Well that was the week that was: following on from our comfortable win over Brentford, we had equally comfortable wins over Barnsley and then of course Ipswich, throw in a visit to the O2 academy to see a brilliant performance from The Specials and the continuation of lead singer Terry Hall’s 36 year hate of all things NUFC.

Then topping all that off with a visit to the City Hall to see ABC and a chance to roll back the years to the early 80s, when the music was good and Kevin Keegan was wearing the Black and white shirt!

The question is, can it be topped?

You bet it can, as we now have two exciting games against in-form Preston North End, I say in-form because last two games they have put one over our promotion rivals Huddersfield and Norwich.

I hope the first game on Tuesday sees a crowd approaching or above 45k, the pricing is very fair for advance purchases and the reward for victory could be very tantalising. Some good teams will go out this week and if we are not one of them you never know who we could draw, personally I don’t think we should fear any team right now.

Then next Saturday over five and half thousand of us will make our way to Deepdale for what is sure to be a tough fixture – but a one we can win for sure. We now have the first real chink of daylight between us and the chasers and another win will only strengthen our position.

Saturday against Ipswich, everyone contributed. There were no weak or poor performances and Rafa proved yet again that he knows best, changing things to suit each individual challenge and constantly proves that we he knows best.

Quite simply one of the best managers at NUFC in my lifetime and I include KK and Sir Bobby Robson when I say that, he could top them by actually winning a trophy – any manager who achieves that will have god like status.

Rafa it would seem, gets it. Unlike some of his predecessors he absolutely understands what the real NUFC is all about. I note a few people will say what happens when we go up and Ashely moves the internal goalposts, quite simply that won’t happen. Rafa is manager on his terms and he and his team oversee everything, one promotion is achieved Rafa will already have a plan in place to ensure we don’t go up to fight a relegation battle.

This stumbling, slumbering giant barn pot of a football club is suddenly waking up, the rest of the country is starting to take notice as more tabloid column inches are written and TV pundits and rival managers start to have their say.

Of course it would be foolish to to think that the first part of the job is done and I have no doubt Rafa will have whatever team he picks fully focussed for each and every game.

I can’t wait for Tuesday night and whatever the result, I am already looking forward to visiting Preston. it’s been a while, more so because I missed our last visit back in 2009.

Around the rest of the footballing world, it would seem our friends from down the road (only one place above us) are intent on breaking the lowest premier league points total. Hilariously, this season they have conceded a lot of late and heartbreaking goals, ensuring their fans travel home miserable. I hope they enjoy reading the ‘6 in a row’ book that they felt obliged to bring out, it will be their only enjoyment this season.

Amusingly, their not so loyal but devout followers now want rid of David Moyes, even more hilarious is the fact they seem to favour bringing back their former manager and footballing clown Big Sam, yes the man who recently made all the headlines for all the wrong reasons, is indeed the chosen messiah for many of them – you could not make it up!

Football at the moment is fun and in all honesty it has been since Rafa decided to stay, I am confident that in 12 months time we will be making an impact on the Premier League while our friends down the road flounder mid-table in the Championship – possibly for many years to come, delicious.

A final word on Mike Ashley, there was a few column inches last week talking about him selling to a Chinese consortium.

However true this rumour was, I don’t see that happening. Even if the rumour was true I am happy with where Ashley is now, in the background allowing Rafa and his footballing people free reign to do what they do best.

Make no mistake, Mike Ashley won’t ever change, but at the moment NUFC is all about football.

Have a great week and try to get along on Tuesday.

To feature like Brian Standen submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here