Date: 24th February 2006 at 12:12pm
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When things go wrong at St James’ Park, Toon fans love nothing more than to have a scapegoat. Not just recently, but as far back as I can remember. Back in 1970s Frank Clark was the target of the boo-boys on the Leazes, and when he was hounded out he went on to win two titles and a European Cup with Nottingham Forest.

This season, no player has been put under the spotlight more than Jean-Alain Boumsong. But if there was one positive to come from bore-draw with Charlton on Wednesday, it was a third clean sheet in four games since Glenn Roeder succeeded Souness. The team’s defence, which has been fiercely criticised in the past, held firm.

Roeder: ‘When Titus went off, Jean-Alain seemed to take on all the responsibility; it was almost if he said to himself,

‘I am the man now’. He started winning all the headers and challenges, and he did a lot better. What we need from him is a massive performance against Everton.

‘It has been very tough for him because of the amount of criticism he has had this season. I can only assume that he has seen and heard about all that.

‘It has put him under great pressure and when he has made mistakes, it has obviously affected his confidence. But he’s a good trainer and a good listener. He is a big strong man and has taken it all on the chin.’