Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Penalty Miss Was No Dream on Debut

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Penalty Miss Was No Dream on Debut

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

For any Geordie, his debut in the black-and-white plumage of Newcastle United is a joy unsurpassed. However, for Michael Chopra it was finally a moment of black despair.

His eagerly-anticipated debut came against Everton in a league cup tie at St James' Park, in November of 2002. "We drew 3-3 after extra time ( but I missed a penalty during the shoot-out and we went out," recalled Chopra.

"I didn't even hit the target. We had been practising during training beforehand and they flew in for me then, of course, but playing in a big game in front of your home crowd is very different. I wanted to be the hero and fluffed things.

"I was sitting with my head in my hands in the dressing-room. My dream had ended in a nightmare, but Alan Shearer came up and said: 'Keep you head up, son. At least you had the guts to take a penalty ( a couple of 30-year-olds didn't fancy it. And think what it's like to miss against Sunderland'.

"Alan had done that a couple of years earlier, of course, and at St James' Park. …

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