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Season 2004-05
 Blackburn Rovers (h) Premiership
 

 
 

Date: Saturday 11th September 2004, 3pm

Venue: SJP

Conditions: 
Fine - brief rain shower followed the first goal. No doubt certain chin-stroking reporters will write that it was symbolic of a cleansing..... 

 
 
  

Newcastle United

Blackburn Rovers

3 - 0

Teams

Goals

9 mins 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

16 mins 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

83 mins
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

We Said

John Carver, (who in managing the side made Freddy's prediction that our next boss would be a Geordie come true) said:

"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 to me.

"Graeme wasn't allowed to get involved so we picked the team and made the decisions and thankfully we made the right ones."

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."

They Said

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 Newcastle.

"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 us.

"We needed a goal to make it a 2-1 but it didn't come and they were worthy winners."

Stats


First clean sheet in 10 games
First victory beers since April 25th, when we beat Chelsea 2-1 - 9 games ago.

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 whistle blew.

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)
 

Waffle

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 management.

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 assistant. 

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 first team. 

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 Wear.....   

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 injured Butt. 

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 it.... 

Biffa

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Page last updated 14 July, 2016