Out Of The Blocks: Out Of The Blue
It takes more than just a few ‘fortuitous’ results to convince me a run of good form by NUFC isn’t just a flash in the pan.
So now I really do believe our good start is a sign of brighter times ahead (in spite of the City defeat), I got to thinking about a few of the other times we’ve made great starts just when we’d all but given up hope of ever seeing a decent Newcastle side again.
The season that springs immediately to mind is 1992/93 – the promotion season under Keegan the manager: 11 wins out of 11 out of the blocks; Champions Elect before bonfire night.
For Cabaye, Coloccini and Ba; read Bracewell, Howey and Kelly. It really was the start of something big as well – The Entertainers were being fashioned in the likeness of their inspirational leader and four seasons of breathtaking football and top six finishes lay just around the corner.
The start of 92/93 came only months after we’d narrowly avoided relegation to Division Three, of course, but we’d have to wait another nine years before we made another start that was as breathtaking as it was unexpected.
The season 2001/02 was the era of that other great modern day Newcastle manager, Bobby Robson and people sometimes forget that Sir Bobby’s first two seasons at the helm, had delivered mid-table league placings no better than those achieved by Dalglish and Gullit.
We’d become accustomed to false starts but by the turn of New Year 2002, with Arsenal beaten away, Leeds home and away and the Toon on top of the pile, even the most cynical fan knew that this time it was for real.
Just like our current team of pace setters, there was a French connection in that side too: Laurent Robert; a Welsh one (Craig Bellamy), and with both new signings adding pace and flair to a side seeing a renaissance in the form of Alan Shearer, this season also marked the beginning of something special – three top five finishes and extended runs in both major European competitions.
So what about this year? Can we keep it going? Can we actually get back into Europe? This old grouch, for one, would like to think so.
What do you think?
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