Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In Heaven after a Magnificent Seven

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In Heaven after a Magnificent Seven

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Oliver

Newcastle United fans finally got round to acknowledging Graeme Souness last night.

But it needed the Magpies to beat a team who had picked up 10 Champions League points this season points by a margin of 7-1 on aggregate and also embark on an eight-match winning run.

Well, all I can say is: "What took you so long?"

The Scot has taken United into the semi-finals of the FA Cup and to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup with a two-legged humiliation of a team who only lost two games out of six in the Champions League and had victories over Liverpool, last season's finalists Monaco and Deportivo to their name.

Under Souness United have played 10 games in Europe this season, winning nine and playing out a 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon when they had already qualified for the group stages.

Those 10 games have now produced 26 goals compared with only five leaked at the other end.

Wasn't it great that United marked their 100th game in Europe with a 4-0 victory ( the exact same score they beat Feyenoord in their first game in September 1968?

I must confess I felt a trifle uneasy about last night's game but Kieron Dyer revealed afterwards that Souness's team-talk left the players in no doubt what was expected off them.

Appropriately, it was Dyer who started the demolition job on Olympiakos with his two-goal skipper Alan Shearer finishing off the first Greek side to play at St James' Park.

Freddy Shepherd always insists that United are a bigger club than they sometimes give themselves credit for and if this is the case, then Newcastle's stock could hardly be higher in Greece after their 7-1 two-legged drubbing of the country's top side.

Early on, Olympiakos striker Giovanni, who scored the goal for Barcelona which knocked United out of the Champions League in 1997, looked as though he was going to be a threat. …

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