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Season 2015-16
Tottenham Hotspur (h) Premier League

 

In association 
with NUFC.com

 

Date: Sunday 15th May 2016, 3.00pm.

Venue:
 St. James' Park

Conditions: incredulous



  

Newcastle United

Tottenham Hotspur

5 - 1

 

Teams

Goals

19 mins Daryl Janmaat's right wing cross into the box was weakly headed by Toby Alderweireld and the ball fell to Moussa Sissoko at the back post. He centred for Aleksandar Mitrovic who did well to lay the ball back to Georginio Wijnaldum and visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was well beaten by his finish from an almost sitting position.  1-0

39 mins Mitrovic laid the ball back to Andros Townsend inside our half and after beating a man played it wide to Sissoko on the right. Mitrovic had made a good run into the box and buried a header from Sissoko's cross at the Leazes End. If only he was always as accurate 2-0

Half time: Magpies 2 Cockerels 0

60 mins Having won the ball, Cheick Tiote got into a tangle and was dispossessed on halfway. The ball was eventually fed to Erik Lamela on the left hand side of the box, who shaped to centre but lashed in an angled shot that Karl Darlow could only push onto his bar and into the net. 2-1

73 mins Moussa Sissoko charged down the United left after neatly evading a tackle on the touchline and having cut inside, dived over Christian Eriksen's temptingly outstretched leg in the box. Referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty that Gini Wijnaldum tucked away into the Gallowgate goal 3-1

85 mins Following a short corner, Andros Townsend's attempt to net against his old team ended with a shot rebounding off the far post. The return ball from Janmaat fell for substitute Rolando Aarons to react superbly, controlling it and firing home before leaping into the crowd 4-1

86 mins Daryl Janmaat got in on the act as United broke through Aarons who slotted in the Dutch defender, leaving him with the easy task of slotting the ball past Lloris who had got his angles all wrong. 5-1

Full time: Magpies 5 Cockerels 1

We Said

 

Rafa Benitez:

"I said before that I was expecting a great atmosphere, but it has been amazing, even more positive than I was expecting. 

"
We still have to sit down. I want the best for Newcastle United and the best for me. Thatís simple.

"My heart is saying yes. It's a fantastic opportunity and atmosphere but you have to use your brain too.

"My agenda is to talk to Lee Charnley. I have an appointment with Lee Charnley so I will talk to him. If they want both to talk with me it will be fine, no problem. I said I was flattered but I am really pleased with that and itís not easy to leave a club like this. 

"So I will talk, I will analyse and I will try to do the best for me and what is the best for Newcastle United. You can put it one way or the other way; the best for Newcastle United or the best for me
. If we go together, it has to be the best for both.

"
Obviously when you have a lot of people behind you and see the players working as they were working, and everybody singing, it was very, very emotional. I knew before it would be like this, and now we have to wait, start talking, and see what we'll do in the future.

"When you are under pressure you don't play at the level you can play. Today, without fear, we wanted to give the fans something back. 

"We know the fans have been supporting the team in difficult circumstances. I'm really pleased for them, because they needed to see a performance like this."

They Said


Mauricio Pochettino:
 

"First of all, I would like to apologise to our fans, our team was terrible for them,' he said. 'To our families too, I apologise, it's difficult to go back to see your kids, your wife, your girlfriends, your dad Ė this wasn't the team that played all season. 

"It's my worst day as a manager. Not just in England, in Spain, too. I feel bad because the worst thing is that, on the pitch, we showed we don't care about the position in the table. This upset me and disappointed me.

"It's important to analyse the goals, the formation of the squad and make some decisions. We need to have clear ideas about the future and how to improve and if we want to fight for the big things, we need to avoid performances like this. 

"I don't think this was a tactical problem or about physical conditioning. What we have said the whole season and the last few weeks is that we need to improve our mentality.

"Today we can see the problem from the beginning was that we were not ready to compete and we don't have enough quality to only try to play with the ball. We need to run, we need to give 100 per cent and be aggressive. Today we weren't the team we showed the whole season.

In the first 45 minutes we were very bad in the way we played, without intensity, it was like we were on holiday and this is the result. It's a shame because we cannot finish in the way we finished. We cannot arrive in the last few games of the season and be the opposite of everything we have shown all season.

"A lot of good things have happened in this season but for now, you take away that good feeling. It's very difficult but we need to look forward, to fight, to be positive and to be strong.

"It was strange. We are third in the table and Newcastle are relegated but he
(Rafa Benitez) felt sorry for me."
 

Stats


Newcastle suffered relegation for the sixth time in their history, all of which have come from the top flight - the last two exiting from the Premier League:

1933/34: Won 10, Drawn 14, Lost 18. 21st place (of 22)
1960/61: Won 11, Drawn 10, Lost 21. 21st place (of 22)
1977/78: Won 6, Drawn 10, Lost 26. 21st place (of 22)
1988/89: Won 7, Drawn 10, Lost 21. 20th place (of 20)
2008/09: Won 7, Drawn 13, Lost 18. 18th place (of 20)
2015/16: Won 9, Drawn 10, Lost 19. 18th place (of 20)

We went down with 34 points in 2009 and 37 points this time round proved insufficient - West Bromwich Albion stayed up with 34 points in 2005 and West Ham went down with 42 in 2003.

Avoiding defeat meant that the Magpies bowed out of the top flight unbeaten in six games - their best run of form since November 2014. And in terms of ending a season, this is their best return since 2005/06 (excluding the Championship season of 2009/10).

United ended the season with a goal tally of 32 from their 19 home fixtures - their highest total at SJP since netting 41 times in the 2010/11 campaign. 

11 of those 32 goals came during just two games; 6 against Norwich, 5 against Spurs. The Leazes / Gallowgate home scoring split went narrowly in favour of the latter - 17 to 15 - while the first half / second half home goal count was 14 to 18.

Gini Wijnaldum belatedly added to his tally after a 15 game drought stretching back to January. He ends the season as top scorer with 11 goals - all of which were netted on home territory.

Aleksandar Mitrovic boosted his seasonal total to nine goals but also picked up a second red card - our fourth dismissal of the season.
His header was the 1,000th Premier League goal this season.

Rolando Aarons netted his second PL goal, both coming within minutes of his arrival from the subs bench. The winger took six minutes to score when introduced against Crystal Palace in August 2014, but kept people hanging around for nine minutes today.

Steven Taylor made his 200th league start for the club and 268th appearance in all competitions (246 starts). The 30 year-old was the only player on the field at the conclusion of both 2009 and 2016 relegation seasons (Coloccini played and Krul was on the bench at Villa Park in 2009 but both were absent today due to injury). 

Newcastle completed a first win double of the season by beating Spurs home and away - a feat that eluded them totally in the 2014/15 campaign.

The Magpies take their leave of the Premier League after their 844th game in the competition, of which they've won 322 (217 at SJP). Their goal total stands at 1168 scored and 1140 conceded. 

Full back Jamie Sterry made his competitive senior debut, becoming the 207th player to feature for the club in the Premier League. His was the thirteenth new face for Newcastle this season, the highest total since 15 players were blooded over the course of the 2010/11 season.

By the end of this game, eight of the ten players on the field for Newcastle were English (either born or naturalised in the case of Rolando Aarons). The exceptions were Mbemba and Janmaat.

All told, United used 31 players in their 38 PL games. Title winners Leicester City used 23.

Spurs in Toon: PL Era:

2015/16 won 5-1 Wijnaldum 2, Mitrovic, Aarons, Janmaat
2014/15 lost 1-3 Colback
2013/14 lost 0-4
2012/13 won 2-1 Ba, Ben Arfa
2011/12 drew 2-2 Ba, Sh.Ameobi
2010/11 drew 1-1 Coloccini
2008/09 won 2-1 N'Zogbia, Duff
2008/09 lost 1-2 Owen (LC)
2007/08 won 3-1 Martins, Cacapa, Milner
2006/07 won 3-1 Dyer, Martins, Parker
2005/06 won 3-1 Bowyer, Sh.Ameobi, Shearer
2004/05 won 1-0 Kluivert (FAC)
2004/05 lost 0-1
2003/04 won 4-0 Shearer 2, Robert 2
2002/03 won 2-1 Speed, Shearer
2001/02 lost 0-2
2000/01 won 2-0 Speed, Cordone
1999/00 won 6-1 Shearer 2, Speed, Dabizas, Ferguson, Dyer (FAC)
1999/00 won 2-1 Glass, Dabizas
1998/99 drew 1-1 Ketsbaia
1997/98 won 1-0 Barton
1996/97 won 7-1 Shearer 2, Ferdinand 2, Lee 2, Albert
1995/96 drew 1-1 Ferdinand
1994/95 drew 3-3 D.Peacock, Gillespie, Beardsley
1993/94 lost 0-1

Full record v Spurs:
 
  P W D L F A
SJP 71 29 19 23 125 104
WHL 71 23 11 37 82 131
League 142 52 30 60 207 235
SJP(FA) 4 4 0 0 13 1
WHL/OT 5 1 2 2 5 5
SJP(LC) 2 1 0 1 4 3
WHL 2 0 0 2 0 5
Cup 13 6 2 5 22 14
CS 1 0 0 1 1 2
Tot 155 58 32 65 229 249

Closing home game results - PL era:

2015/16 Spurs won 5-1
2014/15 West Ham won 2-0
2013/14 Cardiff City won 3-0
2012/13 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
2004/05 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
1998/99 Blackburn drew 1-1
1997/98 Chelsea won 3-1
1996/97 Nottingham Forest won 5-0
1995/96 Spurs drew 1-1
1994/95 Crystal Palace won 3-2
1993/94 Arsenal won 2-0

Timeline:

Wednesday: A 3-0 home win over Everton ensures PL safety for the mackems - and relegates us. 

Lee Charnley releases a statement immediately after:

"Tonight we are devastated at our relegation from the Premier League, as I know every single person connected to this football club will be.

"I want to thank all of the fans for the support you have shown for the club you love throughout the season, in spite of this massive disappointment and under-achievement.

"Your support throughout has been magnificent, but I want to pay particular thanks for the incredible backing you have given to Rafa and the team during the latter part of the season. 

"Nothing more could be asked of you and I am truly sorry we have not given you the outcome you deserve.

"I also want to thank every single member of staff here. This club is their livelihood, but they are fans too. To go through the threat of relegation last season and then to suffer a worse fate this time around has been very hard for them. I know that each and every one of them has done whatever they could to help us out of the situation we now find ourselves in.

"We know that supporters want to know what the future holds and will want to hear more from us as soon as possible. The process of scrutinising what went wrong and planning for what is to come has already begun. Right now, of course, Rafa and the team must prepare for the final game of the season but after that, please rest assured we will communicate more fully with supporters."

Friday:

An open letter from owner Mike Ashley to the supporters and staff of Newcastle United:

I am writing to you in the immediate aftermath of the relegation of our Club - a bitterly disappointing outcome for all of us.

Newcastle United rightly has a proud and long tradition of competing at the highest level and I therefore understand and share the pain that supporters will be feeling at this difficult time.

Many of you have expressed strong views about what we could have done differently. I respect those views but I would like to reiterate that it has always been my intention to try to achieve the very best for Newcastle United.

We invested heavily in the squad over last summer and again in January, but we have been unable to secure Premier League status despite the recent efforts of the team under the formidable stewardship of Rafa Benitez.

I've said in the past that when I take on a challenge I am prepared to go through both good times and bad. 

There can be no doubt that relegation is a terrible blow but I want to assure you that the Club will now be doing everything it can at all levels to try to ensure a swift return to its rightful place in the Premier League.

We have done it before - we can do it again.

In the meantime, I thank the fans for their passionate support, in particular for Rafa and the team at recent fixtures, both home and away.

Clearly it is now time for a period of careful consideration whilst we reflect upon the lessons that need to be learned from the last 12 months to restore this great Club to the very top flight of English football.

Saturday: Rafa Benitez holds his pre-match press conference (questions by Sky reporter):

How did talks on Thursday with Lee Charnley go?

"Fine. We have a good relationship and he's professional and I am professional.... and we were analysing things that were wrong and things that we could do in a different way....so quite positive.

Have you come to a decision about your future?

"No, not really. What we said in this meeting is we will have more meetings. So, again it was very positive in terms of the things that we were discussing.

"I can say to the fans that we will continue so obviously if I decide to come here itís because I knew that was a massive club with massive support from the fans. 

"That was my impression when I came and I'm really flattered with the fans because it has been amazing. 

"I know they can be even more positive in the future but at the moment we have to be sure that we prepare the game for tomorrow properly and after we will try to do the best for everyone: for me, for the club, for the fans, for everyone here."

Is this a big decision for you?

"Obviously. I am professional and I have been in this business for a while no? I am the kind of manager that has achieved what I have achieved working very hard. I was not a famous star as a player so I needed to work very hard. 

"I have experienced two promotions with different clubs in Spain and I have experienced being relegated too....so I can understand that there are some people who say 'no he cannot stay', some people say 'he will do it'.

"That is a situation where we have to be calm, we have to be sure. What I want is the same as the fans want. We want a successful team, we want a strong team to be promoted to the Premier League again as soon as possible and that is the situation now.

"We have to talk, we will have more meetings and then we will see what happens. But if I am here and I am discussing these things, because obviously in my head it's a chance, it's a good chance and we have to keep talking."

What sort of assurances would you be looking for?

"I say before, it's like the fans - a strong team capable of being promoted quickly and to compete at the maximum level.

"It's not a question of money, it's a question of if we have a structure that can allow the club in the next year and in the future years to be strong and competing in the Premier League hopefully.

"I am happy to discuss all these things.....at the moment I am really pleased with the first conversation. I am really pleased with the people here - so the staff, players, directors - everyone here since I came has been fantastic. 

"I cannot say other things, than I want to be sure that if everything is fine. It has to be fine for me, but also for the club, for the fans, for everyone."

When do you expect to come to a decision?

"It's difficult to say, it depends on the conversation but I think that a couple of weeks could be a decent time.

"In the meantime obviously we have a responsibility and we have been even working preparing the pre season and leaving everything ready for the next year.

"So we cannot say yes and then not have time to move things in a professional way. So we are working as professionals and we are talking and I think that a couple of weeks maximum and we will have an idea."


Waffle

 

 

So they really did come to praise him, not bury them.

Relegated in midweek without kicking a ball, the Magpies ended their stay in the Premier League on a high note by completing a seasonal double over the title-challengers - and scoring three of their goals when reduced to ten men. Sublime, ridiculous, utterly ludicrous, Newcastle United.

While the players were applauded despite season-long failings, the optimism and fervour in evidence at St. James' Park today was firmly directed at the current occupant of the home dugout. 

Nobody present could be left in any doubt as to the depth of feeling among fans for manager Rafa Benitez, who despite adding a relegation to his CV had songs of praise lavished upon him all day.

Walking to the centre circle at full time with his players to acknowledge that support, Rafa left with a wave before disappearing down the tunnel to a press conference conducted to the backdrop of yet more cheering from supporters who had congregated outside the Milburn Stand.

His next engagement was rather more significant; meeting Mike Ashley for the first time after the owner attended the game along with his PR advisor Keith Bishop and club CEO Lee Charnley.

Quite what that meeting of minds achieved remains to be seen, but anyone who witnessed this extraordinary afternoon and isn't motivated to keep Rafa in post should be sectioned, not sacked. 

If the price of keeping Benitez is relegation, then that certainly seems like one that's worth paying for the long-suffering followers of this club, who finally see something that they can believe in and have responded accordingly. Billed as a funeral, in reality it was a joyous celebration of the New Orleans variety and almost 50,000 believers evidently still want to be in that number. 

Back to the remarkable events of the preceding 90 minutes though and what on paper looked to be a no-contest soon proved to be nothing of the sort.

Spurs needed only to avoid defeat in order to confirm their first top-flight runner's up spot since 1963 and end a two decade wait to finish above North London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League.

However the jaded visitors looked like the team facing relegation as they were comprehensively outplayed and out-muscled, leading Mauricio Pochettino to bemoan his "worst day as a manager."

Making three changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Aston Villa, there were recalls for Aleksandar Mitrovic, Daryl Janmaat and Steven Taylor - the latter in for the unwell Jamaal Lascelles.   

After a couple of early half chances, a well-worked goal saw Gini Wijnaldum end his long barren run before Mitrovic buried a header to prompt massed shouts of "2-0 to Championship" directed at the distinctly unimpressed away contingent.

Newcastle continued to make the running despite Erik Lamela pulling a goal back for the visitors on the hour, but hopes of extending the unbeaten run to six games looked at risk when Mitrovic's needless and ludicrous stamp on Kyle Walker saw the Serb shown a straight red card - referee Anthony Taylor not taken in by Mitro's injury feigning act in front of the East Stand.

After a quick consultation with his linesman, Taylor waited for Mitrovic to get to his feet before dismissing him, receiving a volley of abuse from the player as he left the pitch but making an entirely correct decision. 

That was a fitting end to the season for a striker who was unable to focus his efforts and aggression into his task of scoring goals. He now has plenty of thinking time as his summer will be extended into next season - and get fit enough to play 90 minutes perhaps?

But rather than United crumbling, they profited from lightning counter attacks as Spurs lost the plot, scoring three times, hitting the goal frame once and missing another glaring one on one opportunity. 

Newcastle's two goal advantage came thanks to referee Taylor, who awarded a soft penalty that Gini rolled home - the Dutchman then generously applauded off as his fitful season came to an end.

His replacement Rolando Aarons then soon made an impact, cracking home a fourth to raise the noise levels further before setting up Daryl Janmaat to incredibly make it 5-1 moments later, putting the seal on the most bizarre and unexpected Newcastle result of modern times.

With choruses of "Rafa Benitez we want you to stay" booming from all four sides of the ground, Jamie Sterry made his first team bow in place of Sissoko, whose wholehearted display was at odds with most of his other 36 uninspiring PL outings this season. 

That switch came followed some confusion over who was coming off, Townsend trotting to the touchline and receiving a massive ovation - only to be sent back on. 

A casual observer would have left mystified by any talk of relegation or rancour here, home players contributing to a devastating performance against a side missing a handful of players but with absolutely everything to play for.   

The support from the stands was relentlessly positive as the sun shone on a supposedly demoralised football club - proof positive that there's no limit to what can be achieved here with a unity of purpose and trust. 

Match of the Day however described the atmosphere as subdued - probably because there weren't any of Leicester's cardboard clappers evident....

There were some dark moments with Mitrovic sent off for a disgraceful assault that could have broken the player's leg. A plane carrying a pathetic mackem message also buzzed overhead at one point, but was rightly ignored by those present - made easier by the fact the damn thing was too small to be read.

Our victory saw Arsenal to leapfrog their North London rivals into second, but relegation was of course already confirmed - the two point gap between us and the mackems combined with an inferior goal difference meaning that even victory at Villa would have been irrelevant to our fate.

The result and performance highlights that on their day, this squad could produce performances to beat any side but those days were far too seldom. As was the case in 2009, points tossed away when facing struggling teams were to prove pivotal and donating four points to the idiots down the road played a part in their survival - even if we managed not to make it six this time at least.

It's tempting to suggest that key players put in a shift here to secure new contracts elsewhere but only the ensuing months and moves will confirm or deny that.

Regardless of the adulation and bonhomie in the air though, the object of affection was wearing a blue suit, not black and white stripes. That the fans did everything possible to back Rafa, leaving protest bedsheets at home and rude ditties unsung needs to be stressed.

Getting this wrong and ending up with another journeyman puppet on the payroll instead will bring back all of the negativity - and those in charge will deserve every last banner and insult.  

For the dream to become a reality requires the owner and his cohorts to alter the mindset that saw Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer leave in disgust - backed in the stands but undermined in the boardroom.

Somehow, we seem to have a golden opportunity to finally make something to be proud of from this mess of a club. To steal a phrase from one of the brands piled high in the owner's emporium....

Just do it
.

As is customary, we'll tip our hat and raise a glass to all of those who contributed in different ways to keeping us right in 2015/16. Your efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Special mention to the fine folks encountered during pre-season in the USA - keep the faith!

In memoriam:


We're sorry to report the recent passing of two supporters and dedicate this report to both:

John Grant Cousin from Simonburn, Hexham, was tragically killed in an accident at work on the Queensferry Crossing construction site in Scotland on the 28th April. The 62 year-old was a loyal Newcastle United supporter and a season ticket holder for many years.

James 'Jim' Stewart
passed away peacefully at the age of 81. A passionate fan for over 70 years, Jim was also a long-standing season ticket holder and club sponsor at various levels. His knowledge, enthusiasm and generosity will be remembered by family and friends.  


Biffa


Page last updated 15 August, 2017