Football: Newcastle apply the frighteners
Monday 12 September 1994
Chelsea. . . . . . 2
SOMEWHERE in St James' Park a man was seriously worried. What could he say? How do you deliver bad news in the gentlest and most tactful manner? You get the drift of the thoughts tormenting the Royal Antwerp scout.
True, he could couch his report on Wednesday's Uefa Cup opponents in terms of Newcastle weaknesses. Their defence, for example, creaked at times on Saturday and any suggestion that Andy Cole is infallible can safely be dispatched to the dustbin after he made a mess of a one-on-one situation with the Chelsea goalkeeper. The rest, however, should be read in Belgium only with the accompaniment of a stiff whisky and a bottle of aspirin.
How do you relate the brush with perfection that was Newcastle's and Cole's first goal, for example? There is a theory doing the rounds in football that if you push the prolific striker to the left his finishing reaches mortal proportions, although it might not be wise to mention it to Dimitri Kharin.
The Russian watched him pursue a pass from Barry Venison in the eighth minute and positioned himself accordingly for the logical outcome, a cross or a shot to the far post. What he received was a missile from Cole's supposed weaker foot that crashed just past his shoulder and into the top corner on the near side. A marksman with a rifle could not have pinpointed the target any better.
Glenn Hoddle, the Chelsea player-manager, wondered how his goalkeeper had been beaten at his near post but that was a curmudgeonly response to a thunderous strike. Surely Cole's own manager, Kevin Keegan, was nearer the point when he said: 'There have been around 250 goals scored by us since I arrived here and I can't remember a better one. It was a classic.'
Add to that another supreme piece of chance-taking, when he struck from Robert Lee's pass after 66 minutes, and the omission of Cole from the last England squad becomes more of a scandal by the match. Like the vast proportion of the football-watching public the Antwerp scout must have wondered what more the man must do to persuade Terry Venables. Isn't 59 goals in 62 games enough?
The questions perplexing Hoddle were how his team, which hitherto had a 100 per cent record, could play so well and yet be thoroughly thrashed and why Dennis Wise was sent off, allegedly for 'foul and abusive language'. The Sirens would have needed amplifiers to tempt sailors if they had been in competition with the Toon Army and Hoddle produced that as Exhibit A for the defence. 'Dennis is adamant he didn't swear,' he said, 'and anyway, no official was within 30 yards of him.'
As to the former mystery, Hoddle will not be the only manager perplexed by the speed and movement of Newcastle. After 19 goals and maximum points from five matches they are the closest thing to an unstoppable force in English football at the moment, and the prospect of the return of Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark is frightening to anyone not sworn to the black and white.
The last time they won their first five matches, in 1908, Newcastle were champions and it is going to take a very gifted team to stop them. That was probably in the Antwerp scout's report, too.
Goals: Cole (7) 1-0; Peacock (15) 1-1; Fox (21) 2-1; Furlong (27) 2-2; Lee (53) 3-2; Cole (66) 4-2.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hooper; Hottiger, D Peacock, Albert, Beresford; Watson, Venison, Lee, Sellars; Fox, Cole. Substitutes not used: Howey, Mathie, Burridge (gk).
Chelsea (4-4-2): Kharin; Clarke, Kjeldbjerg, Johnsen, Sinclair; Rocastle (Hoddle, 76), G Peacock, Spackman (Newton, 74), Wise; Furlong, Spencer. Substitute not used: Colgan (gk).
Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).
Latest in Sport
Louis van Gaal says he is inheriting a 'broken' Manchester United squad
Luckless Abou Diaby full of confidence as he attempts yet another Arsenal comeback
Manchester City's #AskJesus Twitter takeover quickly descends into chaos as Premier League champions are trolled relentlessly
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...
£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...