0 Newcastle United 3-0 West Ham United MATCH REPORT


Newcastle United 3
West Ham United 0

Joselu (36)
Clark (72)
Mitrovic (86)

Elliot 6
Mbemba 7
Clark 8
Lascelles 7
Manquillo 7
Hayden 6
Merino 8
Atsu 7
Perez 7
Ritchie 9
Joselu 8

Mitrovic (on for Joselu, 71) 7
Diame (on for Hayden, 82) N/A
Murphy (on for Ritchie, 88) N/A

A much needed win for Newcastle, and a deserved one at that. The game took a while to get going with not a lot of goalmouth action in the first half. On 16 minutes, Atsu forced a corner after his header from Joselu’s cross was deflected wide and Mbemba had a speculative effort from 20 yards, just over, following said corner. West Ham came into the game a bit between 20-30 minutes but were limited to shots from outside the box, none of which troubled Rob Elliot.

On 36 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken when Atsu sprinted to recover a slightly heavy pass from Merino. His cross was met bu Joselu, who was able to tap the ball in under pressure from the West Ham defence for 1-0.

Merino almost doubled the lead a few minutes later after a great through-ball from Mbemba but his effort was well saved. Atsu also tested Joe Hart just before the break, but the England ‘keeper saved and held with ease.

The second half was much the same, though with a few more chances. Newcastle dominated the possession an Perez didn’t take long to make Hart work again. On 52 minutes, slack defending nearly cost us a goal when Manquillo was caught out of position and West Ham were able to break on the left hand side. After the first effort, one of the West Ham forwards was faced with a simple tap-in but couldn’t convert, as the ball was cleared off the line by Ciaran Clark.

On 63 minutes, the referee played advantage after Perez was fouled. Ritchie picked up the loose ball and charged forward before curling a shot between the legs of a defender but Joe Hart was equal to it. Joselu had the rebound snatched away from him at the last second.

Goalscorer Joselu was subbed off for Mitrovic on 71 minutes and the Serb took over nicely with decent hold-up play and lay-offs. Seconds after, Newcastle’s lead doubled when Matt Ritchie skinned a couple of defenders and crossed for Ciaran Clark who had snuck in between two defenders. Clark’s header hit the left post before it hit the net. Well taken, but very poor defending from West Ham.

On 76 minutes, Mbemba embarked on a cracking run up the left hand side and when his cross fell to Matt Ritchie, a last ditch block saw what would’ve been a certain goal deflected wide. Shortly afterwards, Merino escaped from a double-up to cross for Mitrovic who headed narrowly over the bar.

A defensive mistake almost gifted Perez a tap-in on 79, but somehow he managed to pass it onto the post and out. Diame then replaced Hayden on 82 minutes. On 85 minutes, Merino played a superb through-ball to release Mitrovic who really should have scored when one-on-one with Hart, but he smashed his shot straight at the dandruff-free goalie.

Only a minute later, though, he redeemed himself in almost the exact same situation. Perez got the final touch on the through-ball after more slackness from Hart and the West Ham defence; this time Mitrovic had more time to compose himself and he rounded the keeper before passing the ball into the net for 3-0.

Murphy replaced Ritchie on 88 minutes and that was the last notable action really – a standing ovation for the winger who had had a brilliant game.

Honourable mentions… Mbemba did a great job at left-back despite being out of position – he was caused a few problems by West Ham’s Michail Antonio, by far West Ham’s best player, especially in the first half. Merino’s tackling was outstanding and he bossed the midfield – certainly a worthwhile replacement for Shelvey in the short-term and leaving the Geordie faithful with watering mouths at the prospect of seeing him and Shelvey together. Manquillo had a MUCH better game, especially in the first half when he was arguably the best player on the field. Second half though, he was caught out of position a couple of times. There is potential there, for sure, but he needs to work on his positioning.

Perez looked very sharp and chased everything down, but had a couple of chances to finish and couldn’t hit the target. Joselu held up everything in the final third and did well for the goal… didn’t really put a foot wrong, but there was one other who outshone him today…

Man of the Match: Matt Ritchie. Just utterly, utterly brilliant from the beginning. Was unlucky not to score a couple of times, every first touch was gold, and his assist was only one of about a dozen incisive passes that ripped the West Ham defence open on several occasions.

Let’s hope this properly kick starts the season, now.

0 Want a page on our site?

Are you a solo artist, duo or band in Newcastle or elsewhere in the North East? Are you interested in some free advertising?

We’re always looking for new bands and artists to publicise on this site – you don’t have to sign anything, it’s not an agency deal or any kind of bookings contract… just if someone asks us, “Hey, do you know of a band that can do such-and-such?”, we can say, “Hell yeah, check out Band X – they’re ALL about such-and-such and you can find their biog on my website!”

The idea is to have a mutually beneficial relationship with as many bands and artists as possible, to increase traffic on our site and, most importantly, to make sure that local, talented musicians have somewhere online to call home (or a second home) to have their gigs, services and biographical information publicised for as many people as possible to see.

Just shoot me an email on rob@sessionsnewcastle.com and we can add you to our featured acts. You’ll get a biography, gig schedule and as many photos as you like on our site, and we can give you editing privileges too so you can update everything yourself… or if you’d prefer, just tell me when you’ve got a new gig or a few photos to add to your gallery, and I’ll stick them on there for you.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world!

Rob x

0 An Open Letter to Mike Ashley

This was written to Mike Ashley, 2 years ago today. Obviously, since then, we’ve been relegated and now it looks like we’re going to come straight back up, but not as comfortably as many of us thought (myself included). After a dismal season when we only just barely stayed up, the fact that Ashley spoke to the press and the fans for the first time and assured everyone that he meant to make this club successful again, means that relegation was inexcusable in the first place.

I hope and believe that we will be looking forward to a season in the Premier League by this time next month, but really that puts us in the same position we were in before the 2015/16 season… in the division, but expected to struggle.

Things are looking more promising with Rafa at the helm, of course, but I hope that Mr. Ashley really does take it seriously this time and not pull the rug out from underneath Rafa, the players, and the fans, like he has done in the past.

This open letter is just as relevant now as it was then.



Dear Mr. Ashley,

My name is Robert Waters. I am a life-long Newcastle United fan and have been a season ticket holder since 1998. I have recently become a co-moderator of a small Facebook group [name omitted] that invites fans to share their opinions about the club, and about happenings in football in general. From this recent experience, I feel it necessary to provide you with a summation of some of the thoughts of some of the fans of the club, including myself.

In 1998, I lived in Kent and regularly made the 600-mile round trip to see the home games at St. James’ Park. My family and I willingly made this trip as, whatever the result, we enjoyed the style and quality of football played by our team, week-in, week-out.

Living in Kent, I was surrounded by fans of the London clubs and the otherwise heavily-supported clubs from elsewhere in the land. The most common were Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham. I was constantly the butt of several jokes and jibes at school, but I would often retort (and rightly so)… “well, we’re better than you”. It is safe to say that I was a very proud Newcastle United supporter.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the situation has changed drastically in recent years. Now, children are sometimes ridiculed in their own city for supporting the local team and the state of affairs at Newcastle leaves them completely helpless to defend themselves. Now, suggesting that we are better than any other Premier League team, given our performances this season, can rightly be met with derision from pretty much any other club’s supporters. There is a very real danger that the club is about to lose an entire generation of fans due to the continued floundering of a club, the stature of which should have us challenging for European football every season, not fighting relegation.

I think it is safe to say that all Newcastle fans feel that the football club needs to be run as a football club first, and a business second. We understand that you have balanced the club’s finances and we are grateful for that, however as the people without whom the club could not continue to function we feel that we deserve better. For too long now, the club has been run without treating the game as a priority and this, quite simply, is unacceptable and an insult to tens of thousands of people. This may not be your city, but if you are going to represent it, at least treat the indigenous people with some dignity and respect as opposed to the apathy and contempt you have displayed thus far.

Promises of money spent on signings, or appointments of new staff, need to be honoured, not used to temporarily appease the fans then reneged upon as soon as the transfer window is over. An example of this is the appointment of John Carver as head coach of Newcastle United. I do not have any experiences of Carver’s influence in training or in the dressing room, however it is clear to see from his conduct on the touchline (for several seasons), his tactical decisions (this season) and post-match interviews (this season) that he possesses neither the mentality nor the ability to manage a football club of this stature. Not only that, but he had no experience as a manager anywhere other than Toronto, never mind in the top flight of one of the most prestigious leagues in the world. His win percentage before he was Newcastle manager was 31%. Since becoming Newcastle manager, his win percentage has been 13%.

The only conclusion that the fans can draw from Carver’s appointment is that he was the most cost-efficient and convenient option available and not a single consideration was given as to whether he might actually be the right man for the job. This is one of many situations that need to be resolved as soon as possible. Should we still be in the Premier League at the end of this season, which I desperately hope that we are, we need a manager who has the maturity, the tactical nous and the man-management ability to run a football club at this level.

Aside from the manager, the level of ability in the squad is not congruous with a club of this size. Without disrespecting any individual players it must be said that there are several first-team regulars who are not of sufficient calibre to represent a Premier League club, let alone one of this stature. There are a few exceptions but the squad on the whole must be improved if the club is to even stay in the Premier League, let alone challenge for silverware or European football. This means spending money on quality players and building around them, not looking for bargains who can be sold at a profit, thus never giving the core of the team a chance to gel together.

Newcastle fans do not necessarily expect to win trophies, but we do expect a team of decent quality to perform to the best of their ability in every game, and to finish the season in a league position befitting the relative stature of the club. Whether this is a top-half finish or a European challenge may not be for me to say, but we should be outdoing the teams around us who are not in as good a position, financially, as we are. There aren’t many clubs that can come close to matching us in this aspect, yet we are languishing in the bottom half, fighting relegation and relying on youth players to fill in the gaps. We have lost 6 games in a row, equalling a Premier League record which will likely be broken on Saturday when we host relatively in-form Swansea City. This run of form is inexcusable for a club of our stature.

The fans will not accept another relegation, especially one from which we are much less likely to recover with the players at our disposal. They will not accept another uneventful transfer window, especially after the recent figures from Companies House which suggest there is over £30m available for transfers and players’ wages. I implore you to take this seriously or we will surely be relegated next season. The only thing that has kept us up this year was the anomalous 5-game winning streak under Alan Pardew; we cannot count on something that unlikely happening again.

This message does not come from a Newcastle fan who smashed windows after a defeat against Sunderland, but from one who watched it happen and fully expects to watch it happen again. It comes from a Newcastle fan who, after 17 years of season ticket holdership, recently decided to boycott a match (against Spurs) for the first time ever. The boycott may not have had the desired effect, but the truth remains that no fan, whether they attended on Sunday or not, wants to see factions of the most passionate football fans in the world refusing to watch the game out of disdain for the atrocious performances and the incomprehensible contempt shown for them by the people in charge.

This city and its football club, while they may not be close to your heart, deserve the best representation they can get. In the name of all of the legends; Hughie Gallacher, Jackie Milburn, Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and many others whose legacy you deemed fit to chuck in a skip only last week, please start running this club like a football club, rather than a device to make money at the expense of the people who make it possible.

If you do not want to run a football club properly, please leave, along with your money, and invest in something else.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Waters

0 Yet another venue taking the mick… when will they learn?

Something I was reminded of today… it’s important that musicians know their worth.


Rachel [last name omitted]

21 October 2014 10:55
Hi rob, my names Rachel and I’m the manager at [venue omitted], we’re hosting a few acoustic sessions next week throughout the afternoons from either 3-4 or 4-5 for local music talent like yourself. Wondered if you fancied coming doing a half hr or hr slot in a nice cozy environment. We can pay you in coffee and cake for your troubles and by all means out out your case and CDs if you have any to try drum up some interest! We’re part of the Newcastle music week. Would be great if you could come along and play a few songs for us.
Let me know what you think. You can call me on [number] or email [email] or just message me on here”

Rob, the Monument Busker

Sent by Robert John Waters
21 October 2014 11:00
I’ll do that, if you come to my house and provide free coffee and cake for my friends while I play music in the corner. We won’t be able to pay you for the food, but it should drum up plenty of interest for your shop.
See where I’m coming from?
In short, sorry, I work weekdays anyway and don’t do gigs for free.

Rachel [last name omitted]

21 October 2014 11:02
Sorry maybe I worded it wrong

Rachel [last name omitted]

21 October 2014 11:02
Didn’t mean to offend good luck

Rob, the Monument Busker

Sent by Robert John Waters
21 October 2014 11:19
Sorry for snapping. I wasn’t offended/insulted… it’s just that this happens constantly to musicians and it really shouldn’t. If a venue has a budget for advertising, staff wages, overheads and other necessities which exist in running a business, then an entertainment budget should be available as well, if you want to host entertainment in order to increase revenue in your shop. Otherwise you’re just getting a free service which you wouldn’t dream of asking for from anyone in a different profession.
I’m not looking for an apprenticeship as I’ve been a professional musician for a number of years… if you hired a barista, do you think they would work for nothing, just for “good experience” in order that someone else may be interested in hiring them in the future?
I don’t mean to have a go, I’m a nice bloke… I just wish more venue/restaurant managers would realise what this looks like from the musician’s point of view.
Best of luck with your event, I’m sure you’ll find someone, but if you’re looking for a professional musician ie. one who does it for a living, you’re very unlikely to find one for free unless you’re raising money for charity.

Rachel [last name omitted]

25 October 2014 20:43
Your [sic] arrogant and completely read the situation in the wrong way! Thanks iv filled every day with fantastic professional musicians which would like to use this event to promote themselves and local talent! Good luck with your bad attitude!

Rachel [last name omitted]

25 October 2014 20:44
I wasn’t rude to you in the slightest and you should have taken it as a compliment that I invited you along to be part if newcadtle [sic] music week with free advertising

Rob, the Monument Busker

Sent by Robert John Waters
25 October 2014 21:05
Way to react to an apology.
Someone offering me a gig but refusing to pay is an insult, not a compliment. The fact that this is supposed to be part of Newcastle Music Week, yet you’re not willing to pay musicians is an absolute disgrace, and why it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living in the live entertainment business.
Pretty sure I’ll just stick to busking, have my music heard by thousands more people than in a coffee shop, and make myself £100-odd per hour doing it.
I find it very upsetting that “Newcastle Music Week” and the venues affiliated with it seem to care very little about the artists it is trying to promote. The contempt towards people who, by and large, have practiced and trained for their entire lives in order to hone their art, shown by not paying them even minimum wage (as opposed to £80 per hour, which is the Musicians’ Union rate) is absolutely shocking, and having been a promoter and musician in this business for the last 16 years in London, Leeds and Newcastle, I can tell you that the vast majority of professional musicians would agree with me 100%.
As far as arrogance is concerned, I hardly think that’s fair. I’m generally pretty humble about my talent, albeit proud of the result of 30 years of very hard work. Suggesting that I am PAID for WORKING isn’t arrogant, it’s merely standing up for basic human rights and asking that venue managers stop exploiting musicians in this way.

Rob, the Monument Busker

Sent by Robert John Waters
25 October 2014 21:12
Please read this. It echoes the sentiment of millions of professional musicians around the world.

Rob, the Monument Busker

Sent by Robert John Waters
25 October 2014 21:21
And this.


1 Sessions Newcastle’s new site – intro & guide

We have arrived!

Well, after two and a half years of waiting, we’ve finally managed to use the domain name for something proper, rather than just a link to the Facebook page! So, for all you new users, here’s our first blog entry, which doubles as a guide to our wonderful new site.

The menu can take you wherever you need to go within our site. Artists/Bands gives you information and biographies for all of our featured acts. We are always looking to expand this section, so if you’re interested in joining our little group please let us know! It won’t cost you anything to become a featured act… if we decide to add you we’ll need a short biography and a list of all the upcoming shows/events you have booked. If we receive an enquiry about you, we’ll try to get you as many gigs as we can for a commission we’ll negotiate with you when you join. All we ask is that you share the site with your friends on social media… the whole point is to get fair treatment for musicians across the north east in a way that’s mutually beneficial. Eventually we plan to host a directory for pretty much everyone who is involved in the local music scene, but when that happens you would still be featured on the homepage, hopefully with a reach of hundreds or possibly thousands of people.

Next is the Events section, which gives you a complete list of Sessions Newcastle events and other promoters’ gigs involving our featured acts. They are listed by date, but there are plans underway to also have them listed by band and by venue, with individual band schedules on their own pages too.

The Blog page is what you’re looking at right now. We’ll be using this for important updates as well as gig, venue and single/album reviews for north-east bands. Further down the line we may well be looking for extra contributors, so please contact us if you’d be interested in writing them. Our sister company, www.proofperfectonline.co.uk, will proofread your submissions free of charge.

After that we have the Services page, which contains details of all of the other services we offer. Customers/clients/users can use our forms to enquire about PA hire and operation, pub quizzes, recording services and tuition. We offer very competitive rates for all of these. If there’s something you’re after that isn’t listed on the page, ask us anyway! If we can’t do it ourselves, we guarantee to find you someone who can. We have heaps of contacts covering a wide range of musical services; some of these can be found on our Links page too.

The Gallery features photos from all of our featured acts, as well as gigs we’ve organised… the Videos page is much the same but we’ll occasionally post videos we like from other bands and artists. You can also follow us on YouTube at youtube.com/sessionsnewcastle or by clicking the YouTube icon in the bottom right of the screen.

Then comes the Links page, which features links to friends’ websites, and finally the Contact Us page, where you can send us an email via the site. Alternatively you can email us at info@sessionsnewcastle.com

Thats pretty much it… so happy browsing! If you’d like to see what we’re about in the flesh, come to The Block & Tackle in Ashington on a Wednesday night for open mic, or Mr. Lynch on a Monday for our awesome pub quiz!



0 Gareth Beddard

Gareth’s distinctive sound is a blend of dynamic foot-tapping acoustic six string guitar and deep husky southern vocals developed over many years of live performances. Initially having a few lessons at 10 years old, Gareth broke away as a self taught musician and singer. Writing his first song at 11 years of age, he continued to develop playing in his local bars and grabbing any chance to perform. Gareth is now a regular performer in many music venues in the north east of England and is becoming a well recognised face within the local music scene. Genre-wise, Gareth plays acoustic rock-blues with a flavour of Americana. He was influenced greatly as a child by his grandfather, Wilf, who regularly played organ in the working men’s clubs and arcade in his home town of Ashington. Wilf taught Gareth to read music but most importantly how to improvise and play music by ear. His improvisational skills credit him greatly, allowing him to change the sound of well known tracks into the styles of blues and rock.

Gareth is inspired by artists such as Shawn Mullins, Darius Rucker, Jon Bon Jovi and The Derek Trucks Band. These influences can all be heard in his unique style.

After his recent marriage to his wife Christine, Gareth will be releasing a brand new track “Honey Smile” written for his wedding day with his best man, Nathan Cochrane from H.E.D. This will be available on iTunes in the very near future and will be followed by an album after a short while.

Gareth currently works part-time as a postman in Ashington to fund his life, allowing him to concentrate on playing as many gigs as he can fit in, including a regular residency at Allard’s Lounge in Tynemouth on a Wednesday evening. He covers an extensive range of music by well known artists with his own twist.

Gareth and his wife are planning on hitting the south coast of Europe in the near future to experience gigging in some new towns, meeting new faces and embrace their love for travelling. Gareth is most certainly a growing artist on the rise with a bright future ahead!


Gareth’s shows

No shows booked at the moment.


Gareth Beddard

0 Jake Houlsby

Jake Houlsby is a 20 year old Indie-Folk act from the north east. Having racked up gigs in venues such as The Sage and The Cluny, Jake’s unique voice and intricate guitar playing have built him a loyal fan base, with Spark Sunderland describing his live performances as ‘truly immersive and relaxing.’

Lyrically, he cites Neil Young as a big influence “When I first heard ‘After The Goldrush’, I was blown away by how much he managed to say so much in so few lines. The way he put it too, it felt so personal.” Musically, however, his background is a varied one. Brought up on the guitar-driven music of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, it wasn’t until the age of fifteen that he decided to sing. From then on, artists such as Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and Robert Johnson helped him discover the artist he was.



Jake’s solo shows

No shows booked at the moment.


Jake’s open mics

No shows booked at the moment.


Jake Houlsby