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I laughed when I heard…

6 years ago

When Alan Pardew departed Newcastle United in late December, the club appeared to be in no danger of relegation, simply heading towards mid-table obscurity.

With two games left, we now sit one place and two points outside of the relegation zone.

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I laughed when I heard people suggesting that Newcastle could end up in the relegation battle; I thought they were crazy. Nevertheless, here we are. Was I too blind to see the impending spiral down the table, or was I just ignorant to the fact we were on a collision course where the destination was the drop zone?

There have only been two moments this season when I thought relegation was coming our way:

The first was last week after Sunderland won and we were trounced by Leicester. I couldn’t see any more points coming our way which meant down was the only direction we were heading. Hull’s defeat on Monday night renewed my optimism that we might hang on. All attention turned to Saturday’s round of fixtures.

When Victor Anichebe scored his 543676th goal against Newcastle after thirty two minutes, I thought we were doomed.

We had slipped into the bottom three for the first time. The atmosphere had been beaten out of the crowd, as if Floyd Mayweather had just knocked us out and became 49-0. I saw one young lad appearing to hold back tears as Newcastle were heading for a humiliating ninth straight defeat in a row.

I found myself preparing myself for life in the Championship, beginning to ponder what it would be like again. I broke out of a daze just as Ayoze Perez’s effort hit the back of the net and that sense of previous optimism returned.

The fact that we had to rely on bottom of the league to ‘do us a favour’ as we celebrated a huge point against West Brom shows the nightmare that this season has become.

With two games to go, the nightmare is not over and, although our safety lies in our own hands, we could still find ourselves heading down to Huddersfield next season for Friday Night Football.

QPR’s relegation makes our game at Loftus Road appear a lot more winnable than if they were still scrapping for survival, whilst Hull travel to White Hart Lane to take on a Tottenham side who continue their mission to avoid the dreaded Europa League.

After the next round of fixtures, Premier League safety could be confirmed as we head towards the final game of the season with nothing to play for but pride. Then, the dreams of who may arrive in the summer, as well as a new manager, will see my massive optimism return to its normally high level, replacing the state of fear that had taken over the previous weeks.

Feel free to replace the word ‘optimism’ with ‘lunacy’ or ‘idiocy’ at any point as they are equally as valid and probably more accurate.

You can follow James on Twitter @jrutherford11 


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