Robert whipped in one of his usual corners and in attempting to clear the
ball Garry Flitcroft diverted it past Friedel with his thigh and
into the Leazes net. 1-0
Bellamy was played into space down the left and floated an
accurate cross onto the head of Shearer who bulleted a header into the right
side of the goal - Friedel succeeding only in pushing the ball into the
side-netting behind the line. 2-0
Half time: Newcastle 2 Blackburn 0
O'Brien produced some silky skills on the left side of the Rovers box with a
turn that Bergkamp would have been proud of, to make space for a shot which
found the net via a deflection or two. Ameobi was following in but it was
O'Brien's goal. 3-0
Full time: Newcastle 3 Blackburn 0
John Carver, (who in managing the
side made Freddy's prediction that our next boss would be a Geordie come
"I want to dedicate this win to Bobby
Robson because it was the hard work he put in to this club that came out today."
"My motivational speech to the players
was about doing it for right people.
"It's been a fantastic day. It's been a
difficult time and the staff have shown an awful lot of loyalty to the club and
"Graeme wasn't allowed to get involved
so we picked the team and made the decisions and thankfully we made the right
Alan Shearer said:
"It's been a tough two weeks. He
[Robson] transformed this club.
"It was heading down to the old
Division One when he came in, he pulled it around and got us into Europe again.
"That was his team out there today and
those are his three points.
"John Carver kept us ticking along and
you can see today that we were in good condition.
"There's been a lot of stories about
this club, some true some not but we do have a united dressing room.
"We have had one or two problems at the
club, but we now want to get over those and get the club back up the league were
we think we deserve to be.
"We have a manager coming in on Monday
that is experienced at winning trophies and that can only benefit us."
Blackburn caretaker boss Tony Parkes said:
"It's hard to say if Graeme would have
made a difference. We always had to play well to beat or even draw against
"We are disappointed with the
performance, we think we could have played better.
"We knew it would be hard here against
one of the top five teams in the country and they lived up to that today.
"We let in a bad goal from a corner and
conceded another one just after that which more or less killed the game off for
"We needed a goal to make it a 2-1 but
it didn't come and they were worthy winners."
First clean sheet in 10 games
First victory beers since April 25th, when we beat Chelsea 2-1 - 9
Charles N'Zogbia became the 5th toon debutant in as many
games this season and the 109th to represent us in the
Premiership. However, this is a purely statistical observation - he
appeared off the bench well into the third minute of added time, made
his way across to a left wing berth in the shadow of the East Stand
and then unsuccessfully stretched for a loose ball before the final
Total time on the field - around 10 seconds, total number of touches
of the ball - none.
First home game in four that we've not been booed off at the
final whistle! (Wolves, Spurs, Norwich)
Had your correspondent been privy to the sort
of upbringing that prepares one for life armed with a litany of Latin phrases
and knowledge of ancient mythologies, this report could have begun with flowery
references to Graeme Souness gazing down from on high in a God-like manner, as
his former and future charges clashed for his amusement.
Unfortunately the benefits of a comprehensive education mean that instead, I can
only say that our new bloke was in an executive box up in the gods of St.James'
Park as United and Rovers played each other.
And if Souness was pleased with one thing after the ninety minutes (apart from
the fact he doesn't need spend any more time in Lancashire) it's that he's now
the ex-Manager of Blackburn Rovers and thus cannot be directly called to account
for the actions of the dispirited rag bag of an outfit that slouched out to line
up against us.
Maybe the Ewood Park boys adored their former boss so much that yet another
cameo appearance from Tony Parkes couldn't lift them from their pit of
despondency. Or alternatively they'd all been on a massive bender since Souness
submitted his resignation, only taking their paper hats off before getting on
the team bus to Newcastle.
Whatever the reason for Blackburn's failure to do anything positive except turn
up with the requisite number of players, they proved to be the perfect guests
for John Carver's coming out party, as the former United junior and coach got
the chance to sit in the big chair for one game and now has a 100% record in
And although the referee may have let him down in terms of getting a cricket
score, Garry Flitcroft's going away present to his former gaffer and the
expected Shearer goal against his old team put a smile on JC's face - at least
until the cameras had been switched off.
Ostensibly on gardening leave but in reality having planted one or two
seeds in the minds of his new charges on Saturday, Souness later expressed his
pleasure with the way events had turned out on the field, but was wise enough
not to take any credit for the victory.
He, like more than one or two others though, must wonder why there was a general
raising of the effort input and energy expended by his new charges - did they
really despise Bobby so much?
It's not enough to say they wanted to win it for Carver - if they had
contributed more previously then he'd still have a job - as Bobby's
For players like Robbie Elliott it's a genuine chance to turn his footballing
career round, as the previous manager failed to tempt him into loan moves to the
likes of Forest, Derby and Hartlepool, only for injuries to see him plucked from
the Pontins League side last season on to the Far East tour and now into the
However, it was notable that despite the
absence of Bernard, it was Hughes who took the left back slot while Elliott
remained in the middle. That made comparisons with the opposing left back that
little bit more difficult, but it was still fairly evident that in Michael Gray,
Blackburn are saddled with an utter buffoon of the highest order.
Souness may yet try and bring his trusty custodian Brad Friedel back to
Tyneside, but any attempts to grab Gray would result in the A1 being barricaded
at Washington services by outraged Geordies.
He'd probably be better off bringing Ali Dia
back from whichever local non-league outpost he ended up in after his infamous
appearance for Souness's Southampton - the
alleged cousin of Weah would be more welcome that that son of the
Doubtless Souness was heartened by the industrious display of Bowyer, who did as
much as anyone to stake a claim for a midfield berth in the absence of the
While the manager though will have enjoyed his
forceful approach, those of us who have had a vested interest in the black and
whites for a wee bit longer could take satisfaction from seeing him put a shift
in reminiscent of another former Leeds man, Gary Speed.
Dyer of course started on the right wing, but was seldom spotted there, opting
instead to waft about in central midfield before disappearing completely before
the hour mark. He got away with it though with Stead the only real threat up
front for Rovers and the unprotected Carr had leeway to cope on his own
at the back, as well as emulating Hughes on the opposite flank in coming over
halfway in meaningful fashion more than once or twice.
Robert shook his carcass up and down the flank
more energetically than usual, but his dead ball kicks continue to frustrate fans
and colleagues alike. The one time he did get one in the zone, we went one nil
up - how much more obvious can this be? And don't forget that the cross of the
game from which Shearer headed home might have come from the Robert's patch down
the left, but was delivered by a Welsh boot.
The match won at 2-0 (although the prophets of doom amongst us were harking back to
the previous home game) we gradually became less incisive and the contest, such
as it was, petered out with only the bad-temperedness of Paul Dickov to enliven
proceedings for Shay and Co.
Ameobi's introduction towards the closing stages shook things up though and his
trickiness and height unsettled a Rovers defence that had begun to cope with us
in a comparatively bland second half. The third goal was as deserved as it was
welcome, sending people out of the ground with a spring in their step, rather
than the funeral processions of the previous two home games.
So, a vital win to kick start the season and bring the new man onboard, with a
home game on Thursday against opposition with little more than notional banana
skin potential providing a further warm-up for the Southampton task that nobody
has managed (in the league) since Joe Harvey.
The true legacy of Robson's reign on Tyneside will only become apparent over
time, as the undoubted potential of the young (and not so young) becomes
realised, but if nothing else this performance proved that as Bobby often said,
we have the basis of a good team that needs a collective re-focusing and careful
additions to it, not a wholesale costly revamp.
In Souness we've acquired someone who comes as arguably a lower-profile arrival
than anyone since Ardiles and was a candidate never considered by most and unfancied by many (and we're no
exception in having reservations.)
But the dream of the happy ending with Bobby and trophies had died in the minds
of all but the terminally sentimental and we had to find a new path. Suffice it
to say that comes
as something of a relief that the new focus of our hopes and dreams isn't
any of that duplicitous trio of Venables, O'Leary or Bruce.
If Souness does pull in some silverware - either with or without Shearer - then
rest assured we'll be the first ones dancing in the fountain. With Keegan,
Dalglish, Gullit and Robson we've tried most everything else and our chief fear
at present is of a repeat of the utilitarian aspects of King Kenny's
reign. Whether this is the last chance for Freddy hasn't been speculated
on, but time will tell.....
If it takes a mixture of fear and punitive
sanctions to improve matters on the field, rather than a cuddly media-friendly
figurehead with an old-fashioned sense of loyalty, then so be it.
At least we've now got someone in nominal charge with a record of saying what he
thinks in public and private when things don't go according to plan - it doesn't really matter what
accent that's said in, Geordie or otherwise.
Good luck JC, whatever you choose to do, good luck GS - by golly you'll need