Right, it’s time for every single Newcastle United fan to stand up and be counted.
As well as be heard in St. James’ Park on Saturday, as well as supporting the club wholeheartedly in the media, press and on social networks. Let’s make Fortress St. James’ the mecca of noise and intimidation it was under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson when some days it was as good as a 1-0 start.
It’s all very well singing when we’re winning and being upbeat when we’re doing well, yet a good atmosphere and raucous crowd can positively affect the players and therefore performances and results. It’s time to cook up a storm Delia-stylee, the girl’s got spirit.
Remember the ‘Dodgy Keeper’ chants that had Joe Hart panicking every time the ball was slung into Andy Carroll a couple of seasons ago? That could be repeated on Saturday. Their confidence might be shaky after a bad Champions League campaign and being beaten off their local rivals in the last minute last week. Plus they picked up a few injuries so it really is anyone’s game especially with Hatem in the mood and form he is in this season and still owing them one.
If last night he was half-fit then God help them on Saturday. Above all, don’t buy into this Man City invincibility spell that they’ve tried to cast on the rest of the League with their money and signings. They were great last season and deservedly won the League yet if they are on the slide, let’s help them further down it and boost ourselves up.
Some of our players aren’t looking their normal selves, true, Tiote is playing like he has had his wings clipped first by the dodgy yellow against Man U and red at Sunderland, yet more by the undeserved backlash which followed. I was going to beg anyone who even thinks about slating The Ivorian Warrior to type in ‘CheickTiote Silences Rooney’ to YouTube and watch him destroy Man U in January yet the video has mysteriously disappeared (under ‘The Premier League Copyright Infringement’?). As has another gem of a video, ‘Three-Headed Monster’, showing Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse in their pomp at the top of the 4-3-3 formation as we destroyed the nation. Interesting.
Make sure you catch the mini-classic that is ‘Howard Webb vs Newcastle’ on YouTube before that gets hooked. It’s not Ashley, Lambias, Pardew or any of our own players that are the enemy, it’s the opposition, other clubs and the national media who do everything in their power to reinforce the North-South divide. If you think I’m being paranoid, try Googling ‘Newcastle United Finish 5th’ or ‘Newcastle United Qualify for Europe’ and see what results you get reporting our success of last season. Local ones. Glossed over, airbrushed from history, yet we remember. Try ‘Newcastle United Relegated’ and the broadsheets & BBC are falling over themselves to deliver the headlines from three seasons ago.
Seriously, it’s open season on Newcastle once again in the media, in fact it is any time we remotely show any signs that we’re going to be the laughing stock the rest of the nation all want us to be. Within minutes of the match finishing against Fulham, two stories were trotted out, one in The Daily Mirror about Demba Ba leaving and another about Martin O’Neill having a pop at Shearer.
So for God’s sake Newcastle fans, stick together, don’t buy into the rumours and negativity, get behind the manager and every player and give them the 100% support that they deserve as they’re doing their utmost to give us the results that we want. We don’t want to become like Liverpool fans who beg for a new manager in January every year like Scouse charvas begging for their new Xmas tracksuit. Yet I admire Liverpool fans for their siege mentality and how they stick up for their own both on and off the pitch.
That’s what Newcastle fans need to develop: a big club fans’ mentality where it’s us as one collective against the rest of the clubs and fans. Not in an over-the-top fashion like Man City’s coin throwing or any hooliganism, yet one that gives our players the best, most vociferous support at the match and in the real world, as it all adds or takes away from confidence. And if players – I don’t care if you like them or not – are down and disheartened for any reason then it’s going to affect the group.
Danny Simpson’s certainly had the X-Factor since Tulisa, that’s what confidence does. So think before you Tweet to or about, ultimately, genuinely nice guys like Sammy Ameobi who could be a world-beater and probably takes criticism to heart being a young man in the game. Having a thick skin is one thing yet players respond better in an environment of encouragement than criticism.
So on Saturday against Man City, or any game in this tough time coming up, against Arsenal or Man United, get behind the players 100%, it could be crucial and could help turn the tide.
Self-belief and confidence is massive in football so let’s play our parts by boosting the players up at every chance we get. Attitudes and opinions are as infectious as colds so let’s keep a positive mentality which transfers from the players to us and vice versa. When we were promoted in 1992/3, Kevin Keegan banned the word ‘consolidation’ from the training ground and now we need to ban the word ‘relegation’ from our thoughts. It’s a blip, a bad patch that we’re having – don’t listen to the doom-mongers.
We’ve underperformed because of Europe – nothing else – that’s the one, major difference between last season and this one, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. We’ve played eight extra matches in four different countries and have already travelled 14,500 miles this season compared to 3,500 miles total last season. Travel, extra games, disruption to routine, everything matters. Seriously, if you don’t believe me and you’ve got a job, go and get a part-time one midweek for 2 months and see how your life changes.
If you go out on the lash every weekend, start going out midweek as well every week without fail for two months. Taking on a massive additional commitment like The Europa League is a privilege which has also massively stretched the club’s resources and personnel, yet there’s no reason why we can’t turn it into a good thing and run out winners next year with the kind of electric run which put us into Europe in the first place with who knows what brilliant signings.
We’ve been hanging on this season a lot of the time and we’re going to have to hang in there a little bit longer with the FIXture list kindly arranging ties at home against Man City and Everton and away to Arsenal and Man United in our ‘break’ from European football when traditionally the big sides kick on. Yet Arsenal went from 10th before Xmas last year to a 3rd placed finish so don’t bet against Newcastle doing something similar with the right recruitment drive in January.
Alan Pardew boarded up the training ground last week due to tactical and player leaks to the opposition and rightly so. Football is not war yet it is big business and there are huge stakes, perhaps even the happiness of our city. If I could quarantine negativity I would do, as it is poison to anyone trying to achieve anything.
For the terrific football of last season, never mind the fact we’re in the Last 32 of Europe, Pardew and the players have earned our support.
It’s Newcastle United against the world and time for everyone to show their true colours – black and white – and put the support in support-er.
The Best Is Yet To Come – Don’t Stop Believin’
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