It was a beautiful day on Tyneside, cold but Sunny. As I climbed what felt like the south face of Everest to get to my seat I was strangely unsure of what to expect from today’s game. Newcastle were top of the league and full of pace and spirit according to Bobby Robson. But this was Newcastle, top of the league? I tried to figure out in my head how they had got there, but I came up with no answer.
Then the team was announced. This would, I was sure, be where it would become clear. The many international class players I had forgotten about Newcastle signing were about to be revealed. Who? What was that name? Dyer, Who? Who?
Shearer. My god, I was right, a team of nobodies. I had to accept it — there is absolutely no logical reason why they should be top of the league. Then I remembered, at the corresponding fixture last year they were also top of the league, and what happened? Oh yes, they finished eleventh and had to play their ‘get into Europe free’ card.
As it turned out, a fantastic afternoon was marred only by the fact that Chelsea failed to win by a more deserved margin. I hope for once the old man of the Tyne sees fit to give Chelsea the praise they deserve for bossing his bunch of no-hopers all afternoon.
Anybody who doubted Newcastle’s ability to win the Premiership will feel fully justified tonight. In essence, Chelsea did not have to break sweat to control this game from start to finish. The only slight wobble occurred after Shearer’s goal. The defence did not seem able to get itself fully re-organised for the next ten minutes or so, but then Newcastle hardly had the ability to exploit it anyway. The Skunks have had their brief smell of success, but as predicted, they will be back down with the Christmas decorations.
As for Chelsea, they played with style. The central defenders were untroubled and looked to play the ball intelligently. Invariably they had Baba, Le Saux or Melchiot available to receive and Chelsea turned defence into attack at will. Lampard played well and Dalla Bona was superb. Up front, Eidur collected every long ball. Strangely, the Newcastle defenders seemed content to let him do so and this resulted in Chelsea’s numerous attacks on their goal. Both he and Jimmy were superb and a constant handful for the Toon. The result being two fantastic goals for the ice-man, brilliantly taken. And not to forget Carlo who pulled off a couple of excellent saves.
Newcastle have, appropriately, not won anything since the days of black and white television, and they are not likely to change that for the foreseeable future. Their fans still seem to think they can win the title, but they are going to have to accept that NUFC really stands for “No U F-ing Can’t”.
Towards the end Newcastle threw everything at Chelsea, but we stood firm and threatened regularly on the break. They never really looked like scoring and the home fans grew more and more frustrated as the match drew to a close. The locals made it clear that they think Le Saux is Lord of the Rings, but he and his team showed that with a football they are more magical than Harry Potter.
An excellent performance from the eleven heroes in Blue, the same again against Spurs if you don’t mind please. We will wave to Newcastle on their way down. “No noise, from the Geordie boys, no noise, from the Geordie boys, no noise, from the Geordie boys, no noise, from the Geordie boys!”