Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United to Get `Cool It' Warning

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United to Get `Cool It' Warning

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Rushworth

Graeme Souness and his first team squad will be under strict instructions to stay cool during Saturday's clash with West Ham United as Newcastle's increasingly strained relationship with the Football Association faces fresh scrutiny.

Soho Square's decision to appoint Barry Knight as this weekend's match referee, with the dust still settling on Steve Bennett's below par performance at Highbury, has caused consternation within the corridors of St James's Park.

But club officials will urge restraint, in the face of what many United fans will view as severe provocation, as the man who reduced the Magpies to eight men against Aston Villa last season returns to Tyneside.

Souness, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer will be reminded of their individual and collective responsibilities ahead of a potentially explosive reunion with Knight. And the controversial referee will speak to Newcastle's manager prior to kick-off on Saturday in order to set the correct tone before a fixture United are under intense pressure to win.

Knight has already apologised for incorrectly awarding the penalty against Villa which sparked frustration within the home camp and ultimately led to Bowyer and Dyer locking horns on the St James's Park pitch in April. He made a point of speaking to Newcastle's senior players minutes before he officiated at the Magpies' clash against Everton a month after issuing three red cards on Tyneside.

But Knight's sentiments were soon forgotten as he awarded a disputed free kick to the home team which ultimately cost United the match. And it is debatable whether anything Saturday's referee has to say to Souness and his players will be taken seriously in the light of last season's shenanigans.

The visit of the Hammers was always likely to be a fraught affair given Newcastle's frustrating lack of progress in the transfer market and last season's dismal worst ever finish to a Premiership season.

Supporters will demand nothing less than a convincing win against the newly promoted Londoners following Sunday's 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at Highbury. …

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