How to park a bus in front of the goal (and deal with the ball boy from Hell)

By Lee Ryder on Nov 23, 08 01:37 PM

So in the end it was textbook performance but not textbook as in how to win a football match and take three Premier League points from Chelsea.

No, this was how to defend, how to frustrate and how to make sure a team picks up a point when they so desperately need it.

I put my hands up, I didn't give Newcastle United a chance at Stamford Bridge and without being negative I did fear a hammering, four, five or at one point six or seven until I calmed down and had a word with myself.

I also felt that the 1,665 Newcastle United fans had probably all had that sinking feeling when they set off for the game against, let's face it, one of the best teams on the planet on their day.

But one other thing that did cross my mind before hand was that each and every one of those fans would be setting off with hope, slim hope, but some hope.

Hope that their team could get something, all of them would have had thoughts of picking up a result and how great it would be to do exactly that.

So back to that bus, and how Joe Kinnear knew exactly where to park it.

After the game Kinnear had talked about the lack of clear cut chances for the home side.

That was largely due to some no nonsense defending by United and you have to give credit to Fabricio Coloccini and Sebastien Bassong for putting in perhaps the best performance from two centre-backs this season.

Steven Taylor will have something to say about that I'm sure and it certainly spices up the competition for defensive places, but can Kinnear drop either Colo or Bassong for the Tyne-Tees derby after this?

They were not alone either, Jose Enrique did well too and Habib Beye was starting to look like the player we know from last season.

But some crunching tackles in midfield from Danny Guthrie and Nicky Butt also provided real protection for the back four, why can't this be the case more often away from home?

It was Jose Mourinho who invented the phrase "parking the bus in front of the goal" during his time at Chelsea but even the Toon players will admit they were lucky at times.

Yet they made their own luck.

And they also rode some bad luck with ref Phil Dowd coming up with a few questionable decisions during the game.

Like for instance a couple of dodgy free-kicks, or when Joe Cole was fouled late on and he played an advantage before pulling the play back after the move broke down and Newcastle had cleared the ball, surely it's one or the other Phil?

Especially as there had been about four or five touches after the initial advantage call?

And if dealing with one of the most expensive teams on the planet wasn't hard enough, Newcastle also had to deal with the ball boy from Hell.

Here, the excited youngster was mega efficient in retrieving the ball at a time when Chelsea were becoming desperate.

So efficient he insisted on breaking the rules and entering the field of play to slap the ball down on the edge of the six yard box for Shay Given to take his goal kicks!

However, once the pigeon carrier had delivered the message to Dowd (Paul Barron protesting to fourth official Pat Miller), a the ball boy's supervisor reluctantly went over to tell the youngster not to do it again after he'd done it for a fourth time.

And having survived all of that, Newcastle held on for a point which was celebrated like an FA Cup semi-final triumph.

Afterwards the players boarded the bus in good fettle.

Dennis Wise slipped through the back door quietly at his old club afterwards too but this day wasn't about him, it was about the performance of the Toon players who clearly hadn't read the script to record one of their best results of the season.

By then the bus had moved from in front of the Chelsea goal to round the back of Stamford Bridge and by that time Kinnear probably felt like ordering an open top bus to celebrate.

Yet holding up a giant point like the FA Cup could look a bit stupid.

Nevertheless, Newcastle United deserved their slice of the limelight.



Brian Whitfield said:

Holy Moley!!!

I thought 'Yea, a win or tie against Chelsea when Hell freezes over' Hope those little demons are freezing their bums off.

John Fowler said:

Great review Lee.I hope the Toon can repeat this stellar performance at the Riverside next Saturday.

Howay the Lads!

Teddy K said:

If only we'd won the last two games - we'd be well up the table, which, unfortunately, tells you something about the state of the Premier League.

Old Tom said:

Very good review Lee. More confidence at Riverside and more luck, who knows. Chelsea lot made me laugh,Teams come here and just defend. That has gone on for quite a number of seasons when other teams come to Newcastle. Is Wise being wiser, or Joe not knowing why Kevin left?. Joe!. I have given Mr Wise a list of players that I need and he will get them for me. We need to sell so I will ask him who.

Quentin Dunn said:

Yes, Joe will have to pull a rabbit from his hat ? and bring on Viduka with Owen and Martins, also a standby in a rookie STRIKER, and we will do them good. Sir Bobby did that, and got results, near the end of the game ?Ameobi bringing up the rear.


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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