Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Earn Some Breathing Space

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United Earn Some Breathing Space

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

As Sir Bobby Robson sat down to reflect on Newcastle's first Premiership win of the season, his mobile phone vibrated into life.

Staring down at the number the old campaigner raised his eyebrows. "If it is the chairman of Real Madrid, I'll speak to him."

It was not. But even had it been, Robson would still have turned down any job offer.

Whatever the gossip mongers in cyberworld may dream up, Robson will only quit as Magpies manager when he is ready to retire.

Of course, that day will come when the former England coach finally decides to enjoy his retirement. But there is no way a winless start to a season is going to prompt him to walk away from the football job he craves more than any other.

Robson was hurt by the rumours last week suggesting he had walked away from the pressure.

It implied a stain on his character. It suggested he was not up for the fight of turning around Newcastle's shoddy start to the season.

And it is a fight Robson has started to win. This may have been Newcastle's first three-point haul of the season, but the displays against Bolton, NAC Breda and Arsenal had suggested that a side bristling with potential, but lacking in performances, was starting to find its groove.

Against Southampton they were still not at their fluent best, perhaps unsurprising given the unsettling events, but they were still comfortably the better side against one of the top flight's trickier customers.

Robson admitted hearts had been pounding late on as he, like the fans, feared the Saints would grab an equaliser. Yet it is this rush of the football drug which fuels his desire to continue in a job which gives a whole new meaning to pressure in the workplace.

With Alan Shearer's 250th career league goal that pressure has subsided, but Robson knows the fans who chanted his name during Saturday's game expect things to improve.

It was fitting that Lee Bowyer, the only summer addition to the payroll, should start to repay Robson's faith in him.

Bowyer got the man-of-the-match award and he was at last reminiscent of the player who won plaudits while at Leeds. …

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