Soap on the Tyne -ToTT review of the season Part 2
After the Villa triumph banished all thoughts of a nightmare season, the B team continued the good feeling by scraping through into the next round of the league cup by beating Accrington Stanley 3-2, but hopes began to dwindle once more following a 1-1 draw away to Wolves and a home defeat to a Gilks inspired Blackpool. The season was promising to be a long one, not only on the pitch, but the transfer dealings of the club seemed increasingly drawn out. It seemed to be one of the longest transfer sagas in recent season as the club courted Hatem Ben Arfa, culminating in the player being photographed by a fan at the airport after flying to Newcastle himself to try and force a deal through. He eventually signed on loan and if some people didn't know who he was when he touched down, they certainly did after his stunning winning strike on his debut against Everton.
September ended with a classic cup tie away to Chelsea, which saw our B team snatch a 90th minute winner in a thrilling 4-3, but the up and down trend continued as it was followed by a 2-1 defeat at home to Stoke, courtesy of a sublime diving header from our own James Perch for the winning (own) goal. The drama continued into October as 2 key refereeing decisions led to a defeat away to Manchester City and Coloccini scored a stunning last minute header to equalise at home to Wigan in our following game. It was fast becoming like a soap opera involving a football club as a comeback win away to West Ham did little to shrug off the rumours circulating that Chris Hughton was soon to be sacked. The rumour went so far that before his B team were humiliated 4-0 at home to Arsenal and knocked out of the League Cup, betting was suspended on his departure. It was suggested that a defeat to rivals Sunderland in the next home league game would spell the end for the manager who had become a fan favourite....
What happened next will go down in local history. On the morning of October 31st 2010 Sunderland came to St. James' Park, bringing a small horde of expectant travelling fans (predicting an easy triumph over their newly promoted opponent) with them. It did not go as they had planned. Newcastle stormed into a 3-0 half time lead, prompting many red and white strips to leave. No doubt the 10 players wearing them on the pitch wanted to do the same and by the time Sunderland registered on the score sheet the horde was nothing more than a few poor souls who couldn't find the will to move after watching 5 goals, including a hat trick from skipper Kevin Nolan, go past their helpless Goalkeeper and a defender (and former Toon player) called Titus sent off. 5-1 it ended. The executioners axe was put away, and thoughts of saying farewell to Hughton squashed, for the time being that is. 5-1.