Newcastle v Hull Five Years On
I suppose on reflection it was a fairly steady opening to the season – 4 points from the first 3 games, although we just edged our winnable home game with a late goal by our key man.
We took one hiding but it involved getting one of the season’s thankless away trips out of the way and we made heavy weather of beating lower league opposition but still progressed in the league cup.
All this was set against a backdrop of ructions following the summer’s questionable transfer policy and Mike Ashley’s installation of one of his southern cronies in the Director of Football role, with protests planned against this at the forthcoming home game with Hull.
The above paragraph is deliberately ambiguous. That’s because (you can check it again) it can be used to describe either a) the last month or so, or b) the opening weeks of the 2008/09 season, where we ultimately got horrifically relegated. Michael Owen’s late goal beat Bolton, we were thrashed at Arsenal and Hull City’s infamous win at SJP was one of the most vicious and depressing days in our recent colourful history.
Now the Tigers return for only their second visit to Gallowgate in a Premier League game, with our old mate Mrs.Doubtfire at the helm and a determination not to be taken for newly promoted mugs.
The difference between the two scenarios above, of course, has been a moral boosting victory at Villa Park, instead of getting relegated there (for the record, it’s probably an astute tactic to try and avoid getting relegated anywhere at all when planning a successful season. In fact, the concept of not getting relegated will receive a hearty endorsement when I finally get round to publishing my Great Football Managerial Manual).
Off the back of this game, surely the mantra of ‘support the team, not the regime’ has never rung more true.
I recently read an opinion that, on that fateful day the parading of the ‘Cockney Mafia Out’ banner served to distract Charles N’Zogbia sufficiently that he allowed Hull past him to score what turned out to be their winner. Even if this is an extreme example, the toxic atmosphere cannot have been great for the United team to play in. The fact that an extra goal scored or prevented would have ultimately secured our Premier League lives makes this all the more pertinent.
A peruse of the recent edition of The Mag seems to reinforce that everyone is of a similar mindset. NUFC under Ashley is broken and there’s little chance for the situation to be salvaged, with hope directed only towards the day when we may part ways with the current overlords.
In the meantime we’ll support the team as ever because that’s what we do. I am confident that Saturday will be a firm display of both sides of these emotions.
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