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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 27, 2007

Big Sam feels the pressure as fans vent fury

Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce admitted the pressure was back on after seeing his side capitulate in dismal style at Wigan.

The Magpies went down 1-0 at the JJB Stadium to Ryan Taylor's second-half strike to leave fans already fuming at Sunday's 2-2 home draw with Derby venting their anger with the manager once again.

Allardyce headed into the festive programme believing a corner had been turned after a draw with then Premier League leaders Arsenal and successive victories over Fulham and Birmingham eased Newcastle back into the top half of the table.

If the supporters were not entirely convinced - it took a last-minute Joey Barton penalty to see off Fulham and Habib Beye's injury-time header to beat City - they were at least able to anticipate a maximum haul against seemingly-doomed Derby and struggling Wigan.

However, a measly return of one point - and that courtesy of Mark Viduka's late equaliser against the Rams - left fans in militant mood.

Allardyce, who had to listen to the travelling supporters calling for his head and the installation of Alan Shearer as his replacement, said: 'It's the same old story, isn't it?

'You lose a game and lose it badly and you are under the cosh, especially if you are the manager.

'I cannot blame the fans for what they were singing. We were not good enough and you don't need to be an expert to see that.

'They spend their hard-earned money and they want to see us fight and do an awful lot better than we did.'

Allardyce admitted his players had simply not been good enough at Wigan, although five of those who started - Beye, Abdoulaye Faye, Alan Smith, Geremi and Viduka - as well as substitute Jose Enrique, were signed by him during the summer.

But it was left to one of the club's longer serving employees to offer an apology to the 5,000 or so fans who had made their way to the north-west for a Boxing Day debacle.

Turkey international Emre, who made his first start since November, said: 'It's disappointing to lose another away game, and we are very sorry for the many supporters who came to the game.

'The players are good friends and we work for each other. I don't understand why we have problems like this away from home.

'After the Derby draw, we have now lost the points against Wigan. We are really sorry - everyone is.

'Christmas time is very important for the fans and I can understand that.

'Against Derby, we had 25 shots on target, but against Wigan we had two or three, which is not very good. It is a problem for us.

'But we have to think positively. We do not have much time as the Chelsea and Manchester City games are so close together, but we must be strong.'

Having squandered matches Allardyce considered winnable, the Magpies now face a tough run of fixtures, beginning at Chelsea on Saturday and continuing with Manchester City's visit to St James' Park on January 2 and, after a tricky FA Cup third round tie at Stoke, a visit to new league leaders Manchester United.

New owner Mike Ashley was in the crowd at the JJB and would have been left in little doubt as to the feelings of his fellow black and whites.

The opening of the winter transfer window is fast approaching, although there is little prospect of a massive investment by the Tyneside club, and a continuation not only of the poor results, but sub-standard performances would do little to appease an increasingly disgruntled Toon Army.