How many times in your Newcastle United supporting life have you thought ‘what if?’.
How many moments have Newcastle United had in the past 50 years where if things had gone a little differently, the club would have been in a totally different place?
If you sit and think about it, I will guarantee that within a few minutes you will come up with dozens. I could be here all day if I covered them all, so I have chosen just a few .
Just two weeks before this momentous decision, I had sat with 36,000 others in St James Park, watching my club utterly destroy Spurs 7-1. It was a magnificent performance, led by a fully fit, on fire Alan Shearer. Yet by the time the cup game at Charlton came around, rumours were off the scale that Keegan had walked.
Now 20 years on, I still find it hard to understand. We have all read the articles, listened to the rumours and the theories, but regardless of why it occurred, what if the two of them could have sorted things out and Keegan had stayed?
Remember, his team still went on to finish second that season, despite having King Kenny in charge. If Keegan had stayed then there would have been No Dalglish, No Rush, No Barnes, No Hamilton, No Andersson ….
Bobby and the Team get heckled
Another moment in time, that when I look back at it, fails to make any sense. Yes we were disappointed with how the season had finished, but when we played Wolves on the last home game, we were heading for a third top five finish in a row .
So what was that walkout and anger at the team about. I appreciate that we had lost a UEFA Semi final a few days earlier but can you believe our expectations were so high, that a UEFA Semi and a top five finish weren’t enough?
When we started poorly the following season, the coward Shepherd took the easy option and sacked his Manager, because after all, he could say that the fans didn’t want Robson.
Four days in April
A year later, on the night of 14 April 2005, Newcastle are in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup again. There was just 19 minutes left of the two leg tie and we are heading through to another semi-final . Sporting Lisbon have to score twice to knock us out.
Just three days later, we travel to Wales for an FA Cup semi-final against Man Utd and predictably get stuffed.
There are so many ifs and buts related to these two games, not least if Bowyer and Dyer had been available for the FA Semi instead of serving a suspension for punching each other’s lights out a few weeks earlier.
A Trophy, or at the very least a cup final appearance, in either competition may well have taken us off in a different direction and could have avoided Freddy deciding to sell the club 18 months later to Ashley
Freddy sells to Vince McMahon
Now I have no idea how true the rumours are…but there was talk that the billionaire owner of the World Wrestling Federation was interested in buying the club. There is no guarantee that this fella or anyone else would have done a better job than Ashley, but at least we would have had a stronger defence.
I’m thinking “The Rock and Triple H” as a centre-back pairing?
Sadly it’s now totally irrelevant but what if we had been bought out by someone who was in it for glory and not the money and was prepared to lose lots of cash in the pursuit of silverware.
What if, What if, What if. I guess it’s totally immaterial.
The only thing that matters are the facts.
Newcastle are in the championship and it’s 48 years and counting.
PS If I have any of these dates or details wrong, sorry. My brain isn’t as sharp as it was after enduring those 48 years watching this club!
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