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Football: GLENN HUDDLE; BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP It's Newcastle UNITED as Parker says Roeder has made them a team again Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 2.

Byline: By MARTIN ROGERS

IT'S A shame Frank Watt isn't still around to silence the boneheads who claim that managing Newcastle is an impossible job.

As the club's first-ever boss, Watt led them for 37 years, securing four league titles and two FA Cups along the way.

He was able to bring success to St James' Park, so why couldn't Graeme Souness?

A silly argument? Of course it is, but no sillier than those who look to point the finger for Souness's failure at anyone but the Scot himself.

Countless theories have done the rounds since Souness got the chop. According to the phone-ins, the fans' expectations are too great. Alan Shearer carries too much influence.

You're kidding, right? Let's start with Shearer, who supposedly wields so much power he makes the manager's life hell.

That would be the same Shearer who gave everything for the cause here, spending the last 35 minutes battling away to preserve a win when he should have been laid up on the treatment table after suffering a calf injury.

And those pesky fans, piling on the pressure for the poor boss. Yep, those same fans who applaud the team off the pitch every game, even when they were thrashed in the FA Cup semi-final last year, and against a Wigan second string in this season's Carling Cup.

Glenn Roeder has managed two straight wins since taking over as caretaker. Does that make him a genius? No, he simply understands what makes his players tick, places huge emphasis on quality coaching, and makes sure the finer details are not ignored.

That, in short, is where Souness went wrong. And why Roeder, looking brilliant by comparison and despite his protestations that he doesn't want the job on a full-time basis, looks poised to turn what was supposed to be a transitional phase into a serious revival of the club's season.

The Newcastle players are turning it on for Roeder because they believe and understand what he is trying to accomplish.

If they had a University Of Football, you could see him as a lecturer. He lives and breathes the game, revelling in its nuances and the mental challenge it provides.

He certainly has some disciples in the Newcastle dressing-room right now, just days after returning to the dug-out.

Once the new boss is installed, Roeder will return to the Newcastle Academy to nurture the next generation of emerging north-east talent. Thank goodness English football has people like him.

Midfielder Scott Parker said: "It helps having Glenn here. It is a positive for us that Glenn has had Premiership experience with West Ham. When the new man comes in, he comes in. For me personally it doesn't matter who it is.

"As a player you just try and get on with things. It is something you don't think about. You focus on your own job."

It took just 74 seconds for Shola Ameobi to put Newcastle in front, firing home from an angle as Villa's defenders left him unguarded.

Emerging striker Luke Moore levelled after 16 minutes, reacting quickest to a free-kick from the left and nodding the ball past Shay Given. Newcastle were confident and in control, though, restoring their advantage through Charles N'Zogbia and nearly doubling it before the break when Shearer's goalbound drive was brilliantly cleared off the line by Mark Delaney.

Villa's chance came on the hour when sub Milan Baros was chopped down in the penalty area by Celestine Babayaro and referee Mike Riley reached for his red card.

But Baros's spot-kick was saved by Given and Villa could not make the most of their numerical advantage in the closing stages. Villa's decent run over the past two months would look so much better were it not for their continuing miserable home form.

Defender J Lloyd Samuel said: "We tried as hard as we could and I suppose on another day most of those chances would have gone in.

"We battered them in the second half.

The first half wasn't a very good performance but we came in and turned it around, but unfortunately couldn't get the goal we deserved.

"We've picked up more points away than we have at home and we don't know why that is, but sometimes you don't get the rub of the green.

"We've got to put this one to the back of our minds now and try to look forward.

"We know our home record is not good enough but that is in the past and we need to put it right from now on."

TEAMS AND RATINGS

ASTON VILLA: Sorensen 6, Hughes 6, Mellberg 6, Delaney 6, Samuel 7, Gardner 7 (Ridgewell 59, 6), Hendrie 5 (Baros 55, 5), Barry 6, Whittingham 7, Moore 7, Phillips 6 (Angel 55, 6).

NEWCASTLE: Given 9, Ramage 7, Bramble 5, Boumsong 4, Babayaro 4, Solano 7 (Elliott 66, 6), Emre 8, Parker 8, N'Zogbia 7 (Bowyer 85), Shearer 8, Ameobi 7 (Dyer 69, 7).

Referee: MIKE RILEY

CAPTION(S):

SHO ON THE ROAD: Ameobi celebrates with Shearer after giving Newcastle a flying start' YOU'RE THE WON: Roeder makes a point
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2006
Words:852
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