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Season 2013-14
Motherwell (a) Friendly

In association 


Tuesday 16th July 2013, 7pm

 Fir Park 

Conditions: sunny intervals

Admission: £15 in advance from NUFC / MFC and the same price in cash at the turnstiles

£1.50 for a folded poster


Newcastle United

2 - 4




8 mins Yoan Gouffran's shot was blocked by 'keeper Lee Hollis and Haris Vuckic was handily placed to mark a return from injury with a routine low finish into the unguarded home goal. 1-0

Vuckic turned provider, making his way into the Motherwell box before teeing up Yoan Gouffran to clip the ball home. Cue sarcastic references to the Blue Brazil in the away end. 2-0

mins Rob
Elliot was helpless to stop Iain Vigurs converting a fierce low drive from outside the box after United were slow to respond to a throw in taken down the 'well left midway in our half 2-1

Moussa Sissoko's soft-looking shot from the edge of the box was fumbled by Hollis, somehow trickling out of his grasp and into the net. 3-1

Half time: 'Well 1 United 3

Sissoko leant into Stuart Carswell on the edge of his own area to concede a harsh penalty that James McFadden cheekily converted via a dink over Elliot. 3-2

Sammy Ameobi released Paul Dummett down the United left and his low centre across the six yard box was rattled home at the back post by Sylvain Marveaux. 4-2

Full time: 'Well 2 United 4

We Said

Alan Pardew said:

Pre-match: "It's obvious, looking at our squad, that strikers is an area we are looking to strengthen. If I'm honest, we are looking worldwide in terms of making sure we get the right players.

"Not really much has changed for me. I've lost Derek Llambias, who was doing the transfers here, and I've gained Joe Kinnear. Hopefully Joe and our team here, and our board, can get a player over the line.

"People put two and two together and make five, really. I'm the manager of this football club and I'll make sure I manage it as I've always done at all my clubs, with our foot firmly planted forward and trying to take the game to other teams and trying to play an exciting brand of football.

"Last year we let ourselves down a little on that front. Hopefully we can show a better side to us at the start of this campaign."

Post-match: "I was happy with that. 

"I want our levels to be super high and it has shown tonight that our fitness levels are high. We also had a few bonuses, Haris
(Vuckic) was terrific on his return, Paul Dummett is knocking on the door of the first team. He could not have done any more, he was man of the match.

"We are all going to Portugal. It will be the first team that are all back now, so we are looking to take our strongest squad with us. It's too early for some of them to play on Saturday, these guys out here tonight are way ahead of the others. It will be a similar sort of side that plays the first game that played here. 

"They will get a little piece of that in the second game, a few of the internationals who played in the summer will come in I hope. Hopefully in Portugal the internationals can get up to the fitness levels of some of these guys. It was nice to see the way we played here.

"I said to the players before the last game of the season that this pre-season would be the toughest I would ever put on. I think it showed how tough it has been by the 11 starters here - they looked fit and sharp. At times, we really did open Motherwell up.

"I’ve always set my teams up to play but when you are under the pressure we were last year you can look staid. We were just getting through games last year, like the QPR game – we just got through it.

"But you could see it was like Benfica, the shackles were off a bit, and there was no pressure. The players responded with what I want to see, which is good football and getting between the lines. I think the one thing that was reflected in the performance was that the shackles were off a bit. 

"The pressure we were under last season wasn’t there and it was the same for our fans. It was great to see them and be able to say ‘hello’ in a more relaxed manner than we ended up with last year. On top of that, we had a really good performance.”

On signings:

"I would expect to be down the road with a transfer when we are in Portugal. I am hoping that Joe
(Kinnear) and Lee Charnley get something over the line."

They Said

Stuart McCall

“When you invite a club like Newcastle up from the Premier League you always expect a tough test. They are always going to give you the runaround a bit.

“We were sloppy with the first goal but  the second half we were more solid and carried more of a threat going forward. I was pleased with the workout. They have really good players. We were decent.

"I did speak to Alan Pardew about some of his lads. He told me some of them are going to the Championship. He told me if there was any of the others that I saw and was interested in, I was to stay in touch.

"The little lad Campbell who came on up front was quick and I'd like to get a get a quick wide man in who can play left and right. We are still trying to search for that. Whether there is enough left in the kitty or if we can get the right one in remains to be seen. I don't just want to bring someone for the sake of it.

"It might be a younger one from the Premiership who comes in for six months on loan. St Mirren did that last season with the lads Conor Newton and Paul Dummett from Newcastle. We've got no out and out pace anymore since Chris Humphrey left, so ideally I would like a wide player in." 


18 year-old central defender Remi Streete made his first team bow for United, while Michael Richardson appeared in his second senior kickabout, having featured in the aftermath of the infamous Darlington friendly/mini riot of August 2011. 

Six of the starting XI were in the side picked by Alan Pardew for last season's opening friendly, a 1-2 defeat at German side Chemnitzer: Elliot, Tavernier, Williamson, Sa. Ameobi, Vuckic, Obertan.

As far as we've been able to ascertain this was the first time that we've faced The Steelmen in a public senior fixture. However the two sides did meet in a friendly at Motherwell's Dalziel Park training ground in July 1999 (a venue that was their home ground before Fir Park opened).

That kickabout ended in a 2-2 draw, with Stuart Elliott and David McMahon on target for a Magpies reserve side including Stuart Pearce, while Pat Nevin was among the scorers for a 'Well XI. 

Tartan Toon trips - last 10 away games against SPL/SFL opposition:

2013/14 Motherwell won 4-2 Vuckic, Gouffran,Sissoko, Marveaux
2010/11 Rangers lost 1-2 Lovenkrands
2009/10 Dundee United drew 1-1 Carroll
2004/05 Celtic lost 1-2 Bellamy
1999/00 Celtic lost 0-2
1999/00 Dundee United lost 1-3 Robinson
1999/00 Livingston lost 1-2 Dyer
1995/96 Hearts won 1-0 Beardsley
1995/96 Celtic drew 1-1 Ferdinand
1993/94 Rangers won 2-1 Cole, Sellars



Newcastle got their pre-season off to a winning start at Fir Park on Tuesday, with Haris Vuckic, Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko and Sylvain Marveaux all scoring in the Lanarkshire sunshine.

With the Director of F****all nowhere be seen (later confirmed as having remained on Tyneside) and the row of seats reserved for club dignitaries in the Directors Box unoccupied, Alan Pardew received more vocal backing than would have perhaps been the case, had JFK not returned. How long it takes that sympathy vote to evaporate when hostilities commence remains to be seen.   

Clad in their new blue change kit, United led after eight minutes thanks to Vuckic, making his comeback after recovering from a knee injury incurred last October and playing in a forward role alongside Gouffran. Sissoko meanwhile took a central midfield role that allowed him to support our attacking efforts, with Sammy Ameobi wide left and Gabriel Obertan on the opposite flank.

Rob Elliot was then called into action to block an effort from Adam Cummins before the lead was doubled after quarter of an hour through Gouffran, the hosts looking sluggish in their second pre-season game following an incident-free 0-0 draw at Doncaster the previous weekend. 

A third Newcastle goal then looked likely when Sammy Ameobi robbed a home player on the edge of the area and bent his shot beyond Hollis. However that effort rebounded off the far post and fall into the path of the oncoming Vuckic, who was unable to hit the target on this occasion. 

It was Motherwell who scored next though, Elliot blocking Estonian trialist Henri Anier's shot with his legs before watching helplessly as new signing Iain Vigurs converted with a fierce low drive from 20 yards in front of the away contingent.

United's two goal cushion was restored before half time thanks to a weak effort from Sissoko, but last season's SPL runners-up were rather charitably handed a route back into the contest shortly after the resumption via a dubious penalty.

Officially a trialist after linking up with his former club for pre-season, Former mackem flop James McFadden nonchalantly beat Elliot before the scoring was completed thanks to a point-blank effort from Marveaux that was similar to goals notched last season at both Arsenal and Hartlepool.

Custodian Gunnar Nielsen had appeared between the posts by then for his debut and the Faroe Islands international goalkeeper was barely tested thereafter, as a host of changes saw the game decline sharply as a spectacle during the final quarter.

Neilsen was warm enough to dispense with the woolly hat sported by his Faroese predecessors. That left one local Ned as the clear winner in the daft headwear stakes for sporting a horse's head mask presumably nicked from a production of a Midsummer Nights Dream. It must have been warm under that; hopefully he kept himself hydrated with a glass of something. Punch, perhaps.

United ended the game with seven former Academy players on the field (Tavernier, Dummett, Streete, S.Taylor, Richardson, Ferguson & Campbell), a pair of Bosman free signings (Abeid & Amalfitano) and just two acquisitions that involved transfer fees (Elliot & Marveaux).

Absent from proceedings for a variety of reasons were: Tim Krul, Hatem Ben Arfa, Davide Santon, Shola Ameobi, Jonas Gutierrez and Massadio Haidara (fitness), Fabricio Coloccini, Cheick Tiote, 
Mathieu Debuchy, Yohan Cabaye, Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good (late return due to international duty), Ryan Taylor (injury), Papiss Cisse (club dispute), Dan Gosling and Conor Newton (tbc)

This was a first senior victory on Scottish soil in seven attempts (all friendlies), going back to a 1-0 success against Hearts at Tynecastle in August 1995. The scorer that night was Peter Beardsley and he was present here at Fir Park, assisting fellow coach John Carver during the pre-match drills. Whether that unexpected return to first team duties is more than a one-off is unclear.

From past experience there's no real value in drawing conclusions from this game. Doubtless this was "a good workout" for those involved as former coach Tommy Craig used to say, but in terms of a starting XI for August 19th it's all fairly irrelevant, with any positives to be taken from the scoreline and performance needing to be set against the fact Motherwell were poor, verging on dreadful.   

Seeing a few goals may have just lightened the mood a touch for those present of a Tyneside persuasion  but storm clouds continue to gather on the horizon. Optimism remains an elusive commodity, bewilderment is in vogue and the long-range forecast suggests increasing anger, sadness and a deep depression settling over the North East. Welcome to 2008. Again.   


Page last updated 06 July, 2014