Monday, 21 April 2008
Newcastle 2 Sunderland 0
My late grandma was one of those people who genuinely "liked to see all the North East teams do well" in the football leagues, and would sit through the entirety of the Saturday final scores just to see how Hartlepool, Carlisle and Darlo had done. This is probably something to do with being from Durham, rather than Tyneside or Wearside. For a taste of a more partisan view, look at/listen to this and this from a packed St James's Park yesterday. Being the North East top dog isn't the grandest bragging right in the game just now, not with the top 4 far from reach and the likes of Villa, Blackburn, and Portsmouth having left Newcastle behind them this season. (Hence the importance of the career plans of the fella pictured above with his adorable little moppet on a startling day back in 2005.) But it'll suffice for the time being. After all, coming 11th or 12th in the top division these days is pretty much the same as coming 7th i.e. you still get nowt, and your passports stay in your drawers, though I can name at least one side for whom 7th place seemed to count as "taking the Premiership by storm" a few years ago. Alas, for me (and for other soul-searching Toon fans, I'm sure) it's Middlesborough who still hold the whip hand in the region, purely on account of a League Cup won as recently as 2004. Whatever they say about the pains of managing Newcastle it remains the case that to be a legend the gaffer only has to win six matches in a season, so long as they're all in the same cup competition. But Kevin Keegan has a bye through any such miserly qualifying process on account of pre-approval such as this.