Both Newcastle and Sunderland came out of the 1-1 draw last Sunday with considerable credit on their side.
Alan Pardew and Martin O’Neill last Sunday
Sunderland outplayed Newcastle in the first half and were rightly 1-0 up at the half, although it was a soft penalty that Newcastle conceded.
But then in the second half Newcastle bossed the game, and while either side had chances to win it in the final 45 minutes, a draw was probably a fair result over the full 90 minutes – plus stoppage time.
What we didn’t like was the way the players, the managers and the coaches seemingly found it hard to control themselves during the game, and they will need to do better next season.
Alan Pardew started it all off immediately after the game, when he claimed Sunderland had come with a game plan to rough up the Newcastle players:
“In the first half Sunderland came here to upset us and Cattermole set the scene, it was ugly.”
And then on BBC Newcastle’s Total Sport program yesterday, O’Neill countered with the following rather righteous indignation:
“The half-time stats are a total contradiction to what their manager said (he’s called Alan Pardew). They’ve twice the number of bookings we have, and twice as many fouls.” “It was an extraordinary analysis of the game, and that’s what I’ve set out to defend, as much as anything else.”
“I’m not sure whether I should have to do that, but in the course of everything that went on before, during and after the game, it’s only right you should back something up with fact and those are the clear facts. It flies in the face of any of that.
“You think you’ve watched the game, given a reasonable analysis, certainly your own viewpoint, and then you hear the opposition manager saying that Sunderland had a game plan to upset them, to unnerve them, to basically – and he used the word ugly – attempt to kick them off the pitch.”
“That was the message that he was getting across at the time.” “Lee Cattermole was booked after a minute and a half and quite rightly so too. The second foul was committed by ourselves when Davide Santon goes by Seb Larsson and Phil Bardsley after three and a half minutes.”
“The irony is that we didn’t commit another foul then for about 17 minutes, during which time they conceded seven.””This is an opportunity for me to set the record straight as it were.” “It’s not a case of taking moral high ground, but putting across what I felt during the course of the game almost entirely the opposite of what their manager was saying.”
“It was amazing. It’s very difficult to argue with some of the things that happened in the first half. In fact, if anyone was trying to intimidate, it was Newcastle.” “Sessegnon deserved to be sent off the pitch, I said that at the time, because he raised his arm in retaliation,” “He’s flung an arm back in the manner that, if the referee sees, he has no option but to send him off.”
“But what happened was really ridiculous. Tiote, this ‘hard-man’ of the Premier League, has clutched part of his anatomy that wasn’t even touched, he was hit between the chest and neck, enough to knock a fly over.” “He’s gone down two and a half seconds after the incident, and rolled around 14 times. It’s really disappointing. It’s not to say that is exonerating Sessegnon at all.”
“With Lee, in the aftermath of the game you have to leave it. I understand it, Lee was pretty frustrated by it all, considering that before Sessegnon was sent off he was blatantly hit in the face himself I think by Tiote, in full view of the referee, who chose not to do anything about it.”
“I don’t know what will happen in the future. I wasn’t happy with it, I wasn’t happy about his comments and I’m choosing to air my views today.”
We think both managers should tone it down a bit, and let it be, to use the words of the Beatles.
Alan Pardew’s press conference is planned for later in the week, and while we know the reporters will ask him (goad him?) into a response to the above comments, we hope Alan takes the high road and doesn’t get into this.
Both managers should now let this thing lie – both have made their case, and both of them last Sunday didn’t exactly handle themselves with dignity and decorum, and it’s simply daft to keep this war of words going.
The fans and players look to the managers for direction, and both sets of fans were very well behaved last Sunday, to their credit.
It would be good if the players, coaches and managers followed the fans’ direction in the next derby game.
And to end on a much lighter note, the best comment we have seen since the game on Sunday is this one.
We need to lighten it all up a bit.