Newcastle Utd 1 Hull City 2: Newcastle spiral out of control

Supporters direct anger at absent owner Ashley while on the pitch Hull leave the home side looking like a shambles

Newcastle are in meltdown. Off the pitch, owner Mike Ashley felt unable yesterday to attend a stadium he possesses and where his Sports Direct company logo dominates the Gallowgate End; on it, Newcastle gifted Hull victory with a performance every bit as fractured as the whole atmosphere surrounding the club. Newcastle were dreadful, the club are imploding.

What happens next, only Ashley knows. Or does he? There has not been much sign of coherent strategy so far and proof that Newcastle do not truly belong to Ashley came with his absence. His failure to turn up to the club he says he has spent £250m on in the past 16 months helped to reveal the full scale of the acrimony since Kevin Keegan departed. It raises another question mark against how long Ashley can remain.

Newcastle supporters protested as they said they would – long and loud – and when the chant went up in the 23rd minute of "Stand up if you hate Ashley", most of those inside St James' were on their feet. There were further "Dwarf" chants aimed at Dennis Wise, also not here – he was at Charlton – and the sheer volume of anti-London sentiment illustrated that even if Ashley and Keegan had found some form of reconciliation on Friday at their shock meeting in a lawyer's office on Piccadilly, geographical resentment would be merely camouflaged. "Cockney Mafia Out" were the words on one banner. It was applauded as it was taken around the ground. But those talks broke down on Friday and while there is an outside possibility that discussions can be rekindled, it still feels like Keegan could not return if Wise and his assistant Tony Jimenez stay. Throw in Derek Llambias, the managing director with whom Keegan has clashed over transfers, and Ashley would be removing a structure he has only just put in place.

Llambias was the only one here yesterday, the empty seats beside him symbolic of isolation. He tried to smile but his discomfort was obvious. How can any of this gang of four take any enjoyment from this? Not that there was much to savour for anyone in black and white. "Are you Grimsby in disguise?" came from the Hull fans after Marlon King had scored his second of the afternoon in the 55th minute.

By then 50,000 – officially – had made their way in. Once again they were given no information. It took the DJ to communicate, the snap of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" coming over the Tannoy just before kick-off. It was 36 seconds before the first chorus of "There's only one Kevin Keegan" was heard. Outside the song had been sung from lunchtime and the 2pm gathering outside the Milburn entrance was as angry as had been forecast.

When the match at last broke out, reckless Newcastle defending was then responsible for both Hull goals. Nicky Butt was at fault for the first after 34 minutes, sliding in to fell Peter Halmosi as he cut inside. Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot and King squeezed the penalty past Shay Given.

For the second goal, the £9m signing Fabricio Coloccini went AWOL as Hull attacked on the counter. Halmosi spread a 40-yard pass wide to King on the right. King had Charles N'Zogbia haring across to cover but stepped inside him with too much ease and placed his shot around Given into the far corner.

Hull, led by their captain Ian Ashbee, were neat and efficient. They lost their last match 5-0 to Wigan and had been forced to leave their Durham hotel late on Friday night following a fight with a wedding party. But Newcastle were the mess. Boaz Myhill's only first-half save came from a Michael Owen flick. A Danny Guthrie cross-shot later skimmed the bar.

But Xisco, a £5.7m signing from Deportivo La Coruña – by Wise and Jimenez – had an unimpressive debut even including his 81st minute tap-in after N'Zogbia's low shot rebounded off the woodwork. That gave Newcastle hope and briefly worried Hull's manager, Phil Brown. Listening to "Sack the Board" chants afterwards Brown said: "I'm just watching that door in case there's a riot."

Brown was smiling. Newcastle had not been able to equalise and their malaise was encapsulated in the ridiculous but deserved dismissal Guthrie collected in injury-time. He launched two bad tackles on Craig Fagan and was shown a straight red card. What a shambles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea