What I saw watching Newcastle v West Ham from the Directors Box
The Newcastle v West Ham match on Sunday, for me, can definitely be summed up in two words. Relief and Positivity.
The latter is a word that a few of us will have to get our dictionaries out for, but I can promise you, it’s a word, it still exists, and if there was ever a catalyst for positivity, then yesterday was it!
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The day started off with Mike Ashley giving his first ever TV interview and stated in no uncertain terms that he is here for the long run. So where does that leave the boycotters/protesters?
If anything, we have some clarity, and at the very least something to look forward to this summer going into the next season.
We all have our opinions on Mike Ashley. I myself met him and was lucky enough to chat with him in the boardroom at West Ham away earlier in the season. Contrary to what most of us would think, he came across as a genuine, honest and very nice man.
Don’t get me wrong, I have never been a fan, and probably never truly will be, but he is our owner and as a football club, we need to pull together. Mike Ashley has talked to the talk, now we must wait and see if he is going to walk the walk.
For the first time this season, from start to finish, from goalkeeper to centre-forward, we all put in a graft. Daryl Janmaat and Jack Colback again were fantastic, it’s probably between those two for my player of the season.
The defence was steady and safe, although it must be noted that they only had big Carlton Cole to look after.
Now I’ve been going home and away every single week for 15 years now and I can say for sure, controversially or not, that Vurnon Anita’s performance was the best I’ve ever seen from a toon player at SJP.
He’s faced much criticism since signing, but he covered every single blade of grass and it was his performance that optimized what Newcastle fans want from their players.
Jonas Gutierrez will forever be a Newcastle United legend. It’s a strange thing being a legend at Newcastle. Usually legends are the great players, the ones who are record signings, win you big games, trophies. At Newcastle it’s different.
Our heroes, our legends, are the ones who connect with us on a human level, the footballers that we can relate to, share our emotions with. Newcastle United legends don’t have to be great footballers (don’t get me wrong, Jonas is a great footballer), but a true legend is a Newcastle player who not only plays for himself and his family, but also plays for the city, its people and as Jonas himself put it, “is a part of the Geordie Nation.” Jonas Gutierrez will always be an adopted Geordie and a great role model to any young lad growing up supporting Newcastle.
I have never liked the word ‘invest’ in terms of football and transfer spending, it’s a term that’s bandied about too much at Newcastle United. I study economics at university and one of our basic principles is that ‘an investment is made on a product with an intention that wealth will be created, or a profit will be made on that product in the future’.
Now to me, that’s not good enough, Newcastle United should be buying players. Not to sell on at a later date, not to make a profit out of. We should be buying players to win trophies. If that’s not the case, then what is the point? This summer, it’s imperative that we spend money. It’s my belief that we need 4/5 major signings, otherwise, next season could be more of the same.
Finally, I was luckily enough to sit in the Directors Box yesterday (paid for the privelege), as a present for my Dad’s 50th birthday, and I was the only person who stayed behind at the end of the game to watch the protest in the Gallowgate corner.
I have respect for every Newcastle fan, and of the 150/200 that did stay, they showed their passion and emotions in a mature, grown up manner. However, there were 49,000 toon fans at the game yesterday, which suggests that a large majority of fans are now going to be looking forward to next season and fully getting behind the club.
If you want to go the game next year, great. If you don’t want to go the game and support Mike Ashley’s regime, then great. It’s a personal decision. But let’s all get behind the team and push the club forward to where it should be. For the moment, at least, positivity is the word.
All I want from my Football club is ambition and a chance to dream. This summer will be the most important in the history of the football club, it’s do or die. Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley, over to you…
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