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We'd love it but this time we're talking about a point - not the title!

By Lee Ryder on Feb 19, 08 09:55 AM

It's going to get plenty of airtime this week but Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan's famous rant back in 1996 could provide the Magpies with the launchpad to get one over our old title rivals Man U.

Let's be honest you'd take a draw if you were offered it right now, in fact you'd probably snap the hand off whoever was offering it!

We certainly can't turn back the clock - this is a different era with different players - and Newcastle are right up against it but if a packed St James's Park goes into the game as fired up as Kevin Keegan was that night 12 years ago, we've got to be in with a shout.

Man United will have played twice by the time the clash kicks off.

Nobody is kidding themselves ahead of Man U, it's all set up for them to rub salt into deep wounds.

But as the players have already commented on a couple of times between games, the home game with Arsenal, a 1-1 draw that United should have won, showed that the current crop of Newcastle players CAN do the business when they put their mind to it.

And a similar performance is a must on Saturday night.

Perhaps it won't be 5-0 but at a time when Man United need to win to stay in touch with Arsenal at the top and a time when we are just desperate to pick up some points, there must be a little bit of hope left in the Toon Army that miracles can happen.

The role of the crowd will be huge and as always they've backed the team to the limit this season with boos, whether they were justified or not, coming after the final whistle.

It would be easy to pour doom or gloom on the situation and predict a Man United win.

I don't know about you but scars still remain from 1996 here (Cantona mis-hit volley, 12 points clear etc etc) so all in all you will LOVE it if we are talking about anything other than a defeat come Saturday night!


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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13 Comments

Dave B said:

A quick word in regard to the now infamous rant.

Some will have you believe that Sir Alex was a master of the mind games and that his boyish cheekiness won the Mancs the title that year.

But remember this - what he said was almost tantamount to slander, teams not trying against NUFC, and some dodgy dealing in respect to Stuart Pearce’s testimonial. He should have been hauled in front of the FA on a disrepute charge then led to a darkened alley so Stuart could have a quiet word.

A supreme mental tactician or a mouthy Glaswegian chancer – I’ll let you decide.

STEVE said:

I still have the scars of 96 and it did hurt like hell but we can still hold our dignity in the fact that at that time NOBODY in europe played football like we did.Win lose or draw on saturday,a performance is a must,i hope KK changes the team and works his magic to make them believe we can win.I dont think i could handle another drubbing.Dave B,yeah i remember fergies slander and his getting away with it,he would av been the FIRST one to have a go back..hes had the FA running scared for years for one reason or another,but he never gets bollocked.I remember him rubbishing wenger when he took over the arse,saying he shouldnt have an opinion cos hes only been managing in japan and france...he had a right old rant on tv ...a-la-keegan,but we dont have that rammed down our throats,in fact ive never seen it since..unsurprisingly.All i ask for on saturday is for the toon to have a decent go....for 90mins NOT 45. HOWAY THE LADS......

ROBERT SMITH said:

Personally I think that the Messiah's talents are wasted in managing the Toon. KK and Terry Mac should become the new management team for the Northern Rock. Lets face facts - what Terry Mac knows about football management could be written on the back of a betting slip. So managing a large financial institution will be a doddle. Given the track record of the previous Northern Rock managment team - Terry will be at home at having a "punt" with the depositors' money.

ROBERT SMITH said:

Personally I think that the Messiah's talents are wasted in managing the Toon. KK and Terry Mac should become the new management team for the Northern Rock. Lets face facts - what Terry Mac knows about football management could be written on the back of a betting slip. So managing a large financial institution will be a doddle. Given the track record of the previous Northern Rock managment team - Terry will be at home at having a "punt" with the depositors' money.

Duncan Baines said:

Lots of people boo even after 20 minutes. Where I sit there has been loads of booing during games this season - especially against Liverpool and Portsmouth. Interestingly, there was never a comparable level of booing like it has been this year at any time under Dalglish,Gullit and Souness.

RAY WILSON said:

Hi Lee Just a little reply to Robert Smith regarding his comments above . As I recall Terry Mac was with KK during his last managerial stint with us - KK and Terry Mac brought us Andy Cole ,David Ginola, Rob Lee, plus instigated Shearers and Peter Beardleys return to the north east - Think that says something about their knowledge of football. I would also remind Robert that again as I recall Terry Mac was European footballer of the year on two occasions. Terry has played his part more than most in this clubs history and whist he has been a casualty of management from the different managers we have had from time to time- He has never swayed in his loyalty towards the club- perhaps Robert did not see much of Terry as a player -but I tell you this much -we could do with his passing and football ability in the present team. Its easy having a go at Terry but contrast Terrys way of playing football with Big sams -and I know which type of game I would want to watch. Cheap Jibes dont help Robert,

Paul Patterson said:

RE Robert: I’m not entirely convinced about Terry Mac’s role at the club, but I’m with Mr Wilson, to say he has little knowledge of the game is a scandal, he played in the greatest European side ever to be taken overseas.

The title in 1996 wasn’t lost because of Kev’s famous rant, much as the media would love to have us believe so, and hold Alex Ferguson as a mind-games mastermind, the simple reason why we didn’t win the league way back when, was that Les Ferdinand stopped scoring after Christmas, SIMPLE AS THAT.

No really it is as simple as that, his tally of goals after Christmas was woeful in comparison to before Santa came down the chimney on December 25th 1995, if he had continued at anywhere near the same kind of ratio, we’d be talking about that 12 point lead as being chicken feed and possibly a record lead at the top in May 1996.

Alas it was not to be, congratulations must be given to Man Utd at the time, for clawing back the lead, but it was more to our implosion rather than Man Utd brilliance, no really, Man Utd just continued nicking a point when we’d get beat and winning when we’d draw.

You can point to the Man Utd home game when Cantona miss hit that volley or the Liverpool game 4-3, but really, would a side destined to win the league, lose at Southampton or West Ham, we also drew away at Nottingham Forest.

It’s been a problem of Newcastle for many a year now, losing to teams that the other bigger clubs don’t, maybe that’s why people say we aren’t a big club, we only act like one.

I own the tape but don’t know where it is, probably in the loft, but if you watch the 5-0 game around about the 60-70 minutes period, there is a small section of passing play that always sticks out in my mind, which highlights the style of Keegan.

Yes we all remember the Albert goal and the wonderful Ginola screamer, but seriously if you have ten minutes to spare and own the tape watch out for it, the balls passed between Beresford, Ginola, the ball switches flanks, is passed between Rob Lee and Beardsley and then Shearer sets Rob Lee away, it doesn’t lead to anything but it stands out to me above the goals and a sign of what this club could do.

And onto this weekend then- Well a defeat is a realist’s opinion and I’m a realist, it’s unfair to blame anything on Keegan at this moment, time is what is needed to sort out the shambles that this club has found itself in since a very fat man decided to say ‘I’m relieving you of your position’ to Sir Bobby Robson.

We need to perform, to stand up and be counted, games won’t be as tough as Man Utd every week, we need to beat the teams we should, so really we haven’t changed at all since 1995/96?

Paul.

jac mills said:

Lee

Your comment that MU will not risk losing sight of Arsenal in the Pl is apt, and will be driving that team when they play NU. Hate to say it, but MU, even without all of their first-team players, can thrash the current Newcastle team any time. KK has said he would love to beat MU. Who wouldn't? It is sad commentary, however. The most constructive thing KK can do is to be brave and field 11 players who can -- and will -- give 100% for 90 minutes. That might be enough to bridle MU. Prediction: MU 4 - NU 1.

Jonathan said:

It's a game i'm really looking forward to.

It won't be easy but with the fans backing the team 100% and home advantage I don't see any reason why we can't match Manchester United in quality, graft and effort.

We all know that Man U can change a game at any point, but they know the quality we have and that we can be a threat to them.

I make this Newcastle's first home game to Man U with Michael Owen fit and available. Will it be enough?

Ronnie Lambert said:

Terry Mac has been retained by quite a few managers because of his love for the club and the area, his footballing knowledge and experience and his bubbly enthusiasm on the training field and dressing room. He brings a lot to the table when compared to scores of other staff, and I bet he's not on great money. I remember him as a great player in the days of Supermac, Terry Hibbet and Jinky Smith etc., then as a great player for Liverpool and finally as a great player in Keegan's promotion side. What an intelligent player, passer and striker he was. Robert Smith and other Macdermot detractors must be young blokes cos I'd put my house on all supporters of my age never criticising the man, mind you the council would be furious. Lay off Terry Mac! Anyway, the other thing, comparing the attitude and ability of the team in general with that of ' 96 or any other year is pointless, simply because the players are different. How can people say they always bottle it e.g. in cup finals or title races when it's a completely different set of players and manager? As the lad said, Les stopped scoring and Man.U. nicked games, not rocket science. If we can get a good set of players together through the new owner, playing as a team under KK's simple philosophy of attractive, attacking football, then there's no reason why we can't get into the upper echelons of this league again.

mark Blades said:

Paul Pattison, watched that Howay 5 0 video about 4 month back, and totally agree with your assessment, we were brilliant, the goals were just the icing that brought the points i suppose. what a game

damo said:

re robert smith comments

Please can somebody in the know give Ray Wilson a knighthood nomination for his above post. Fantastic stuff.

By the way, is this the same rob smith who fronted The Cure? Cos you're just as much of a doom n' bleddy gloom merchant

Terry Mac was and always will be a model pro and breath of fresh air - long may he continue at SJP. Our problems are far more deep rooted than any individual.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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