THE THREE weeks David Ginola spent in an African jungle with a back-pack and a gun has not gone to waste. The French military service veteran entered hostile territory at St James' Park last night. He failed to emerge unscathed, however, as Tottenham's campaign was effectively brought to an end by the playing platoon of the Toon Army.
His every touch greeted with venomous derision, Ginola made his mark against his former club. His deflected first-half goal was not, however, sufficient to keep Spurs in the FA Cup. The combined goalscoring efforts of Gary Speed, Nikos Dabizas, Duncan Ferguson, Kieron Dyer and Alan Shearer took Newcastle through to a fourth-round tie at home to Sheffield United.
It was Ginola himself who provoked the hostility, choosing his address to the Oxford Union last month to accuse Alan Shearer of living on his past reputation. The Newcastle captain has refused to respond with a verbal defence in public, though the fact that he lined up last night without a goal in six games suggested he had a point or two to prove.
Before Shearer had a chance to make an impression, his team were 1-0 up. It was a goal of stunning simplicity five minutes into the tie, Warren Barton crossing from deep on the right, Ferguson rising unchallenged to head the ball down on to the six-yard line and Speed firing a first-time shot past Ian Walker.
It should have been 2-0 in the tenth minute but Kevin Gallacher, put through on the right by another telling Barton ball, failed to direct his right-foot shot past the charging Walker. The keeper's save was at least a rare high point for Tottenham, who were struggling to cope with Gallacher's pivotal play in a roving role behind Shearer and Ferguson.
George Graham sent on Ruel Fox for Luke Young midway through the first half, presumably in an attempt to give his side some attacking clout, but the twin towers looked to be disappearing from their horizon in the 27th minute. Nolberto Solano hoisted a left-wing corner and Dabizas sent a powerful header crashing past Walker.
It was not, however, the decisive knockout blow. Six minutes later Ginola cut in from the right and, with one flourish of his left boot, and a considerable deflection off Aaron Hughes, beat Harper from the right fringe of the Newcastle penalty area.
By half-time, though, the Newcastle old boy cut a forlorn figure on his former patch. He was still on the halfway line complaining about a tackle from Helder when Barton swept up the right flank again and crossed for Duncan Ferguson to sweep in Newcastle's third, after Walker - who had moments earlier denied Shearer with a superb diving save - failed to hold on to the ball.
Ginola departed at half-time clutching his left shin-pad, vainly bemoaning his lot to Graham Poll. He returned with both socks pulled up but it was Newcastle who continued to toil to greater effect.
Dyer, a replacement for the tiring Gallacher, made it 4-1 with a neat side-footed finish in the 72nd minute. Shearer added two goals of his own in the final eight minutes - first from the penalty spot after being held by Ramon Vega, then with a header.
The loudest cheer of the evening echoed around the ground with 15 minutes left when Ginola's number was held up. He disappeared straight down the tunnel, just like Tottenham's season.
Newcastle United (4-3-1-2): Harper; Barton, Helder (Marcelino h-t), Dabizas, Hughes; Solano, Lee, Speed; Gallacher (Dyer, 65); Ferguson (Ketsbaia, 77), Shearer. Substitutes not used: Given (gk), Glass.
Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Walker; Perry Vega, Campbell; Young (Fox, 22, Armstrong, 71), Sherwood, Nielsen, Clemence, Taricco; Ginola (Dominguez, 75), Iversen. Substitutes not used: Gower (gk), Baardsen.
Referee: G Poll (Tring).Reuse content