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"Ridsdale, are you happy now?" sang what remained of the 40,000 crowd - which with 15 minutes left was about 20/22, 000 - as Leeds went on to prove categorically what happens when you sell most of your better players to appease shareholders, you lose football matches.
We had a short spell of pressure leading up to half time, but other than that we were 2nd best in the way that Paula Radcliffe's opponents are second best - miles off, in truth we were so far behind we were lapped. If Harry had managed to do something with his one clear sight on goal after Smith charged down Bramble's clearance when it was only 0-1 then maybe we could have fought out a draw or something, but I doubt it.
N'castle's defence looked ordinary and I was going to say that you can see how Woodgate will improve things no end, but apparently they have the best defensive record in the league (11 clean sheets) - so that shows how much I know. But it is their midfield and forward play that demolished us. The forwards are good - whatever we say about Shearer, and he did elbow both Radebe (who had to go off) and Bravo in the face without getting punished (this latter one causing the ITV commentator to claim that he is Spanish so we shouldn't read too much into his histrionics!!), but Shearer had a hand in all 3 goals. The passing and movement of the forward line supported often, in numbers and at pace by the midfield had us chasing shadows. Okon wasn't even in this game - but then he was replaced by Barmby in the middle. I'll just type that again "he was replaced by Barmby in the middle" - now I'm 35 and both my knees are shot and I'm a better bet in the middle than Barmby, Jesus! Johnston was a bit part player, Wilcox went off at half time after an anonymous first 45. Kelly at least tried to get forward and did sling in a couple of crosses but there was no-one there. He also tried his luck with his trade mark "cheeky" free- kick which Given did well to save.
The defence is now a huge worry. We face the prospect of going into next season with a choice for Chalf of the limited but willing Duberry, the perma-injury skipper Matteo and the elegantly crumbling Radebe - whose knees, I can exclusively reveal today, are held together by brown paper, tsring and sealing wax. With Mills and Lucic as desperate make do cover. Not good enough. Let's hope Kilgallon is up to it by then. I feel sorry for Raul Bravo - if he'd have joined us 2 years ago to replace Harte then he would have been a good player in a hell of a team, now he's a good player wondering who he pissed off so much at Madrid to get sent here.
Smith and Kewell tried but when they took a look at the support Sheare and Bellamy got from Dyer, Robert and the excellent Speed, they must have wept. Kewell did open the second half with a great right wing run and cross that Milner almost got on the end of - and that was just about our last attack, they scored a couple of minutes later.
1st goal came from Shearer being allowed to stand on the edge of our box without a Leeds plyer within 10 yards, control the ball and knock it through to the overlapping Dyer.
2nd goal Bellamy on the end of a long punt, held off Duberry, laid it back, Shearer blocked Okon on the blind side and the ball was fed through to Dyer who jinked aside from Duberry and finished from 18 yards.
3rd goal - aside from the fact that it should have been a free kick to Leeds which the linesman flagged for, but went unseen or ignored, the ball goes down the wing Mills fouls. From the free kick Leeds are too bothered with arguing the toss to mark Shearer and he leaves Duberry for dead.
They could have had more. We were lucky they didn't. We are a very average team. They are where we were 2 years ago, only with an infinitely better manager.
Am truly pissed off this morning.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 24/02/2003.
Jonathan Woodgate's nickname among the players and staff at Elland Road was "The Ghost". A clause in his contract when he left for Newcastle United last month stated that because of the inflammatory nature of his £9m transfer, Woodgate would not play in this match. Sir Bobby Robson went a stage further in telling the central defender not to bother attending it. But Woodgate was here on Saturday, in spirit.
"Where's your Woodgate gone?" taunted the Newcastle fans as soon as they entered the ground. Haunted by their former favourite, the Leeds crowd turned on the chairman Peter Ridsdale.
"Ridsdale, Ridsdale, what's the score?" they sang in the 57th minute as Lucas Radebe narrowly prevented Kieron Dyer from completing a hat-trick to make it 4-0. An hour later hundreds of the same fans were outside chanting "Where's the liar gone?" and "Where's the money gone?"
Copy from Football Unlimited of 23/02/2003.
The flu virus that incapacitated Terry Venables and left him at home served its purpose yesterday, saving the Leeds United manager from watching a defeat far more emphatic than the scoreline suggested. In his stead, Newcastle United's septuagenarian, 10 years Venables' senior - Sir Bobby Robson - skipped joyfully between dugout and touchline, rightly taking pride in his club's increasingly impressive and fruitful campaign.
A week that could already give Sir Bobby Robson cause for great satisfaction - not many managers can celebrate their 70th birthday with an away Champions League victory - had improved markedly even before kick-off. News of Manchester United's struggles at Bolton meant that victory for Robson's team would leave them just three points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's with the luxury of a game in hand and the prospect of United having to go to St James' Park.
It took only 17 minutes for Newcastle to take an important lead and the upper hand in their bid to fulfil those aims. Kieron Dyer, outstanding in the midweek win away to Bayer Leverkusen, was the scorer with, surprisingly, his first league goal of theseason, the result of fine inter-play between Alan Shearer and Laurent Robert. The former laid the ball off to the latter on the left wing, receiving the return, chipped in a pass and placed it directly at the feet of the unmarked Dyer, who had the time and space to steady himself before driving a ferocious left-foot shot past Paul Robinson.