Debut day is upon us and Sunday could see the three brave souls who have came as saviours to Newcastle, march out on to the pitch to launch a new era (well sort of) under Steve McClaren.
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What has dawned on me is that the buzz around such high profile signings just isn’t what it was.
While we all secretly hope that Mitrovic has a bit of the Ketsbaia about him, Wijnaldum is the new Cabaye and Mbemba is Woodgate mark 2, it is a long time since we really had the buzz around debuts. The anticipation just isn’t there.
Fair enough, the press coverage doesn’t build them up quite as much as used to happen but the expectation of a debut should be fun. Especially when we haven’t seen any similar new signings for so long.
It made me think back to some of the great debuts over the years: Keegan, Mirandinha becoming the first Brazilian (and then being taught English by Gazza), Asprilla quite literally being brought in from the cold and of course Shearer.
Those all had the build up and excitement, but there are others where the event itself was just as spectacular – Mick Quinn and Mark McGhee anyone?
The 19th August 1989 saw our new strike force destroy Leeds 5-2 with Micky Quinn getting 4 on his debut. Pretty much the perfect debut, leading to a season where he managed 34 goals in the league.
While I’m not expecting Mitrovic to get quite that start (or finish) to the season it is an interesting comparison of times gone by.
While we were at the right end of the wrong division that season, we produced a potent strike force but were let down by our defence. We were a club in transition and lacked structure but the excitement of a real number 9 made it a thrilling season.
The debut of a striker with something about him can really kick-start a season and if we finish 8th or 16th it doesn’t really matter, just so long as we are having fun along the way. That is something that Mitrovic and a fit Cisse can bring to this season. We want them to bring the fun.
There is not going to be a revolution this season but what we can ask for is the spark of attitude and excitement which was lacking last year.
Maybe we need to sign Brian Pinas again – the funniest debut ever as they announced his arrival onto the pitch. The dark clouds of last season took away the light-hearted banter which we so crave – there needs to be a re-ignition of this.
We need to bring the spirit of fun to St James Park at the start of the season. There needs to be an anticipation about what the players can deliver and less of a worry about the league position from day one.
If we can bring the fun back starting with an exciting debut from our new boys on Sunday, then I don’t really care whether we finish 8th or 16th just so long as they entertain us along the way.
Newcastle United should forever keep ‘The Entertainers’ spirit.