Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

You Let Us Down

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

You Let Us Down

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Oliver

Newcastle United's band of loyal fans in Norway today accused Sir Bobby Robson of letting them down by leaving Alan Shearer on the bench in their UEFA Cup tie in Oslo yesterday.

And when United finally arrived back on Tyneside after their 1-1 draw with Valerenga just after 4am - almost seven hours late - they knew they would have to act quickly to prevent any talk of problems between their manager and skipper.

But United woke up later today to headlines reporting that Robson allegedly told Shearer he is not the player he once was - which is NOT something the manager has said.

What Shearer said after the match, in which he was an unused substitute, was that he was "disappointed and angry" that he did not start yesterday's game.

And so too were United's Norwegian fans, with Lena Oddekalv telling me: "Some of us have come 10 hours by bus from western Norway to see Newcastle United and Alan Shearer and we are very disappointed he was not playing."

When I suggested to Lena that Robson had to have the right to manage and pick the team he thought was best for United, she insisted: "Yes, but he should still have sent Shearer on for the last five minutes at least."

Newcastle fans in general were upset by Robson's team selection, judging by the texts received by the Chronicle, a selection of which are on Page 48 tonight.

This Robson-Shearer situation is going to rumble on, which is nothing short of a tragedy for United. And certainly there are several ways of looking at it.

One is that if Robson knew he wasn't going to play his skipper then he could have left him at home to rest for Sunday's long trip to Portsmouth.

On the other hand, with Shearer one booking away from a one-match ban in Europe, Robson could have played his skipper and hoped that he would pick up a yellow card which would have meant him sitting out next Wednesday's second leg - a game United are still supremely confident of winning to book their place in the last 16. …

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