EVERTON’S fans sang “going down, going down, going down”.
Was that translated for signing-to-be Mathieu Debuchy, who watched Newcastle United’s loss to Everton from the directors’ box at St James’s Park?
The result left the club even deeper in trouble in the Premier League.
Debuchy (pictured), who has a medical today, presumably thinks that Newcastle can pull away from the relegation zone over the coming weeks and months.
The only problem is that they’ll almost certainly have to do it without leading scorer Demba Ba, who is on the verge of joining Chelsea.
And the boos at the final whistle suggest the club’s fans still need convincing themselves after a desperate few months on the pitch.
As Ba and his representatives thrashed out the financial terms of his £7.5m move to Stamford Bridge in London, The Magpies got down to business on the pitch on Tyneside.
The pre-match hope among fans was that Ba’s Senegalese countryman Papiss Cisse, pushed to the fringes of manager Alan Pardew’s attack, would come to the fore.
Cisse wasn’t restored to his favoured central role – that was handed to long-serving Shola Ameobi – but it didn’t matter.
Cisse was up and running two minutes into the game. Goalkeeper Tim Krul’s long ball upfield was missed by everyone on its way to Cisse, who looped a header over a helpless Tim Howard.
Krul stopped a Leighton Baines free-kick at the other end in a fraught opening few minutes, with Newecastle largely on the back foot.
There were chances for Newcastle – James Perch hit the post with a header, and Ameobi had a strong penalty claim against Phil Neville – but there was an inevitability about Baines’s equaliser two minutes before the break, with David Moyes’ team having dominated the half.
Pardew’s side had defended stoically, but there was nothing Krul could do about Baines’ ferocious 30-yard free-kick, which was drilled through a hole in United’s wall.
Ameobi poked the ball just a couple of inches wide of Howard’s post as the hour-mark approached. A Nigerian was to get the next goal – but it wasn’t Ameobi.
Marouane Fellaini spread the ball to Nikica Jelavic on the left, and his low ball found Victor Anichebe, who had been on the pitch less than two minutes.
Anichebe lost marker Davide Santon on his run to the box, and the striker prodded firmly past Krul.
Pardew sent on Gael Bigirimana for Obertan, who had faded after a bright opening few minutes. The change saw Newcastle go to a 4-4-2 formation, with Cisse joining Ameobi in attack.
Vurnon Anita broke forward in the 68th minute and delivered a fine cross for Cisse, whose header struck John Heitinga. Cisse tried a follow up shot but Howard collected.
Newcastle rallied in the last 20 minutes, but chances were few and far between. Sammy Ameobi and Nile Ranger followed Bigirimana on to the pitch, but most of Newcastle’s play was easily dealt with by the visitors.
Newcastle: Krul, Perch (Ranger 87), Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Obertan (Bigirimana 65), Anita, Tiote (Sammy Ameobi 79), Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Cisse. Subs Not Used: Elliot, Ferguson, Tavernier, Abeid. Booked: Cisse, Williamson, Tiote. Goals: Cisse 2.
Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Naismith (Anichebe 58), Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic (Oviedo 88). Subs Not Used: Mucha, Hitzlsperger, Gueye, Vellios, Duffy. Booked: Heitinga, Pienaar. Goals: Baines 43, Anichebe 60.
Att: 49, 391 Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).