Match Reports 1999-2000 - Sheffield Weds (h)
Newcastle United 8 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Date: 19th September 1999 15:00pm
Venue: St.James' Park
Conditions: Overcast - hint of rain.
Kit: Normal home - lucky white socks. The luckless visitors appeared in a minging yellow outfit.
Crowd: 36,619 - although the Owls made their most pitiful migration Northward in many years - sporadically scattered around the away corner and trudging off home in the main when the sixth went in. There must have been at least 5-600 empty seats so has capacity suddenly risen about 37,000??
NUFC: Harper, Barton, Goma, Hughes, Domi
(Glass 82 mins), Lee, Speed, Solano, Dyer (Robinson 64 mins), Ketsbaia (McClen 79 mins),
SWFC: Pressman, Newsome, Thome, Walker,
Nolan, Donnelly (Sibon 84 mins), Sonner, Alexandersson, Rudi (Haslam 64 mins), De Bilde,
Booth (Carbone 28 mins.)
Referee: Neale Barry (Scunthorpe).
11 mins Hughes 1-0
30 mins Shearer 2-0
33 mins Shearer (pen) 3-0
42 mins Shearer 4-0
46 mins Dyer 5-0
78 mins Speed 6-0
81 mins Shearer 7-0
84 mins Shearer (pen) 8-0
Bobby Robson's introduction to the crowd compared very favourably to the welcome afforded to Dalglish and Gullit. The volume might have been less, due to the number of late arrivals still making their way to the ground. However, the warmth of feeling being showered on Bobby was something special as the cheering and applause kept lapping like huge waves at the toes of the new boss. The spontaneity of it all seemed to eclipse the welcome of Ruud and Kenny and Robson's humility was refreshing.
The game actually got off to a dreadful start. Hughes, Harper and Goma did their best to hand the advantage to Sheff Wed. Only luck, poor finishing and a linesman's flag prevented the unthinkable. Enter stage left Kieron Dyer and the unlikely hero, Aaron Hughes. Kieron weaved his own brand of magic down the left and sent over an inviting cross for Hughes to head down into the corner. Another Dyer cross found the outside of Shearer's boot and a superb angled flick made it 2-0. A Barton cross found a hand and Shearer crashed the spot-kick high into the top corner of Pressman's goal. Ketsbaia then almost overhit a crossfield ball to Dyer who had just received some treatment on an injured ankle. The hesitant Wednesday defence stood and admired the instant pacey cross but Shearer stole in ahead of Des Walker to claim a spectacular 11 minute hat-trick.
4-0 at half-time and newspaper editors already had their back pages written. Typically, the break signals the end of goal gluts as momentum is lost and the hapless victims re-group under the guise of "playing for a bit of pride". This myth was quickly dispelled as Speed dribbled (basketball-style) into the box. As the ball was half cleared a Shearer nod back was turned in by the stooping Dyer. The visitors then managed to stem the flow of goals for over half an hour but the tide was not for turning. Speed bettered Hughes' opening header with a Ferdinand-like leap and the inside of the post aided the ball's passage into the nylon netting. Kevin Pressman then gifted Shearer his fourth with a punch to the England striker's feet to make it seven without reply. 7-0's just never seem to happen so most of us expected the inevitable Sheffield consolation. However, substitute Paul Robinson had other ideas as he made the most of a lazy challenge to present Shearer with another 12 yard kick. Low and hard to the keeper's right secured the incredible eight goal haul and Shearer had his five, to equal Andy Cole's Premiership record - when Man U beat Ipswich 9-0. Gary Speed almost found the net to equal that scoreline but by that stage we were just getting greedy....
So, St. James' saw eight goals for the first time in nearly 40 years - the last being when Len White grabbed a hat-trick as Everton were annihilated 8-2 in 1959. It was the biggest victory at St. James' for over half a century and the biggest margin of victory in a top flight game (the Newport game was in Division Two) since 1907 when Birmingham also left St. James' after an eight-goal mauling. Alan Shearer's scoring feat today is unique - no United player has ever scored five goals in the top division - George Robledo, Jackie Milburn, Shack and Eddie Carr's record goalscoring feats were either in friendlies, wartime games or in Division Two.
I guess the extra topping, as well as the cherry on today's cake, is that Blunderland's win at Pride Park and Kevin Phillips' meagre three goals were totally eclipsed today. It's just a shame it will see the end of Danny Wilson.... .