Belfast Telegraph

The savages go wild up in the north-east

By Billy Weir

Prize for understatement of this or any other time goes to Kevin Keegan on ESPN in his pre-match appraisal of what awaited us as Newcastle and Sunderland prepared to lock horns on Sunday lunchtime.

“They’re usually real good spectacles to watch. Sometimes local derbies fall short of expectation but this one tends to live up to all expectations,” he told us and he would have loved it, loved it, to have been proven dead right.

If the Vikings had arrived on Tyneside on Sunday they would have turned the longships round and scarpered before you could say ‘Ant’ or ‘Dec’ as this was not a game for the squeamish.

Lee Cattermole, part-footballer, part-threshing machine, started the fun off with a yellow card after 44 seconds and somehow managed to stay on the pitch until he was finally red carded for his 37th bookable offence as the teams were walking off at the end.

In between there was carnage and MOTD2 gave some post-fight, sorry, match analysis as the dust tried to settle beginning with Benin’s Stephane Sessegnon’s elbow on Ivorian Cheick Tiote. Nice to see they’ve settled into life in the wilds of the north-east.

“The smallest player on the field and he’s gone down like Klitschsko had clobbered him,” was Guy Mowbray’s take on it, while on the sidelines the undercard featured Martin O’Neill v Alan Pardew.

“It was strong, it was passionate, it was vitriolic, I was enjoying it but in a perverse way,” was how Martin summed it up and he was dead right.

There was another Savage about on Sunday afternoon as Robbie joined fellow blonde bombshell Gabby Logan and David James bedecked in a snazzy waistcoat that made him look like a walking picnic blanket as Cardiff took on West Ham.

But it was worth it just to have him take the hand out of Savage for his description of a hamstring niggle as a ‘back of the thigh injury’.

I’m not sure what the injury or casualty count was on Newcastle but there were a lot of sinners at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

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