I’ve sometimes had the feeling this season that it is as though we have signed players from a different era, those strange times when for football players the most important thing was actually playing football.
I would say that this is easily the most decent/canniest group of players since those days under Kevin Keegan – players who got what it meant to play for Newcastle United – Pavel, Venison, Beresford, Lee, Shearer, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Clarkie, Watson, Elliott, Tino, Albert, Kelly, Peacock, Sellars…the list was seemingly endless.
I think players who have been around a while like Krul, Coloccini, Gutierrez and Steven Taylor definitely get it, while for others like Cisse, Ba and Cabaye the signs are massively positive despite only arriving at St.James’ park this season.
Maybe just as importantly, Alan Pardew is showing all the right signs of understanding what makes Newcastle, the club and the city, tick – just as Sir Bobby and Kevin Keegan did.
A tremendous interview in The Telegraph with Papiss Cissé maybe sums up the feelgood factor better than anything else:
“It gave me courage to have that (number 9) shirt. It showed that the manager trusted me and it also put pressure on me in a good way because it motivated me to perform.
Newcastle is an extraordinary club, it makes players want to play for it. The only time I am not happy is when I have days off, because I do not see people from the club.
“The players need the fans, the fans need the players. The supporters are there every week. They give up everything to come, they have paid their tickets and they shout until they can’t shout anymore. They don’t get paid for that, they don’t get anything like the pay we do anyway; they don’t get recognition, but they are always there”.
As Newcastle fans we might sound like broken records at times but after the shirkers and ones who just couldn’t give a toss, how good is it to see an absolutely superb player like Papiss Cissé also saying, “The only time I am not happy is when I have days off”.
Can you hear me Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Geremi, Charlie Insomnia……?