Monday 22 January 2018

Campbell dedicates 'bittersweet' triumph to ill Parkinson

Newcastle Utd 0
Blackpool 2

Rob Stewart

Ian Holloway is an inspirational character but for once, Blackpool's manager did not have to be at his stirring best at St James' Park, judging by DJ Campbell's post-match comments.

Holloway may have delivered the team-talk and devised the tactics on Tyneside, but as far as Campbell was concerned, the chief source of motivation was provided when thoughts turned to Blackpool's head of youth Gary Parkinson (42), who is seriously ill in hospital following a stroke.

"When you think about his family and his kids, you just want to do well for them and that was a part of us doing well," Campbell said.

"I can't remember ever going into a game in circumstances like that, with the pressure of someone we love being unwell. The dressing- room was pretty subdued before the game, and Friday was tough -- lads, especially the younger ones, were crying. We did our jobs as professionals and older lads to support them."

Charlie Adam put Blackpool on course for victory with a penalty and Campbell struck late on before, like Adam earlier, unveiling a '4 Parky' T-shirt.

"It was a show of respect and love to someone who Blackpool loves and who loves Blackpool," Campbell added. "We wanted to show Parky, and his family, that we are thinking of him. It has been a tough couple of days and it feels bittersweet right now. He is a great person around the place, bubbly, and everyone is in shock."

But despite the uplifting performance, Campbell insisted: "It is still just about survival for this club. Our aim is simply to stay in this league; we don't kid ourselves."

Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper called for perspective after what he described as a "wake-up call".

"It is important not to get caught up in the roller-coaster that is Newcastle United, where you are top of the mountain or bottom of the sea," Harper said. "After beating Aston Villa 6-0, some people will be saying we are going to be top six, now it will be doom and gloom."

For Newcastle boss Chris Hughton -- whose side beat Villa 6-0 in their last home game -- a first defeat in 27 games at St James' and the first since he became permanent manager, proved a sobering experience.

"Frustrating, very frustrating. We created as many chances as we did against Aston Villa," he said.

"But we weren't able to put them away, and we came up against a very inspired goalkeeper.

"It's a reminder of this division. We were on the back of our last home win and created the same amount of chances.

"But we had a very good day in front of goal that day. Today, we didn't and although Blackpool are a team who came up with us, they have shown their quality." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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