Upon hearing that 20,000 Geordies had assembled inside St James’s Park today, the Fiver assumed it was a typically over-the-top send-off for Jermaine Jenas, who’d just agreed to a £7m move to Spurs. The truth turned out to be even more disturbing: the gullible hordes had come to welcome an England striker who only signed for them as a last resort. Even more worrying was the sight of Sky Sports News presenter Jim White abandoning any semblance of journalistic impartiality as he whipped the aforementioned mob into a waheying frenzy in his role as cheerleading MC for the latest gag-packed extravaganza at Newcastle United Comedy Club.
“You’ve done so much in football but this must be one of your proudest moments,” simpered Jim to Magpies boss Graeme Souness, whose numerous high-profile trophy wins as a player and manager (of other teams) clearly pale into insignificance compared to securing a Real Madrid reject nobody else wanted on a four-year deal. “We’ve really done the business today,” agreed Souey, adopting a turn of phrase not heard around St James’s Park for several months. “He was my first choice, we’ve got him and the supporters will love him. He’s an honest up-front guy as well as a top-class footballer.”
And as hordes of in-no-way-fickle Newcastle fans chanted the name of a manager they wanted sacked as recently as last Sunday, the object of their affections was quick to pay homage to the man who really runs first-team affairs. “Alan [Shearer] reminded Michael he had this same decision a decade ago when he left Blackburn and could have gone to Manchester United. He chose Newcastle and look what it’s done for him,” insisted Souness, presumably alluding to the extra low premiums Shearer pays on insuring the contents of his trophy cabinet.
As expected, midfielder Jermaine Jenas has moved to Tottenham as the transfer deadline hits. QPR can take considerable solace the morning after being trounced by Wolves in their acquisitions of West Ham midfielder Steve Lomas and one-time R’s fixture Richard Langley (above), the latter returning to Loftus Road after a spell at Cardiff City.