Time To End 44 Years Of Newcastle United Hurt
After last week’s simply outstanding win and performance against Chelsea, many of our supporters are looking at moving up the table rather than worrying about the stress and pain of a relegation battle from now until May.
Fair enough, personally I don’t think we are completely out of the mire yet. That defeat against Reading hurt us bad, and although I think the signings of Sissoko, Gouffran and Yanga-M’biwa will be more than enough to keep us up, work still needs to be done. A point against Spurs and a victory against Southampton should take the heat off and would be two great results to help us catch the mackems and co.
League-wise a target of 12th would be a good realistic aim for us between now and the end of the season, which in my opinion would be not a bad return considering the past few months we have had.
It may be a big ‘if’ but if we did get all 3 points on Saturday, would that allow us to turn our attentions to the almost forgotten Europa league campaign?
Despite not winning our group, the draw has been kind to us and I think if we play anywhere near a strong team we can beat Metalist in the next round and from there on who knows, that’s the beauty of the cup. Everyone moans and whines about the Europa League, the media in particular have this idea it’s a nothing contest, but actually they are making themselves look fools as nearly every other country in Europe takes it seriously and teams from Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy often play their strongest teams available, to good effect as both Manchester clubs found out last season.
They seem to think every team and manager see it as a chore, they use this same ignorant line time and time again, quite frankly it’s getting boring. I’m here thinking bloody hell, is that all football is nowadays is the Premier League and Champions League? Nothing else matters? Going down that route to most fans would be ridiculous and quite right too.
Having said that, I recently asked a mate of mine, a Man United fan, if he was bothered about winning the FA Cup as they have not won it for nearly 9 years now. He was bothered slightly but to say the quest for a domestic cup was keeping him up at night would be a huge overstatement. What’s even more bizarre, is that this opinion about the Europa is not really based on anything other than a random mood change and a bit of rebranding .
Up to 2009 the tournament was known as The Uefa Cup, this name change seems to have been the catalyst for snooty journalists to use the ‘Thursday night on channel 5’ angle to good effect and continually putting the boot in on what is a great tournament.
If you remember, the UEFA Cup had a group stage too towards the end of its existence, albeit with 5 teams and 4 matches, rather than the current 4 and 6, so this was hardly any different. I understand teams dropping out of the wonderland of the CL may be a bit disgruntled playing on Thursday nights, but the same happened to us in the 2003/2004 season.
Thank god the great Sir Bobby Robson didn’t sit around moaning about fixture congestion, he played strong teams and we got to the Semi-Final only to be stopped by a Drogba-inspired Marseille. When I look back on that Semi-Final first leg I had never been so excited for a Newcastle game and I believe had Woodgate not picked up an injury ruling him out of the away leg, we would have snuck a win and made the final.
Just take a second and imagine how good that would be; the Toon Army invading Amsterdam on a hot early summer’s night and Newcastle playing one of Europe’s best sides with a trophy at stake. I think playing the teams Pardew did in the group stage was wise, as it was tough with games coming thick and fast. Now it is a different story, we have a bigger squad and realistically are going to struggle to touch the top half this season, so we might as well give the Europa a right good go.
So I hope when we play Metalist in a week’s time, we see the Cisses, Colos and Sissokos of this world rather than Sammy Ameobi and… god help us Nile Ranger.
Let’s face it, this was the last cup we won, so it would be nice I think to end the 44 years of hurt with some European Silverware.
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