Around 21 years ago I came out the Haymarket Metro and walked through the bus station, it was a beautiful bright Sunday afternoon, my head was filled with a feeling of what should have been and a sense of resigned disappointment.
Then I saw the huge flag draped from the top of the Eldon Garden car park, a banner which if memory serves me right nearly engulfed the entrance to the Three Bulls Heads.
I turned to my then partner and said to her something along the lines of ‘today will probably end in disappointment but without doubt Newcastle fans are the best and most loyal followers in the world’, I then went off into some drivel citing the reasons why.
That was the season of heartbreak when the biggest prize in football should have been ours, instead we had witnessed Man Utd slowly but surely eat away into our 12 point lead, until finally with just a couple of games to go we had to rely on others – surely our friends from Teesside would not let us down…Enough said about that the better!
However, while this unassailable 12 point lead was being eroded the support had been unwavering, away games were what away games are, beer filled and loud and proud, home games exactly the same as thirty seven thousand devotees each week provided ear bursting support.
Despite how it all ended there was very little negativity, the last game of the season a 1-1 draw with Spurs, while Middlesbrough dutifully lay down to allow Man Utd a stroll to the title in their last game.
However, on full-time there was no anger, just a sense of gut-wrenching pride at just how close we had come. Sure there were some tears but unlike what the media will have you believe, most fans felt only a sense of pride.
The reason I go back to the end of the 95/96 season is simple, Newcastle United are in danger of imploding again, at least that is what the social networks and national journalists will have you believe.
Yes, since Huddersfield away we have not hit the heights but it’s not the time to throw criticism at all and sundry in black and white, leave that to the national media and those waiting for us to fail.
Going back 21 years ago, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and instant letters to websites and social network sites did not exist, the only instant media platform was radio phone-ins like the three legends etc, nowadays opinion can be aired in an instant, most of it negative!
Newcastle United have two home games left and they need the support from 21 years ago, they need a final push from the stands to help get us over the line, there can’t be negativity if we go a goal down – just a crescendo of noise and belief to help get the job done.
Rafa Benitez showed his belief in us by staying and vowing to get this job done and it’s time for us to show the doubters again that we have full belief in him. It really makes little difference if we finish first or second, but while I would love to go and visit Wembley, I do not envisage going there for a play-off final.
Newcastle United will be promoted this season, Rafa Benitez will revamp things for next season, slowly but surely the playing side of the club is being improved at all levels, the future really is bright.
Forget the negativity, the national media hoping for us to implode, the social network sites full of harsh armchair critics, it’s time to show the world that we really do believe.
One more win will surely be enough and I urge everyone to get behind the team for ninety minutes next Monday night and roar them over the line once and for all.
Then let the party begin!
(Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – Latest example of Fergie Time disaster)
(Match Ratings of players for Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – see HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Ipswich defeat go HERE)
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])