We had a cracking start to the season beating one of our supposed Champions League rivals on the opening day, alright we lost at Chelsea who got off to a flyer yet we also qualified for the next stage of the ‘Promised Land’ : Europe.
Yes, we didn’t bring the house down on transfer deadline day though we never do now. Ashley’s plan is to avoid the market forces that trigger stupid deals and buy early summer and in January to maintain a settled squad that is bolstered halfway through the season.
Yet by the stories being churned out on the blogs and general opinion on the #NUFC hash tag, you’d think we’d done a Liverpool and sealed relegation by Xmas. Let the press and country write us off while we get behind the lads in black and white 100%.
Yes we’ve got a few injuries but that’s why we bought the likes of Good, Anita, Amalfitano and Bigirimana, then with the brothers Ameobi regaining fitness, I think we can go to Everton and get 3 points and kick on to another winning streak that sets up a tantalising clash with Man U on October 7th.
A final point about Sammy Ameobi: I don’t think people realise yet just how good a player he is. He’s got magic in his boots and is the reason we didn’t need to sign Adam Johnson. Sunderland beware – Mackem Slayer2 : The Sequel is coming.
Before a ball was kicked three years ago, we were supposedly going to do a Leeds United and crash with back-to-back relegations to League One: instead we won The Championship at a canter. Then a year later the prevailing view was we would face a tough battle to survive: instead we rose like a Jack-in-the-Box to finish comfortably mid-table and would have been Top 10 if we hadn’t let a 3-0 lead slip on the final day against Roy Hodgson’s West Brom.
Last pre-season we were widely viewed as being ‘in trouble’ and relegation candidates again: in reality we qualified for The Europa League after romping to 5th place following one of the most joyous seasons in living memory. So amid all the talk we’ll do well to finish mid-table or “I’ll take 8th now”, I’m sticking to my pre-season prediction of us finishing Top 4 and clinching Champions League football.
Newcastle is on an upward trajectory that is only going to continue. European involvement is going to make us better and prepare us for life in The Champions League, the destination charted by Ashley and the reason Hughton made way for Pardew. So far, so good. We’re not doing it in the way people might expect yet that is the beauty of the modern Newcastle United. On and off the pitch, we’re unconventional, typified no more so than by Ben Arfa’s maverick talent and if the opposition don’t know what we’re up to, it’s harder to plan against, stop or imitate. One of the major reasons I’m all for Ashley’s frustrating smokescreen policy in the majority of his Newcastle dealings.
Yet what is clear in my mind is that the men in the highest echelons of St James’ Park have their fingers on the pulse of 21st century football. The future of our club is as bright as our new high-visibility away kit and whitest home strip ever. Coincidence? Or the implementation of the latest sports research which says it is easier for players to spot each other in their peripheral vision against crowd backgrounds when they are wearing bright colours. You decide. Yet on this one I’m with Jossy’s Giants – football’s just a branch of science.
Just say no to negativity for the best is yet to come. Don’t Stop Believin’
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