Newcastle Fans – The Next Generation
Thursday night against Anzhi, has the potential to be a watershed moment in the history of this club. That our opponents will soon be a European powerhouse is pretty much a given, they have a bigger transfer budget than the GDP of most medium sized African nations.
Our crowd is the first point of call, but not for the size of it. I saw many youngsters, from those with parents to teenagers obviously making their first visit. These are the ones that need to be encouraged, and (credit to the club for the pricing in European games) results like Thursday can only help. Obviously over time they’ll learn the harsh reality, becoming cynical and embittered like your correspondent! The omens were good though, there is a nucleus of a damn good team building here, and with it, some more genuine competition for places. Sissoko has the potential to be a Vieira figure for us, whilst Elliot has more than a racing chance of keeping Krul out, honest.
The quarter finals will be no more difficult, although Benfica are unassailable in their own league I would imagine playing at the original Stadium of Light should be incentive enough. The national press of course, can only see an all-London final, yet another incentive to progress. We all saw their frailties as well. The Chelsea support would be devastated to see Benitez win them a trophy and I think we can safely lay the myth about Spurs not being a one man team. Without Bale they’re on a par with lower mid table, and it wouldn’t have concerned me in the least to be drawn against them. They’re like the current incarnation of ‘Queen’ without Freddie Mercury.
The club must really grasp the mettle here, no more messing about in the summer window trying to negotiate in pennies. It is no longer exclusively about who we will attract, it is also about who we can keep. Cabaye and Sissoko came to be successful (ok, being clattered for tax in France had a small influence), and they won’t hang around if they sense us treading water.
Ashley deserves credit for steadying the ship, we are essentially solvent, have a good reputation for scouting and looking after our players, but we don’t rest here. The potential is staggering, and chances like this don’t happen along very often to this club. Like Halley’s Comet, we flame once in a couple of generations.
I would love to think that the excited kids singing along on Thursday, the youngsters staring round in amazement from their dad’s shoulders, will return for many more European nights. Being part of a ‘I want things now’ generation, I hope they realise that this isn’t a computer game, where after defeat you simply rewind and start again.
It is real, it is emotional, at times it is hair tearingly infuriating but the moments of blissful victory, like Thursday night, are to be savoured, like the crusty end of a roast beef joint or a new Blackadder series.
See you all in Amsterdam eh?
(Prices can fluctuate up and down)
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