Main Page

Quick Links

The Rest
   Club info
   Last Season
   Unlikely Lads
   A-Z Index

Season 2015-16
Southampton (h) Premier League

In association 


Date: Sunday 9th August 2015, 1.30pm.
(Not on UK TV, moved due to SFC playing 
in the Europa League last Thursday)

 St. James' Park

Conditions: overcast, rather than the traditional season opening bright sunshine 

Programme: £3


Newcastle United


2 - 2




24 mins An unbelievably simple goal as Cedric Soares curled over a cross for Graziano Pelle to rise above the hesitant Chancel Mbemba and nod low past Tim Krul. The 'keeper got a hand to it but couldn't stop it crossing the line at his far post and into the Gallowgate End goal.

The Italian who scored twice against Newcastle last season has now netted a goal per game for the Saints this time round (converting in both legs of Southampton's Europa League tie against Vitesse Arnhem)

 mins Following Jack Colback's corner, Massadio Haidara's deep cross from the United left took a big deflection to loop over Maarten Stekelenburg, Papiss Cisse chested the ball home from point blank range at the Leazes End - a vital touch as the ball looked to be curling wide. 1-1

Half time: Magpies 1 Saints 1

48 mins United broke at pace and Cisse set Gabriel Obertan charging down the right flank, the Frenchman getting past Targett before supplying an inch-perfect first-time cross for Gini Wijnaldum to beat alleged marker Cuco Martina and glance a header into the far corner. 2-1

79 mins Another cross from the right sailed over our defence - this time from Dusan Tadic - substitute Shane Long out-jumping Daryl Janmaat to head past Krul at the far post. 2-2

Full time: Magpies 2 Saints 2

We Said

Steve McClaren said after the game:


"We were quite fortunate he (Mitrovic) did not get a red there and there would have been no complaints if he did.

"I don't know if he got that much contact but I'm just saying with the present rules of the game... I think in the olden days those kinds of challenges were 10-a-penny.

"That's what he is. He certainly doesn't hold back. He wanted to come on and impress. He's only a young lad and you can see how strong and direct he is. He is going to be a player.

"I didn't quite know what to expect and I was absolutely delighted with what I saw - I thought for 75 minutes the team were excellent. We have learned so much and can we get better? Most definitely.


"It was a typical emotional rollercoaster. It would have been a travesty if we had lost.

"Wijnaldum was excellent. He has joined us late. For 70 minutes he was very, very good, and scored a great goal.

Asked why he opted for Gabriel Obertan over Rolando Aarons, McClaren said:

"It was tactical really in aspect to Cedric Soares, who is a hell of an attacking full-back and we wanted somebody to stay wide and curb that. I think he
(Obertan) did it that well. 

"Southampton took Soares off at half-time and changed him. We have been trying to get him to do that a bit more - he has got great pace and strength. Sometimes you have to run beyond people. He did that towards the end of the first half, and the second goal was fantastic.

"It was good that Papiss scored, that Gabby did that and Gini also scored. I am pleased because what I have seen is a great foundation and base on what we can build on. That’s what I said to the players.

"But you know the Premier League. If you don’t prepare or recover properly then you aren’t right for next week, and we have another tough game against Swansea. And there’s no letting up – especially with our start.

"This place is unique. I have to go a long way to get to my seat up at the top of the stand. I am sure during the season I will get a lot of stick, not just handshakes!

"It’s great to get the first game out of the way. For the players – because that’s it last season has gone – and for us (the staff) because we have something new we can feed back on.

"We have experienced a great home game, Southampton contributed as well and it was a great game for neutrals - Not maybe us but we just want to get better on that.”

Goalscorer Papiss Cisse:

"I have a contract at Newcastle United. I need to be professional every time I play. I don't have a team to leave to. I am a Newcastle player. I try to work hard in every game I get.

"Having other strikers makes me work harder. I know that there are two players behind me who want to play. Only hard work shows the gaffer what I can do, whether in the game, or in the training sessions.

"I want to show him I want to play. I want to score goals to help this team get the wins."

Goalscorer Gini Wijnaldum:

(I enjoyed it) very much today because I already was looking forward to playing the game today and I had read a lot of good stories about the fans and the atmosphere here in the stadium and today I see it with my own eyes and I like it. I enjoyed the game.

“Yes it is harder than the Dutch League but I like it also. It is a really good start and that’s why I wanted to celebrate the goal with the fans. 

"I think it’s great if you can score on your debut – but yeah, it’s sad that we don’t win the game.

"First I want to play good games – I want to score goals, make action and show how good I am. 

"As a team we must win a lot of games to rank higher than we did last year so that’s what I want to do. I want to show the people how good I can play football.”


They Said

With manager Ronald Koeman not travelling after undergoing an Achilles operation, his brother Erwin - Ronald's second in command - said:

“Normally with a draw here you can be happy, but after the game I have mixed feelings. I think if you see the last ten minutes, we should have won. Ten minutes before the end when we came back from the 2-1 down thanks to a great header by Shane (Long) you think we can get the point.

"But in the last ten minutes and injury time you saw we were in a good physical way. We showed that and we had two big chances from Sadio Mané, but he did not hit the target and that was the disappointment.

"You are playing to win and that’s good if you are a professional. A draw in Newcastle is okay but in the last ten minutes with the chances we had, you have to be disappointed.

"It was a little bit different - for me it was the first time in charge in the Premier League. In this stadium it was a great feeling. The preparation went well with all the coaches and finally, the most important is the game and we took a point.

“We had contact by telephone before. Ronald saw the game in Holland and I will call him after. I hope he is coming back to Southampton soon."

"It is not a bad start but if you are professional and you get the chance to win you have to win. I don't think he (Aleksandar Mitrovic) touched him, but if he did then Matthew (Targett) was in hospital, I think."


Our failure to hold the lead in this game meant that our unenviable record in 2015 is little improved - we've won just two in the last eleven games at SJP and taken 10 only points from a possible 33.

Steve McClaren was unable to share the achievement of winning his first Premier League game in charge of United with Graeme Souness (Southampton away 2-1), Glenn Roeder (Portsmouth home 2-0), Sam Allardyce (Bolton away 3-1) and Alan Pardew (Liverpool home 3-1).

Instead, taking a point saw him emulate Kenny Dalglish (Southampton away 2-2), Kevin Keegan (Bolton home 0-0) and John Carver (Burnley home 3-3).

Avoiding defeat though saw him avoid the fate of Kevin Keegan (Spurs home 0-1), Ruud Gullit (Villa away 0-1), Bobby Robson (Chelsea away 0-1), Chris Hughton (Hull home 1-2), JFK (Blackburn home 1-2), Alan Shearer (Chelsea home 0-2) and Chris Hughton (Manchester United away 0-3).

Home comforts? First PL home game results:

1993/94 Spurs lost 0-1
1994/95 Coventry City won 4-0
1995/96 Coventry City won 3-0
1996/97 Wimbledon won 2-0
1997/98 Sheffield Wednesday won 2-1
1998/99 Charlton Athletic drew 0-0
1999/00 Aston Villa lost 0-1
2000/01 Derby County won 3-2
2001/02 mackems drew 1-1
2002/03 West Ham won 4-0
2003/04 Manchester United lost 1-2
2004/05 Spurs lost 0-1
2005/06 West Ham drew 0-0
2006/07 Wigan Athletic won 2-1
2007/08 Aston Villa drew 0-0
2008/09 Bolton Wanderers won 1-0
2010/11 Aston Villa won 6-0
2011/12 Arsenal drew 0-0
2012/13 Spurs won 2-1
2013/14 West Ham drew 0-0
2014/15 Manchester City lost 0-2
2015/16 Southampton drew 2-2

There were debuts for Georginio Wijnaldum, Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic, taking the number of players to feature for Newcastle in the Premier League to 197.

Wijnaldum is the seventh Magpie to mark his Premier League debut with a goal, following
Alex Mathie, Les Ferdinand, Stephane Guivarc'h, Duncan Ferguson, Xisco and Papiss Cisse. As was the case with the preceding six, his maiden strike came at SJP.

Papiss Cisse's 35th Premier League goal puts him seventh in our Premier League scoring list, now one ahead of Rob Lee. His next target is Nolberto Solano, with 37.

Tim Krul made his 150th Premier League start for the club.

Saints in Toon - Premier League era:

2015/16: Drew 2-2 Cisse, Wijnaldum
2014/15: Lost 1-2 Gouffran
2013/14: Drew 1-1 Gouffran
2012/13: Won 4-2 Sissoko, Cisse, Cabaye (pen), OG
2005/06: Won 1-0 Dyer (FAC)
2004/05: Won 2-1 Shearer (pen), Bramble
2003/04: Won 1-0 Shearer
2002/03: Won 2-1 Sh.Ameobi, Hughes
2001/02: Won 3-1 Robert, Shearer 2 (1 pen)
2000/01: Drew 1-1 Gallacher
1999/00: Won 5-0 Ferguson 2, Solano, Dabizas, OG
1998/99: Won 4-0 Shearer 2 (1 pen), Ketsbaia, OG
1997/98: Won 2-1 Barnes 2
1996/97: Lost 0-1
1995/96: Won 1-0 Lee
1994/95: Won 5-1 Watson 2, Cole 2, Lee
1993/94: Lost 1-2 Cole

Full record v Saints:
  P W D L F A
SJP 40 28 7 5 92 39
SM/TD 39 4 11 24 30 71
League 79 32 18 29 122 110
SJP(FA) 3 2 1 0 4 1
HCG/TD/SM 6 1 0 5 6 13
SJP(LC) 0 0 0 0 0 0
TD 1 0 0 1 1 4


1 0 1 0 0 0
TD 1 0 1 0 1 1
Cup 12 3 3 6 12 19
Tot 91 35 21 35 134 129





Despite a superb debut goal from Georginio Wijnaldum, Newcastle and their new Head Coach Steve McClaren ultimately had to be content with a draw at St. James' Park on Sunday afternoon.


Having come from behind to lead 2-1 through Papiss Cisse and Wijnaldum, United significantly lost momentum late on and came close to losing after the Saints produced an equaliser and wasted other good chances to register a fourth successive victory against the Magpies. 

That would have been harsh on a home side who started brightly and played well at times but after overseeing his first Premier League game in nine years, McClaren will have a notebook full of concerns that he and his staff will need to address (including Simon Smith working with Tim Krul to overcome a reticence to come off his line that may stem from previous shoulder problems).

The defensive frailties that allowed Shane Long and Graziano Pellè free headers in front of goal were uncomfortably familiar to home fans, as the new central defensive duo of Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba failed to deal with the sort of crosses that proved our downfall last season.

Goals either side of the break looked to have cancelled out the Saints opener, but a back injury that saw Vurnon Anita depart on a stretcher soon opened up of some alarming gaps in midfield. A clearly unfit Cheick Tiote replaced Anita, while the arrival of a pedestrian Siem De Jong for Wijnaldum further weakened the side and allowed the visitors to exhibit their superior fitness and stamina. 

Whether McClaren felt honour bound to give senior player De Jong a go is unclear, but the eagerness of Ayoze Perez may have been a credible alternative in trying to keep the ball in the opposition half.

United's third debutant of the game arrived from the bench, although Aleksandar Mitrovic couldn't have complained if he'd instantly seen red for a wild lunge that evoked memories of Billy Whitehurst. A first 16 seconds on the field in the Premier League (five with the ball in play) saw him cautioned.

Gini capped a fine debut with a fabulous headed goal, while Mbemba recovered from his error for the opener to give an athletic display and show signs of gelling with captain Colo, whose lack of pitch time in pre-season was more than evident by full time - although had he been able to get anywhere near the advancing Mane in added time a penalty may have ensued.

Wijnaldum had got one early chance on target but saw it blocked, while Krul similarly frustrated Southampton soon after. However United proved unable to profit from a constant stream of dead ball opportunities and rarely looked like breaking down the visitors from open play - hardly a shock given the similarity of personnel on show. 

It always felt like the Magpies needed a third to secure the win and after going 2-1 ahead, we soon ceased to exist as an attacking force - although what looked suspiciously like a rehearsed free kick routine on the hour deserved to come off for the sheer novelty of it. 

Southampton seized the initiative, gradually applied more and more pressure and duly gained their reward, coming close to taking all three points but shooting wide on a couple of occasions and seeing Jack Colback twice make vital interventions. 

A draw was probably a fair result as neither side deserved to lose an entertaining game and our first opening day point in three seasons. Time will tell whether it's the start of an upturn but given our track record, it's unwise to make even a preliminary judgment until the transfer window shuts.

If nothing else though, the sense of drift and decay that hung over us has dispersed and an attempt to take the team in a new direction has been made - not least a much-needed overhaul of the coaching staff with the clear aim of getting more from the existing resources, although they may just have to break Emmanuel Riviere up for spare parts.....

Having laughingly been given the task of assessing his squad in a muddled pre-season, McClaren and his staff now have to fashion a side within very clear constraints. As was the case in January 2013 when a mid-season points failure opened the coffers, flirting with disaster in May achieved a loosening of the purse strings. Had we been six points better off though, it's open to question just what would have been different - certainly the owner's interview may not have happened.  

Remember the company motto though about achieving "the best pound for pound value" and modify any expectations accordingly. McClaren is not the messiah, because they don't want one.


Condolences to friends and family of NUFC stalwart John Shanley, who died on July 31st.

Page last updated 20 June, 2016