Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Su's Bad Boy Then, Graeme?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Su's Bad Boy Then, Graeme?

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

Cheer up, lads, redemption is just round the corner. There's only Chelsea and Manchester United to come this week!

I still cannot believe all I witnessed in the good name of football yesterday.

Newcastle United ended up a shambles ( four goals conceded at home, no full-backs but four strikers on the field, and manager Graeme Souness sent off.

United had chosen to begin the game with no natural wingers ( Laurent Robert now not able to start even a home match ( and they proceeded to stumble down blind alleys all afternoon.

YET the most influential figure on the field was referee Howard Webb who made two blatantly wrong decisions in the first-half that turned the match.

YET Fulham's best performer was not a goalscorer but a goalkeeper, Mark Crossley. He made literally 10 defiant saves.

YET United's usual second choice Steve Harper didn't make a solitary save throughout a crazy 90 minutes but fished the ball out of his net four times.

On top of defeat at Bolton and ahead of two games against Chelsea and Man U, this was nothing short of a disaster.

United are left marooned in never, never land ( ninth place in the Premiership.

It was a tale of two shadow keepers ( the aged Crossley, preferred to Dutch international Edwin van der Sar, either produced acrobatic saves or had shots struck down his throat, while Harper had waited almost four years for a Premiership start and was rewarded by his central defenders going walkabout.

Unfortunately, the referee from South Yorkshire played the significant part in opening the floodgates.

First Alan Shearer was fouled by the beanpole Zat Knight but Webb could see no evil and Fulham swept away. Papa Bouba Diop arrowed the ball across field, Andy Cole let it run to outfox Andy O'Brien, and Collins John swooped before Aaron Hughes could close the gap and struck his shot impishly through Harper's legs.

Worse refereeing was to follow ( and again Shearer was wronged. …

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