern Line to Sandhills where they alight and catch the special Soccerbuses; trains can be caught from Liverpool Central. If fans are buying their train tickets in Liverpool, ask for a return to Goodison Park as opposed to Sandhills even though that's where you're getting off. The advantage of doing this is that the train ticket is valid also for the Soccerbus and the additional fare is only £1 return as opposed to £2 that you'd have to pay on the bus if you only bought your ticket to Sandhills. Both Sandhills & Kirkdale stations and can be reached by first getting a train from Liverpool Lime Street to Liverpool Central and then changing there for Kirkdale. Patrick Burke adds; 'Although I would recommend using the Soccerbus to get to the ground, afterwards you may wish to look at alternatives, such as grabbing a taxi into Liverpool, or walking to Kirkdale railway station. This is because the Soccerbus is normally very cramped after the game, plus you may have to wait sometime to get on a bus (up to half an hour if there is a big queue) and it can then take 20 minutes or so for the bus to make its way from the ground'.
On exiting from Kirkdale Station turn right and then cross the railway bridge, you will see a pub opposite called the 'Melrose Abbey', which is a recommended watering hole. Walk up Westminster Road, alongside the pub, for about 400yds and you'll see the Elm Tree pub. Turn left at the pub into Goodall Street and walk up to end of the road, crossing the junction with Carisbrooke Road and into Harlech Street. At the end of Harlech Street you will reach the main County Road (A59). Cross over County Road at the traffic lights and then proceed down Andrew Street. At the top of Andrew Street you can see St Lukes Church sat in the corner of the ground.
The main railway station in Liverpool is Lime Street which is over three miles from the ground and is really too far to walk (although it is mostly downhill on the way back to the station), so either head for Kirkdale station or jump in a taxi (about £8). Otherwise you can catch various buses from the bus station which is seven minutes walk away from Lime Street and is well signposted. Either the 19, 19a, 20, 21 or 311 will drop you right outside the ground at a cost of about £1.80. The buses are run by Arriva and the journey takes about 15 to 25 minutes dependant on traffic.
Thanks to Geoff Barnes for providing the directions from Kirkdale Station.
Remember if travelling by train then you can save on the cost of fares by booking in advance. Visit the thetrainline website to see how much you can save.
Newcastle United Fixtures
September 30 20:00 Premier League Everton v Newcastle United
October 5 15:00 Premier League Cardiff City v Newcastle United
October 19 12:45 Premier League Newcastle United v Liverpool
October 27 13:30 Premier League Sunderland v Newcastle United
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NEWCASTLE UNITED 2013/14
NEWCASTLE 2 HULL CITY 3 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy (86' Tiote), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (62' Gouffran), Anita, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Cisse (73' Marveaux), Remy
Subs: Williamson, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
ASTON VILLA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ben Arfra, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita (74' Tiote), Cabaye (88' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Remy (63' Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, S Taylor, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 1 FULHAM 0 (Ben Arfa)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita 65' (Cabaye), Marveaux 74' (Remy), Shola Ameobi 65' (Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Gosling, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 0
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux 66' (Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi, Cisse 72'
Subs: Gosling, Bigirimana, Elliot, Vuckic, Dummett
MAN CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 0
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tiote, Gouffran 45+4' (Dummett), Ben Arfa 65' (Sammy Ameobi), Gutierrez 44' (Anita), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan
NEWCASTLE 2 LEEDS UTD 0
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gouffran (90' Vuckic), Anita (80' Gosling), Tiote, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Cisse (71' Obertan).
Subs: Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Alnwick
MORECAMBE 0 NEWCASTLE 2 (Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi)
Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux 88' (Sissoko), Vuckic 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi, Gouffran 71' (Ben Arfa)
Subs: Santon, Anita, Alnwick, Streete