It has been well documented that life as a Newcastle United supporter is one of jubilant ups and sickening downs, the ‘rollercoaster ride’ cliché comes around about as often as a poor touch from Papiss Cissé.
As much as the all-round mood around Newcastle at the moment is a low one, with the club lying bottom of the Premier League table with no wins from the first eight games, the mentality of the fans has still swung back and forth all season.
A promising start against a good Southampton side kicked things off nicely, only to be shot down by a no-show at Swansea.
Encouraging displays at Old Trafford and at home to Arsenal got the hands rubbing again, only for the optimism to all come crashing down again after horrid results against West Ham, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday’s reserves.
The 4-4-2 formation came out for the visit of the reigning Premier League champions, the shake-up working wonders as Newcastle were unfortunate to come away with a 2-2 draw.
It was even all smiles at the Etihad as Newcastle ran City ragged for the first 40 minutes, where they really should have went in two or three goals to the good at half-time.
Cue the second half that saw Newcastle’s recently-solid defence dissolve into a back line of complete disarray, as they conceded six goals in a hugely embarrassing 20 minutes.
That 20 minute spell alone has once again heaped the pressure back onto all concerned within Newcastle United; the head coach, the players, the board, the scouts, and of course, the owner.
The vast majority of fans are fed up simply at the fact that regardless of the coaches or players who are brought in, nothing at the football club is seeming to change, and it’s hard to argue with them.
Somehow, things even look worse than they did last year – all for the sake of just twenty minutes.
But, I really don’t think the criticism should be as sharp as it is.
I’m well aware of the state the club is in, and has been for years. I know and appreciate the argument against Mike Ashley and his running of Newcastle United. A lot of you may think or respond that the losses aren’t the point, it’s the fundamentally rotten philosophy that the club is built on right now. Yes, I get that.
As I say, take a look back at our season so far. It’s not impossible, nor even unlikely, to suggest that should Newcastle produce the goods in their next couple of games or so, that the buzz of positivity would be swarming St. James Park again, which is all a fan-base like ours really wants, isn’t it? To go home happy at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon?
Looking back at each league result (not scoreline, not performance) that Newcastle have delivered, or failed to, this season, and the opposition they’ve come against, only the home defeat to Watford sticks out as a particularly poor one.
Look ahead to the opposition coming up in our next five or six games, and you’ve got to say that they’re all winnable, if the team approaches them right. But there lies the main problem.The mentality of the side has been horribly questionable. To play with the rigour they did against Chelsea and Manchester United this season, compared to the complacency against Watford is not only disrespectful, but moronic.
There are NO easy games in the Premier League. Not one single game between any two sides is ever a write-off, we have to understand that.
When we play Bournemouth at home, are we going to win the game by simply turning up? Of course not, yet the players seemed to think so.
I would argue that Newcastle have set themselves a standard of performance in the way they’ve played in certain games this year, they’ve proved that they can compete against the top sides. Manchester United couldn’t get through us, Arsenal were painfully lucky to do so, and Chelsea and Manchester City couldn’t cope with us for large periods of those fixtures.
So if we don’t go on to take that mentality, that desire, into the next two games (at least) with Norwich and Sunderland, something is seriously, seriously wrong.
Should we remain winless come November, then I’ll start ringing the alarm bells. But for now, the team needs to realise that Norwich, Sunderland, Stoke etc. are all more than capable of playing good football and beating us, they wouldn’t be Premier League sides if they weren’t.
If they can do that, and appreciate the fact we need to bring that effort and desire into every single minute of football we play, we’ll start climbing the table. I’m convinced we have some very, very good players at the club ability-wise, the majority of them just need to give their heads a shake.
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