Saturday 23rd February 2008, 5.15pm. Live on
Venue: St. James' Park
1 - 5
25mins Ronaldo shook off Beye with alarming
ease and crossed for Wayne Rooney to volley past Given into the Gallowgate
goal from three yards after Charles N'Zogbia had allowed Rooney an acre
of space to meet the cross.
45mins Barton lost possession on the half way line and Carrick slid a perfect
through ball for Ronaldo to take a brief touch before tucking
the ball past Given. Taylor in particular was all at sea as he performed a
bemusing pirouette as Ronaldo left him in his wake. 0-2
Half time: Newcastle 0 Man U 2 won a flag
kick and when Milner delivered it from the Strawberry corner, the sub's mis-timed header fell
for Faye six yards out to lash the ball past Van der Sar. 1-3
56 mins Faye was the culprit this time, taking the ball off Ronaldo when he had
slipped but he promptly gave it straight back to who played in Ronaldo. Another
bizarre non-challenge from Taylor left Ronaldo to round Harper for his second. 0-3
79 mins Andy
80 mins Rooney
made it eight goals
in as many league games against us when he swept home a spectacular fourth after former colleague Alan
Smith gifted him the ball from a corner. 1-4
Former Magpie Louis Saha finished off the rout when the visitors waltzed
through from inside their own half. Rooney evaded several half-hearted
challenges before poking the ball to Saha who finished clinically from 12
Full time: Newcastle 1 Man U 5
"I am here for three-and-a-half years -
that is what I signed for and that is what I am here for.
"I have taken a job on. This is a club
I love. I have managed here before. I want to take the club back where it
"My commitment is 100%. You
can't give anymore than that. When I took the job, I knew there were
16 games left. I knew the fixtures were tough. I've said all along we need 40 points
not to go down. We have 28 and need four wins or three wins and three draws.
"We need to win a football match for
the players. They are an honest group, I wouldn't say that if I didn't believe
it but just being honest and caring is not enough in the Premier League.
"You need to be streetwise. You need
better concentration than we have had.
tells us where we are and it's a reality check if we needed one. One side
you've got to be at your best against is Manchester United.
"It concerns me. We got
beaten 5-1 at home but the crowd stayed with us all the way*. I think they
understand there’s no quick-fix here. We've got a small squad but I think
we’ve got some genuine players here.
"They just need a lift,
there's a lot of work to be done and some soul searching.
"It was poor defence.
Once the second and third went in, it knocks the stuffing out of players.
"We made bad mistakes and
if you make bad mistakes against anyone you get punished. Make bad mistakes
against these and it's another thing - in the end they punished us. Sadly
for us it could have been worse."
* a strange comment from KK, given that home fans left
their thousands when the fourth went in.
difficult to pinpoint who the best player was, it was a good team performance.
to Newcastle is never easy, the crowd are fantastic and it’s a volatile place
to come. The first job is to try and quieten them and I think we did that.
they all did really well, with Rooney and Ronaldo scoring two goals they are
going to take the headlines.
match was decided by the front players. All four of them were absolutely
fantastic, it was a really good performance."
James Mossop, Sunday Telegraph:
"Kevin Keegan put the bins out shortly before 5.15pm. They were
interestingly striped, randomly numbered and unquestionably full of rubbish."
Goalkeeper Steve Harper completed a century of senior
appearances for the club, having made his debut at SJP against
Wimbledon in November 1998.
That breaks down as 54 Premiership starts (& 7 subs), 9 in the FA
Cup (& 1 sub), 12 in the League Cup and 15 in various European
competitions (& 2 subs).
And Harper reached his hundred in the same style as he got off the
mark in 1998 - replacing an injured Shay Given at half time.
Defender Abdoulaye Faye netted his first goal for the club - a
feat that his Senegalese namesake Amdy was incapable of doing in his time on
For the opposition, former Magpie Louis Saha joined the
ranks of players to have scored on this ground in the Premiership for
three clubs - Newcastle, Fulham & Man United.
He follows in the footsteps of Les Ferdinand (QPR, Newcastle,
Leicester) and Emile Heskey (Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham)
and pedantically, Gary Speed (Everton, Newcastle, Spurs - the
latter coming by means of his registering an OG when playing for us against the
Red Devils in Toon - Premiership years:
lost 1-5 Faye
2006/07 drew 2-2 Milner, Edgar
2005/06 lost 0-2
2004/05 lost 1-3 Shearer
2003/04 lost 1-2 Shearer
2002/03 lost 2-6 Jenas, Ameobi
2001/02 won 4-3 Robert, Lee, Dabizas, Brown og.
2000/01 drew 1-1 Glass
1999/00 won 3-0 Ferguson, Shearer 2
1998/99 lost 1-2 Solano
1997/98 lost 0-1
1996/97 won 5-0 Peacock, Ginola, Ferdinand, Shearer,
1995/96 lost 0-1
1994/95 drew 1-1 Kitson
1994/95 won 2-0 Albert, Kitson (LC)
1993/94 drew 1-1 Cole
NUFC Premier record at
after game 27:
at season end:
45 points, 3rd
77 points, 3rd
48 points, 3rd
72 points, 6th
61 points, 1st
78 points, 2nd
48 points, 4th
68 points, 2nd
34 points, 12th
44 points, 13th
35 points, 11th
46 points, 13th
34 points, 12th
52 points, 11th
37 points, 11th
51 points, 11th
55 points, 2nd
71 points, 4th
52 points, 3rd
69 points, 3rd
42 points, 4th
56 points, 5th
34 points, 11th
44 points, 14th
36 points, 11th
58 points, 7th
36 points, 9th
43 points, 13th
28 points, 13th
(93/94 & 94/95 were 42 game
In the 32 games played in all competitions this season, we've now conceded
three or more goals on seven occasions - emulating the total of 1986/87 and
being one worse that the half dozen in each of our last two relegation seasons
of 1977/78 and 1988/89.
1974/75 saw us repeat the unwanted feat on no less than eight occasions.
More Magpie misery from the Mancs then in front of a teatime TV audience, as
the red half followed City in completing the easiest of doubles over us this season.
And after doing so on home territory just over a month ago, Fergie's
side recorded their most emphatic away league victory of the season to date
- completing the double by an aggregate of eleven goals to one.
Along with most of Tyneside, we feared this sort of outcome before the start
- although such was the blackness of our outlook that Faye's first goal for
the club came as an unexpected bonus.
Had this been our infamous 39th game,
Newcastle fans could have travelled overseas on one of those CIA rendition
flights to a country where torture is tolerated.
However doing a spot of unnecessary travelling doesn't seem to have affected
Man U, who went to Saudi Arabia to play a friendly match after thrashing us
6-0. We just went to pot.....
A bright opening culminated in an optimistic 25th minute penalty shout when
Ferdinand cleared Owen and the ball facing his own goal on the edge of the
six yard box.
However, that was then signal for the visitors to sweep upfield and open the
scoring - a feat they should have doubled well before half time.
The fact that they didn't though and that Given had comparatively little to
do gave rise to some hope that we could cling on and regroup in the dressing
room - with an equaliser never quite looking as if it was coming despite
some meaningful possession on the approaches to the box.
However, it was at that point that Barton chose to gift a ball in midfield,
which local lad Michael Carrick then efficiently loaded into the deadly
weapon that is Ronaldo.
Game over then - and our winless Premier League run was assured of reaching
Whatever changes that we could have made at the interval would have been no
more than cosmetic, with Viduka and Enrique unselected.
An earlier introduction for Carroll might have given the crowd something to
cheer, but neither his young legs or the more vintage limbs of Geremi would
have done anything to plug the yawning chasm that was our midfield.
If we were once the entertainers with the likes of Gillespie and Ginola
weaving occasional magic down the flanks, then Milner and Duff were the most
unconvincing of tribute acts - unable to make an impact at the sharp end and
in no position to bolster our ailing central midfielders.
Butt attempted to plug a multiplicity of gaps but needed pace he never
possessed when playing for the Red Devils, while Barton is as ill-suited to
being on a football pitch at present as Paul Gascoigne.
The former Man City man hit a new low today in his Newcastle career - it's a
shame that the magistrate who banned him from Merseyside couldn't extend
that across the nation.
Having seen him show inspirational qualities and skilful determination on
the field in his City days, this is a pale imitation of the same player.
Playing football may be a way of avoiding that devil/idle hands scenario for
him in some people's eyes, but it's doing us very little good.
Someone else whose appearance over the white line should also be questioned
is Given, who yet again pulled the "Lazarus says he's OK"
stunt to start the game, only to then succumb to injury onfield for the
second successive match.
From his kicking alone it's been obvious he's ailing, but he's been allowed to
continue until he's broken down - twice. Hardly a confidence booster for
With Chris Hughton's arrival at the club bringing one of Given's former
international coaches back into contact with him Carr and Duff, it remains
to be see what becomes of our Irish trio. Make no mistake though, none of
them would be in our side currently on merit.
As at Villa though, Harper's heroics merely prolonged the inevitable loss of
his clean sheet.
We did manage to pull back to within two goals, which caused a momentary
stirring of optimism in home ranks, only for it to be doused by a ruthless
Rooney finish that even had black and whiters clapping.
From then on it was just a question of how many, with Saha popping up in the
last minute to make it five but another half dozen haul eluded the
visitors. That's not us just being trainspotterish or symbolic though -
every goal could yet count in the final reckoning and we're already at
The smallest number of Newcastle supporters we can recall in the stadium at
the final whistle indulged in some fleeting booing, before Smith and
Taylor's miserable meanderings across the Gallowgate End brought some
It's a toss-up between which of these gestures was the emptier: Taylor's
tiresome "man of the people" act after another rotten display, or
Smith's frankly baffling appreciation of a set of fans who have greeted his
mundane and mediocre displays with similarly indifferent responses.
Maybe it was actually a
lap of honour after forcing the opposition 'keeper into making a save - or
perhaps celebrating making it through to the final whistle against his old
club this time round.
Smith's trudge though did conjure up memories of the demise of Leeds though
in May 2004 - when a side containing Viduka, Smith and Milner were thumped 4-1 at Bolton
to virtually condemn them to relegation.
At least then Smith and Viduka were up the road to pastures new literally
within seconds of the end of that season - the Australian's contribution
having ended early at the Reebok after being sent off in the opening half
If the worst does happen to us, we'd happily wave both these chancers off,
along with the perpetually unavailable Turk - none of whom would presumably
dream of dirtying their boots for us in the second tier.
As well as trying to convince credible players to sign for us though, our
biggest problem is in finding someone equally as daft to foist our
The only positives at present come from other places - with Reading
similarly on the crest of a slump and next
week's fixture card handing the Red Devils the chance to dismantle
Fulham by the Thames.
Keane and his boys of course remain below us, although thoughts of relegating the mackems
on Tyneside in April become ever more fanciful as our woes continue.
Looking back over the course of the season so far, the damage appears to have
done when we went to Derby and took precautions to avoid defeat against a side
who went on to record their solitary league win of the season that night.
The negative mind set that Allardyce instilled that night may have
subsequently stolen us a win at Fulham, but saw us beaten at Reading and
struggle to draws at the mackems, at home to the Rams and at Stoke.
It may be well concealed, but there is some evidence that Keegan is started to
turn that around - at least in the case of the players who are listening.
Against that though are a body of players who seem ever more indifferent to
our plight and in some cases, are already scrambling for the lifeboats,
ringing their agents as they go.
We remain officially worried then, with
next week's game being our biggest since the last massive fixture that
we faced - and probably failed to win.
Three points against Rovers and a combination of other results would see the
dark clouds over Tyneside lift significantly - not least over the manager's
Failing to do that ahead of trips to St.Andrews and Anfield though would leave
us relying increasingly on the
failings of others to preserve top-flight football here.
While that gap between us and the third-bottom side remains at six points then
we're still masters of our own destiny. Just.