We don’t demand a team that wins. We demand a club that tries.
That statement on a banner summarised the feelings around the King Power on Saturday afternoon. When the Newcastle players trooped out onto the pitch for the second-half there was no leadership, no spirit and no fight.
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Instead of seeing the players in each other’s faces, as we’ve been told happened in the dressing room and on the coach, we saw players drained of belief and simply waiting for the full-time whistle.
The Leicester fans, whose team are still a point behind us, were even offering their sympathy for us having to (twice this season) put up with such shambolic performances at their place.
Over the years we have not always been blessed by the best players but sometimes it was those with the greatest fight who got us through.
It is players like Brian Kilcline and Barry Venison who we would kill for at the moment. Just imagine either of them putting up with the shambles at Leicester. Spirit and passion is what we need now. While at least Budgie would have knocked their heads together!
‘Killer’ is the epitome of the fighting spirit which is needed. He may have only been at Newcastle a short while but his impact was huge. He rallied the troops to keep us up in 1992 and as Club Captain in the following season, despite hardly playing, had a massive impact in getting the team promoted.
The past few weeks have drawn floods of memories of The Entertainers, but that same period brought us some of the best fighters the club has seen, built on a foundation of ‘Killer’ in 1992.
We then saw Bracewell, Venison and Batty. All of which brought experience and guile to our midfield – all league winners and England internationals during their careers. They were all leaders on the pitch, they put in 100% and that’s what mattered.
Batty is well documented as someone who didn’t even really like football. He chose his clubs due to the distance of commute from his home in North Yorkshire. But nobody cared. He did not bleed black and white like John Carver but he showed passion on the pitch. While he wouldn’t survive in present day football he was one of the most effective players of his time.
Venison and Bracewell were from the dark side, both of who travelled to Tyneside with a much greater cloud than Colback but their craft and guile won the fans over. Carver talks of having eleven Jack Colbacks but give me the experience of these two any day.
The Keegan years may have been the glory days of the battling midfielder, the team has always had fighters and leaders whether it be those with a dubious past (Bowyer, Woodgate and Barton), or those with limited ability (Nolan, Pearce or Hughes).
It was a different type of fight for a new era but again players who cared. Not just on a week when they might be scouted like Tiote or Sissoko but every week (red cards permitting).
It is sad to say but at the moment I would love to see Brian Kilcline or even a 36 year old Stuart Pearce leading our side out above our current crop.
If we need something different why not bring all of these guys in over the next few weeks and scare the team into a performance.
Frankly who is going to argue with Killer? It may not be realistic but would be interesting!
At least it would show that the club is trying something.