'Organisation' Is Keegan's Key Word!

Last updated : 18 August 2008 By Footy Mad - Editor

MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Brown, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick (O'Shea 25), Scholes, Giggs (Possebon 63), Campbell (Rafael Da Silva 80), Rooney.

NEWCASTLE: Given, Beye, Taylor, Coloccini, N'Zogbia, Milner, Butt, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Duff, Martins.

By Dennis Taylor

We started off in the Premier Inn bar down by Salford Quays, which was rather quiet, but most of the action was outside as there was some sort of boat race attracting the crowds.

But the Exchange Bar was full of Mags, many of who spilled outside ... with their beer of course.

Most talk was about the Sunday newspaper "exclusive" that Michael Owen was heading to White Hart Lane, not that many took it that seriously, and certainly not many were that upset even if it was true.

Inside the ground we spotted Mike Ashley with his henchmen in the front row, signing autographs and socialising.

Although the away game at Old Trafford is popular for the away traveller, despite us not having beaten the Mancs in their own back yard since 1972 (the match following the FA Cup defeat to Hereford), this was not exactly what we wanted to open our campaign.

But every year there is hope, as we did triumph at Old Trafford in the two FA Cup semi-finals in the 1990s against Sheffield United and Spurs.

Yet despite Sir Alex telling us all his United side were good enough to repeat their Champions League/Premiership double, they looked increasingly vulnerable at the back, and shot-shy up front.

The return of Rooney was supposed to help solve Ferguson's troubles, instead it merely showed how over-rated he is.

Fraizer Campbell, on the other hand, was impressive as an individual, far more so than 'Fat Boy'.

Ryan Giggs tried for a penalty when his early free-kick crashed into James Milner, and Shay Given was required to stand firm, and he even saved with his head as Paul Scholes flashed a shot goalwards.

Argentinian new boy Jonas Gutierrez caused the Mancs trouble all afternoon, and his direct football at times frightened the crap out of them.

Gutierrez's claims for a penalty when he was flattened by Nemanja Vidic were certainly valid, but the former Real Mallorca player didn't impress the ref.

For a period the Toon had the Mancs under pressure and Oba Martins leapt alone to meet Milner's corner with enough power to send it past Scholes, who was trying to clear off the line.

But the lead lasted just two minutes. Darren Fletcher was only playing because Cristiano Ronaldo and his suspended compatriot Nani, were out.
But the Scot stole in to steer a first-time effort past Given.

With the second half taking on a similar pattern to the first, United looked as likely to concede a second as score one.

Martins tested Edwin van der Sar from long range - but then so did Campbell as Given stretched once more to keep the youngster's shot out.

As Newcastle's confidence grew, so did United's problems.

Already short of numbers, Giggs had clearly been troubled by his hamstring before he was replaced by young Brazilian Rodrigo Possebon.

If Martins had been able to keep his header down from point-blank range after United had once again got their marking all wrong from a Milner corner, the hosts really would have been in trouble.

As it was, an increasingly tired-looking Campbell tried his luck before Vidic - who had earlier pulled off a superb tackle to deny Gutierrez a clear run at goal - saw his downward header bounce up on to the crossbar.

Rooney floated a cross-shot on to the roof of Given's net near the end and, having also been booked, bent a free-kick round the post in stoppage time.

But Newcastle were hardly under siege as they collected the point they deserved.