Sunday 9th November 2003, 4.05pm
Live on SKY
Away end: £42, Programme
24:00 A cross from the Chelsea left went
across our box to full-back Johnson who chested the ball down and thumped it
into the roof of the net as Given and Bernard rushed out at him. 0-1
38:35 Johnson crossed from the right this time and Bramble's poor
headed clearance fell to Duff who hit a low shot which was going wide but was
turned in from close range by the lank-haired Crespo. 0-2
41:28 O'Brien lost the ball to Mutu and was
second-best in the race towards goal. There was a slight touch on the arm of
Mutu well outside the box but he tumbled inside and after some guidance from the
linesman, ref Durkin pointed to the spot and reached for his red card. Lampard
rifled the penalty past Given who guessed correctly but dived over the ball. 0-3
Half time: Chelsea 3 Newcastle
77:01 Speed played the ball back to Given from the halfway line but Given had
plenty of time to clear. Shay scuffed it to Duff who easily beat Caldwell
before hammering the ball past the 'keeper. 0-4
83:27 After a prolonged bout of Chelsea possession, Gudjohnsen
laid the ball out to Bridge before getting on the end of Bridge's cross to
head past Given from six yards. 0-5
Full time: Chelsea 5 Newcastle 0
Sir Bobby commented:
"We actually got off to a bright start with an extra man in midfield and
created a few chances."
"I decided to play an extra man in
midfield to try and quell Makelele - but all that went out of the window
when Andy O'Brien got sent off.
"The lad is unhappy because Mutu
overran the ball, it was outside the box and it wasn't a penalty - so we got
a rough decision.
"They got a penalty and we were
reduced to 10 men so it was a double blow and it killed the game for us. It
cost us the match basically.
"It was 3-0 at half-time and we were down to 10 men against a vibrant
Chelsea side that was full of talent and full of running.
"They played in Europe on Tuesday
and we played on Thursday so they had two days more rest than us and we had
to travel as well - but I'm not making excuses.
"We did really well with 10 men at
the start of the second half and for a long, long time we fought with honour.
"But then Shay didn't kick a very
good ball straight at Damien Duff and we were 4-0 down.
"The fifth goal was poor marking -
I'm not sure where my centre-halves were. I think they were sat with me in
"It doesn't help that we lost Alan (Shearer)
at midday - he was feeling rough and it was the sensible decision to leave
"It was a miserable afternoon for
us. We were full of optimism here after the game in midweek.
"We thought it might be the day
when we turn them over but hands up they were the better side."
Claudio Ranieri said:
"I will only believe when I
have touched the title and not before. The players are young but for a manager
it's different. At Christmas last year we were very close, but Arsenal and
Manchester United said goodbye.
"My players are young and can dream
but I am a concrete man and must work hard. I dream sometimes but when I
wake up I start to work. The dream ends when the match starts."
Bobby's equal worst defeat, matching the
5-0 pasting at Highbury on December 9th, 2000.
Number of unsuccessful attempts since we
last won at Stamford Bridge: 14
(November 1986 Chelsea 1 Newcastle 3)
First red card for O'Brien in Newcastle colours.
talk of Roman revolutions or Chelski, this was another in a very long line of
Stamford Bridge non-performances. The backdrop and cast may have become more
grandiose over the years, but we were made to look just as inept by Duff, Crespo
and co. as we once were by the likes of Peter Rhoades-Brown and Kerry Dixon.
It would be almost as easy as Cudicini's afternoon to fill this waffle with two
key points - the expensively-assembled Abramovich dream team and the unlovely
surroundings that forty two nicker gets you on the arse end of the King's Road
if you're an away fan.
However, we'll leave those for another day and instead reflect on what was a
long way off being a satisfactory display by Newcastle.
Putting aside the strength of the home side and our missing men, the pre-match
news of Shearer's absence seemed to confirm that we were in a for a long
afternoon with nowt to cheer about in the opposition penalty area. And those fears were
Robert and Ameobi may both have been in better nick in front of goal recently,
but there was still a yawning chasm at the apex of our attack, that in no way,
shape or form was compensated for by the inclusion of Viana as an extra man in
With Belllamy and Dyer crocked, Chopra and LuaLua unfancied and that £7m
pudding unplayable, then we were forced to endure ninety minutes of Ameobi
proving he's not a target man or a line leader. That he received only the
scantest of assistance didn't help his cause.
In the way that these things often do, things started in a fairly low-key
manner, with the visitors managing to keep body and soul, plus a clean sheet and
a semblance of a formation intact.
We succeeded to such a degree that the rank and file Chelsea muppets who had
proved incapable of backing their side were starting to get a little bit antsy
as the scores remained level.
Of course that didn't last though and once Glen Johnson had strolled into the back
end of our box unnoticed, our umpteenth defeat at the Bridge beckoned.
That was the signal for a prolonged examination in which all of our back four
were found wanting at various times - back six if you include Given and
substitute Steve Caldwell. And Chelsea didn't even play that well....deeply
To be frank, given the history of disaster and misfortune on this ground over
the years this result was always on the cards. It's just the meek acceptance of
our fate that sticks in the throat.
We were content to be bit-part players, knowing our place and departed
sheepishly at the end while locals laughed behind their hands and stifled
giggles - an attitude like that wouldn't have brought success in Rotterdam
or a deserved draw in Milan would it?
Show me your squad Bobby, all the money you invested in the brave new world when
smoking guns will inherit the earth (or the toon). Show me the boys becoming
men, growing up in public, learning their trade. Show me the future. Because on
days like this I'm damned if I can see past Speed and Shearer. Both at the fag
end of their careers but streets ahead of their supposed successors.
We may be missing players and have endured some misfortune in this game,
but we were also architects of our downfall.
We may have only been toppled once before on the road in this campaign. But even
there at Highbury we at least went down with guns blazing in a futile but
Here, Chelsea simply needed to score to be well on the road to three points as
we posted the early closing signs.
If we maintain any pretensions at joining them in the upper reaches then we have
to have more gut and gumption than that.
As Captain Sensible once crooned "glad it's all over", as we once
again proved that the London curse still lives on in the SW postcode area
(Plough Lane, Craven Cottage and this place.) Maybe Chelsea need to move out a
few miles to another ground - it worked for Fulham, now beatable in Shepherds
Bush. There again, that Wembley Semi-Final a few years ago was hardly the stuff
To misquote the chant, "sensible people stayed at home and watched it on
the telly." This was one game when those who voted with their feet couldn't
be criticised for non-attendance. The rip-off factor is massive, but the
inevitable depressing capitulation is as much of a turn-off.
We can only hope that we don't have to return to this arena of misery in the Cup
and that by the time next season's fixtures are announced that the Chelsea
saviour will have had his assets frozen and the smile will have permanently
vanished from the face of Ken Bates.
There's not anger behind this report, only the resignation that comes from the
point being forcibly hammered home once again that our veneer of supremacy is
easily stripped away when the
big lads come out to play.
Twice last season against Manchester United and now here, I've left the ground
almost giving silent thanks that the final tally wasn't higher. Real life always intervenes in your dreams. But does that apply to the Manager?