Date: Saturday 5th August 2000, 8pm
De Kuip, Rotterdam
17 mins A defence-splitting
through ball was gathered by the inevitable figure of former Magpie Jon
Dahl Tomasson on the right side of the area.
Showing shooting prowess seldom seen during his SJP stay, he rifled the
ball across Shay Given and into he net, provoking a quick burst of "I
will survive" from the PA. 0-1.
44 mins Gary Speed's sharp
pass out to the left found Daniel Cordone, who cut infield towards the
box, before dummying to shoot and pulling back to deliver a looping
An aerial challenge from Carl Cort on Rzasa seemed to have been won by use
of a hand from the home defender, but as the ball dropped on the
"D", Robert Lee shot home via a slight deflection to end
any argument. The goalscorer then stood on the byline, taking the applause
of the United fans in the upper tier behind the goal 1-1.
Half time: Feyenoord 1 Newcastle 1
59 mins As you were again
for United, chances missed at one end being ruthlessly exploited at
the other almost immediately. A move began by Gyan saw Tomasson gain
possession on the edge of our box without being challenged,
before turning the ball sideways to Korneev.
The former Barcelona player finished well, beating Steve Harper with a
precise low shot into the bottom corner of the net. 1-2
Full time: Feyenoord
2 Newcastle 1
After visitations to the USA
and Lancashire, game four of pre-season took Newcastle to Holland and a
first return to Feyenoord since Fairs Cup days. More recently of course,
Bobby Robson had occupied the away dugout several times whilst in charge
There was consternation in the away end, as the less drunk amongst us
noticed an interloper in the United team as it was announced via the
scoreboard. Apparently our number 14 was "Luigi Di Biagio", but
this turned out to be a figment of the typists imagination, and the
comparatively mundane figure of Kevin Gallacher emerged.
Given my avowed intention not to be negative at this stage, the
frequency of offsides we triggered belies an over-eagerness to push
forward, while the stilted display of Ferguson is merely the first step on
his own personal road to recovery (wherever that may lead.)
Bassedas of course will learn English so much quicker on his regular trips
to the hospital to monitor broken on his fettled foot, and shin splints
will prevent Kieron Dyer from involvement in any dance floor-related
disturbances for the foreseeable future....
To press for positives
throughout the team is to stretch the point even further.
The lads started off well here tonight, and Cort got into good positions
thanks in no small part to the sharp thinking of Cordone, but two chances
were again spurned before the hosts went ahead and he would miss a couple
more after the break (one hitting the bar).
Tomasson was denied a second by Harper after the break, with the
substitute custodian making a fine stop to deny Cruz in the closing stages
- thus wrecking the pre-match prediction of 3-1 to the hosts by the young
It's possible to portray the tendency Cort has to pull wide as an
advantage when he plays with Alan Shearer, allowing the senior man to take
up his most dangerous positions, but the season looms and such theories
Similarly, the suitability
of Griffin to midfield is welcome, but behind him lies something of a
collective disaster area. Bobby may know who his preferred back line are,
but I don't.
Proof was provided tonight that Hughes is not a full back, while the
inclusion of Marcelino was simply depressing. Ideally the bloke shouldn't
be within a country mile of the senior side, but a similar comment about
Alessandro Pistone in these pages was ultimately proved wrong to the tune
of £3.5m, so let's wait and see what Bobby has planned.
Of course me and Melanie
Sykes will be supping Boddingtons out of a glass slipper while sailing
down the Manchester Ship Canal on a megastore carrier bag, should we
return from Old Trafford with a point or more, but let's just say things
don't look much better at this stage than a year ago when Ruud Gullit led
his troops into battle.
The experience of recent years shows that a bad start to the season is to
be avoided at all costs.