Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Raise a Glass or, Better Still, a Cup

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Raise a Glass or, Better Still, a Cup

Article excerpt

With an hour gone in Heerenveen last Thursday, mutiny was in the air.

The manager and the chairman were in the firing in line and it is at times such as these you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

But by Sunday night, the truly remarkable nature of football and especially Newcastle United was apparent.

Having come back to defeat the Dutch away from home was a top-class achievement. A lot of sides have come a cropper in unfashionable out-of-the-way places like Heerenveen and, while the performance was far from ideal, it is results which matter to Newcastle at present. Nothing else.

That said, in the best traditions of The Simpsons, many Mags were ready to take their cue from Montgomery Burns and "release the hounds" in the direction of Titus Bramble for two appalling blunders.

And yet by Sunday night, all was sweetness and light. The hostelries of our fair and noble city buzzed with gleeful satisfaction at having won an FA Cup tie against a side which can be fairly described as the best in England and one of the best in Europe.

Some may begrudge Souness's side the glory of their win over Chelsea because Mourinho failed to play his regular 11 but I defy anyone to point to any bad players in that Chelsea team.

Chelsea Reserves? Only when they lose. Enviable strength in depth when they win.

Chelsea had some rotten luck, much of it of their own making, on Sunday but it is stretching it a bit to ask anyone to have sympathy for a club with so much stacked in its favour.

Chelsea post pounds 90m annual losses and no-one bats an eyelid. They seem to operate without a budget and have a flaky support that can't sell out 3,000 tickets to see a side at the apex of its powers.

If there is a club that better represents the grotesque and unfettered free market in football more than Chelsea I'd like to see them.

Jealous? Of course. In the words of the unforgettable Terry Collier from The Likely Lads: "I hate Chelsea and everything they represent." Oh, how that resonates now as it did then.

Although the performance against Chelsea wasn't great, the result was and that is all that matters in a cup tie. …

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