I made the trip to Ewood Park on Monday along with some 7,000 other Newcastle fans.
For various reasons this was my first away game of the season – due to inconveniences such as work, wife and kids coming into play.
A regular away traveller in the past, I was obviously looking forward to my day out.
The actual football was hard to judge, as Blackburn were so poor and Newcastle so dominant, it was embarrassing.
Though not quite as embarrassing as the fact that despite the domination of possession/shots/corners, it ended up with a home win and the Magpies failing to score a single goal.
However, the real eye-opener was the comments I heard during the match, especially in the second-half.
I have been to all the home games, including the League Cup ones, and thought I had a pretty good handle on the general mood but now I’m not so sure.
Before I relate what I heard, I do have to make a few observations…
Previous trips to Blackburn have shown me that they sometimes aren’t typical of your usual away trip, both because people are even more drunk than usual, as well as the fact that because of so many tickets you get people who don’t often, if ever, travel away.
The real hardcore mood of Newcastle supporters at any particular time can usually be best gauged by standing amongst the regular away following, so was this typical of the growing mood in recent times?
What I heard on Monday at Blackburn was far more Newcastle fans openly questioning Rafa Bentez’ tactics, as well as slaughtering a number of players.
At St James Park I have heard some grumblings but it is quite low key and restricted to odd comments/isolated individuals.
However, yesterday I heard numerous people getting increasingly angry as the ball was knocked sideways, whilst the contribution of the likes of Colback, Dummett, Ritchie and Gouffran were particularly in the firing line.
Has this been a growing factor at away matches or was this a one-off at away games – I’d love to know from any regular away travellers out there.
I’m in no way claiming this was the majority of the Newcastle fans at the game but it was noticeable that this vocal minority apparently weren’t been challenged by other Newcastle fans.
The way I took this was that maybe the majority are a little tired of the tactics and/or some of the players being selected but have respect for Rafa Benitez and don’t want to be seen as rocking the boat.
I don’t believe it is total lack of confidence in the team selection/tactics but more a feeling that the United boss shows a little too much loyalty to certain players and is possibly a little too rigid in how the team has to play.
ALERT – This is at worst low level grumblings not losing faith in the Rafalution but at the same time I’d love to find out from Newcastle fans who regularly get to away matches, whether this was a one-off or becoming the norm at away games.