24th September 2002, 7.45pm. Live on
St. James' Park
4 mins Van Hooijdonk rose above
Nicos Dabizas to meet a through ball and nod on upfield. Next to underachieve
was Andy Griffin, who skied his attempted clearance on the edge of the area.
Finally Andy O'Brien placed a poor header into the path of Pardo, who
lashed a wicked half-volley in under the bar at the Leazes end, Shay Given
caught off his line and flailing helplessly. 0-1
Half time: Newcastle 0 Feyenoord
Full time: Newcastle 0 Feyenoord 1
Sir Bob said:
"I am not thinking about the UEFA
"It has damaged us. We've played two games and got no points - but
it's not all over. We won't give it up just because we're bottom of the
"There are four games to play and
on tonight's evidence we need a bit of luck.
"Juventus have beaten Kiev 5-0 so I think we will have to take an
army there next week. We won't be despondent about this, we will get over
it. We will approach the Juventus game exactly as we have planned to do.
"They drew with Feyenoord 1-1 in
their first game, so were obviously closely matched. We have been close to
Feyenoord in this game so we will be positive. I am fighting for my team,
fighting for my players - we will be all right
"We could and should have scored.
Not only has it been a disappointing night but a cruel, unfortunate night
"We will play a lot worse than we
did tonight and win.
"The goal was made out of our
errors and that has cost us this huge game. We made one mistake and got
punished, while they have not made any and have defended very well.
"We were looking for a couple of
crumbs but got nothing all night."
Alan Shearer said:
"We couldn't have played any
better to be honest - but we got off to a terrible start.
"Poor defending let them in with
a goal and it took a cruel deflection - but from then on I thought only
one team was going to win it.
"Poor finishing and good
goalkeeping kept us out - on another night I could have had three.
"It's repairable but it's going
to be difficult from now on - two defeats is not ideal.
"We had such high hopes but we're
not out of it and we won't give up."
Feyenoord coach Bert
van Marwijk said:
"We have to go for it from now
"If we win against Kiev, we will
have seven points and will be in a very good position.
"Still, we have to look at RBC
Roosendaal at the weekend, that comes first, and then we can concentrate
Highest ever Champions League
attendance at SJP (note forgetting the CL capacity was just over 35,000 in
1997/98 Zagreb: 34,465
1997/98 Barca: 35,274
1997/98 PSV: 35,214
1997/98 Kiev: 33,694
2002/03 Zeljeznicar: 34,067
2002/03 Feyenoord: 40,540
However, not enough fans turned up to make it the highest crowd to
watch Feyenoord on Tyneside, as we attracted 46,348 for the Fairs
Cup game that began our European adventure 34 years ago.
In years to come, how many people will believe that more fans attended a
Worthington Cup home game against Bradford City than a Champions
League game against the current UEFA Cup holders?
1st November 2000 Bradford (h) 41,847 (we were 15th in the
24th September 2002 Feyenoord (h) 40,540 (we were 16th in
Having achieved the noteworthy feat of actually qualifying for the
exclusive Euro party, we seem hardly to have wiped our feet in the group stages before we're being ushered towards the exits.
Maybe our name wasn't down on the guest list or we were inappropriately attired, but our second dalliance with the big lads seems to be heading
in much the same way as the first.
Given that we had four points and five goals at this point in 1997, then our chances of even making the unfashionable UEFA Cup are now
A shame that, because at present that inferior competition is probably where we should be.
Quite simply we took on Feyenoord from the first whistle to the last, and one slip-up proved to be the difference between the two sides,
despite our best efforts. We huffed and puffed but couldn't blow their
house down, while they held firm thanks to a superior defence, better
cover from their midfield and scoring more goals.
If you don't want to read the rest of
this waffle, in a nutshell...we were found out at this level.
A total absence of any good fortune in attack (although one or two prayer in defence may have been
answered at times) is unfortunate. However, like poor officiating it can't
always be an excuse.
Playing at this higher level leaves absolutely no margin for error, and the high-quality early strikes that have beaten Given in both group
games overshadow the valiant efforts of his colleagues thereafter.
By the time the Dutch took the lead we could have been ahead ourselves, but Robert failed to connect with the necessary venom when presented
with an opening. Sebastian Pardo however had no such problems.
We then proceeded to pepper their goal
with a quoted 20 shots, but crucially none were good enough to beat the
keeper. And equally good chances fell to the visitors in the
desperate last few minutes of the game.
Tough, but that's the nature and essence of top-level competition.
I genuinely believe that those selected in black and white put in what must be the most effort-laden performance of the season so far
for no ultimate reward. It was a step-up in quality from the mackem match and also
the recent Leeds game, which followed
a broadly similar pattern.
Shearer certainly seemed determined to put things right and strained every sinew to try and propel his side back into
contention, putting in a shift of rare effort that harked back to his
younger days. Difficult to think of a higher compliment than that.
He was assisted by some good work from Bellamy and frustratingly variable
contributions from Solano and Robert, while Speed seemed to get warmed up
as the game went on, his ricks became more sporadic and he started to
contest and win challenges. Nice also to see little treasure make his
reappearance after a suitable period of sulking by the manager.
And then there was Dyer.
Now regular readers of this drivel will know that we aren't hatchet men and don't lightly slag off players or management - the ticket office
and other departments of the club being a different matter....
However, after having avoided the subject for weeks and had a cyber
postbag highlighting that fact, the question does has to be asked - what the hell is wrong with Kieron?
We're told that big players need big stages to display their big talents on, most notably by the likes of Dyer's agent when contract
negotiations are in the offing.
And remember that when we were scrabbling around in domestic competition that the same Kieron Dyer was linked with a move to those European
kings Leeds and his mate Rio Ferdinand? A story that afforded the Newcastle player the chance to pledge his allegiance to us, while
upping his salary in the process. Oh, and he also urged the acquisition of
fresh talent by Newcastle.
It's payback time my friend.
While successive injuries kept Dyer sidelined, his reputation seemed to have been
enhanced. And after the Southampton incident his world cup
contribution was excused on the grounds of lack of fitness, form and inappropriate positioning of him in the side by Sven.
Meanwhile, Viana, one of those aforementioned investments sits waiting for his turn to show what he's got. Robson has shown admirable loyalty to
Dyer so far (and others such as Gary Speed) but for how much longer? The signs aren't good when the manager won't even admit Dyer is having
a stinker and substitute him.
Now Kieron is apparently injury-free, his stage is set and the expectant audience awaits his award-winning performances. In short the
hype has to become reality.
This game was tailor-made for him to take it by the scruff of the neck (whatever that means) and dominate a midfield where some talented and
admired players were playing. Talented and admired like Bosvelt, whom Robson tried to attract, but not revered and spoken of as a
world-beater like our number 8.
Could it be that he's being found out? Does the fact he was unable to get into the game for long periods and his own team bypassed him when
creating attacks not set alarm bells ringing? The champions league is for
world-class players - it's about time Dyer proved he deserves to be
mentioned in that category.
Notice that we're not harking back to his missed chances in other games - at least
then he was combining with his colleagues and trying to
damage the opposition in dangerous areas.
Contrast this to the circumspect performance against the Dutch, reminiscent of such greats
as erm... Georgiadis. Even bloody Bassedas could have accomplished
most of what Dyer achieved in this game.
We can only hope that we take ourselves down to Birmingham on Saturday and produce a similar
collective performance. A good away win over that lantern-
jawed smug turncoat Steve Bruce would help dim the pain of finding out first-hand we're not as good as we thought we were.
If a further reality check were needed, the final score from Turin of Juventus 5 Kiev 0 provided it. Ignoring a shallow Boardmanesque
jibe about the Italians taking no prisoners, our biggest away performance since the Highbury success is required next week in the Stadio Del Alpi.
And like the Feyenoord game, that might still just not be enough.
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