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Why Big Sam's not the man for ToonMar 6 2006

 

By Alan Oliver, The Evening Chronicle

 

Those fans who have had a little wager on Sam Allardyce being the next manager of Newcastle United know what they have to do today - tear up their betting slip.

 

The bookies make Big Sam third favourite behind Martin O'Neill and Roberto Mancini, but there is no way the United supporters will want to see their team playing the way Bolton play - even if it's another 50 years before they win a trophy.

 

In fact, it's a good job Alan Green, the Radio Five man who called Bolton's football ugly and fell out with Allardyce, wasn't at St James' Park on Saturday.

 

Ugly? That was almost playing Bolton a compliment. It was joyless, brutal stuff, especially compared with some of the one-touch football United played at times.

 

 

 

 

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Take, for example, the build-up for the second goal.

 

 

Emre, Scott Parker and Celestine Babayaro were all involved before the ball was fed out to Charles N'Zogbia on the left and the Frenchman put over the sort of cross that Alan Shearer craves, and which he hardly ever got during the previous regime.

 

 

And who cares if Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen made a pig's breakfast of Shearer's header?

 

 

Certainly not Glenn Roeder, who prepares his team more thoroughly than I have ever known a United manager do so in the past 30 years.

 

 

Shearer has been shackled to the dugout in the last three games, and you did not need to be a brain surgeon to realise just how happy he was to be out playing again.

 

 

And I have to say that Shearer, despite getting a raw deal from a surprisingly inefficient referee in Alan Wiley and his assistant on the far side, was nothing short of awesome on Saturday.

 

 

But he wasn't the only one. In fact, the hardest job for United supporters was picking their man of the match.

 

 

Some went for Emre. Yet for me, Scott Parker just edged it because of the way he never let Bolton settle.

 

 

It was a day when United did not have a weakness, even with Michael Owen, Kieron Dyer, Titus Bramble, Steven Taylor and Stephen Carr all still missing.

 

 

As a result, they scored three goals for only the second time at St James' Park this season, and at 3-0 were on course for a few more.

 

 

But Shola Ameobi was still celebrating his goal and could not drag his weary bones off the floor as Bolton got a consolation.

 

 

This stopped United getting what would have been a deserved fourth clean sheet in a row and, amazingly, it was the first goal they have conceded under Roeder from open play in his six matches in charge.

 

 

And you have to remember that this has been achieved with the same defence he inherited at the beginning of last month.

 

 

It's now 13 points out of 15 for Roeder as United moved briefly into the highest position - 10th - that they have been in all season, though they dropped down a slot yesterday when Manchester City beat Sunderland.

 

 

Roeder and United will be in Manchester themselves for their next little test - against the Reds at Old Trafford on Sunday.

 

 

And Roeder, who masterminded a League victory over Man Utd on their own pitch in his time as manager of West Ham, will be bidding to do what no Newcastle manager has done since Joe Harvey in 1972: beat the side from Old Trafford in front of their own fans.

 

 

But with the newly-found confidence, team spirit and organisation, at least Roeder will take his merry men to the North West knowing that they have a chance after the way they brought Everton and now Bolton down with a bang.

 

 

Verdict: A truly excellent victory for United against one of the most uncompromising teams in the Premiership.

 

Trophies are overrated.

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Martins is Oba and out

 

By GARY PAYNE

May 15, 2007

 

COMMENT ON THIS STORY

 

 

OBAFEMI MARTINS could be on his way out of Newcastle — with Valencia and Juventus already in talks over a £13million move.

 

The striker’s Toon future was in doubt last night after he went AWOL for Sunday’s game at Watford having told club medics he was injured.

 

SunSport can reveal officials from both European clubs have met with his agent over a possible summer swoop.

 

The Nigerian, 22, has privately told pals he has no problems with Newcastle after settling in well since his £10m move from Inter last season. But the lure of Europe’s big guns looks too strong for the 17-goal striker to ignore.

 

A close friend said: “Oba’s days in England are numbered.

 

“Juventus and Valencia are in talks with his agent. No club in England is on the radar, so maybe it’s goodbye to the Premiership.”

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Are we gonna give Allardyce some say on this, or will we just be selling players out from under him?

 

That quote is from the sun, so give it the credence it deserves.

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