I am starting to feel that I have been quite lucky to be growing up in an era of Newcastle blowing Sunderland away and now harsh reality is starting to bite. It finally is hitting me that we cannot simply turn up and win these derby games.
During the ‘noughties’ we had the complete edge over Sunderland and it was almost as if we just had to turn up and win. Now we have suffered three derby disasters in a row, and the 4-1 win in Shearer’s last game, and 5-1 mauling under Hughton are feeling very distant memories.
Worryingly, I am now starting to wonder if we will ever beat the old enemy again whilst Poyet is in charge at the Stadium of Plight. Derby games have a completely unique atmosphere in comparison with any other match you will see at SJP. Unfortunately, the spine-tingling electric environment became poisonous after 23 minutes of play, when Adam Johnson rolled the ball home and Krul squared up with the thoroughly awful Santon.
When all is said and done, fans are more than entitled to their own opinion.
Personally though, I was left disappointed when people around me immediately started aiming their anger at Mike Ashley (was he even in the ground?). Don’t get me wrong, it seems that everyone has finally had enough with the fat cockney and I hate Ashley and his sterile lack of ambition for this great club as much as the next fan.
I just felt at that particular point of the game, we were two goals down but with a very large portion of the game still to play. Surely at that stage it would be better if we had continued to back the team and try to inspire a comeback.
Again, fans pay the money and the level of support they give the team inside St James’ is up to them and no one else, when the calls for Ashley to go rang out, I knew all hope was gone.
The players were really entirely to blame and to be honest I’m not sure any level of backing could have got us a goal on derby day. None of them had the required bravery in possession, all looked nervous on the ball, evidenced when we started off with Taylor and Willo launching punts towards an immobile Shola, who had two very physical centre-halves to contend with. The trauma of those 90 minutes will stay with for a long time…. well at least until next time we beat them.
Selling your best player is never nice whatever the price, but failing to replace him or even attempt to replace him, depending on which story you believe, is unforgiveable in the eyes of many, myself included. Looking at the situation from a positive viewpoint, history tells us that most of the players sold since the promotion season have been good business deals, and have not exactly gone onto bigger and better things. Look at each case.
£35 million for Andy Carroll looks even more a ridiculous price now than it did then, Enrique is still a classy footballer but has struggled for a run of games, Joey Barton is now in the championship, whilst Demba Ba continues to warm a Stamford bridge bench. There is no guarantee Cabaye will achieve great things with PSG, despite most of the twitter ‘experts’ proclaiming what a ‘great move’ it is for him. We have just got £20 million pounds for a 28 year old, that should turn out to be a good deal providing we reinvest strongly in the summer.
I additionally think that most of us knew this day would come eventually and at least we have not sold him to an English club. Obviously in the near future, looking towards the end of the season, we will miss our talismanic Frenchmen as everyone knows. Evidenced further by the Sunderland debacle.
So within a few days we sell Cabaye, lose to the Mackems, have Kinnear finally leave and a reserve coach suspended then resign. Even when our league position looks fairly dull, it is further proof that it’s never dull around Newcastle United.
Would you want dull? Maybe, but then what could we all talk about? One thing that is certain, boring or not, is that the heat is well and truly back on Cashley, even though it seems most fans have accepted he won’t be selling any time soon.
So looking towards the rest of the season, in terms of the league table, we are still in a fairly healthy position and there is no reason why we cannot finish as high as 6th.A position which would represent a remarkable turnaround from last season, even more so after selling Cabaye. He wasn’t the only one missing against Sunderland either, we still have Colo, Remy and now Tiote all to come back.
Stick by the players and Pardew, you never know we might just turn things around. Newcastle United have a funny record, particularly in recent times, of achieving some good results after times of despair.
Look at what happened after we lost to the Mackems in the league in October. One thing that is certain is Newcastle are always capable of surprising the fans. Keep fighting, this season isn’t quite done just yet.