Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robson's Men Show They're United in Cause

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Robson's Men Show They're United in Cause

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Given the controversy which dogged their trip to the Balearics, Sir Bobby Robson and his players were relieved to make the headlines for the right reasons again last night. Paul Gilder was at Estadio Son Moix.

Newcastle's pilgrimage to Palma is guaranteed to live long in the memory; if not for the football match which necessitated a troubled trip, for the unfortunate fracas which preceded it.

There were no shortage of talking points in the build-up to the second leg of United's Uefa Cup fourth-round encounter with Real Mallorca. Few centred around the beautiful game.

Amidst debate and discussions of Craig Bellamy, the first-team coach John Carver, flying chairs and a flurry of pushes and punches, it was easy to lose sight of why Sir Bobby Robson and his players had ventured to Spain in the first place.

Fortunately, English football's most-experienced manager, who, 60 minutes before kick-off at Estadio Son Moix sat alone in the visiting dug-out quietly collecting his thoughts, isn't easily distracted.

Whether Robson would be able to successfully focus the minds of his players on the task in hand was another question altogether.

Yet, once Konrad Plautz had blown his whistle for the first time, pride and professionalism took over as United delivered a display high on harmony to ensure a positive end to three difficult days by emphatically securing a place in the competition's quarter-finals.

Bellamy, of course, was not on the pitch at that point but the substitutes' bench. It was fitness rather than fighting which deprived the striker of a starting place and, while there are those who believe there should be no place at St James's Park for such a volatile character, the Welshman remains key to the cause.

There may be no room for Bellamy's aggressive attitude within the departure lounge of Newcastle Airport. …

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