Keegan beaten on return to Donny

By Lee Ryder on Jul 26, 08 03:32 PM

KEVIN KEEGAN endured a deeply disappointing afternoon today on his return to his hometown as his side went down to a late goal against Doncaster Rovers.

Northern Ireland international Stuart Elliott won the game for United after a defensive disaster late on paved the way for a famous victory which underlined the frailties of KK's paper thin squad.

But the scoreline could have been heavier had it not been for young Dutch keeper Tim Krul who came off the bench to pull off some fine saves.

United handed a chance to on trial Metz defender Sebastien Bassong while Geremi - who captained Newcastle - was eased back into the midfield after returning to pre-season training later than the rest of his team-mates due to his World Cup commitments earlier in the summer.

Bassong wore 46 for United today and Toon fans were left baffled by the player's presence singing "Number 46, nobody knows your name."

Big hitters for United such as Michael Owen (mumps), Oba Martins (family tragedy) and Mark Viduka (heel) were all missing.

After a scrappy opening United - playing in front of ex-boss Sir Bobby Robson - broke through on 16 minutes when they won a free-kick on the edge of the box but Geremi's curler was headed clear by Richie Wellens.

Yet Donny, preparing for an adventure in the Championship, weren't goal shy either and Gareth Taylor had Steve Harper on his toes on 28 minutes when he screwed a shot just wide.

Former Toon youngster Lewis Guy had Donny's best chance of the first half when after his ex-United colleague James Coppinger swung in a corner he latched on to Gareth Taylor's flick - only to fire over from close range with 10 minutes left of the first period.

Newcastle fans were clearly in fine form at the Keepmoat and in anticipation of unregistered new signing Jonas Gutierrez chanted "We want Spiderman" as the two teams headed for the tunnel after a dull first period.

During the break Donny new boy Tomi Ameobi entered the field to do battle with his older brother Shola.

And Geordie Ben Smith - son of Toon former keeper coach - also appeared for Rovers between the posts in place of Neil Sullivan.

The second half burst into life on 51 minutes when a great run from Charles N'Zogbia down the left resulted in a left foot snapshot that flashed wide of Ben Smith's goal.

Keegan also switched his goalie just before the hour when Tim Krul took over from Harper in the Toon goal.

And he was called into action within seconds of his arrival as Stuart Elliott cracked a long-range effort which the Dutch youth international had to turn round the post.

United responded a minute later as Shola Ameobi crossed for Alan Smith but the England international's flicked header went just wide.

On 66 minutes a Geremi right-wing cross took the merest touch off Shola Ameobi's head before striking the inside of the post before Donny cleared the dange.

With 20 minutes to go sub Waide Fairhurst upended N'Zobgbia to hand United a free-kick from 30 yards but Geremi's effort was curled over by some margin without troubling Ben Smith.

Two minutes later and Shola Ameobi weaved his way through the Donny defence but his powerful low effort went straight at the keeper.

On a frustrating hot afternoon for United N'Zogbia made another piercing run before his rising shot once again sailed over the bar.

Seconds later and N'Zogbia - United's brightest player on the day - broke through again but could only crash his shot into the side netting.

Krul produced another great save with nine minutes left on the clock when Elliott's powerful free-kick from range was parried away by the Dutchman.

But Krul was let down badly by his defence with four minutes later after some comedy defending by United.

Bassong and Jose Enrique got in a mix up before bumping into each other after Ben Smith's long ball.

And Donny star Stuart Elliott tucked away a neat finish after latching on to a loose ball with three minutes to go.

UNITED: Harper (Krul 57), Taylor, Bassong, Cacapa (Edgar 64), Enrique, Geremi (Tozer 78), Guthrie, N'Zogbia, Duff, Ameobi, Smith.

Subs: Morris, Tozer, Danquah, Doninger ,Donaldson, Godsmark.

Ref: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire)


Reigate Geordie said:

Well it looks like same old same old. New Owner, New Manager New Season nobody wanting to come to NUFC even if they were willing to pay the money, which it appears they are not. So I guess another frustrating season with the championship beconning. Why is it NUFC never get it right.
Frustrated Geordie Long time suffering fan.

dick said:

this is starting to get scary we need some fresh players fast, got to get the cheque book out fast M ASHLEY we are in big trouble

Paul Patterson said:

O.K, Not that big of a problem, losing to Doncaster, but the performance and strength of the squad IS.

Teams lose pre-season matches, where fitness is always priority, rather than winning games, but scarily, the fact that we had to field ‘Number 46’ shows you exactly what’s wrong with the squad.

If you look at Alan Smith and Shola Ameobi as a forward two, you really have to be worried, Shola- bless him- simply isn’t a Premier league striker as he has no pace, is clumsy and I’d doubt he’d cut it in the Championship, where you need to be physical to succeed.

And Alan Smith, I find has no redeeming features whatsoever, a complete waste of a shirt and as for his reputed £60k a week wage? Words fail. If the club are serious about cost-cutting, forget asking Owen to take a reduced wage, Tell Alan Smith ‘Your useless son- get out!!’

Now like I said at the start- no shame in losing a pre-season friendly, but going off what we’ve seen over the last 8 years with Shola (Yes count them- 8 years- unbelievable as it is, he‘s due a testimonial in 2 years time!) he can’t control a ball without taking three touches and somehow has a good record with the club in European competitions.

And going off the last 8 years of Alan Smith’s career, we have seen a player EXACTLY the same as Shola Ameobi- A decent prospect but hasn’t improved in that time,- if you can’t improve in eight years there is something wrong.

Ameobi played alongside Alan Shearer for six years- A goldfish would have retained more in the seven seconds it actually has to learn things.

This may seem like a personal attack on the pair (especially in Ameobi’s case) but it isn’t, I want better for this club and if we go into the season with these two players, still here and expecting a game, then we have BIG problems, they are adding to the problem that I see with Mark Viduka.

Two players that wouldn’t last five minutes at a proper big club.


Rob said:

Come on the old newcastle is back defences mix up thats wat were all about, good to see that hasnt left the club yet, even tho old players have.

richard johnson said:

sounds like we need some new defenders and another striker since smith and shola "the donkey" ameobi can't even hit the barn door. come on kk give us some hope.

Charles said:

Well, best not to torture the frogs yet despite another poor loss.

We all know of KK's positive attitude but even he got to admit that the squad wasn't good enough. I fancy Derby County could easily had whipped us two nil.

The squad was paper thin and weaker than Sam's pathetic reign. The squad needs time to gel, after all the players were mainly from reserves and sub benches.

From what I can see, the new French defender showed a little potential, despite the mistake which caused another embarrassing defeat which the paper accentuated five times over. When it was the Hartlepool win, the journalists seemed so calm and stopped their criticisms for five days before turning the win into a negative statement. We all seen ManU drew with the African squad but they don't get that much criticisms, heck, the paper even praised their performance.

Tim Krul showed why he deserves another run, as did Harper despite his age. The only thing Newcastle cannot be criticized about is their keeper.

Charles went through a lot of effort and even showed something more than what he'd done for a long time. Despite his speed, Newcastle's attacking performance in Doncaster was really pathetic to a point that the only team that is even lower came from the Cambridge kindergarten football team.

Where is Milner? Proved that without three decent players and Newcastle's entire squad was nothing. A.Smith, Geremi from the senior squad showed no guts, nothing absolutely. Geremi again performing his dislocated free kicks and corners.

The entire midfield was disorganized. Better hope Ashley saw the game live because he would soon have a vision that Newcastle is going to the championship. The fool refused to sign expensive player and opted for youngsters with an idea what once they made name, he'd sell them for a big pile of cash.

To him, Newcastle isn't a football team, its an academy to train and sell. A waste of time buying a couple of good players to hide his misery attitude. One thing's for sure, by the end of August if we do not see a couple of decent defenders, a creative midfielder and a potential scorer, I would personally lead a revolution against him.

Sympathy to Oba's mother. Wish their family all the luck. Stay as long as you want Oba; just make sure you come back with a smile on your face.

steve said:

This is just embarrassing.Ok,so we had big players missing,but our under 16s should be able to beat donny.Surely fat-ash-no-cash must realise now that we are in really desperate need of players,KK has mentioned it twice now....worryingly though its cover for our full backs hes going on about,and,in an interview ive just seen he says up front and in midfield we are good......OUR MIDFIELD IS NOT GOOD.I dont want to even think what might happen if we dont strengthen with quality.......we need 4 top signings for me,including a playmaker,and if they dont make owen stay,that would send out MASSIVE vibes to the rest of the footballing world as to what we are all about,and we may never recover....nobody will come then.forgive me for my pessimism but i can only call it as i see it....i am sick of all this,wait and see rubbish,we should have had signings lined up MONTHS ago.......gutted......toon forever.

Dave Mac said:

To be fair it was a pretty awful game anyway. donny were up for it becasue it was NUFC. Coppinger and Guy played quite well as did their number 7 (forget his name, our best player was probably Guthrie - Smith was poor, Ameobi was awful,but we were without....Given, Baye, Faye, Butt, Milner, Guiterrez, Barton, Martins, Owen and Viduka. Tony Carroll would have loved the physical challenge, and Lua Lua although injured would have been a better bet than N,Zogbia, he was very selfish, Duff and Smith were waiting to tap the ball into the net but Zog decided to go it alone and shot into the side netting. The best part of the game ????.... probably singing, either about the new number 46, the other Donny fanes away to our right, or the Jesus lookalike Donny Steward.

Pedi said:

Totally agree with steve's comments. KK said we have a good midfield?
Butt=too old/no pace, geremi=no creativeness/lacks pace, milner=lacks pace but takes people on, zogbia=doesnt want to be here, barton=in jail, spiderman=unknown in prem lge, guthrie=not strong or good enough (yet) to control our midfield, smith=wouldnt pay him in washers, useless.

Theres not much to build on in my opinion, we have no flair at all and no drive in midfield. Our wingers would be fine with someone that can pass the ball accurately for them to run on to.
I think the keegan knows we wont have lots of players coming in so to dampen our expectations, said we only need a couple of defenders. I think his hands are tied and mouth gagged so he cant say what he really thinks again.

Even if ashley watched the game i really feel he doesnt care what we need for the team, he sees pound signs running around the pitch. What are his justifications for letting our team rot?
We buy the shirts, tickets and other stuff in hope that the money will help to improve our squad. Well it looks like it doesnt to me, its helping recoup the extra money fat Ash spent in clearing the debts. Before hes got that back he wont do anything for us. Its like having scrooge in charge! The ghost from the future says if no strengthening happens its relegations for us!

Where ever bassong? sprang from he should go back cos we've enough dodgy defenders to last a lifetime. If I were scrooge i wouldnt go stand with the fans next season or he could turn into the ghost of the present! That is, unless 8 new good players turn up!

phil matues said:

why all the pessimism?....Guthrie looks class and you have to take the long-term view,we will finish top -half next season and push on from there.Ashley is building long-term and I for one is prepared to wait.

Topher said:

What a load of tosh. For example "even our under sixteens should be able to beat Donny?". What's the justification for that? Championship team who have more pre-season and more games under their belt. Therefore it was never going to be an easy game.

Another comment that our squad was so thin that we had to play a triallist. Well actually, that's completely wrong as well. Pre-season is about fitness and about learning. What better game to play a trialist? And what better way to do it than to play him in his preferred position in the strongest team you can. By the way, I would expect at least two of that back four to start the first game so we obviously weren't struggling that much.

Sebastien Bassong is a French Under 21 international who has played more games for them than Charlie has so he can't be a bad player and certainly someone worth looking at.

Smith - useless. Ameobi - moreso. Eight years is unbelievable. Why haven't we got rid of him? Cos nobody will buy him. More to the point, the pair of them together earn the best part of 100k a week. How can we bargain with people's salaries when these two are around? The fact that neither of them can score against Doncaster amongst many, many others is just incredible. How can they hold their heads high as centre forwards.

We are in trouble and we do need players but yesterday doesn't tell us anything we (or the idiots who continue to run the club) didn't know.

And one last question, why on earth are we offering 5 million for Warnock when Nicky Shorey is available for similar and a far superior footballer in every way? Warnock is poor and I guarantee that he will struggle much more than Jose Enrique. Not least because he is slower than Shola.


all them who are saying they are fed up with the doom mongers on here, need to get a reality check, this squad is in deep trouble, even if we sign another 2 or 3 players now we are going to be in a relegation battle from the off.
we just have not got the enough quality in any department bar the goalkeeping department.
defence is shocking, ok taylor signed up but he aint no adams, ferdinand, terry, carvalho, gets caught out to easily, enrique all left foot no confidence, butt legs have gone duff feint heart,geremi no imagination,
viduka injured 90% of time, owen too injury prone,
we should have had the players in already, but even who ever we fetch in now is not going to help, the warning signs have been there for along time now,
ashley aint bothered, in the next two to three months, wise gonna be in the hotseat,not been negative just seeing the bigger picture and it hurts like hell.


Well we got what we deserved -Donny were fitter and wanted to win more than we did. Shola exasperates me -how can he have played with one of the greatest strikers in the world and learnt nothing. Heavens -he cant trap a ball,pass a ball ,head a ball ,and when he does get an opportunity to put the ball in the net he invariably fluffs his shot-I can understand why no one wants to buy him -we should get him off the wage bill and give him away now -Smith for 60K a week is a total passenger -He remains an enigma in so much as it does not matter where you play him he simply does not shine. These are the players Ashley should be getting rid of -not the likes of Krul who again demonstrated his excellent capabilities in goal -only to be embarrased by the comic opera in front of him.Ashley -if you dont wise up quickly you are going to ruin this club instead of taking months to sort out MOs contract -you should be grabbing him with two hands-soon no one will come to this club KK is the best asset you have Ashley for gods sake realise that and let Kev do some negotiating-we might see some talent coming in then-what the other two are up to is anybodys guess -but whatever it is -its not working-wake up mr. billionaire or sell and ship out -but dont strip us of a team before you do-we deserve better than that.


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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