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£50 in my pocket - thank's Bally! - 04/12/2002

£50 in my pocket - thank's Bally!
Let's build on the Everton result
   Newcastle United

I must say that I enjoyed last night, not sure Kevin Ball can say the same! As some of you might have seen, Tyne Tees filmed us arriving for the ‘Tyne Tees Match’ last night, and Bally offered me a £50 bet that Sunderland would turn over my home town team. I even gave him odds of 7/4, but with Sheff Utd strolling to a 2-0 win, I went home happy and £50 better off!

When I saw Sunderland’s team I knew we’d have a good chance, I thought we got at their full back’s all night and were good value for the win. I know that Howard Wilkinson will be more concerned with the Premiership, but if they’d won last night then they’d only be two wins away from Cardiff and three away from Europe. Coupled with the fact that their forwards could do with a boost of confidence, I was really surprised not to see Flo and Phillip’s up front. Bally’s misery was made complete when his ex-club, Burnley lost 2-0 to a strong Man Utd. Strange how Alex Ferguson has changed his tune about the competition, is it an acknowledgment that they’re struggling in the Premiership and are now chasing any trophy they feel they can get their hands on? Ok, they’d rested a few of their players, but still played nine men who’ve featured regularly this season.

Looking back to Sunday’s game, and I wasn’t able to see the full 90 minutes due to TV commitments, but it seemed we did a lot of huffing and puffing. As for Shearer’s goal, it was different class. That’s two crackers in the last two games – pity he can’t make three from three in Barca. From what I saw, Richard Wright played a blinder, that’s until he threw Bellamy’s shot in his net! Still, with the form Everton brought to St. James Park, you have to say it was an excellent result.

I’ve been doing a few interviews for the Barca game, the major talking point surrounds the selection of our strikers. With both Shearer and Beller’s out, I’d go for the pace of Robert and LuaLua, bring Viana in on the left and play balls to feet for the two of them to run on to. In the meantime, it’s Villa at weekend, we used to have a good record at Villa Park, but they’ve been stronger at home to us in recent seasons. I think it’s a difficult one to call, we certainly have the quality, but our away record could be a lot better. For me, both Al and Bellamy will be pulling their boots on, knowing that they won’t be facing Barca at the Nou Camp. Will Graham Taylor’s team face a backlash? I hope so!

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