Date:Friday October 20 2006
Forget 'where were you when JFK was shot?'. Most of us Toon fans probably weren't even born. But ask WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE TOON BEAT MAN UTD 5-0 and that is a different story!
It happened ten years ago today, and we should never forget the side that put the pride back into Tyneside.
Gavin Peacock, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Philippe Albert scored the goals.
NEWCASTLE 5 MAN UTD 0
Amid remarkable scenes at St James' Park yesterday, Newcastle United lived up to the relentlessly wild expectations of their magnificent supporters. Defending intelligently and attacking stylishly, Newcastle thoroughly embarrassed the Double- winners. If there are any clear heads left in Newcastle this morning they might reflect gleefully that Barcelona only put four past United.
Statistics rarely do justice to the size of an achievement. They do here. It was United's worst defeat since October 1984 when they lost 5-0 at Everton. Alex Ferguson said it was the worst scoreline of his 22-year managerial career. History was being rewritten, chapter by chapter: the flood of goals were the first United had conceded in nine hours and nine minutes. It was 999 time.
The stats marched all over United. Newcastle's seventh successive Premiership victory, their first League success over United in nine years, propelled Kevin Keegan's rampant side back to the top of the table. And for the Toon Army, who had travelled down to Wembley so hopefully in August, it will have ended memories of their 4-0 Charity Shield thrashing by United.
At the end of an occasion memorable or miserable depending on your persuasion, a Newcastle fan lumbered off the terraces. So fat he made Jimmy Five Bellies look like Kate Moss, he ran towards Keegan and dropped to his knees in worship. Ten Bellies was eventually winched away but his outpouring of emotion and thanks was shared by all Newcastle supporters present.
Of the many statistics reverberating around St James' corridors, one small one meant everything: the nil following the five. Newcastle, so often brittle at the back, defended from the front, with Les Ferdinand often chasing back to help a side determined to deny United any hope or space. With Philippe Albert in exceptional form, Newcastle proved so successful that it appeared Eric Cantona might lose control.
Cantona's growing incandescence was witnessed after 13 minutes when Newcastle scored a scrappy first. A long corner from David Ginola, who was really in the mood yesterday, was diverted back by Alan Shearer towards Peacock. The centre-half, 66-1 against scoring the first, arrowed a downward header through a mass of arms and legs, the ball just crossing the line before Denis Irwin cleared.
The assistant referee, his wisdom later confirmed by television, immediately signalled a goal, triggering widespread euphoria and a collective apoplexy in the visitors' camp. Cantona was first to inquire about the officials' eyesight, though it was Peter Schmeichel who was booked, for arguing too vehemently.
One touch, the ball dispatched violently with his right foot, and Ginola had beaten Schmeichel. The man from L'Equipe sitting at the front of the press box was smothered in Geordie kisses.
Mancunian protests were heard again five minutes later in a match of great pace and passion. Gary Neville's swept through pass, from right to left, invited Karel Poborsky to sprint through the middle. His first touch carried the ball too far forward, so encouraging Pavel Srnicek to speed off his line and dive at Poborsky's feet. Poborsky, twisting like a gymnast over a vault, trailed a foot against Srnicek's body and fell to earth. His over-ambitious penalty claims were rightly ignored.
From a position of potential parity, the champions fell further behind on the half-hour. If the visitors had questioned the legitimacy of Newcastle's first, there was little disputing the second, one of the strikes of the season from Ginola.
The move was created by Newcastle's full-backs. Steve Watson transferred play from right to left towards John Beresford, who worked the ball to Ginola, cutting in down the inside-left channel. One turn and the Frenchman had foxed Gary Neville. One touch, the ball dispatched violently with his right foot, and Ginola had beaten Schmeichel. The man from L'Equipe sitting at the front of the press box was smothered in Geordie kisses.
The dramas came and went. Shearer hit a post before David Batty, a major force in Newcastle's triumph, and Nicky Butt were booked for scrapping.
The second half brought no respite for Ferguson and his men. Cantona had a goalbound shot cleared by Watson and his frustration soon spilled over. A growing Franco-Belgian tiff soon resulted in Cantona being cautioned for pushing Albert. Such was Cantona's angry state of mind, his red shirt matching his mood, that the very real possibility of dismissal arose.
Newcastle kept their composure. Soon, their flowing passing movement brought them a third. Shearer muscled down the right and crossed for Ferdinand, his attacking accomplice, to head in. Brilliant stuff.
Shearer, in terrific form, started and finished the fourth after 71 minutes. After sweeping the ball from left to right towards Beardsley, Shearer accelerated into the box. Schmeichel somehow managed to block Beardsley's shot and Ferdinand's follow-up but proved helpless as Shearer played the poacher.
Newcastle made it five in thrilling fashion. Albert, gliding through United's half like an admiral leading his fleet, climaxed his progress with the deftest of left-footed chips over Schmeichel from 25 yards. The partying and the statistic-swapping began.
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