Fifteen years ago to this day, Glenn Roeder sent this team out to face West Brom in The Premiership at St James Park…
(4-4-2): Shay Given ; Steven Carr, Craig Moore, Titus Bramble, Celestine Babayaro; Nobby Solano, Amdy Faye, Matty Pattinson, Charles N’Zogbia; Shola Ameobi, Michael Chopra.
A 33-year-old Lee Clark replaced Matty Pattinson 80 minutes in and two unused substitutes were Albert Luque and Jean-Alain Boumsong. On paper it sounds awful, doesn’t it?
The result? A 3-0 home win for The Toon with Solano scoring first then a brace from Ameobi including a penalty. You can watch highlights below, showing what an incredible job the late great Glenn Roeder did to get this group of players up to 7th that season!
In truth, 3-0 flattered West Brom as they were 2-0 down at the half and then manager Bryan Robson said he could have changed his entire team at half-time! That side would be favourites to go down if you through them into the Premier League today, yet what good football we played that afternoon.
Now, I hope I’m not being unfair but apart from Shay and Nobby I really don’t think that any of the others would get into Bruce’s matchday squad. Or perhaps you disagree? Yes, there were injuries, the most notable being Shearer but that’s some win and an even better season with that team.
Not only that but this was a team languishing in 15th position as late as February when Graeme Souness was sacked and whilst we awaited a new manager Roeder just got on with the job and finally secured himself the job even if it was reluctantly given to him by the board at the time.
Why did he get the job? Well, he took over as Caretaker and from the 6th of February to the end of the season took the team up to a final finishing position of 7th. Yes, the basis of that team 15 years ago finished 7th in The PL under Roeder’s stewardship?
Now tell me that would happen today under the current regime with the same players. Mmmm thought not!
What an incredible job Roeder did. RIP, Glenn.