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Season 2014-15
West Ham United (h) Premier League


In association 


Date: Sunday 24th May 2015, 3.00pm
Live on Sky Sports

St. James' Park

Conditions: Relieved. Massively relieved.



Newcastle United


West Ham United

2 - 0




Half time: Magpies 0 Hammers 0

54 mins Vurnon Anita swung a pass from the centre circle out to Jack Colback in the left channel who advanced before exchanging passes with Paul Dummett. Jonas Gutierrez trotted past on the outside and took over, chipping in a cross that Moussa Sissoko met, forcing his way between Winston Reid and Cresswell and gleefully heading into the Gallowgate net from six yards out. 1-0

85 mins Riviere nodded Krul's punt on to Cisse, who turned infield and found Jack Colback in centre midfield. He helped it on to the overlapping Jonas Gutierrez, who ran on before trying a low right footed shot from outside the box. Carl Jenkinson unwittingly deflected it past Adrian. 2-0

Full time: Magpies 2 Hammers 0

We Said


Minder - "
There ain't nothin' I can't go through....."


John Carver said - after the obligatory pointing and thumbs up to the owner at full time:


"I didn't know Mike (Ashley) even did an interview beforehand - I didn't see it, but that's the step that we might be taking to bring this football club together, because it has to be one, it has to be one for us to be successful.

"We can't afford to get ourselves in this situation ever again. We all know we have made mistakes, everybody, and we have admitted those mistakes.

"This is a big summer now and I have had assurances that we are going to spend money, so the fans can now go away, have their summer holidays, look forward to players coming through the door, but also look forward to that fixture list coming through.

"It feels like you have just won the cup, that's what it feels like. I actually sit here now feeling like I have won the cup, and wouldn't it be great in the future to be sitting here having won a cup?

"Now I know Mike has come out and said he wants to win things and he is going nowhere. Well that's a good thing, that's a good thing as long as we get everybody together, Mike,
(managing director) Lee (Charnley), myself, whoever it is - me, because I want this job, by the way, so there's another story for you.

"I am not going anywhere unless they tell me I am going somewhere else, but I want this job.

"I sat with Jonas this week, and told him: 'You could write your own fairytale'," he said. "We talked about how he had been a top player, left, had his illness, come back and got in the team.

"When he scored the emotion was incredible. It meant more than all those troubles in the last few months.

"From day one I've wanted this job and I still want it. To go through what I've had to go through from day one has been very difficult. We shouldn't be in this position, but we were and we dealt with it.

"It was a proper rollercoaster and we dealt with our emotions very well. Sam
(Allardyce) put his strongest team out, which he had to do, and credit to him for that. They were resolute and hard to break down.

"What I will say is we started the season with a huge disaster, we lost two of our fans and i'm sure they were looking down on us today. I'm getting quite emotional saying this.

"Sometimes it’s the supporters who get you over the line, and what a stadium this can be when everybody gets together.”

Jonas Gutierrez:


"I couldn’t have imagined something like this happening – it was like a movie. 

It is like a dream after everything I have had to go through this year. To score a goal in the last game, when we were fighting to stay in the Premier League, was fantastic. I really appreciate that moment and am so proud.

"I am so proud about the result because this club and these fans did not deserve to be in this situation. To have gone to the Championship is not the right level for this club. I respect the Championship because I have played in there the last time and I know how tough it is, but I think this club should be in the Premier League, and ideally the top five.

"To be honest a few months ago I didn't know if I would be able to play football again. I'm here, I’m back, and I'm enjoying playing football. I have a second chance in my life. It was fantastic being here in the stadium today.

"Since I have recovered from my illness, I have always said the same thing. I want to help the team and work hard. I’ve been improving all the weeks since I arrived.

"We are the players, and we have to take responsibility. It’s always our responsibility. We are the players that are on the pitch. We have to do it for the fans and the city.

"I know this could be my last game at St James’s Park. It was unbelievable. All this was like a dream. I told Colo I would score last night. We laughed about it. But for me, it was more important that the team won today.

"Since I arrived in Newcastle, the fans have been fantastic. Through my illness, they were unbelievable, always sent me support, love.

"I am really proud to be a Geordie - they adopted me like a Geordie, so I have to say thanks to all the Newcastle fans because I have really enjoyed my seven years over here."

Soundbites - May 24th 2015:

Kevin Keegan (on Radio 5):

"It is not difficult to work out unless you come from another planet and I think Mike Ashley runs that club from another planet.

"Fans are being treated with such disrespect. Fans don't want to go to games, they want to protest.

"I don't think the answer is to boycott the game, but to get through the season, hopefully stay up, and then hope and pray someone with lot of money who cares about Newcastle comes along and says, 'that's for me'.

"They need to sit down with sensible people, not some of those people that Mike Ashley put around him in the past - I had the misfortune to work with some of them - and say 'what is this club about and how do we change it for the better?'. It is not a difficult solution.

"It is not just me that would urge him to go, everybody connected with that football club, even some of the people employed there. It is time for a change."

Graeme Souness (on Sky):

"He (Ashley) should have done that years ago (speak in public). I think he's come across really well there and shown a bit of passion.

"What Newcastle have to do now is pick the right man Mike Ashley, or as he says his football board, have to pick the right man. I’m sure he has conversations with them, I think you’d be a fool not to listen to his opinions. 

"For me, I’d like them to give someone a five-year contract and for Mike Ashley to come out and say, ‘This is the man that the football board has chosen. No matter what happens he’s here for five years.’

"Give someone a chance at this club. If you go back, since 2000 this club I think they’ve had 11 managers, and sunderland have had 13. It’s a North East thing.

“They demand change very quickly up here, and if you look at the kind of managers they’ve had at this football club in their recent history, some pretty big names have come here and found the going tough.

“So I think he’s got to put a marker down. We all know continuity is what brings success ultimately, but it’s getting over the humps that are in road on the way to that, and that’s what football is all about.”

"You’ve got to pick the right man, stick to the right man and give him a real chance. In the North East managers don’t get that, they chop and change for fun here, and that’s got to stop.

"The supporters have got to take a deep breath and say, ‘right this is our guy, we’re going to stick with him. We know we’re going to go home on a Saturday or a Sunday sometimes not very happy with the way the team’s performance or the result, but we’re going to stick with him and give someone a chance to develop a football club.’

"You see what they’re about. They can fill this place for fun, even when they’re not going well. Give someone a chance.”

Alan Shearer ( on Match of the Day):

"What I would say to that is stop selling your best players, play your best teams in the cup competitions, give the fans a little bit of hope.

"There was a bit of time before this transfer window that Newcastle didn't sign a player for 18 month so that isn't really acceptable.

"And how can you second guess the guy Mike Ashley? 

"He's the guy who hired Joe Kinnear, he sacked Kevin Keegan, he sacked Sam Allardyce, he brought in Dennis Wise as director of football.
I know the city, I know the football club, I know John Carver and I haven't got a clue what he is going to do. 

"Actions speak louder than words. Time will only tell but I do know is that football club has to - has to- give the fans something to shout about because they're going to games and have been for a long time now because it's habit. 

"Not because of hope, not because of excitement, because it's habit. That has to change."

Eight years and one day after first buying into the club, Michael James Wallace Ashley finally spoke in public for the first time as owner of Newcastle United on Sunday. 

The unexpected appearance of a man who "doesn't do interviews" came not in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee though, but rather the Sky Sports cameras, roughly ten minutes before kickoff against West Ham.

Ashley answered questions posed by Sky Sports reporter David Craig (who like Ashley is a client of London-based PR firm Keith Bishop Associates*)

*Charlie Sale's Mail column has subsequently claimed that Craig is no longer represented by Keith Bishop and the Ashley interview was spontaneous, not pre-planned.

Ashley said:

Just how disappointed are you to arrive here today and find Newcastle in this situation? 

I can't have really imagined it from Christmas, I probably didn’t anticipate we would be anywhere near this situation. Obviously after the last couple of weeks I’m still a little bit shocked by where we find ourselves today.

The fans want to know who's responsible. In your opinion is it collective responsibility or does it stop at your door?

My door.

What will do if the worst happens to this football club today and it falls into the Championship?

If you're talking about investing in a club I will continue a policy of investing in the football club.

Will you invest enough to make sure it comes back at the first attempt to the Premier League?

Yes if there is such a thing, if you're able to guarantee that I would like to say I could guarantee that, that investment but obviously the results is not something that I
(indecipherable end to sentence).

If the best happens and you stay in the Premier League today, what's your plan for the club?

Well on the only positive I think, we've got the club on a very sound financial footing so we are able to spend relatively and punch above our weight now with the current financial situation that the club finds itself in.

If you hadn't come in to this club when you did and cleared the debt, where do you think it would be?

Financially not as strong. But unfortunately, I'm going to add to that that that really isn't good enough so it's no good having the horse and cart scenario. And we may have the cart financially but we now need to bolt the horse on - and we're going to. 

What's your ambition for the club?

It's now going to be definitely to win something – and by the way, I shan't be selling it until I do. 

Can we just be clear on that, because there's been so much rumour whether you might, might not - the club is not for sale?

Not at any price. 

And by the way, when I say win something, if we ever get in a position that we get a Champions League place, that also qualifies as winning something.

What's your message to the fans today?

Today we don't need to be unlucky - not today - but but from this day forward, we will definitely be making our own luck. 

There are obviously one or two things to be sorted out come the end of the season. Can we expect you and your advisors to be acting on that fairly imminently with regards to appointments with managers and such like?

On that basis it's Lee Charnley and the Football Board that make those decisions, as it was Derek Llambias who brought in Alan Pardew. So I will not be picking the next manager, it's not what I do. 

My job is make sure that they have a maximum amount of financial resources and it's their job to get the best pound for pound value out of those resources.

To be very clear, you're here to stay and you want to make this club successful?

To be categorically clear, I'm not going anywhere until we win something.

They Said

Sam Allardyce took charge of the Hammers for the last time, with his exit by mutual consent confirmed in a press release minutes after full time. 

He signing
off by losing at SJP for the first time since leaving his post as United boss (in three previous visits he saw Blackburn Rovers win 2-1 and West Ham win 1-0 and draw 0-0):

I’ve had a wonderful time I think that when the challenge got laid down I wondered whether coming into a club which had been relegated was the right thing to do.

“I basically saw what a mess it was, but I’d signed a contract and committed to the job. I got on with it and the journey, from after the first six months – which was a real hard slog and graft and wasn’t looking that clever or feeling that comfortable – has only been really that small blip we had last season with all the injuries that put us down in the relegation zone.

“Everything else has been great progress and I’ve enjoyed working at the Club and the owners. I’ve taken great pride in working with a Club of this size and the plan of re-establishing it back in the Premier League is what I’ve done and what the owners asked me to achieve.

“I built a really good squad in the end. Altogether we’ve worked extremely hard to build that squad and I’ve managed that squad to get into the position we’re in now and it’s somebody else’s turn.

“It’s the right time for both of us. I look forward to the break and not having to commit myself like you have to commit in this job. At the end of the day, family is important and you have to sacrifice your family when you’re in this job.

“The time is right for the Club to move on and me to move on and for me to recharge and refocus on whatever might be in a few months’ time.

"I thought it was time to leave, I thought it was the right time to leave. For me, four years is a long enough spell. You don't want to over-stay your welcome and like I said, you have to commit your whole life to being a Premier League manager.

"You are under scrutiny all the time and you have to be totally obsessed with the job to get it right, and particularly your family, you have to ignore that side. 

"They worry for you, they support you. They are down when you're down, they're up when you're up, so it does become a bit of a strain on them, particularly your wide, so it's time to have that break.

"It's leaving on a high for me - not a high today the way we performed in the second half - but leaving on a high, and walking away from a football club that has achieved so much in the last four seasons is something I am very proud of."



Carver in charge: Played 20, Lost 13, Drawn 4, Won 3 (scored 18, conceded 36)
Victory meant United finished fifteenth, as the mackems and Aston Villa both lost on the final day. That's one better off than in 2012/13, while we went down in eighteenth position in 2008/09.

A final points total of 39 is our second-lowest in the PL era, exceeding only the 34 of 2009. Steve Bruce and Steve Harper's Hull City join Burnley and QPR in the Championship next season. Scoring 40 goals meant that United equaled their tally of 2008/09 season and bettered the 38 of 2006/07.

NUFC PL goalscorers 2014/15:

Papiss Cisse 11
Ayoze Perez 7
Jack Colback 4
Moussa Sissoko 4
Sammy Ameobi 2
Yoan Gouffran 2
Rolando Aarons 1
Remy Cabella 1
Fabricio Coloccini 1
Siem De Jong 1
Jonas Gutierrez 1
Daryl Janmaat 1
Gabriel Obertan 1
Emmanuel Riviere 1
Steven Taylor 1
Mike Williamson 1

United managed only their eighth PL clean sheet of the season and a first in eleven games.

The 2015/16 home kit was debuted, another Puma one sponsored by Wonga - although the money lenders unveiled a revised logo on the day that this kit was launched, featuring the old one. 

The numbering and lettering on the shirt back were black rather than the red some feared would bring us ever closer to a Sports Direct human billboard. While more visible from a distance though, the overall effect was akin to that of a stag party clad in printed T-shirts - a suitable look, given some of our recent random and ragged displays.... 

The rear blue bottom flap brought to mind Charlie Mitten's 1958 home kit design with added "trim", causing reported shouts of "your slip's showing" from home fans to an unimpressed Jimmy Scoular.

Hammers in Toon - PL era:

2014/15: Won 2-0 Sissoko, Gutierrez
2013/14: Drew 0-0
2012/13: Lost 0-1
2010/11: Won 5-0 Best 3, Nolan, Lovenkrands
2008/09: Drew 2-2 Owen, Carroll
2007/08: Won 3-1 Viduka 2, N'Zogbia
2006/07: Drew 2-2 Milner, Solano
2005/06: Drew 0-0
2002/03: Won 4-0 LuaLua 2, Shearer, Solano
2001/02: Won 3-1 Shearer, LuaLua, Robert
2000/01: Won 2-1 Cort, Solano

1999/00: Drew 2-2 Dabizas, Speed
1998/99: Lost 0-3
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Drew 1-1 Beardsley
1995/96: Won 3-0 Albert, Asprilla, Ferdinand
1994/95: Won 2-0 Clark, Kitson
1993/94: Won 2-0 Cole 2

Closing home game results - PL era:

2014/15 West Ham won 2-0
2013/14 Cardiff City won 3-0
Arsenal lost 0-1
2011/12 Manchester City lost 0-2
2010/11 West Brom drew 3-3
2008/09 Fulham lost 0-1
2007/08 Chelsea lost 0-2
2006/07 Blackburn lost 0-2
2005/06 Chelsea won 1-0
Chelsea drew 1-1
2003/04 Wolves drew 1-1
2002/03 Birmingham City won 1-0
2001/02 West Ham won 3-1
2000/01 Aston Villa won 3-0
1999/00 Arsenal won 4-2
Blackburn drew 1-1
1997/98 Chelsea won 3-1
1996/97 Nottingham Forest won 5-0
Spurs drew 1-1
1994/95 Crystal Palace won 3-2
1993/94 Arsenal won 2-0




85 days after they last managed to collect three points, United finally found a performance worthy of the word to repeat the feat and maintain their Premier League status for another season.

Hull City's inability to beat Manchester United may have meant the result was ultimately irrelevant in terms of our survival, but as a shot in the arm for both club and fans it was absolutely priceless.

The response from those long-suffering supporters to a heartening display was loud, proud and a timely reminder that amongst all the angst and rancour, a football club does still exist here.

In West Ham, the Magpies had ideal opponents in their quest to record a first win in eleven games - the mid-table visitors dreadful away travellers, already aware that manager Sam Allardyce was leaving and having barely trained since losing 1-2 at home to Everton eight days earlier.

Despite that though, it took almost an hour for the black and whites to conquer their own fears and heed the resolutely positive backing of an almost-full stadium. 

Benefiting from cheap tickets, the Hammers came in numbers but had little to cheer, contenting themselves with abusing Big Sham as his charges made it a dozen away games without a win. In Kevin Nolan they also had a potential party pooper, but the SJP old boy had only one opportunity to reach a century of career goals - and seemed unconcerned when shanking that shot well wide.


Available after suspension and having called a truce with Carver after accusations of desertion, Mike Williamson returned to central defence and Paul Dummett was able to take the left back position.

The absence of Mehdi Abeid and Gabriel Obertan from the squad points at their departure, while Fabricio Coloccini's expected appearance left him in peril of being the first Newcastle player ever to feature in two relegations (he played against Aston Villa in May 2009, on a day that messrs Krul, Gutierrez and Taylor all watched from the bench as unused substitutes).

Out went Ryan Taylor, Remy Cabella and Ayoze Perez, while there was a recall for Vurnon Anita, who like many will wonder why a decent display against West Brom saw him dropped at QPR.

The little Dutchman was to be rivaled in effort only by Jonas today, both popping up to gain and keep possession again and again, giving the side a more balanced look and better tempo - even if the quality of crosses remained rank. Partnering Emmanuel Riviere in a 4-4-2 line-up, Papiss Cisse added little to the wor effort and was well off the pace, although still putting in a shift.

John Carver's side won the ball from the kick-off and set up an attack that almost saw Riviere net at the Leazes end only to drag his shot across goal. Hearts were in mouths though when Williamson sent Enner Valencia tumbling in the area, Martin Atkinson ignoring half-hearted appeals.

Riviere then volleyed into the side-netting with an acrobatic effort but after Daryl Janmaat and Gutierrez failed to hit the target from distance the positive start from Newcastle began to wane.

News of two disallowed Hull goals filtered through and our increasing nervousness wasn't helped by Stewart Downing's run and shot - Krul coming off his line to smother with no offside flag appearing. 

Notions that there was to be a sting in the tale for the black and whites grew early in the second half after Janmaat beat a dallying Aaron Cresswell on the right and laid on a perfect centre for Riviere to miss completely. The vital breakthrough came just moments later though from Sissoko - who of all the Newcastle players on show owed this club something after his below-par efforts. 

Sissoko then crossed for Cisse but his header was blocked and Coloccini volleyed wide as Carver's side searched for a second while Reid headed just over at the other end - almost the only time in the second half that the ball went anywhere in the vicinity of Krul.

A golden chance to put the game - and the season - to bed was then made and missed by Anita with just eight minutes to play. Gutierrez gave away a free kick deep on the West Ham right deep in his own half, but when it was played short to Cresswell, Anita charged it down and hared upfield.

Bearing down on goal, it looked as if he would take a step to the left and evade Adrian before shooting home. Instead however he tried to play in Cisse - and a weak pass found the 'keeper.

With Hull still pressing against a Red Devils side down to ten men, a one goal lead remained some way off being comfortable and two visiting substitutes had a story to tell, had they netted. Morgan Amalfitano could have claimed retribution against the club who signed and then dumped his brother Romain, while Elliot Lee was born in Durham and happens to be the son of a certain Robert Lee.

Fortunately neither they nor anyone else clad in claret and blue were in the mood to spoil the celebrations, and Carl Jenkinson soon played his part in heightening them. With five minutes left, the on-loan Hammer unwittingly deflected a shot from Gutierrez past his own keeper at the Gallowgate End - six years to the day Damien Duff did exactly the same to send us down at Villa. 

A place in Geordie folklore secured in his final game - and having possibly inspired another movie ("Goal 4: never mind the bollocks") Santiago, sorry, Jonas peeled off his shirt and dashed to the halfway line. Joining Sissoko in the book for removing his shirt and avoiding Carver's attempted high-five, Gutierrez made an ear-cupping gesture to the Directors Box and shouted something incomprehensible, possibly "wanker".

The release of pent-up emotion in the stands was evident and a much-needed positive to end the season on. Unbelievably this was the first time SJP has witnessed a home win by more than one goal since May 2014 - yet another unrealistic demand from the supporters eh?

The final whistle prompted an mighty roar of relief but within a minute, a noisy chorus of "get out of our club" rang
out - a timely reminder of grievances temporarily set aside but not forgotten.  

The last to depart was Gutierrez - after a TV interview on the field - while
the large numbers of stewards weren't required with no obvious encroachment attempts. Fittingly, given the awfulness of 2015, no lap of 'honour' followed. A "thanks for your support" message appeared on the scoreboard.

Avoiding demotion by our own efforts meant that fan anger had dissipated and
SJP soon emptied, aside from a few hundred in the Strawberry Corner who protested with chants and banners. 

None of those were evident when a
virtually-sold out home crowd roared the team on to the field, 
setting aside anger and frustration that had grown during our appalling run to give whole-hearted support and it paid off, visibly lifting the side at times and creating a positive atmosphere.

Many fans had seen Mike Ashley interviewed by Sky before kickoff on TVs around SJP, although footage wasn't broadcast on the big screen. Timing and content were questionable, but underlined a club-wide desire to secure the win - and an awareness of the dire consequences of not doing so. 

It's hard to imagine Ashley breaking his silence had we been safely in mid-table and fan discontent wasn't as clearly evident. For whatever reason though (and it may be as simple as the number of cancelled season tickets), he's spoken and in doing so answered one criticism of his regime. 

Whether what he said proves to be any more accurate than previous discredited utterances from this administration remains to be seen, but a sure-fire way of undermining himself would be to leave John Carver in post, regardless of what Ashley may claim about having no part in the decision. We just about got away with doing nothing once, fudging it again just isn't an option.

A re-imagining or at least a restating of goals and objectives needs to be allied to decisive action in the transfer market and the installation of a genuine football manager with the genuine football knowledge that is noticeably lacking in every other level of the organisation. 

The question of quite why such a candidate would be willing to work within our "template" remains unanswered though and for a new manager to accept the existing backroom staff would be to
dilute the desired effect to the point of ridiculousness. That new broom in the dressing room doesn't just need to sweep away unwanted players who contribute nothing, there's plenty of other dead wood.  


It's over 10 months since we began this season at Oldham, a sunny Tuesday night that was quite literally several lifetimes ago. If it's difficult to recall all the events that have affected the club and those who care for it this season, it's impossible to rationalise and process them at this point. 

For it to have ended in relegation would have been deserved in many ways (not least to witness Ashley's attempt at rewriting football logic spectacularly fail), but the pain would have been felt among the rank and file - stretching and testing loyalty further beyond breaking point.

We'd naively hoped that good could somehow come from the horror of MH17 in the shape of trophy success this season, a notion that was sacrificed on the altar of financial prudence. 

Belatedly though, it now appears that the owner shares our view. Why he does so is less important than the fact that his vision now mirrors that of the fans of his club - a big improvement on recent seasons, when survival and existence was a joyless ambition nobody normal could buy into.

Let's not forget though that the opportunity to kick on from fifth to a Champions League place and the chance to go all the way in the Europa League were both torpedoed on financial grounds: the former because of budget cuts and the latter due to limited prize money and TV wedge on offer.

The actions of this club have only added to our unhealthy cynicism for as long as we can recall, so forgive us if we wait and see how this "new start" turns out before hanging out the bunting.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has provided support, assistance and encouragement to us this season. It's often hard to feel proud of this club but never difficult to appreciate its fans, who ask only that their time, money and effort is mirrored by those who wear - and own - black and white. 

For John, for Liam, for Tick. Not forgotten.


Page last updated 14 January, 2018