Glenn Roeder has been known to keep the company of a bookmaker in his time. In his month on loan from Queen's Park Rangers to the Magpies of Notts County, he spent his afternoons socialising with a team-mate who kept checking his wins and losses on the telephone to the betting shops he ran in two Nottinghamshire mining villages. It is not certain whether Martin O'Neill still makes the odds, but he remains favourite to become the next manager of the Tyneside Magpies, at 10-11 with Ladbrokes yesterday.
As for Roeder, he might insist he is strictly keeping the manager's seat warm at St James' but the betting on him is rapidly hotting up. Before kick-off yesterday, the caretaker's odds had tumbled from 20-1 to 10-1 in less than a week. They seem certain to fall further after Roeder added a fifth win to a managerial record of six unbeaten matches.
This latest success came courtesy of goals by Nolberto Solano, Alan Shearer and Shola Ameobi and was just reward for a performance brimming with the kind of all-round organisation rarely seen from Newcastle during the managerial reign of Graeme Souness. It was not the best of days, then, for Sam Allardyce, the second favourite to O'Neill for both the England and Newcastle jobs. His side did mount a late fightback, though a Kevin Davies goal was no consolation for a first defeat in eight Premiership matches for Bolton.
Roberto Mancini, the coach of Internazionale, might have crept up the Newcastle betting order after expressing an interest in swapping the north of Italy for the north-east of England, but at the final whistle yesterday there was only one manager's name on the lips of the Toon Army. "There's only one Glenn Roeder," they chanted.
Not that the singular caretaker was thinking along anything other than temporary lines. "I haven't seen the chairman to see if I'm doing the job for next week's game," Roeder said afterwards. "One game at a time. Nothing has changed."
Not quite. Newcastle are up into the top half of the Premiership for the first time this season. They always had the edge yesterday and, after Emre and Kevin Nolan struck the woodwork at either end, their breakthrough came in the 34 th minute, Solano curling a free-kick over the Bolton wall and past Jussi Jaaskelainen from 25 yards - the Peruvian's third goal in two halves, following the brace he bagged against Everton last week. It was followed, on the brink of half-time, by Shearer's 202nd for Newcastle, a header from a Charles N'Zogbia cross that was too strong for Jaaskelainen.
It took until the 70th minute for Newcastle to add to their tally, Ameobi teeing up and burying a right-foot shot from five yards. Only then did Bolton start to show their true attacking teeth and within two minutes Davies had bundled a header from Radhi Jaidi across the line.
It might have been different had Given not blocked a Henrik Pedersen shot, and Nolan not been penalised for handling on his way to crashing a close-range effort into the home goal. As it was, though, at the final whistle it was another victory for the manager with the winning habit, and the winning name - Glenn Victor Roeder, that is.Reuse content