The young ‘un has, as young ‘uns do, a habit of asking the same questions, over and over again…
“Dad, who do you think is Newcastle’s best player?”
“Dad, who do you think will win the Championship?”
“Dad, do you like the new strip?”
Take any group of fans talking in a pub, work, wherever, and you will find variations on pretty much the same questions, albeit, they might not ask you again five minutes later. Well, they might if they’ve had lots of grown up pop and they’re in that funny, time standing still, while moving at a million miles per hour stage of drunken philosophising.
And it’s the differences in the points of view and reasons for them that make football interesting. There’s the emotional; the anecdotal; the statistical. And all three show that we’ve got a great opportunity this season.
My heart, and I suspect that of a lot of fans, tells me that we’ve got a good manager; players that given half a chance could do very well; and some shifts in policy –the ages of players, and the fact that they haven’t all arrived with the label of ‘banged in/stopped a lot of goals for Sporting Anderville’. I made that team up. Newcastle United, the big financial organisation one, have also been quite pro-flag section. Heartwarming stuff indeed.
I also like the new strip. You can’t beat a collar and proper stripes, instead of one of those squares of void on the back, waiting for an extra few quid to make it look like the real thing with a squad number. Hoopy socks? Check. And no Wronga on the kids’ version. Given how much I ploughed back into S&N over the years, maybe there’s something in this logo thing!
Anecdotally, we bounced back last time like Tigger in a Toon top, despite not having the hope we seem to now. And last time, we had even more half-hearted, big earning Billy Big Pants and Wannabes to bin than last season.
We were left with a few players with the cojones and confidence to roll up sleeves and grind out results when needed. I like the way Lascelles, despite his age and relatively few Newcastle appearances, wasn’t afraid to voice an opinion and in my dad speak, get stuck in. More, please.
Statistically, I’m on dodgy ground. I’ve been told that blokes like cricket because they can quote facts and figures about it, and cite unlikely Headingly comebacks, or a silly toss off, or so is my understanding. The thing is, I can’t stand cricket. I can’t get away with a sport in which you can wear a woolly tank top with a cable knit in case it gets chilly.
The thing is, I don’t believe in statistical history. Just because we haven’t won many times at Fulham recently does not mean we’ll lose this time. They are not causal events. But where does that leave us in the reasons for the feel good factor?
Now, our last two promotions were as Champions, and the time before that, in third place, but with one of the most exciting attacks in the North East since Olaf the Dangly led the Vikings to Lindisfarne on Naked Wednesday. Each promotion had amazing statistics behind it, but it was more than that; it was the momentum, the belief, the flow. It’s because statistical records are made to be broken, and because every time the little ‘un asks about being promoted, I get more and more excited.
It won’t be easy; not at all. But yes; I think we can do it, son. As long as you don’t want me to explain cricket.