Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 0
When it was all over, as Newcastle looked back over the wreckage of their season and basked in a pleasure that had been a long time coming, one moment stood out. There was bitterness and there was rancour. Yet the mutiny, for once, was not that of Newcastle’s fans. “Fuck off Sam Allardyce, ” came the song from the most vertiginous part of the Leazes End where the away fans were housed.
West Ham had been generous opponents and it said everything about their decline that a day that threatened such heavy repercussions for Newcastle actually became such a relatively stress-free occasion. As it turned out, Newcastle would have been spared anyway because of Hull’s inability to beat Manchester United. Yet John Carver’s side have waited a long time to experience the explosion of joy that came at the end and, if nothing else, they deserve credit for the way they held their nerve, however much Allardyce’s players sleepwalked through what will be surely be the final game of his time as manager.