Robson helps lift Toon gloom

Newcastle pay tribute to former manager with no end to crisis in sight

For a few emotional minutes last night the followers of Newcastle United put despair at the state of their club aside and paid their respect to Sir Bobby Robson. Around 30,000 fans turned up at St James' Park to watch a re-run of the England-Germany semi-final of Italia 90 in aid of Robson's Foundation – a charity dedicated to fighting the cancer which Robson, 76, is suffering from for a fifth time.

There were tears as well as applause as Robson was introduced shortly before kick-off. He was in a wheelchair. It was a sight that would spark compassion in even the hardest of professional football hearts. Germany's goalkeeper for the night, Oliver Reck, took off his glove to shake Robson's hand when the guest of honour met the teams.

There was also a clasped hand from Alan Shearer. Like Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Robert Lee and Les Ferdinand, Shearer was present to swell the numbers for Robson. Gascoigne complained about England's defending on Germany's opening goal. Peter Shilton shook his head.

Shearer, of course, would like to be here permanently, and he would prefer to be in the dugout, not on the pitch.

But Shearer remains in limbo, cut off from owner Mike Ashley following Ashley's May declaration that Shearer was the best thing since sliced bread.

"I know as much as you do," Shearer said before kick-off, when asked about alleged takeovers. "I would dearly love the situation to be sorted out one way or the other so the club can move on."

But two months after relegation from the Premier League and just 13 days until the first fixture of next season – in the Championship – the news was that there was no news. "I'm the same as everyone else, I'm hanging on in there," Shearer said. "I certainly know nothing myself. But I'm a fan and I don't like to see the situation the club is in."

And what a situation. As Shearer spoke, Newcastle's official website was relaying a message from caretaker manager Chris Hughton. It was an apology, one even this nonchalant regime deemed necessary.

Then again, losing 6-1 at Leyton Orient – which Newcastle's current first team did 24 hours earlier – should provoke embarrassment. Orient's starting XI cost nothing; Newcastle's £56m. Newcastle's, moreover – with Joey Barton becoming frustrated in midfield – was close to that which will start at West Bromwich on Saturday week.

"We can only apologise to the fans who have backed us tremendously during pre-season," Hughton said. "The situation off the field is well documented but the supporters have never turned on the players, and have been magnificent."

That can go on only so long. Even though it was a mere pre-season friendly, the Orient result was another signpost to fans on Newcastle's seemingly unstoppable downward journey.

Their overwhelming collective feeling is that Shearer is the one person who can put a brake on this but as each day goes by, another room at St James' catches fire. Yesterday brought speculation that the club overdraft is now up to £40m and that Dennis Wise is still on the pay-roll.

Robson shares the dismay. "It's great that Alan can play," he said, "but I'd have preferred to have him involved at Newcastle United because I believe we need a strong manager for the next five years. But Newcastle's loss at the moment is my gain and I'm thrilled he is with the England Legends team. I tried to sign Alan for Barcelona, but he came back home to Newcastle instead. Thankfully, I was able to be his manager later on at St James' Park and he was a model professional, as well as a great captain and centre-forward. Next, I expect him to be a great manager, and I hope it's with our club, Newcastle."

Shearer, naturally, scored the winner last night. From the penalty spot.

O deary me: Magpies v Orient

Starting XIs

Leyton Orient: Jones; Purches, Mkandawire, Chorley, Daniels, Demetriou; Melligan, Thornton, Smith; Scowcroft, Patulea.


Newcastle United: Krul; Beye, S Taylor, Coloccini, Enrique; Nolan, Smith, Barton, Gutierrez; Martins, Duff.


*Average attendances last season

Orient: 4,691; Newcastle: 48,750.

*League position last season

Orient finished 14th in League One, seven points above relegation. Newcastle finished 18th in the Premier League last season, and were relegated.

Orient's starting XI on Saturday included seven free transfers, one free agent, two released players and one, Jason Demetriou, who has come through the ranks.

Newcastle's starting XI contained Tim Krul, signed as a teenager from Den Haag, Steven Taylor who came through the ranks and Fabricio Coloccini who cost £12.5m, according to Joe Kinnear, once agents' fees had been paid. Coloccini has 32 caps for Argentina.

On Saturday, Orient's six goals were scored by six different players. "A clean sheet would've been nice," said manager Geraint Williams.

Arts and Entertainment
Masterchef cooks Tony Rodd (left), Emma Spitzer (second left) and
Simon Wood (right) posing with judges Gregg Wallace (centre) and John Torode (second right), as the three will be seen cooking their hearts out in the hopes of winning the show.
TVReview: Tired Geography teacher John Torode and shaved Scotch egg Gregg Wallace crown the champion
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week
Life and Style
The Grand Palais in Paris will be transformed into a 4,000-seat cinema, with 44 double beds at the front
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road