Up front we played well, Alan got his goals and I thought we produced
a simply outstanding all-round performance.
"I think that was our best performance all season."
Alan was superb. I thought about taking him off today, as we have a
game on Thursday, but he had two goals and I just thought he might get a
chance for a third for his hat-trick.
"These are the things I have to think about with Alan, to prolong him,
but I left him on because I thought he might get a shove or something, to
give him a penalty for his hat-trick."
"It's very good. It's outstanding marksmanship, 100
goals in four years when you consider when I came he was out of the team.
"He's had four very good years. He's been a great talisman for us, and he's
led the line again with strength, courage, a good personality.
"The two strikers did very well. Alan leapt like a salmon all afternoon,
held it up, tough to play against, won a lot of balls in the air. His
general play was of a high quality.'
Kevin Keegan said:
"I don't think we created enough here today.
You've got Jonathan Woodgate coming back and there's no doubt
he's a class player, but Titus Bramble was outstanding today.
"If you look back over a period of time, he's been criticised
for making the odd error, but today he won most things in the
"I think we always had a struggle aerially against Alan and
Ameobi - mainly Alan. We won't be the only ones to struggle
there because he's a master of his trade - that was the big
difference in the game for me."
KK is still a fully paid up member of the Shearer
"There isn't anybody better at what he does, I
don't think, in the world. That's why, along time ago now it
seems, I fetched him here.
"People thought £15million was a lot of money, but I thought at
the time it was a great signing and I think every year that goes
by, he just proves more and more that he was good value for his
"I don't know how they'll replace him - and they will have to do
that one day. He's so clever, isn't he? He doesn't try to do the
things he can't do.
"I think he's a leader, and there aren't that many leaders in
"There a lot of players who want to be good players and want to
score goals and play in his position. But he's still got that
throwback to the past whereby you feel that he's going to make
players do things that they maybe don't really want to do.
"I think he's the complete player, and not playing for England
was a good choice for him because it means he can actually
maximise what he's doing for his club.'
50th senior start for Shola Ameobi
who celebrated with his 19th goal and 4th of the current
Laurent Robert also collected an assist and a win bonus on his 100th
club appearance in England.
100 Newcastle goals for Alan Shearer since Sir Bobby took
over and our number nine has now
equalled Nat Lofthouse's record of 255 league goals. Today's were his
11th and 12th of the season in all competitions.
Just to be different, here's Al's pre-Christmas Day goalscoring stats i.e.
from the start of each season until the last game before 25th December
that year (all competitions)
03/04: 12 so far.
Just to keep score, that's now 157 in all competitions for Shearer at
Newcastle, who continues to edge towards the magic Milburn 200 mark.
United v City at
SJP - last 10
3-0 Shearer 2, Ameobi
2002/03 Won 2-0 Shearer, Bellamy
2001/02 Won 1-0 Solano (FAC)
2000/01 Lost 0-1 No scorer
1995/96 Won 3-1 Ferdinand 2, Beardsley
1994/95 Drew 0-0 No scorer
1994/95 Won 3-1 Gillespie 2, Beresford (FAC)
1994/95 Lost 0-2 No scorer (LC)
1993/94 Won 2-0 Cole 2
1986/87 Won 3-1 McDonald,
Gazza, Cunningham(Div 1)
The third return of the prodigal son then and
the third time his latest charges have left Tyneside with neither a point nor a
goal to show for their efforts.
And while Solano's shot separated the two teams in the 2001 FA Cup clash and
Shearer's lightning strike last season set us on the road to victory,
Ameobi's fortunate conversion in this one was enough to ensure we returned
to winning ways. No matter that further efforts followed from the man Keegan
once persuaded United to pay £15m for - at 1-0 down the City quitters
simply gave up the ghost and showed zero guts, fight or spirit. Not like it
was in brochure, presumably....
Quite simply Keegan's selections gave him the footballing equivalent of
waving two fingers - and in the case of Fowler, he came fairly close to a
rather more voluble riposte when withdrawn from the play by his
Post-match speculation in licensed premises
centred on the abjectness of this City display and whether it would prompt
KK to reprise his England abdication. The background is similar after all -
lost the players, gone as far as I can go etc. etc.
Or maybe it'll take City fans waving mock pension books at Seaman or the refusal
of their board to sanction another fifty squillion pounds to buy players in
the transfer window. Who knows? who cares? Keegan is now just another
manager at another club - the welcome here now is no more than polite and
those of us who lived those times here with him retain it in the old grey
matter and on video.
What will really have hacked our former
favourite off though will have been the average-ness of the home side for a
sizeable proportion of this game. Even a modicum of pressure from City could
have deepened our post-Chelsea blues, but instead they were once again
content to play second fiddle.
Sir Bobby chose to highlight the
contribution of Jenas, when really he was anonymous for much of the game -
hardly the rip-roaring, gut-busting display one might have expected from an
aspiring youngster who was performing in front of his national team coach in
the week he'd just inked an improved contract....
City though remained solidly uninterested, with both Sinclair and McManaman
waving metaphorical white flags in the direct of Eriksson in the Milburn
stand - both now look destined to join the ranks of Carlton Palmer, Nick
Barmby in the "I played for England once, no really I did" club.
Newcastle's returning England pair though at least look interested and will
have benefited from the return to meaningful matches, while Bramble did
himself no harm at all in the absence of O'Brien, who misses the trip to
Wolves through suspension.
Until the late Shearer efforts though, this game was humdrum and uneventful,
with the scoreless half time result looking ominously like it mightn't
change as the late autumn sun gave way to gloomier conditions.
Thankfully our French pairing down the left decided to do something about
the situation, in stark contrast to their countrymen Anelka and Distin. The
former looked to have a case of the sulks, while the latter didn't have a
bad game but barely warranted more than a minimum of abuse from his former
fans - an insult in itself, really.
These are the times when you look to Robert to give us something that nobody
else can provide (at least in the absence of Solano and the continuing
mediocrity of Viana) and today he was sufficiently aroused to hurt the
visitors, once he'd stopped trying to beat the whole City team on his own
Not a great deal else to say about this win - a scoreline that will live longer
in the memory than the ninety minutes, but three useful points nonetheless
and definite progression from the dispiriting draws on home soil against
Bolton and Villa. Had we lost this, then things would have looked rather
less rosy, but once again the fixture list worked in our favour.
Quite simply we weren't great, but we at least showed some fight and
commitment to the cause and ultimately got our rewards. That sort of
attitude (and the goals of the number nine) will take us past a fair few teams in the league but we'll need to
show rather more to topple the teams that have that annoying habit of
consistently winning matches against us.
Bobby was entitled to take the stage
post-match and waffle on about his troops, while glum old Kev sank further
into his coat and spoke of former times in the front line, rather than the
current deserters he's brought in to fight for him.
Assuming we do nothing stupid against Basel on Thursday (and Bobby picks his
team with one eye on the next match) then we should pitch up at Molineux
with renewed spirit for Saturday's mission to bury the ghost of last
January's FA Cup misadventure.
What better place to take the old goldies
down a peg or two and remind a live TV audience that we still have some fire
in our bellies? It'll certainly do this correspondent the world of good to
stick their hi-ho silver linings where the sun don't shine - some of us have
long memories of times past through that subway in the bad old days.
We've snuck back into the top ten with the minimum of fuss and without
looking like hitting top form for more than the odd passage of play. And save
for Bellamy, the only selection problems
Robson has are based on personalities, rather than broken bones or twisted
For God's sake though let's not lapse into self-congratulatory mode - as
ever with this club, the job is barely half-finished and the time for
eulogising is when one of our lot has a trophy lid on their head, not before.
Although it pains me to say it (or even mention the bloody thing), if we can
take one thing from the England rugby success of Wilkinson et al. it's in their
professionalism and refusal to indulge in half-cocked trumpet blowing until the
medals are round the necks.
One or two Toon players and one or two Toon
writers would do well to take note of that.....