Expectation – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

I’m a bit tired of hearing/reading sweeping statements in the media that Newcastle fans are ‘deluded Geordies’ with unrealistic expectations of our team.

We seem to be the only set of fans not allowed to get excited, heaven forbid carried away, when the team wins a number of games on the bounce and playing well.  The media have us portrayed as a burden on any manager in the NUFC hot seat, and that players are unable to perform under the weight of our ‘heady expectations’.

Expectations in terms of results can be both positive and negative, anyone on a good run of form is likely to think their team is going to win their next fixture and vice-versa for those on a bad run of form. You also need to consider a person’s point of view or outlook. Some of us always fancy the win no matter what, others will sit on the fence, while others will always be wary of the banana skin.

From my point of view, the confusion seems to be in what we expect, what we want, what we hope and what we believe. I think what we expect and what we want are pretty fixed and what we hope and believe is subject to circumstance.

Basically, I think its lazy journalism to pigeon-hole everyone amongst the NUFC support as deluded, pie in the sky thinking Geordies and that we have this sense of entitlement to win a trophy every season.

I expect the team to try their hardest to get a positive result; surely this applies to watching any team.

I want my team to compete at the highest level possible within its means; again surely this applies to any club in the land.

I hope that everything within the Club I support is geared towards what I expect and want as a fan, my current belief is right now we have that.

Rafa is often compared to Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby, and I’d certainly go along with there being a similar kind of buzz generated as it was in those times. However, just like Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby, Rafa is very much his own man, and manages in his own style and that style of football is very different.

I’ve enjoyed when we’ve played well and how dominant we’ve been in many games, never really feeling under threat. People might put this down to an inferior opposition, which to a degree will play its part. I’d put it down to the players being well coached, well drilled in knowing their roles on the pitch. The players also appear to have the right attitude and seem totally bought into what Rafa is doing.

It’s great having a clear plan, our last season of any note was finishing 5th in season 11/12 under Pardew. Lauded in the media as the saviour of English football, that season has since been proven as a fluke.  Often in games we were battered yet came away with the points, we were heavily dependent on individuals like Cabaye, Ba and Cissé scoring wonder goals.

We didn’t get away with it all season though, warnings weren’t heeded at Norwich (2-4), Fulham (2-5), Spurs (0-5) and Wigan (0-4), ultimately what we had was a foundation laid in sand.

The fact that after a fantastic transfer window we have at least two players for each position, adding competition for not only places in the team but even to get into the match day squad, has made everyone up their game.

newcastle fans

We must be a nightmare for opposition managers as how do you scout a team that rotates 3 or 4 players each game? Who’s marking who on set pieces? Trying to second guess Rafa is like trying to do a Rubik’s cube blindfolded.

I think one of the biggest differences since Rafa arrived, is the change in mentality, particularly in away games. Players look comfortable wearing the shirt, and are able to express themselves on the pitch more freely. I think at times St. James Park is proving to be a difficult place to play for some of our players. This is where I can understand the burden point in the media.

For certain, some of the circumstances around the Club in past have contributed to a negative atmosphere at times but even when things have gone well on the pitch, there always seems to be a fall guy. Now I don’t know if this happens at all Clubs but it has definitely been the case at NUFC.

Examples that spring to mind are Warren Barton, Nicky Butt, Jonas and most recently Yoan Gouffran. With those examples they all redeemed themselves, and there was no one singing their terrace song louder than me confirming their redemption (that group of players potentially has the makings of a decent five a side team, ‘Shawshank United’, I’ll gan in nets).

Obviously good results will afford you the odd misplaced pass here and there but I’d like to see encouragement from the stands when the chips are down, rather than the audible groans or sighs, it would only make us more formidable. I’ve never been one to boo at half-time or full-time and think it achieves nothing but to make the players more nervous.

Some of the stick players get is totally over the top and uncalled for and I don’t know how people think standing and shouting abuse at someone because they put the ball out of play, is going to make them play any better.

Coming off a 6-0 away win doesn’t automatically mean we’ll win the next game as easy, as we found out against Wolves; it may be that we toil through some games and that’s where the fans can make a difference by remaining fully behind the team, leaving any moans or criticisms for the pub after the game.

It’s all about the here and now. If the lads play how we expect them to, we all know where we want to be, the belief we can get there is almost palpable.

Let’s get behind the lads and hope we can pull off promotion at the first time of asking!

Howay me bonny lads!!!

You can follow the author on Twitter @lyon1892

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