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This Season 
 Match Report 2000-01 - mackems (a) 
Date: Sat 21st April 2001, 5.15pm.

Venue: Stadium of Plight 

Conditions: Temperatures continued 
to rise all day.... 



Sunderland 1 - 1 Newcastle United


Half time: Sunderland 0 Newcastle 0

67 mins. A disgracefully sloppy pass from the deeply disappointing Solano gifted them possession. Dirty Don loped up the pitch with ease and told everyone he was about to pass to Carteron. For some unknown reason Quinn gave up the chase, probably assuming that the in-form Given would deal with Carteron's shot. Unfortunately it slipped between the Irishman's legs. 0-1

78 mins. The dreaded triple substitution brought the under-used Griffin into the fray and it was his cross that Ameobi and then Cort managed to scuff across the six yard area to unlikely interloper, Andy O'Brien. He finished neatly with a right-foot sidefoot into the left corner for a glorious equaliser and his debut goal for United, in front of the wildly celebrating toon section. 1-1

Full time: Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1

We Said

Uncle Bobby said:

''It was a typical rousing derby with honours shared, and it's nice for us to come back when we were in deficit and not lose a match in a derby like that, -'it's quite important for us.

''They had more of the ball and they created more chances than we did, but we defended very well. I didn't think that we deserved to win, but on the other hand, we've got a valuable point.''

On another clean sheet failure:

"If Wayne Quinn had stayed with Carteron and not allowed the ball to get beyond him then Shay Given might have got his clean sheet on Saturday." 

"He looked so solid all afternoon and I was beginning to believe he was unbeatable.

"I'm annoyed about conceding another goal but on the other hand we gained a vital point.

"Shay is an international goalkeeper and he played to that standard again at Sunderland.

"Everything which was catchable he caught and his kicking was superb.

"When we're away from home we need a very good goalkeeper and that's what we've got."

On his triple substitution "masterstroke": 

The changes I made were designed to redress the balance, Daniel Cordone is always capable of giving us something down the left flank and we needed something better down that side. Unfortunately he got caught offside twice which was a little bit stupid.

"I thought Andy Griffin would give us a bit of strength down the right because throughout the first half Julio Arca and Michael Gray dominated that area.

"They were simply better than Warren Barton and Nolberto Solano and I was aware that we were second best."

"I had to do something. We were losing 1-0 and had nothing to lose and I knew it would have an effect. I've done it before and it's paid dividends and it came off again here."

On Nicos Dabizas:

''I'm amazed because it was never in my mind to play him again this season. He's had a massive repair to a cruciate ligament, which is usually a year out. We'd had a bit of a poor run. We went seven games without winning and we just needed a victory, so we took a chance with him against West Ham on Monday, and we're now actually on a roll - we've played two games without losing!'

On Robert Lee:

''He's now undergoing an operation on Monday,we're going to go ahead and he's out for the rest of the season. His knee is deteriorating and we're safe now - I never thought we'd not be safe, but we needed a few more points to be absolutely sure.

''He's done a marvellous job for us, but we've just got to get him right in time for next season.''

Goalscoring hero Andrew O'Brien commented:

"I just want the games to keep coming. It's been a rollercoaster month for me and every game in a black-and-white shirt has been memorable.

"I started my first game for Newcastle against my former club, was involved in a win against West Ham on my home debut, and to score against Sunderland tops the lot.

"There's no doubt that goal represents the high point of my career and I know how important it was to the rest of the players and our magnificent supporters.

"To have played my part in such a significant match is a brilliant feeling, but spare a thought for Aaron Hughes. He has been superb all season and had not missed a league game until the West Ham match, but I got the nod in the derby.

"Even so, he was first on the pitch to congratulate us after the final whistle and I think that demonstrates the team spirit Bobby Robson is building at the club."

"I admit I wasn't the most exciting signing when I joined the club, all I can do is give 100pc and perhaps people will learn to appreciate me.

"Centre-halves are never the fans' favourites and it's no secret that I've been able to walk the streets of Newcastle without being recognised since I signed for the club. Now I've scored a goal in a derby that might be different."

They Said

Monkey's Heed said:

"We got in front to a great goal but 1-0 is never enough, and to be fair to Newcastle they kept going, but I couldn't ask for any more from my players - they were excellent."

"I thought Kev (Phillips) got pulled back and when Quinny got a knock and he (the referee) gave the free-kick the other way I don't know what game he was watching.

''I thought it was a good game. There was plenty of passion. I didn't think it deserved nine bookings, but I thought it was fiercely contested. I thought we were the better side and deserved to win, but when you're 1-0 up you've got to kill the game off and we didn't.

''Especially in the first-half when we weren't sticking the chances in, I was thinking 'This smells a bit'. But they've done well. I'll take nothing away from Newcastle, they fought back well and one is never enough.

''The players are disappointed, to tell you the truth. They felt they did enough to win it. It was a terrific game and a terrific atmosphere, and both crowds were outstanding. I think the north-east has got a lot to be proud of.''

About their poor home form: ''It's a difficult place to come and get a result. You'll have to ask other managers and I think they'll tell you that they don't look forward to coming here.''

About Europe: "'There are nine points to get and it's going to be very difficult, but if you're asking me if the season's dead, no, it's not dead.''

Dirty Don Hutchison
felt Sunderland should have had two penalties and said: "We're just not getting the breaks at home." He declined to discuss his blatant attempt at cheating by tumbling over in the box, for which he was rightly yellow-carded.

Match Stats

Now 8 games since we last lost on wearside, 0-1 in season 1979/80.

O'Brien becomes the 3rd Newcastle player in the last four games to mark his debut against the mackems with his first ever goal for Newcastle - Helder (a) and Dyer (h) last season being the other two.

Aggregate crowd for home and away derby matches this season was 100,307 - first time the 100k barrier has been breached since season 1969/70 - 108, 267.


Before: Walking into my usual pre-match haunt, it was easy to forget that today was actually an away game, as the usual faces in their usual states of inebriation were all present. The attraction of another televised derby match had lured many in for a quick jar, a mere six hours before our game kickoff, and the strain was starting to show on some faces, obviously suffering from PMT - pre-mackem tension....

Forsaking the dubious pleasure of an unaccompanied journey to the nether regions of Tyne and wear, your correspondent was only too glad to board one of the 37 free buses laid on by the football club, a mixture of Hylton Castle (mackem?) coaches and Arriva double-deckers. However, what had started off as a well-organised excursion rapidly descended into farce as those with a well-filled bladder were relieving themselves by the side of the road seconds before their transport departed. Cue scenes of panic as buses moved off and trousers were frantically done up before a dash down the road and a leap on to a moving bus was required....

(other stories later emerged of a driver of one of the coaches refusing to unlock his on-board toilet despite pleas from his passengers, and ending up with a wet floor....More enlightened drivers resorted to the age old trick of opening the bus doors and inviting passengers to dispose of their "excess baggage" while speeding down the A19.)

The usual helicopter in the sky kept watch and police outriders halted traffic as we sped across the Tyne Bridge and past Gateshead Stadium (where a certain C.Waddle was plying his trade for Worksop.) Small pockets of Mags stood at the roadside applauding or giving us clenched fist salutes as we prepared to leave civilisation - this must be what going to war is like.

Rather than the sightseeing tour of Boldon and Cleadon that we were treated to last season, it was straight down the A19 to the dark place, and as we approached, more and more of the unwashed appeared to welcome us to their charming town. Arriving at the ground well over an hour before kickoff, the usual droves of sullen-faced inbreds loitered around, prompted a shout from one Mag of "why aren't you in the pub", or words to that effect....

Off the buses and straight into the ground, with a ragged police cordon allowing the local ne'er do wells to get within growling distance before dogs and horses intervened. With the bars open and being besieged by thirsty geordies, the area under the stand rapidly filled up, at least until the Sky TV coverage was switched off in favour of the video of our home game against the mackems....

Of those that did remain away from the seated area, one or two sought to entertain themselves, and managed to liberate a till from one of the catering outlets and tear down part of the sign from the "David Young Snack Bar" - this becoming "David Yo" - cue an impromptu chorus of "who the f**k is David Yo?" and a number fans asking the frightened counter staff if it was in fact now a Chinese takeaway.        

The surrealist elements of our support had also been at work, with a large "SMB" inscribed on the entrance wall of the toilets, thankfully in tomato sauce, not blood.

During: After the usual classical music raised the noise and anticipation levels to fever pitch, the teams took the field to a solid wall of red and white cards held aloft, at least on three and a half sides of the stadium. 

Thankfully virtually all toon fans refused to take part in this orchestrated effort, and instead the black and white cards in the away area were fashioned into paper aeroplanes.... or confetti. Call us killjoys if you like, but as much as the mackems would wish, this wasn't the bloody cup final, and no trophies or medals were awarded to the winners.....

The game itself most of you probably saw, but to sum up:

We struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the first half, ending the 45 minutes hanging on to the draw as an acrobatic save from Given and the woodwork kept the home side at bay. Things improved slightly in the second half and play was more even until a break down the right caught out our Quinn and allowed the mackems to take the lead.

The goal sparked a mini pitch invasion from the spanners in the home areas, but while the two buffoons who appeared from the main stand were forcibly dragged away (and in the unlikely event of having season tickets will hopefully lose them), a third "gentleman" on the opposite side was rather better treated. This moron was allowed to climb the pitchside railing by the stewards, run up and down the touchline and then calmly wander back past the stewards and retake his seat about six rows back.   

Bobby had ordered three subs to ready themselves some time previously, and their introduction had an immediate impact with the equaliser. Thereafter we seemed capable of sneaking another goal, but failed to press on and were caught offside too often, looking happy to leave with a point.

Barton led the whole team towards the celebrating away end, and threw his shirt into the crowd, followed by Acuna and Dabizas, who also donated his sweaty vest to some lucky punter. Solano didn't appear on the field, having presumably left for Brazil shortly after being subbed.

Throughout the game, the support from the away fans was excellent aside from a silent patch when they scored, and it took all of eight minutes for the chants of "He sh*gged your wife, he sh*gged your wife, Makin sh*gged your wife" to be aired. The intended recipient of this was seen to visibly shrink when he realised what was being sung....

Other ditties worthy of note included "mackem legs are what you break, walking through the toon" (not sure Sting would approve), "you'll never play in Europe" and "five pounds and you fill your ground" accompanied by mass waving of notes of that denomination.

Oh and that key jangling thing, that they really don't like at all.....


Given - good saves, not at fault for goal.
Barton - started awfully, lucky not to be subbed.
O'Brien - quietly efficient at the back, deadly from five yards up front.
Dabizas - tremendous battling performance.
Quinn - little opportunity to push forward, at fault for their goal.
Solano - Seldom seen anywhere near the ball.
Bassedas - solid and unadventurous but finally seems to be settling in.
Speed - best game in recent weeks, making more forward runs after the break.
Acuna - more impressive when scrapping in the centre than pressing upfield.
Gallacher - tried his heart out but the legs are going.
Cort - only one half-chance and little service, but involved in the goal.

Subs used:

Ameobi - usual mixture of dancing, dribbling and falling over. 
Griffin - instant reward with cross for goal. Couple of good blocks thereafter.
Cordone - took up good positions on left flank but presumably his hair was in his eyes, preventing him from looking across the line and seeing he was yards offside.

The mackems:  

Usual thuggery from Quinn, who initially thought he was playing in the Six Nations, as he picked the ball up twice when passes reached him. Hutchison and Philips tried desperately to start fights as the frustrations of their-below par performances seemed to get to them. Sorensen was never tested, Arca looked a class above anything on the park as he seemed to find time and space whenever he got the ball amidst a congested midfield, and seldom wasted a ball. 

appeared to be drunk. 

After: following last year's highly enjoyable spectacle of watching the mackems trample over each other in their haste to swap post-match pleasantries with us, we were locked in the ground for around 25 minutes while the tramps and urchins were sent on their way. Hopefully the excellent baton work that the local constabulary demonstrated last year was again in evidence to hasten their departure.

The caring mackems even managed to provide some post-match entertainment in the ground for us, as first uncle Bobby and then Peytar appeared pitchside to face the TV cameras. Predictably, Robson's appearance came to great applause and the other bloke was roundly abused, although to be fair (as Peter Beardsley would say) he took the jeers in good heart and earned a grudging round of applause from the black and whites. 

Whether an interview that takes place against a backdrop of 3,000 people singing "Peytar Reid's got a f**king Monkey's heed" is of any use however is uncertain....

When we were eventually allowed to leave, the presumably homeless mackems still hanging around were kept at a safe distance away from us. Why anyone in their right mind would loiter in this wasteland to watch some buses drive away is open to question, it can only be that these sad, deluded social misfits have nothing else to do in their bitter little lives. 

At least it gave the hard pressed security staff on the metro extension a few peaceful hours before the pilfering and vandalism started again.....  

One bus apparently lost it's windows during the game, but otherwise unscathed, we gratefully got out of this god-forsaken place and back to reality, via the A19.

Further entertainment was provided on our bus at least, by shouting "what's the score?" at passing mackems on the roadside. Funnily enough, every single one of them indicated "2-1" with their fingers - this short-term memory loss is obviously contagious.....  

Finally, a small cameo to sum up the rampant ignorance of this hellhole - a small child, perhaps five or six, standing by the side of the road throwing stones at the returning United buses. By his side, an obviously proud mother, passing her little angel the stones....

If these people weren't so damn funny, it would be genuinely sad.

PS - Police reported that 160 football-related arrests were made on matchday, some at the ground for breach of the peace and drunkenness, but the majority in Sunderland city centre arising from incidents involving Newcastle fans who didn't travel via the club's free transport. 

Police were also called to attend a number of fights in the no-man's land of Washington after the end of the game, as rival fans who had been watching the match on TV clashed at three locations. 



Page last updated 14 July, 2016