Newcastle summer signing ‘What a place to play football – it’s a dream really’
Two matches at St James Park within three days of each other and over one hundred thousand supporters through the door, no wonder Newcastle’s summer signing Grant Hanley is finding it hard to take in.
Last night 49,042 turned up to see the six goal thrashing of Preston that takes Newcastle through to the League Cup last eight, the attendance only hundreds below Newcastle’s highest ever League Cup crowd when beating Spurs in the semis in 1976.
Grant Hanley says that ‘The support here is unlike anything I have ever seen’.
The defender has only played senior club football for Blackburn and their latest home league crowd this season was 10,463, whilst a measly 3,448 turned out for their home League Cup-tie against Crewe in the second round.
Little surprise that Grant Hanley was so desperate to make the move, as Blackburn turned down a number of offers in the summer before finally accepting they were losing their Captain.
The defender accepts he has no automatic right though to be in the first team and says he just has to ‘knuckle down’ and wait for his next chance.
Grant Hanley has only started one Championship match and that was the opening one at Fulham, when Mbemba was coming back from injury and Ciaran Clark had only just signed.
Three brief sub appearances have been his only other minutes in the Championship for Newcastle, though he has played the full match in all three cup wins.
Maybe more than most Grant Hanley will be interested in who Newcastle draw in the quarter-finals, as that is likely to be his next start – if Rafa sticks with his policy of making wholesale changes in the League Cup, with another seven against Preston.
Interesting to see what Rafa Benitez does, especially if United draw the likes of Liverpool or Arsenal.
Grant Hanley speaking to official NUFC website:
“The support here is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
“I’ve never experienced it before, it’s unbelievable. Since I’ve been here, the fans have been first class, and it’s a credit to them that they turn out in their numbers every week, home or away.
“There were however many thousand here again tonight, what a place to play football. It’s a dream really.
“With the chances we created – especially in the second-half – it could have been anything.
“Sometimes, games can be tricky when teams go down to ten men and just sit back, but even before the sending off, we felt comfortable.
“We’re on a good run at the moment and we’re playing with loads of confidence. Playing at home, we feel strong.
“There were lads coming into the team tonight who maybe haven’t played as much and felt they had a point to prove, and I think they should all be proud.
“We’re looking forward to the draw now, but in football, you can only control what you can control. What will be will be, and we’ll just make sure we’re ready for the next round.
“We’re playing Preston again on Saturday, and they’ll have their backs up after that kind of result so it will be a totally different game. For now, that is all that we’re focussing on.
“It’s pleasing to keep another clean sheet, as a centre-half that is your job, first and foremost.
“The lads are doing well at the moment, so it’s difficult to ease your way into the side.
“But, I’ve been in this situation before and you just have to knuckle down and keep working hard in training, and keep working hard when you get a chance on the pitch. And hopefully, another opportunity will come.”
(To view the Newcastle v Preston player ratings and add your own to our interactive system go HERE)
(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the 6-0 win go HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]