Well, he would say he was no mug, or to be precise, no effing mug. Joe Kinnear's first game proper as a Newcastle United manager saw him moved on by a constable in the tunnel as his new charges came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and thereby halt a run of five straight defeats. Kinnear missed Newcastle's goals, which came seconds before and after half-time as he was running down to and from from the directors' box. But that aside this was a better day for the 61-year-old. And Newcastle.
But it was also strange. Immediately after the final whistle Kinnear spoke to television and lambasted the written press once again. He repeated his determination never to speak to newspapers while he is Newcastle manager. Five minutes later Kinnear took his seat in the reporters' room and said: "Can you not take a joke?"
It was an icebreaker of sorts, as was "what's said in the past is gone", and though he referred to "the most horrible journalism", there followed a series of questions that could be described as routine.
Kinnear lamented the fact that the Football Association will look into his appearance in the tunnel late in the second half – that was when the policeman asked him to retreat – and said the mobile phone he was using had "lost reception". He confirmed that he will be having lunch with Gerry Francis today to discuss Francis coming to Tyneside to help coaching "on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He's not going to be my No 2 or anything." Having previously mentioned six and eight games as the length of his contract, yesterday Kinnear said "10 games".
Of the game, Kinnear said the players had shown "first-class character" and he rued the two goal-line clearances of Leighton Baines. "Maybe they were there for the taking," Kinnear said of Everton. That was correct. David Moyes described his players' confidence as "fragile" and that was apparent in a match high on incident but barrel-bottom in terms of quality.
After a notably slow opening, Mikael Arteta gave Everton a 17th-minute lead from the penalty spot after Nicky Butt replicated the penalty he gave away against Hull with a sliding foul on Baines. Baines then chested away a Steven Taylor shot after Tim Howard had made saves from Damien Duff and Danny Guthrie. At the other end, Yakubu went close on 33 minutes at the near post before Marouane Fellaini found the same spot and, unmarked, jabbed a volley past Shay Given. It was Fellaini's first goal since his £15m move.
Newcastle looked miserable. But Everton's zip was broken. The absence of slick passing was startling. There was no aggression. Tim Cahill was missed.
Seconds before the interval, Geremi's deep cross evaded everybody except Taylor who never gave up and who got his reward with a header. The right-back was Newcastle's most penetrating attacker and 70 seconds into the second half he latched on to Nicky Butt's pass and fired in a fine low cross that Duff met on the run.
Boos rang out on the final whistle, and Everton's next two games are Arsenal away and Manchester United at home. The pressure moves.
Goals: Arteta pen (17) 1-0; Fellaini (35) 2-0; Taylor (45) 2-1; Duff (47) 2-2.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Arteta, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar; Yakubu, Saha (Anichebe, 71). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Yobo, Castillo, Vaughan, Valente, Rodwell
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Taylor, Coloccini, Cacapa, Enrique (Bassong, 39); Geremi (Ameobi, 74) Butt, Guthrie, N'Zogbia; Owen, Duff. Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Xisco, Edgar, Doninger, Donaldson
Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).
Booked: Everton Fellaini; Newcastle N'Zogbia, Butt, Geremi.
Man of the match: Taylor.
Attendance: 33,805.Reuse content