Newcastle United…Heart of a Lion, not timid as a Mouse!

It seems an age since I wrote an article for The Mag. In a crazy mix of personal life and just wanting to forget about the ever-present funk last season as we dove head first into the Championship, it proved rather difficult to muster up the willpower to write anything.

Articles seemed to be just wallowing in the mire of relegation, regurgitating ad nauseum the problems that clearly weren’t being fixed or simply repeating what was being said by other readers who were just as angry or bemused by the whole thing as I was.

But…after a rather interesting summer of business and currently on an enforced break from league football, it seemed like as good a time as any to get back into writing.

I think we all agree that the club couldn’t continue as we had been and the signing of Rafa, albeit too little too late, was certainly a giant leap in the right direction. An appointment that seemed to give the fans a much needed and long overdue figurehead to throw their support behind. We had our hero, a shining light to adore and praise, to sing their name.

So big tick for the club in getting things sorted to keep him here, essentially the best manager we had seen at this club for years and certainly one I think most of us thought was a thing of the past under the current owner. Most importantly though, a manager that the majority respected and would give time to turn things around.

With Rafa tied up, attention quickly turned to the transfer window and the inevitable swoop of vultures for our better players, As well as the much needed jettisoning of dead wood. We all knew that we would lose some good players and hope dearly that we would see the back of some others who had long overstayed their welcome.

There was obviously a rather large Pachyderm (group of mammals which includes the elephant) sitting in the corner though that needed addressing – how much would the club be willing to change its previously shambolic transfer market business. I personally think the window was a success.

What I am talking about is the club and manager went about systematically repairing the PR at the club, getting rid of as many dead-weight players as possible and signing those who seemed hungry to prove themselves. We were seeing the club do exactly what many of us had been saying needed doing for years, but certainly what was not only a necessity upon relegation but something that was a huge opportunity without the top-flight pressure – rebuild the squad.

Yes, there were some sections of fans who derided every signing as not good enough, too expensive, not the right position – but these are fans you will never please.

The type that had we bought Messi would most likely be complaining he is too left footed or costs too much.

The type who will complain that we aren’t spending enough and then if we went on a spending spree would complain it’s cheapening their enjoyment by trying to buy the league.

I think the calibre of player we brought in was exactly what was needed: a mix of promising players who might still cut it at the higher level and some older heads, most with Championship experience and a hunger to play, who all seemed genuinely honoured to be able to pull on the Black n White in front of 50k screaming Geordies every week.

So it is with excitement that I look forward to seeing us against Derby on Saturday (despite it meaning a late one over here in Australia), not because I expect a result…but because I expect every player to put in a hard shift and give their all.  We all saw the banner unfurled last season and the current crop of players fit that bill perfectly.

The current squad may not all be world class, but as long as they give their all most of us will cheer them on win, lose or draw!

We just want a club to once again be proud to get behind and we are closing back in on that.  Thank you Rafa!

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