In the lead up to last weekend, I heard nobody saying that a draw at Birmingham would be a great result for Newcastle United.
A club that is in freefall, only two wins in 18 matches, a Manager (Zola) who is seen as a joke by the fans and who they want out, whilst reading comment from Blues supporters pre (and post)-match, the vast majority are convinced they will be relegated.
Just like Newcastle supporters, they all expected it to be a win for the Magpies.
Even when Huddersfield were stuffed 4-0 by Bristol City on the Friday night, I didn’t hear anybody readjusting their expectations, nobody declaring that a point would be a canny result now.
Instead I think Newcastle supporters were even more adamant that the team had to beat a Birmingham outfit that is in disarray and hasn’t scored more than one goal at home since way back in December.
This was a golden chance to go nine points clear and pretty much go a long way to kill off Huddersfield hopes and morale in terms of trying to catch NUFC.
In fact it wasn’t even at the final whistle of the Birmingham 0 Newcastle 0 game at St.Andrew’s when any/many were saying it was a good point, it was instead a few hours later when Brighton also lost, that a lot of fans/media started putting up the spin that failing to score at Birmingham and bringing home a point was actually now a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, a point at Birmingham isn’t a disaster, but it isn’t great either.
It was a poor result for the team but a lucky weekend, only thanks to the failings of others.
Who knows what will happen in the remaining games?
Newcastle’s next game is up against Wigan, they may be second bottom and in a desperate position but they beat Birmingham away only two weeks ago and have to come to St James Park and throw everything at NUFC.
If Newcastle draw with Wigan (and/or Burton on the following Wednesday), will fans/media be lining up to say they are great results based on how Brighton and/or Huddersfield have done?
Newcastle follow those games with matches against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds, two team with everything to play for, Leeds have closed to nine points behind Newcastle. If everything goes pear-shaped then by the time we play Garry Monk’s team, we could be facing a situation whereby they are within striking distance – who knows?
I think Newcastle United are going to get promoted but Birmingham was for me our easiest match remaining and we didn’t win it – yes it was away from home but that is hardly a negative judged on how this season has gone.
The team need to show they are better than the opposition and yes you won’t win every game but we need to go into the likes of these Burton and Wigan matches with the intention of throwing everything at them, not sitting back and waiting for the odd chance to come along.
Too much has been invested in this season already, by Rafa, his players and the fans, for it to be thrown away at this late stage.
Complacency in the form of trying to spin the Birmingham result as a good one, isn’t a help in my opinion.
The players need to know that only two home wins will do when we get to April.
The key games for the top three in the first week of April fixtures:
Saturday 1 April
Brighton v Blackburn
Huddersfield v Burton
Newcastle v Wigan
Tuesday 3 April
Brighton v Birmingham
Wednesday 4 April
Huddersfield v Norwich
Newcastle v Burton
Friday 7 April
QPR v Brighton
Saturday 8 April
Forest v Huddersfield
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])