43mins: Titus Bramble's
unforced error allowed Teemu Tainio to shoot low and true past
Shay Given from
the corner of the United box at the end of WHL where the toon fans were. 0-1
Half time: Spurs 1 Newcastle 0
Full time: Spurs 2 Newcastle 0
Comedy defending again cost Newcastle dear, as Celestine Babayaro cleared the ball across
his box only for Robbie Keane to collect it and cross from the left to Mido,
who was being loosely marshalled by Jean-Alain Boumsong.
The Egyptian striker (who once claimed Newcastle were trying to sign him)
struck his first-time effort into the ground as but it bounced up and into the
net perfectly. 0-2
Graeme Souness said:
"We conceded two goals due to individuals not doing their jobs
"It's something we can work on, but
you've got to be confident out there to take the responsibility when it comes
your way. We didn't deal with that very well.
"It doesn't take its toll on me. I've
been in the game a long time. There's a lot worse things that happen out there
off the pitch. But obviously it's a dark day for us, given what's happened to
"Even when you're not playing
particularly well, you feel that you can win games with Michael in your team. I
can't tell you how big a miss he will be. It's an absolute disaster for him and
"Do I have money to spend? I don't know
- ask the Chairman."
On Michael Owen:
"It's a mighty blow. It's an absolute
disaster for him and an absolute disaster for the club. It's a dark day for
England boss Sven Adult Books on Owen:
"Obviously I'm very disappointed for
Michael. It's very bad luck for him and for Newcastle United.
"Michael is a fantastic striker and a
very important player for his club and for England.
"I hope that he returns to fitness as
soon as possible and I will follow his progress very closely."
Alan Murray wittered:
"We've not had anywhere near our full-strength team out on the pitch all
"We've had three or four first-choice
players unavailable and you can't try and get into Europe or the Champions
League without having your best players on the pitch."
"This place is cursed. Lee Clark and I were sitting there on the bench at
White Hart Lane and we've both seen a lot at this club.
"There's a curse on this club and, if
anyone can lift it, then feel free. With the luck we've had, we're just getting
other people back from injury and then we've lost Michael to a bad one."
Martin Jol commented:
"Hopefully we will (hang on to fourth spot) but then
hopefully Chelsea will drop a lot of points and we can catch them too!
"Seriously, our main purpose this
weekend was to make the gap bigger on Newcastle, who are now 12 points
behind, and Manchester City, who are nine points behind, while Bolton are
also very consistent and strong.
"We've had some results which
were very encouraging but others when I thought we were not yet there. And
we're still not there yet.
"If the young players continue to
step up, like Jermaine Jenas has done, we could finish in the first four
"But if they don't, we could have
a bit of a problem as Aaron Lennon and Wayne Routledge are my only wide
players on the right. We will have our disappointments and that happened
against West Brom over Christmas.
"We are at least stronger now
because we have Edgar Davids and Teemu Tainio. Paul Stalteri is also a
very steady player and that's another difference to last season.
"Last year, our home record was
just as good but we've had a few results away from home and look mentally
stronger as we've come back from going behind a few times.
"It wasn't easy against Newcastle
as Ledley (King) is a very important part of my team and he was missing again.
You think it could be a problem but we looked fine without him and that's
"Robbie Keane would be too
expensive for a Scottish club! Jokes aside, he is just as important for us
as Mido and Jermain Defoe. They are all important to us."
Toon @ The Lane - Premiership:
Lost 0-2 No scorer
2004/05 Lost 0-1 No scorer
0-1 No scorer
2002/03: Won 1-0 Jenas
2001/02: Won 3-1 Acuna, Shearer, Bellamy
2000/01: Lost 2-4 Solano, Dyer
1999/00: Lost 1-3 Solano
1998/99: Lost 0-2 No scorer
1997/98: Lost 0-2 No scorer
2-1 Ferdinand 2
1995/96: Drew 1-1 Ginola
1994/95: Lost 2-4 Fox 2
1993/94: Won 2-1 Beardsley 2
We've failed to win any of the seven games Albert Luque has figured in
- he has now played 394 minutes for us and we are yet to score a
single goal while he has been on the pitch.
Strikes in each half from Tainio and Mido saw
the hosts deservedly collect maximum points against a passionless Newcastle to
end 2005 on a low note.
However, the scoreline and the manner of the defeat was overshadowed by the loss
of striker Michael Owen with a broken metatarsal in his right foot.
The England man came into contact with Spurs 'keeper Paul Robinson and defender
Anthony Gardner seconds before the half-time break and failed to reappear after the
Initial indications are that he will miss the bulk of our remaining games this
season, with estimates of anything between two and four months on the sidelines.
And on a day when nothing went right for us, Peter Ramage, Nobby Solano and Shay
Given als joined the injury list, while unforced errors from Bramble and Babayaro handed
Spurs their goals.
We even spurned the chance of a late consolation when Shola Ameobi unbelievably
spooned over the crossbar from point-blank range.
To rub things in still further, former Magpie Jermaine Jenas (who was booed by
the travelling contingent) had a decent game and played his part in securing the
victory for Martin Jol's side.
That's the same Jermaine Jenas who scored our last goal on this ground - since
when we've endured three successive blanks in front of goal; a situation we
didn't look like rectifying before or after Owen limped off.
Quite simply we rolled over yet again and were a beaten side from the moment
that Given conceded the first goal.
And so our last act in a miserable 2005 was to send weary Toon fans home
empty-handed once again. This time the long journey back was from London, but
the feelings were the same as those on the return from Lisbon and Cardiff.
The away fans could barely even raise themselves to provide decent backing to
the team - sitting instead in a depressed silence, pummelled into submission by
the sheer awfulness of the tripe we dare to call football.
There's just nothing there - nothing to feed off, no hope that things will
improve, nothing. Only more injuries to prolong Souness's plea to judge his side
when it's fully fit - a scenario that is as likely as the Stadium of Plight
hosting Premiership football next season.
But it's no longer enough to simply blame the on-field demise of this club on
the injury situation. There are more fundamental issues to be addressed in the
areas of team selection, scouting, transfer policy and tactics.
At present we give the impression of not being up to scratch in any of those
departments, with the consequence that we are regularly out-thought, out-fought
and outplayed by mediocre opposition.
And now that the £16m get out of jail card cannot be played, there's no hiding
place for Graeme Souness and his staff.
We hope for better in 2006 - but fear worse to follow. In a word, shameful.