Toon Were Support Act Last Night

 

With 177 journalists and 30 photographers at the ground on Saturday night, this was one of the best-attended games at St James' Park in years as far as the media is concerned.

Liverpool are a big draw.

The press room was a hive of activity before the game - and was busier two hours before kick-off than it usually is half-an-hour ahead of most matches - and the area for journalists to sit in order to observe the game was also packed, with every seat filled.

The interest was world wide. Let's not kid ourselves, Newcastle were the support act.

Throughout the match Newcastle fans chanted about their manager - with "Rafa Benitez, we want you to stay", and "If you love Rafa stand up" able to be heard at various intervals.

For the most part, Benitez concentrated on directing his team out on the pitch - but, on a couple of occasions, Benitez did stick up his right hand to politely acknowledge the praise beaming down on him from the stands.

Every pantomime has to have a villain and every time Jordan Henderson sets foot on the pitch at St James' Park, he is reminded of his Sunderland connections.

The Reds skipper was booed every time he touched the ball, while there were also the usual not-so-complimentary chants about his Black Cats heritage, too.