Welcome back to the 2nd part of this new, short term series where I’m trying to make a success of Newcastle whilst captain and talisman Alan Shearer is injured. Things got off to a decent start in part 1, maybe not in the league but we knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League and isn’t that enough?
It’s certainly given us some confidence as things continue to improve with a mighty 3-0 win at Goodison Park. No doubt Ian Rush scoring will have pleased the Everton faithful…
That’s followed up (after an International break) with a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge. The Ian Rush statue will look great outside the Gallowgate
It’s deemed worthy of the “shock defeat” graphic which I think is a little harsh. We’re a Champions League side. Granted we’re a side that contains Ian Rush and Brian Pinas, but that’s not the point.
That brings us to the start of the Champions League Group Stages and a home clash with IFK Gothenburg looks like a rough beginning when we go 1-0 down inside a minute. Shay Given gets man of the match which says it all but eventually our own Swede brings us level, Tomasson puts us ahead and Rush gets his now customary goal.
The games against Man Utd will no doubt be pivotal. Back to league action though and a 2-0 lead at home to Leeds is blown and it finishes 2-2. We’re a weird team, a fact underlined by our performance at Villa Park. We have a goal disallowed, miss a penalty (Andersson) and then have Darren Peacock sent off as we lose 2-0. That leaves us 10th, with 2 games in hand and still 4 months until Shearer time. Dion Dublin signs for Athletic Bilbao and on the same day, Gareth Southgate moves to Real Betis. That, in the words of Martin Tyler, sums it all up.
Barnsley’s visit is a return of the good times though. The dynamic duo get a brace each.
That gets Rushy a recall to the Wales squad, a fact he celebrates with a goal in Latvia as Skonto Riga are brushed aside 2-0. We had 23 shots but very few successes. The celebration continues in the less fanciful surrounds of Bolton’s Reebok Stadium, where our old Welshman scores the only goal of the game to see us past the 4th placed Trotters. The most remarkable thing about the match though is that we picked up three injuries in 4 minutes before half time, including Andreas Andersson, who like John Barnes will be sidelined for a month. The International break is very welcome.
Rush doesn’t get his dream Wales appearance, a dislocated shoulder rules him out though oddly only for one week. I’m relieved as he is my only striker for a few games, including Man Utd in the Champions League.
First though it’s Coventry at home and without Andersson it’s time for…Ketsbaia. Barnes and Barton are still out injured, Peacock is banned but Shearer is down to “a couple of months.” Naturally we throw away a lead and draw 2-2, but then we win at Wimbledon and everything is fine.
Gary Speed’s injury rules him out of the Man Utd Champions League clash, which is going to hurt. With Rush and Bjarni Gudjonsson up front, how can we lose?
So close. First NUFC goal for Bjarni Gudjonsson, so that’s a plus. It doesn’t get any easier though – Arsenal at home is up next.
BJARNI! Seeing as he’s my new hero, who is he?
I can’t even find a picture of him in a Newcastle shirt, but this is another Dalglish signing bought for the future. That date of birth is wrong by the way, not that it matters.
He went on to play 132 times for Stoke, so there is that. He nets again in a 5-1 demlotion of Carlisle in the League Cup and with Andreas Andersson returning to fitness, things look a bit rosier. Luton Town in round 4 could be a lot worse too!
Back to the Champions League and a trip to Sweden. It’s a horror night. 2-0 down and on the way out, Bjarnicakes scores twice and life is good again. Then we concede a late winner and that basically ends our involvement.
David Batty was meant to be my warrior but he’s just constantly injured. Anyway, we finish this update with Leicester at home. Andersson is recalled in place of the jaded Rush and it’s a bad end to a miserable week.
We’re still 5th as we take a rest for the International break. It’s not that bad really.
Look who’s nearly back…
Sorry, wrong screenshot.
Just one month to go…11 days to the next game too. I’m sure he’ll be back in part 3. See you then!