Toon fans are the 11th man as fighting spirit returns to St James's Park

By Lee Ryder on Oct 20, 08 11:22 PM

Newcastle United may well be in the relegation zone after their 2-2 draw with Manchester City - but they won't be for much longer if they continue to fight in the way they did against the richest club in the world at St James's Park.

Joe Kinnear certainly has his critics but one thing he can't be slated for is his ability to bring teams together as one.

The crowd certainly warmed to probably the best home performance of the season.

The team spirit in the pulsating 2-2 draw against City was there for all to see and despite playing for most of the game with 10 men, United once again left the field knowing they should have picked up all three points.

First up the big mistake of the night from Rob Styles, who wrongly showed the red card to Habib Beye and wrongly awarded a penalty.

It meant that City grabbed the lead through Robinho's penalty.

And although every man and his dog will have a view on the spot-kick that should never have been, it's worth pointing out that perhaps this galvanised Newcastle United even more.

Joe Kinnear has instilled a fighting spirit into his troops and it showed here.

First they weathered the storm which led to Shola Ameobi slicing home his first goal for two years.

Let's be honest, it was typical Shola.

A messed up cross, four deflections including one from his own player in Damien Duff and then the scruffiest finish of the season at Gallowgate.

Shola did score - but nobody ran for the pitch, even Ameobi didn't want to celebrate!

But who cared?

It was just what United needed.

The second half needed battlers too but it was Richard Dunne's comical own goal that handed Newcastle the lead they probably deserved.

Shay Given's amazing save was worthy of three points alone, but somehow Stephen Ireland wriggled his way through to snatch a point.

In the end the 10 men though were happy with the point.

The Toon Army had played the role of 11th man and despite no wins since August, the performance gives the Geordie Nation hope going into the Tyne-Wear derby.



Al Jardine said:

As against Everton, three points lost, I'm afraid. Still, it was an inspired performance. Coloccini was magnificent.

I think the Mackems will be harder than this lot of overpaid pampered goons, because they'll play with more passion. We'll have tough out that first 20 minutes or so where they revert to type and inevitably try to scythe us down, but I'm more positive after last night's game.

Bill said:

That's more like it! Another battling performance with great performances from every area of the pitch. I didn't think I would ever compliment Shola again for his play but last night he fully deserved the standing ovation he received when subbed.

Alright, it was another poor penalty decision by Styles, and equally unacceptable performance from the assistant, we conceded a late equaliser but I am very pleased with the attitude and commitment shown by the team.

I was worried about the derby match. Not any more. If we show the same determination we can/will get at least a draw.

MoM: Thw whole team!

keir said:

a bit of pride and passsion has returned!
knocking bet for a draw on saturday....and id take that now!
well be ok if we play like we did last night for the last 20odd matches

STEVE said:

COMING away from the match i was gutted to have drawn,a result which i would have taken before the game given our current situation.So i suppose its hats off to big joe for galvanising what was looking like a sinking ship.I saw a damien duff of his blackburn days and even shola gave their centre halves a torrid night which is astonishing cos i think he is utter rubbish,but fair play to him,he probably realises its his last chance and he played well.Rob styles is amongst footy supporters widely reknown for being the worst ref in the premier league pool (along with rennie in my view),and true to form he dropped a humongous bollock to rob us of beye and a goal(like we need more bad luck)but we battled like ive never seen a nufc side battle for many many years so i am quite happy at the moment.If we can take this attitude,along with beyes red card rescinded and the return of guttierez and even barton(weve gotta take all the positives we can just now)we can go into the game versus the great unwashed with a good chance of turning them over....which would be fantastic cos i know a load of mackems who have come out of the woodwork recently and they are SO confident of a win.Just a note on the sending off,i taped the match on setanta and watched it when i got back,and sir les,mcmanaman,pearce and burley all said it wasnt a penalty but graham poll said it was ,hardly surprising cos they all stick together,,.but how much notice need we take of the only man in the history of the world cup finals to dish out 3 yellows to one player in a game????CLOWN......HOWAY THE TOON.......WHEEEZE THEEEZE KEEEEZE

Dave B said:

Hi Lee - Some positive signs no doubt. The midfield worked as hard as any NUFC midfield I've seen in many a year. Nicky Butt was fantastic, although I maintain any game (or season) where Nicky is your man of the match means you are well and truly in a slog at the wrong end of the league. Also I have to say average Joe played a blinder with his substitutions late on - bringing on the running power of Charlie when we needed to run the clock down was a great move.

A final point - whoever takes over the club will want to bring in their own people. Can I suggest Craig Burley for referee liaison manager as he showed last night he can handle muppets better than Jim Henson. Fair play


everyone of the lads deserves a big pat on the back, they ran their socks off.
rob styles yet again tried to grab all the headlines, and graham poll giving his opinion on setanta was absolute crinch worthy, thank god this buffoon is no longer reffing.
if we show these battling qualities we will have half a chance, duff looked like a player last night its been a long time coming.
i feel ameobi has got to become more aggressive, i personally think another performance of last nights standards will be too much for the mackems, because for all the money they have spent this summer, they are not pulling any trees up.
hopefully beyes card gets over turned, jonas not to far from coming back, barton back.
joe deserves great credit for instilling some spirit back into the camp.

Ageordiedoonsooth said:

Great battling performance after another disgraceful decision from Styles. It's just a shame we didn't hold on for the 3 points. If we can get 3 points against the Mackems on Saturday we will really be on the way back.



harpo said:

Lee, are you related to Honey Ryder the gorgeous Bond Girl? Is she your Mam?

As for last night, a gutsy display which made me proud and fills me with optimism for Saturday's encounter with the people from the next valley.....

Revo said:

Hi Lee
Great to see a team with shape passion and determination.
Back four were narrow and communicating they held a good line and smothered city.
Midfield battled and set out to pass and move.
Shola will learn from JK and Martins with a bit of luck around injuries will be sensational as he gets more games.
Lost my voice shouting nice things at the ref.
Great game and a platform to build on.

Ivor Clark said:

Well once we had hit rock bottom the only way was up!. You know if you compare our results with the same fixtures last season we are actually ahead by 3 or 4 points, which means we are totally in a false position and/or the fixture list has not been so kind to us. I could only listen to commentary on the radio, but clearly the TEAM performance was so much better. I honestly thought once we lost Beye and that pen went in we'd had it,so credit where its due for the Mags coming back into another game the way they did. City are a good team,make no mistake, so this was a decent result esp 10 vs 11 ( well 12 if you include the ref)

Personally re the red card is this not the best argument for video replay, if just for red card decisions??. It would prevent these kind of awful mistakes and save some refs from awful stick!...

Dave Mac said:

I felt so proud walking out of the stadium last night, I'd seen the players play with heart. Duff has come in for some stick from me before but he was magnificent last night, all of them were. God I love being a Geordie !!

ronnie lambert said:

I've never felt as proud as last night since we knacked Barcelona. I'm proud of the players, every single one. Proud of the greatest fans on earth, and I bet the foreign players felt a tingle up their spines with the Geordie roar. Before the game I was nervous of the richest club in the world and would've snatched a draw, but felt we should have won it on points after the brave fight by 10 men. Ten who ran themselves into the ground. I did feel that in the last 8 minutes when city started pushing hard that we would tire but prayed that we could hang on, sadly not. On last night's tactics and display, JK would not be a bad choice for new owners. I can't remember when the Toon defended so resolutely and unitedly. Dead proud man, and dead hoarse.

big Si said:

I like the look of bassong, he looks like a player to me. Could become a really good one for us.

JCP said:

If JK can bring about a win at the Stadium of Light on Saturday then the 'bring back Keegan' chorus line may actually begin to fade. The new owners whoever they may be might not have to look too far for their new manager. Joe has already accomplished several minor miracles. He's put heart, backbone and fighting spirit into a side that has been lacking both since Speed and Shearer departed. He's got the foreign legion playing like it is an honour to wear the black and white stripes and he's the first manager to have such an effect on Ameobi that he's beginning to look like something of an asset. Lastly how wise he's been in his remarks about the penalty decision. He hasn't jumped on the crucify Styles bandwagon but has in public combined a conciliatory tone with the firm understanding that Beye will be playing at the weekend. How refreshing to hear words both from and about NUFC that come from the head, not just the viscera. Joe could be the find of the season.


Mexicola said:

To be fair to him (which I don't like being) I think Rob Styles gave an honest, if completely wrong call when he gave the pen. From where he was stood it must have looked like a pen, but why didn't the linesman correct him? He must have seen it, surely? As to Graham Poll, his explanation on Setanta was odd to say the least. Referees union perhaps?

What can I say about Joe Kinnear? You've gotta hand it the man, he's won some respect and more importantly he's got the players believing again. Anyone who can motivate Shola and Duff into the sort of performances they gave last night has to have something going for him.

Things are looking up. Good on you Joe.


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.

Latest Premier League video


Email alerts

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

In association with


Follow my RSS feed


Follow me on

Lee Ryder's Twitter


Sponsored Links