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Season 2004-05
Manchester City (a) Premiership


Date: Wednesday 2nd February 2005, 7.45pm

 City of Manchester Stadium

Conditions:  damp

Away tickets: £28 (last season £27)



Manchester City

Newcastle United

1 - 1



9 mins: Titus Bramble hit a 50 yard pass to Shearer who controlled the ball and advanced into the box before crashing the ball past a motionless David James at the opposite end of the ground to where the toon fans had congregated. 1-0

Half time: City 0 United 1

Bramble brought down Shaun Wright-Phillips in the penalty area, prompting D'Urso to point straight at the spot, with barely a protest. Robbie Fowler sent Shay Given the wrong way from the spot. 1-1 

Full time: City 1 United 1

We Said

Graeme Souness said:

"It was two points dropped rather than one point gained.

"It's not a great game of football - but we got in at half time and said let's start the second half properly. We wanted to keep things tight and not do anything daft and that's exactly what we did.

"We couldn't have asked for a better start. It was a fine ball by Titus Bramble and a great finish by Alan Shearer. The goalkeeper didn't move until the ball was in the back of the net.

"It was a fantastic finish and a great way to notch your 250th Premiership goal. It's another great landmark. Unfortunately we couldn't get a second goal. We said at half- time they would come at us - and they did.

"We are looking at the possibility of getting away for a few days. We would be out there for four or five days, but I can assure supporters it's not a jolly-up. "We'd be out there training every day. It would also be a bit of bonding, but a lot of hard work in a different environment.

About Shearer:

"If he's scoring goals every week he'll stay on. That's been his lifeblood for 15 years or so, and if he keeps scoring he'll be enjoying his football and that will make life easier for us.

"He scores every type of goal imaginable. He really is a phenomenon. He sets an example to everyone at our club, which is why I so badly want him to extend his career."

Big Al himself said:

"The older you get, the more you appreciate scoring goals. You certainly never lose the feeling it gives you. It was a fantastic ball from Titus Bramble, who did that two or three times in the first half.

"I wasn't going to run any more because I was aware somebody was chasing me, so I had to hit it as soon as I could. Thankfully it went in the back of the net."

About his 250 Premiership goals:

"I remember the first one - I scored against Crystal Palace. In fact I got two in hat game and we got a draw then as well. I probably appreciate scoring more now.

"I'll miss it, but I think you should let me enjoy scoring 250 now, this talk [about retirement] has got a bit boring.

"I'd much prefer to have won, but we're not losing at the moment and we have to keep that going.

"I want to win a trophy and that means either the FA Cup or the Uefa Cup.

"We've got to try to get into the top 6. It's a big ask but I don't think it's beyond this team. 

Asked whether he had considered passing to Shola Ameobi:

"No, I didn't see him. That's why I've got 250 Premiership goals...!"

They Said

Kevin Keegan commented:

"I said to the players at half time that even though we were not good neither were Newcastle and asked them to put it right in the second half which they did.
"We showed character and determination to get back into the game. Looking at the other results it is probably a point gained for both of us.

"Our first priority is to get to that forty point mark and stay in this division. It was also the first of three very tough games for us and we did not want to lose it.

"We would like to have won it but in the end I think a draw was a fair result."

About the man he signed for Newcastle, his former captain, Alan Shearer:

"I really want him to equal Jackie Milburn’s record in front of the Newcastle fans on the last day of the season. They might be from different eras but they are equal in their time. They are on the same pedestal and no-one else gets close. Both of them will go down in folklore, which is why they are such special players.

“It doesn’t matter what we think, or what Graeme Souness thinks, or the fans think. It is down to Alan Shearer to make that decision and if you knew Alan Shearer like I do, you would know he won’t change his mind.

“He has thought long and hard about it and he is probably right. It is not being forced on him by an injury or a manager coming in and foolishly thinking he could do without him like a few years ago.


Alan Shearer scored the 250th Premiership goal of his career and his first away league goal from open play since one at Wolves in November 2003.

Our second visit to the City of Manchester Stadium, first point and first goal there. It remains one of six current Premiership grounds we're yet to win on in that competition -  Fratton Park, Stamford Bridge, The Hawthorns, Ewood Park and Old Trafford being the others.

Amdy Faye became the 9th player this season to make a Premiership debut for Newcastle (10th new face including Lewis Guy in the UEFA Cup) and the man from Senegal is the 113th player to have appeared for us in the Premiership (not counting unused subs.)


After a very public episode when a player was banished amidst accusations of lying, suspicions arose after this game that the accuser then was being a tad economical with the truth tonight.

Certainly Souness's post-match comments about this being two points lost rather than one point gained raised eyebrows among many present at this instantly forgettable encounter, that thankfully wasn't widely seen by a TV audience.

Things started off quietly but positively, with a glorious goal from our first attack. At that point the home side looked stunned and could barely keep the ball on the field, but aside from an Ameobi try that went over the bar, our dominance of proceedings rarely looked like leading to an extension of our lead.

For one thing, the ploy of using full backs to push on that had been acceptable against Coventy foundered tonight, due to the presence of more solid obstacles in the path of Babayaro and Carr, although the former did manage to make some progress down the left from time to time.  

However, if the intention was to avoid a repeat of the 4-3 cliffhanger on Tyneside between these two sides last October, then we certainly kept our side of the bargain - David James not having a single shot to save after picking the ball out of his net.

And at the other end, Given was reduced to testing himself in a bid to maintain his alertness, having to scamper to retrieve a Jenas backpass that the 'keeper aimed an air shot at.

Having reached the interval one ahead, we were hardly warmed up again before City were back on level terms and thereafter the home team looked better - they could hardly have looked any worse.

And when
Dyer, who had limped from the fray in the first half but apparently recovered, went off, then so apparently did our chances of mounting anything approaching an attack.

Unlike the porous Coventry midfield, there was no way through for Jenas despite the likes of a weary-looking Bosvelt standing in his way.   

As a result Shearer left the field with another 100% record - one pass, one shot, one goal but for all the relevance he had to the second half, he may as well have swapped racing tips with McDermott at pitchside.

The number nine joked about not seeing the pass that would have played in Ameobi when the first goal was scored, but Shearer's strike partner was equally culpable before being hauled off by Souness.

In the wake of the Bellamy departure, we were treated to the usual cobblers from Ameobi about filling the shirt - Shola in danger of over-stretching himself by having apparently put his name down to replace both the number nine and ten....

Tonight would have been a great opportunity for Ameobi to take up the challenge, having become the number two striker at the club by default. 

A convincing display would have been of benefit to himself, with the England boss in the stand and the Newcastle boss a few yards away, looking for a good performance himself from a striker to boost his own credibility with disenchanted fans.

As it was, Sven left knowing Shearer can still hit the target, while Souness was grateful to his goalscorer for having something positive to talk about - Keegan also happy to divert attention from the Anelka-sized hole in his squad by doing something similar.

Meanwhile, Ameobi's lack-lustre display just got people's backs up in the away end - he doesn't help himself does he?

Of his replacement though, what can be said? Playing like the back end of a pantomime horse again tonight, it's hard to recall a player of any stature looking as listless and plain uninterested as Kluivert does - let alone a supposedly world-class sportsman.

Tonight he looked like a celebrity plucked from the crowd to play in a friendly match rather than a renowned footballer and if he was playing in the hole on Saturday, goodness knows where he was meant to be in this game - down a mineshaft perhaps....

It's entirely typical of our perennial (mis) fortune to have to jettison a useful striker due to his headstrongness, leaving us with a useless one who could easily have played the part of Dylan in the new Magic Roundabout movie. Never mind Bellers refusing to play on the wing, Kluivert seems to have just refused full stop.  

To the list of Middlesbrough, Villa, Birmingham, Charlton, Liverpool, Blackburn gets added Manchester City then: away games this season where we've taken the lead but failed to hold on for anything more than a point.

The fact that five of those seven sides lie above us in the league is a clear indication of the price of those failures. But while we've lamented the defensive frailties and lapses of concentration that have cost us those leads, tonight was firmly about what went on - or more pertinently, what didn't go on - at the other end of the field.

If we're not sufficiently bold or competent to have a go at a team of the stature of Man City - warming Robert up but leaving him on the bench despite having one sub remaining - then junkets to Dubai look like being to be the only time our lads will be needing their passports. 

The suspicion is that Souness was desperate not to lose this game and once pegged back at 1-1, he opted for safety and thus we ended up with both Faye and Butt on the field at the same time for the final quarter - two anchors dropping at once then..... just like the Titanic.   



Page last updated 03 February, 2013