Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

John Gibson on the Horror Show at Newcastle United

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

John Gibson on the Horror Show at Newcastle United

Article excerpt

SHAME on you, shame on all of you, but especially shame on Steve McClaren.

This was the day when a great club descended into farce and humiliation. When relegation threw its icy cloak round the shoulders of a defeated and deflated side.

It had begun with United's PR department stressing that a statement supposedly released by the players in support of a beleaguered McClaren had not come through official channels.

This after the manager had engaged in an unseemly altercation with one of the media at the club's pre-match Press conference.

So what did the denial mean? The players were or weren't backing McClaren? Or had some wag issued his own spoof 'proof' of solidarity? We knew not and cared not. All we needed to know was shown in an hour and a half of sheer agony, of abject surrender, of professional suicide.

The three relegation favourites are already in sackcloth and ashes....Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle.

A miracle is required. The executioner's axe on any belated hope could fall in a fortnight, cruelly delivered in a Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park after the usual away-day capitulation at PL leaders Leicester City. That's what Geordies fear. Nay expect.

Even McClaren, for once, knew that going on to the field | John Gibson on the final whistle to applaud the fans would have been an act of physical folly. He quickly disappeared down the tunnel, which is what his team had been doing all afternoon. Disappearing down a long, dark tunnel. They had handed a surprised and delighted Bournemouth the freedom of the city.

McClaren also knew he had to abandon his irritating words of optimism in pos-match Press interviews. Too late, my son, far too late.

I called McClaren a dead man walking in my Friday column when I compared him to Chamberlain rather than Churchill, waving a white piece of paper and talking of peace in our time while the Second World War broke out. He knows not what he says.

The chants throughout the second half laid bare the truth. …

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