Bellamy gives Toon the Blues

RECORD signing Robinho and new arrival Craig Bellamy both paid the first instalment of a debt to manager Mark Hughes by ensuring a Manchester City win against ailing Newcastle last night.

Hughes has patched up his differences with Robinho, who has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, and was rewarded by the Brazilian setting up Shaun Wright-Phillips for City’s opener.

Then Bellamy, snapped up for £10 million (€10.8m) from West Ham by a boss who believes there is far more to his fellow countryman than a short fuse, sealed victory with a neat turn and finish on his debut.

It eases City into mid-table but leaves Newcastle deep in the mire, with star striker Michael Owen facing another spell on the sidelines after limping off just 18 minutes into the game.

Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear afterwards confirmed the striker will be out for six weeks with a cracked bone in his ankle and midfielder Joey Barton will be out for 10 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot.

Confirmation of Shay Given’s knee injury was hardly a surprise as it would allow any discussions that take place between Newcastle – whose owner Mike Ashley was at the game – and City to continue without the inconvenience of the Irishman playing for his current team against the one who want him.

In turn, City know all about Joey Barton, who was making his first appearance against them since moving to the north-east, citing a lack of ambition in the Blues camp.

Barton has since served a jail term and his comments have been proved hopelessly incorrect given this might have been the night Kaka made his debut for City.

That audacious deal fell through of course, with a sizeable percentage of the City support not exactly best pleased at how their club’s approach for the former world player of the year has been portrayed.

Neither have they been particularly enamoured at suggestions Mark Hughes cannot control the star names in his squad, specifically Robinho, whose decision to walk out of a warm weather training camp in Tenerife and fly back to Brazil is nothing in comparison to being questioned by West Yorkshire Police yesterday over an allegation of sexual assault he totally denies.

To Hughes, the decision to select Robinho, his best player, was straightforward. Yet it was still a brave move and asked a basic question of the former Real Madrid man’s mental state.

Yet if Robinho is slight in stature, his attitude is strong.

Having apparently made peace with Hughes, he then got any remaining waverers in the City support back onside with a deft through-ball which allowed Wright-Phillips to drive a shot through Steve Harper’s legs and put the hosts in front.

City doubled their lead 13 minutes from time when Pablo Zabaleta strode onto Wright-Phillips’ pass and then found Bellamy.

Bellamy seized his opportunity, twisting and turning on the edge of the box before sending a precise shot past Harper.

Three minutes later, Wayne Bridge allowed David Edgar to rob him close to the penalty area and the youngster wasted no time in providing Carroll with a tap-in — but City ended worthy winners.

MAN CITY: Hart, Richards, Onuoha, Kompany, Bridge, Zabaleta (Fernandes 82), Ireland, De Jong (Elano 78), Wright-Phillips (Caicedo 90), Robinho, Bellamy.

NEWCASTLE: Harper, Edgar, Taylor, Bassong, Jose Enrique, Geremi (LuaLua 90), Barton (Lovenkrands 64), Coloccini, Duff, Owen (Gutierrez 19), Carroll.

Referee: Mike Jones.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox