Excited? Scared? Anxious? Nervous?
I haven’t been this excited/scared/anxious/nervous for a long time when it comes to Newcastle United.
Last season (or from January onward anyway), I found myself going to the game feeling absolutely nothing. Win, lose or draw, there was just nothing.
A shameful thing to admit but I am sure some could resonate with that. The demoralising defeats against the likes of Everton, Tottenham, Man United, sunderland…the list goes on. It was like we were being beaten into submission. No fight, no heart, no passion. This season is different though.
I think what this season has shown so far is if the team in black and white are fighting and battling for every ball, they are capable of anything.
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Magnificent highs like beating Liverpool and Chelsea at home, then that incredible night at the Eithad where the team were all fighting for each other – proving that they care for each other and for the club. Almost banishing the horror shows we saw earlier in the season against the likes of Southampton and Stoke.
First up, the quarter-final at Spurs represents an unbelievable opportunity. If Newcastle United can get past a Spurs team who are playing well in fits and starts, they’re in the Semi-final, and maybe, just maybe…a kind draw would await?
With a two-legged semi if we progress, magine St. James’ should we get that chance to spur the players on to a Wembley final…it gives me goosebumps.
Speaking of goosebumps…up next are Sunderland. Halloween 2010 was one of the greatest atmospheres in living memory. Newcastle, team and fans, were united and the atmosphere was almost vicious. Vicious in the sense we were determined we were going to win, determined to see off the forces of darkness and determined to do ourselves proud by proving we can create the atmosphere worth talking about. It was intimidating and no doubt helped the players. That has not happened in the last two/three derbies (and perhaps with good reason). It has to happen Sunday.
Derby games have proven in the past that whoever wants to win more, usually will. The truth is Newcastle and sunderland in the past few meetings have been as bad as each other. There has been very little quality in each game, but sadly, sunderland have simply wanted to win more. That is unforgivable and it must not happen again on Sunday.
The Alan Pardew subject has been a division among fans. I, personally, was very much against Pardew, and still am. We have had a great run recently and Pardew absolutely deserves a great share of the credit along with the team. Pardew won’t be forgiven quickly however and I don’t think recent results will have done that.
What WILL help Alan Pardew a great deal more is merely how he approaches a twin pair of fixtures this week, which could see Newcastle United right a few wrongs and really start to pay us back for the pretty much dismal 2014 we have suffered.
Alan Pardew’s chance is here. Alan…please go out with the intention of winning both these games. Please don’t have the Sunderland game in mind on Wednesday night. Send your strongest team out to win and progress. If we win that, send your strongest team out again to battle sunderland. It is inexcusable to look at these fixtures other than two amazing opportunities to unite Newcastle even further and perhaps set our season up for something special…
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