The Oxford English Dictionary describes the term ‘context’ as; “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.”

I’d describe it as something that a hell of a lot of Newcastle fans could do with right now.

Friday night ended in gut-wrenching fashion. There’s no doubting that we have every right to be disappointed having to settle for a point in a game in which we were the far, far better side.

But the reaction from a number of football supporters (some Newcastle fans) I saw across social media was laughable. The pick of the bunch being a fan going as far as to say the team was an embarrassment, that this team not winning the league is; “one of the biggest failures in football.”

Plenty Brighton, Leeds and (obviously) Sunderland fans were quick to jump on the scene after the 1-1 draw with remarks along the lines of ‘£50m for 2nd’ and so on.

Hang on, have I missed something?

At the beginning of the season fans across the country were all too keen to point out to us how tough this league was. Our manager and our players didn’t know this league, that we would be in for a shock when it kicks off.

Well, we’ve dealt with all of that. They were right, this league has been tough, and we’ve done bloody well to be (barring any major calamity) coming through it with at least a ‘P’ dotted next to our name when the final table is pieced together.

So what do we get from opposition fans?

A pat on the back for coming through this tough division and winning promotion at the first time of asking? A nod of approval for getting on with the job and winning the required points despite the majority of other clubs’ supporters wanting to see us fail?

No, no. They couldn’t dare praise Newcastle United. Instead, we’re reminded of the Champions League winning manager we’ve got who (probably) couldn’t finish above Brighton. I’d say 2nd is alright given he doesn’t know this league, right?

We’re reminded of the money we’ve spent on the current squad and the “laughable” fact that we aren’t walking the league. I can only apologise to these fans that Tottenham Hotspur paid us £30m for Moussa Sissoko, that Liverpool paid us £25m for Gini Wijnaldum, and that Marseille are paying us £10m to take back Florian Thauvin.

I can only apologise to these fans that we had the audacity to reinvest the money to prepare the squad for the “shock” we were going to get after our first taste of Championship football, right?

True, it now looks unlikely that we’re going to end the season as champions, but is that really so important?

Out of the 18 sides to find themselves relegated to the Championship since 2010, only two have gained automatic promotion back to the Premier League in the following year. Two.

Look elsewhere in this league. Aston Villa and Norwich came down with us last season and would’ve expected to be challenging for promotion alongside us, but instead they’re languishing in mid-table. Villa in particular have spent more than us this season, and they’re 12th!

For Newcastle fans themselves out there who are feeling disappointed with our current situation. Take a look at those two other clubs and think how much worse it could be.

If you felt down after leaving St James Park on Friday night, think back to how you felt leaving the stadium after the 2-1 loss at home to Huddersfield in August.

I don’t know about you but I felt a hell of a lot worse then. I bet you’d have snapped the hands off anyone who’d offered you 2nd place, right?

If you want to look further afield, take a look at those in red-and-white not too far down the road. This time around it looks like their luck has run out and they’ll finally be dropping into England’s second tier.

Not only that but they’re doing so with a terrible squad, few sellable assets, a mountain of debt, and a broken man of a manager who the fans want rid of but the club can’t afford to sack. Not looking over there either.

I’d say, all things considered, we’ve done very well to be in the position we’re in. We’ve had our hiccups this year, as all teams do every year, but we’re going up. That’s the most important thing.

Some could even say 2nd may be better for us long-term than going up as champions. It may even prompt a little extra investment into the squad for next season.

There’s reason to be disappointed with Friday’s result but I think some Newcastle fans feeling aggrieved with the season as a whole, really could do with considering the bigger picture.

As for the rest of the footballing world who are quick to point out this and that about us. Focus on your own side because I think we’re pretty damn fine.

Comments welcome.

You can follow the author on Twitter @RhysMelhuish22

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Grahame Johnson

    There has been some cracking away fans up here this season, teams bringing 30% of their home attendance and a lot of them enjoying all our fine city has to offer, the toon and villa were the teams all wanted to beat, as Leeds,Forest, Portsmouth, Coventry etc found out if you don’t come up in a season or two you get stuck or sink, sheff utd,Bolton makems, boro will make the championship no easier, Villa, derby, Norwich and the 3 out of the top six who don’t go up and the 3rd prem team to go down, I hope we go up!!! More than 11 teams capable of doing good

  • Scottpaige

    I agree with most of your points. Yes I’d have taken just to go up in anyway possible back in August. I’m glad we have Rafa. Without him we wouldn’t be where we are for sure.

    Leaving the Leeds game the other night I felt sick to the pit of my stomach it was an awful kick in the teeth. To be honest it felt worse than the Huddersfield defeat at home. Back then I knew we had time to regroup and kick start our season. This time we have to get this out of our heads quick sharp. Time is ticking. Come on boys one last push

  • Jezza

    I seem to have missed something, I didn’t realise we were already mathematically guaranteed promotion. Also if you want to make it as a journalist you will need to eradicate your habit of ending sentences with the word “right” followed by a question mark.

  • Stevie

    It doesn’t really matter as long as we go up. The team will need rebuilding to cope with the Premiership so whether it was good enough to come first or second is fairly incidental. This is just one stage in a process that is far from complete.

  • GlasgowMag

    I think the main point of the article is their was to much doom and gloom merchants posting on social media after a very encouraging Performance against Leeds my opinion is we are very lucky to have rafa especially under the the current ownership if Rafa had left where would we be probably in the same position as Villa so guys we are all disapointed after Leeds but as the article points out we need to put this season into context we are still 8 points clear of Huddersfield and are still favourites to go up so only 4 games to go get behind the team and stop moaning in Rafa we trust!!

  • Andy Mac

    Rhys the context is we are the biggest club in this league. We’ve spent the most on players, apart from Villa, and yet we’re struggling to get over the line with Brighton showing us a clean pair of heels ?

    However if there’s one club I’d be happy to lose the league to it’s Brighton because, amongst other issues, it’ll show the Fat Fkwit he knows F All about football. I hate the Fatman and anything we achieve, which is undoubtely limited, will be tainted by his ownership.

  • Big Al 1967

    I posted on here months ago that it did not matter whether we finished First or Second as long as we went up (Do not want to touch the play offs with a bargepole..we are NUFC we lose important one off games period!) That opinion has not and will not change
    HWTL

  • LA Toon

    I consider that Rafa has been too cautious with the game plan which has resulted in a poor performances at home and teams seem to have sussed us out. No plan B either and I thought that was a Pardew skill!!! Tuesday will see where we are in the league. Huddersfield may be 3 points closer. The dark clouds of play offs are looming.

    • Damon Horner

      I don’t get it, he has a cautious style but as we’ve won most of our games, how can it be too cautious?

    • Mayor Vaughn

      “Huddersfield may be 3 points closer”, Newcastle may be 10 points clear of them with a huge goals advantage also.
      Huddersfield need us to lose 3 out of the last 4 games, whilst they will need to win 3 out of the last 5 games. Looking at the remaining fixtures i know which set i’d rather have.
      Bottom line is as it stands before Ipswich Huddersfield need a 9 point swing to go above us.

  • Jimblag23

    Such nonsense. Obviously if we’re promoted we’ll get the respect we deserve but no ones gonna say it.
    Other fans will make themselves feel better by making out anything other than 1st is a complete failure for us.
    But only a retarded slug would think £50m buys a title in today’s market.

  • Geordiegiants

    Rhys I think for such a young lad you speak a lot of sense. We are as good as promoted, and still people moan and complain. Although we didn’t win the Leeds game that sort of match is what football is all about. Does everyone not realise we are still owned by the cancer? Has everyone forgot how he treated Rafa at Christmas? We have done well to move on from the negativity of those antics, never mind get promoted. We have weak links in the squad yes, and a few of Rafas signings and game plans haven’t haven’t worked out, but there is not a manger in the world that some of his signings or tactics haven’t worked out. He has done what was asked of him without any hassle or whinging or lying. It’s time for our fans to stop whinging and snivelling about nothing.

  • love toon despite

    The only thing we’ve guaranteed is a home fixture in the second leg of the play offs.

  • Mal

    I think the thing you have to remember Rhys is that comment made on social media by opposition fans aren’t necessarily the views of the majority of those fans. A bit like this site sometimes. Occasionally articles appear on here which are an embarrassment to many of us. Even this article would have made much more sense if we had actually achieved promotion. We aren’t there yet, though hopefully we will make it. Fingers crossed that things will look much better in that league table by later tonight. HTL

  • Mayor Vaughn

    Out of the last 18 relegated clubs only 4 have gone back up at the first attempt.
    Hows that for context?!.
    Going up as champions would be nice but i couldn’t give two monkeys as long as we go up.

    • Phil K

      Agreed. BUT that Preston match is a MUST win or the alarm bells with be an ear splitting cacophony

  • Phil K

    Its just as ridiculous to ignore negatives too. Rafa has done a good job, and been let down by players often. ALL the negatives will be forgotten and ignored if we goup

    • Damon Horner

      what makes you think Rafa will forget or ignore any issues he has faced if we go up?

      • Phil K

        What makes you so certain he’ll still be here ?

  • wheyayeman

    2nd is fine by me – in context we have been let down by some poor performances…Mitro hasn’t been nearly as efficient as he should have been, Perez same, Gayle was going great but has been a loss to injury for much of the last few months, Shelvey missed games to suspension, Diame hasn’t turned up in most games, Colback…has been Colback. Some of Rafa’s signings haven’t even appeared – not that it matters as there will be a big flush out in a couple of months time. I hope the 2nd place works in our favour to get a better investment in the Summer and we are probably better able to make use of the promotion than Brighton regardless. Brighton however fully deserve their crown because they have consistently worked hard as a unit for a good manager and I’m glad Chris can get one over on the Fat Man! Just hope it doesn’t happen again!

  • Phil K

    Context is also required from YOU – We do have a few points to play with. But another gutless staring-into-space-instead-of-marking-his-man performance after nearest challengers WIN on the Saturday (and they will. We are machine gunning ourselves in both feet, never mind shooting ourselves in the foot) will start nerves jangling very much worse. I SERIOUSLY am very worried we won’t get another point. We don’t where the goal is and the defence has chosen the worst possible time to go play so gormlessly and badly