They have seen Papiss Cisse's like before. They know what it is to cherish a number nine in these parts. But though this is the club of Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and Jackie Milburn, it is Andy Cole who springs immediately to mind when the Newcastle United supporters watch Cisse play. Not since Cole have Newcastle boasted a striker so potent, so direct and so gloriously uncomplicated.
Robbie Fowler is looking for a club, and fast. He is 37 in a few weeks, and last month turned down a move to English Championship side Blackpool after it offered him a basic weekly salary of £90 ($142), with a £5,000 ($7935) match bonus on completing 90 minutes.
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez scored for the first time since returning from his ban for racially abusing a fellow player as Liverpool moved into the last eight of the English FA Cup with a 6-1 win over Brighton.
The January transfer window: a mid-campaign silly season to send even the most sensible commentators doolally. Andy Carroll back to Newcastle? Sure, why not. Lionel Messi to West Brom? You heard it here first! January always lands a few surprises, but here are some of the storylines I'll be keeping an eye on over the next few weeks.
This Saturday will mark the anniversary of Fenway Sports Group's takeover of Liverpool and it comes just a few days after UK magazine FourFourTwo published its annual Football Rich List. The magazine ranked FSG owner John W Henry at 20th in the list, and calculated that each Premier League point Liverpool had earned since the purchase has cost Henry a whopping £7.5 million ($11.7M). (The team it beat last week, local rivals Everton, comes in at £48,000 per point, given that owner Bill Kenwright paid £20M for it in 2004.)
Before Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and company fired Uruguay into the semifinals of last year's World Cup, many people had forgotten (or never knew) that this little South American country with a population of under 3.5 million has an extraordinary soccer tradition.
After England's dismal showing in the World Cup, there were the usual calls for blood. Fabio Capello clearly wasn't going to go, so after lamenting the Football Association's curious decision to remove the release clause from the coach's contract shortly before the tournament, the media focused on which players could usefully be sacrificed. It was a stance in part rooted in embarrassment at the widespread acceptance of the myth of the "Golden Generation," and in part just because the rules of the tabloid game insist somebody must be blamed.
They say the Premier League table isn't worth looking at until at least 10 games into the season (which is good news for Everton, Stoke City and West Ham fans, since they occupy the relegation spots after four weeks), but the sight of Blackpool nestling in fourth, a point behind Manchester United and a point ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, is arresting nonetheless.