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This Season 
 Match Report 2001-02 - Manchester City (h) 
 FA Cup Fifth Round

A Ginsters Prawn and mayonnaise sarnie - maybe a little fattening, but ok once in a blue moon.... 

(click on food for details)


Sun 17th January 2002, 7.00pm.

Venue: St. James' Park 

Conditions: Loud


Newcastle United 1 - 0 Manchester City


Half time: Newcastle 0 Manchester City 0

59 mins Gary Speed played a long ball left to right for Solano to run onto. As he ran he clashed with Jensen, knocking him to the ground. No foul was given and Weaver misjudged his challenge leaving Nobby to poke the ball past him and tap into the empty net before taking the cheers of the Gallowgate end.  1-0

Full time: Newcastle 1 Manchester City 0

We Said

Uncle Bobby said about Keegan's side: 

"They were marvellous, they played wonderfully, and gave us perhaps the hardest game we've had this season. Liverpool and Tottenham did well against us here but, in terms of squeezing out a result, it has been a very difficult evening for us.

"It was nip and tuck, it was never easy, and we never had a cushion.

"We managed to see the game out but they deserve a lot of credit, they fought like tigers all night. On that performance I can't see Manchester City losing the First Division. I would like to welcome them back to the Premiership."

"I think the crowd have been wonderful. What a night, what a reception Kevin got and deservedly. It was very warm and very sincere.

"He deserved that. Where in the country would you get a better crowd than here? The way they kept the game going and thrilled the players was wonderful. They have played a big part in a dramatic, wonderful evening.

"I told Kevin he should be very proud of his players because they fought very hard and played very well, they were unlucky."

"It is not what I wanted, not a kind draw but I'm sure Arsene Wenger thinks the same. The only consolation is that whoever goes through gets that little bit nearer to the final because one of the top dogs has been shot down."

They Said

Kevin Keegan compared his old Newcastle side to the present one:

"Yes, I can see the similarities, I can see why the fans would compare the teams," admitted Keegan after his Manchester City side bravely took United to the brink of FA Cup agony.

"Newcastle have a nice balance, a good mixture of youth and experience, bags of pace and they still have Alan Shearer who is a major leader of the line. Plus they are playing with an awful lot of confidence.

"If I look at the teams then Laurent Robert is similar to David Ginola and Nobby Solano does the same sort of job that Rob Lee once did for me. They may be different in some ways but the link is there.

"However, really I didn't have one side at St James's, I built three. For example Brian Kilcline was a major signing for us at the start but he'll never get a mention now with Ginola, Tino Asprilla, Andy Cole, Peter Beardsley and Philippe Albert eventually coming."

"I still have a deep love for the club. I spent nearly a quarter of my adult life here - five years as manager, two as a player - and the heart doesn't forget that.

"It was so nice to come back and see a lot of people I knew - a lot of people who deserve some of the credit that came my way.

"People like Terry McDermott, who I've been speaking to and who did so much for United. And, of course, the fans. We understand each other and that's what matters to me."

"I've no argument about Dunne, he had to go."

"He was the last defender and wrestled Craig Bellamy to the ground. It was ironic that we were hit by route one football - Shearer's flick-on and Bellamy scampering away.

"Yet in a funny way, the sending-off woke us up. We seem to have given our best performances this season when we've been down to 10 men."

"If the assistant referee had been watching the players rather than looking down to see if his boots were clean, he would have seen that Solano was all over Jensen. But we're out of the Cup and I don't want to make a big thing of it.

"If you don't take your chances you don't win games and that was our problem."

"We'll be back to give it another crack."

"Newcastle may have Kieron Dyer next time but we'll have Ali Benarbia, who is a wonderful player, Shaun Goater who shouldn't be injured, and Richard Dunne who may stay on the field for the full 90 minutes.

"I'm proud of my side - the only trouble is when you say that you have normally been beaten!"

Match Stats

This was the largest home FA Cup crowd at. James' Park for one day less than 26 years - 52,760 saw us draw 0-0 with Bolton on 18th Feb 1976, after an epic 5th round tie at Burnden Park ended 3-3 (we eventually went through in a third tie, staged at Elland Road.)

Solano's 2nd goal on his 14th FA cup appearance, and his 10th in all competitions this season (but the first this year.) He's now on 27 goals from 145 toon appearances.

Shay Given's 15th FA Cup appearance, and his 8th clean sheet. Since his FA Cup debut for us on Valentine's Day 1998 (beat Tranmere 1-0 at SJP) his record reads Won 12, Drawn 1, Lost 2. He's never lost an FA Cup tie on a club ground - both his defeats coming at Wembley (in the Chelsea semi and the Arsenal final.) 


Before we go any further, two vital pieces of pertinent information:

This match report contains the words b*ll*cks & sh*te


Newcastle 1 Man City 0

That means that it's Newcastle that are in the quarter finals and it's Bobby Robson who still has a chance of leading his side out in the final, not Kevin Keegan.

Those facts appear to have been sadly neglected in the hyperbole-laden aftermath of this tie, when to the casual observer it appeared that by restricting us to one goal and running about a lot, a ten-man City somehow emerged as moral victors. 

Of course, one look at the stats that people are so fond of these days tells the true story: Manchester City had one shot on target in the whole game. Huff featuring puff, stretched sinews and hearts as big as frying pans, but the sort of nil return that characterised their brief stay in the Premiership last season.

Thankfully there was only one sad home-made banner with some sentimental old tosh about "the Messiah" to embarrass us in years to come, but the journalists in the ground didn't let the lack of factual evidence stop them filing copy that had apparently been written some hours before the game.

We're told that Kevin Keegan surfed out of the St.James' tunnel on a tidal wave of emotion, as those wonderful Newcastle fans greeted him with a heartfelt embrace. Songs were sung, no doubts tears were shed and everyone was deeply, deeply moved.

Err...not from my stand bonny lad. We had the pleasure of seeing the backs of a scrum of pressmen, who were eventually shooed away by stewards. The song in the air was "There's only one Bobby Robson", no mention of KK. 

Our old beau was eventually spotted after a couple of minutes of the game when he sprang from the dugout. Now i'm sure that he got a deserved round of applause from those parts of the Milburn stand within eyeshot (including of course the press box), but the support of 6,000 Man City fans seems to have been misinterpreted as a heavenly ovation to our former manager. Far from it. 

The Times also claimed we serenaded KK at the final whistle - if I was hearing voices in my head like that guy i'd be worried....Perhaps that reporter would be better off ghost writing Babs Cartland novels (or Catherine Cookson, for some real regional stereotyping) than match reports. 

Let's return to the facts of the matter. The Keegan era was marvellous, we shook off the dust of decades under his stewardship, having reversed down a blind alley after he dragged us out of Division Two when a player. World-class players wore the stripes, we became the nation's favourite and truckloads of memories were created.

But, it ended.  

He didn't want to know us, he didn't want to know football in January 1997. All we were left with was a vacant position, some obviously demented girls weeping for the cameras on Barrack Road, and three different stories about why he left (the one he sold to a daily rag, the one to a Sunday rag and the tatty book.) Was it the impending move to a plc or the state of Gerry Francis's barnet after we beat them 7-1 that precipitated his move? 

We'll never know, and frankly didn't give a tinkers whatnot by May when that Scottish bloke took us into the Champions League. Did you ponder on the departure of Scunthorpe's favourite son as Asprilla powered his third into the Barcelona net?
No, me neither.

That's the thing about history - it's all in the past. Continued over-indulgence in Sky sports leads to a narrowing of vision and mind to such an extent that football history is airbrushed out if it happened pre-Premiership. Something to do with not having the rights to show footage from the world of four-division perpetual darkness that existed before we were "saved" by the dish men.... 

There is a corner of Sky Sports Gold that is forever 4-3 defeats at Anfield and Howay 5-0. Let it stay there, along with Ronnie Radford and small boys in parkas. It's all bollocks. 

The fact KK claimed some unfinished business with us fans is a laugh - playing in the Beardsley testimonial a couple of years ago he took advantage of the opportunity presented to parade round all four corners of the ground, bowing and waving. I applauded him then, I applauded him when he led his team round a 36,000 capacity St.James' some years before. He's done nowt for me since.

Enough is enough is enough, please. We can just about stand the lovable old Bobby line peddled by the media, please desist from this unrequited love for little Kev cobblers.

I suppose i'm contractually obliged to at least mention the game, which by the way we won....

Most of you saw it so will have formed your own opinion at the scene or via the BBC (hopefully though those in the latter category won't have been seduced by the apparent thought control tactics of Motson and Hansen though, with their none-too subliminal pro-City message.)

The goal when it came reminded us of the occasional leap of faith we were required to take when Keegan was interviewed after we had lost. He was possibly the only person in the ground who believed Solano had impeded the last man before pressurising Weaver into his error, and if anything it was the referee who did us a favour by allowing an advantage to us.

No matter, we emerged unscathed from a frenetic opening period and if anything gave City a foothold in the game, it was the dismissal of Dunne. On three previous occasions in their league season City had been in a similar situation, and had won them all. You can almost hear the team talk Keegan gave at half time, no doubt with copious pointing to the City badge on their jerseys.

To his credit, either he or one of his entourage was sussed enough to add Edghill to the second half side, and as a consequence Robert became a more peripheral figure while the impressive-looking Wright Phillips could bolster the City attack. Mention of our Frenchman must be made, as in a first half when he appeared to suddenly wake up following a kick from an opponent, he gave possibly his most complete "stars in their eyes" impression of Ginola so far.

Unfortunately it wasn't in trying to get crosses in from dangerous positions or even hugging the touchline, it was in those mazy sideways runs infield, drifting across the park. 

This was by no means his worst game, and he was certainly more involved than is often the case, but contributed to a major log jam in the centre of the park. Save for the occasional gallops down the left from Huckerby, the game was crying out for width and with Solano covering for Hughes before the break, we lacked a threat on either wing.

Thankfully things got a little more organised after the break, when City dug in deep to try and force a goal, seemingly through sheer force of will. Wanchope was a handful, and at various times both Elliott and Distin made vital clearances just as we appeared to have been split asunder. In the case of the Frenchman, confirmation that he's more of a central defender than full back, and that his aerial ability is superior to any other defender at the club.

Inevitably, as we survived whatever City could throw at us, chances began to come thicker and faster in front of Weaver at the Gallowgate end. How a second goal wasn't converted to seal the win will remain a mystery, TV viewers at least seeing a couple of attempts cleared off the line - strangely many newspaper reports neglected to mention these, intent on cramming in some more flowery prose in praise of the visitors.

Brave? yes. Unfortunate? not really. KK's men can go back to Moss Side with their heads held high, whatever good that will do them, but as for next season he must know that major surgery is required to keep the team afloat in the big league.

Many teams have come up and tried to get through on guts and work rate alone, mostly without success. Quite simply it's not possible to give 110% throughout every match, even if Stuart Pearce is bellowing in your ear. City have players who have failed before at the highest level, and individually do not compare well to many of those teams already in the Premiership. 

A word about the City fans. In the words of the Major in Fawlty Towers - vermin

Sixty visiting fans arrested, many more guilty of the same throwback antics that saw our last trip to Maine Road end in a mini-riot outside the ground. 

Apologies to those blues who didn't come to Tyneside intent on mayhem, and apologies to those who had the misfortune to be roughly treated by our own knuckleheads. To the rest though, every preconception about raggle-taggle urchins was reinforced, from the pre-match posturing of the Stone Island set to the constant slackjawed crap masquerading as support from the away section.

Have a moan about the Old Trafford mob, that's not a problem, but please don't taunt us with the "where were you...." chants. When, as you claimed we were "shite", we spent more than our fair share of time on the far end of the Kippax, watching as City greats like Maurizio Gaudino and Ian Bishop did battle with our flotsam and jetsam. 

PS - we're just not interested in whatever crap you were spouting about the Nationwide league - your Liam Gallagher pronunciations made deciphering it impossible, and to be frank we're not really interested. Try shouting it at Stockport fans. 

Last word to the man who often takes the headlines, normally for his goal scoring. If anyone doubts the recovery of Alan Shearer to be anything other than miraculous, then pull a tape off the shelf of our recent FA cup runs and compare it to this game. The footage from a couple of years ago shows a player with one good leg and one duff one desperately trying to put his body in places where his mind tells him it should be.

Fast forward to 2002 and 90 minutes of effort from the lad again, coming out to wide to receive the ball, back in defence to head clear when things were sticky and generally inspirational throughout, still galloping in the last minute.

If we do end up winning a trophy this season, it's Richard Steadman who should receive an ovation from 45,000 geordies. The Denver doc who operated on Shearer's knee is a 21st century toon army hero, unlike Kev.

God Bless America.

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Page last updated 17 February, 2012