Around 21 years ago I came out the Haymarket Metro and walked through the bus station, it was a beautiful bright Sunday afternoon, my head was filled with a feeling of what should have been and a sense of resigned disappointment.

Then I saw the huge flag draped from the top of the Eldon Garden car park, a banner which if memory serves me right nearly engulfed the entrance to the Three Bulls Heads.

I turned to my then partner and said to her something along the lines of ‘today will probably end in disappointment but without doubt Newcastle fans are the best and most loyal followers in the world’, I then went off into some drivel citing the reasons why.

That was the season of heartbreak when the biggest prize in football should have been ours, instead we had witnessed Man Utd slowly but surely eat away into our 12 point lead, until finally with just a couple of games to go we had to rely on others – surely our friends from Teesside would not let us down…Enough said about that the better!

However, while this unassailable 12 point lead was being eroded the support had been unwavering, away games were what away games are, beer filled and loud and proud, home games exactly the same as thirty seven thousand devotees each week provided ear bursting support.

Despite how it all ended there was very little negativity, the last game of the season a 1-1 draw with Spurs, while Middlesbrough dutifully lay down to allow Man Utd a stroll to the title in their last game.

However, on full-time there was no anger, just a sense of gut-wrenching pride at just how close we had come. Sure there were some tears but unlike what the media will have you believe, most fans felt only a sense of pride.

The reason I go back to the end of the 95/96 season is simple, Newcastle United are in danger of imploding again, at least that is what the social networks and national journalists will have you believe.

Yes, since Huddersfield away we have not hit the heights but it’s not the time to throw criticism at all and sundry in black and white, leave that to the national media and those waiting for us to fail.

Going back 21 years ago, the likes of Facebook, Twitter and instant letters to websites and social network sites did not exist, the only instant media platform was radio phone-ins like the three legends etc, nowadays opinion can be aired in an instant, most of it negative!

Newcastle United have two home games left and they need the support from 21 years ago, they need a final push from the stands to help get us over the line, there can’t be negativity if we go a goal down – just a crescendo of noise and belief to help get the job done.

Rafa Benitez showed his belief in us by staying and vowing to get this job done and it’s time for us to show the doubters again that we have full belief in him. It really makes little difference if we finish first or second, but while I would love to go and visit Wembley, I do not envisage going there for a play-off final.

Newcastle United will be promoted this season, Rafa Benitez will revamp things for next season, slowly but surely the playing side of the club is being improved at all levels, the future really is bright.

Forget the negativity, the national media hoping for us to implode, the social network sites full of harsh armchair critics, it’s time to show the world that we really do believe.

One more win will surely be enough and I urge everyone to get behind the team for ninety minutes next Monday night and roar them over the line once and for all.

Then let the party begin!

(Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – Latest example of Fergie Time disaster)

(Match Ratings of players for Ipswich 3 Newcastle 1 – see HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Ipswich defeat go HERE)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Leazes Ender

    Here’s some positivity for you Brian….

    ….’Everyone fancies a £200 day out at Wem-ber-lee’

    • Albert Stubbins

      Not a chance we wont get promoted automatically. For goodness sakes- if beat Preston at home its over.All we have to do is beat them with something approaching the support from the stands we had against Leeds and it will be 3 or 4-0. its up to the fans to get behind the team and its a simple as that. I remember pompey at home in 91/2- now that WAS pressure and we came up trumps. This in comparison will be a walk in the park- no worries from me- I’m confident 100%

      • Brian Standen

        Exactly my point, that Portsmouth game was pivotal and and the longer it was 0-0 the more intense the support became! Only 25000 in that day but absolutely insane noise! Pompey were flying high as well that season but they eventually buckled and I’m convinced the noise from the stands helped.

    • Geordiegiants

      Ha ha lol. I would love it to be honest.
      I have been saying it for a few weeks to the lads. It wouldn’t be normal if we done it the easy way.

  • 1957

    You’re right about one thing, you’ll not be going to the play-off final, if we don’t go up automatically we will not get past the semi-finals with current performances.
    I’ll be there urging them on but no amount of crowd support can compensate for inept performances by players, poor tactics and selection by the manager.
    If we fail to go up it won’t be the crowd in SJP who are responsible or the ‘armchair critic’s who are entitled to their opinion (and have been right IMO) its the players and manager. They need to do what they are paid for.

    • Brian Standen

      The fans can still make a difference, a full rocking SJP can be intimidating for visiting teams. PNE need to feel that this coming Monday!

  • hetonmag

    Good post Brian everybody on this forum has an opinion which makes some good banter, at the end of the day the manager has to stand or fall by his decisions. I personally will always back Rafa but I agree with some posters he is not unaccountable but that’s for another day, all we can do is keep the faith.

  • Jimblag23

    Well said. Good article.
    Yesterday was extremely disappointing but we got a lucky reprieve thanks to Derby.
    But now truly is the time to get behind the team and cheer them on, if the team fails at least we can say we did our part.
    There’s no point in being overly disheartened and at the end saying “I knew we’d crumble, those bottlers didn’t deserve my support”
    Rafa has squeezed everything out of this squad, maybe there’s very little juice left in the squad but we can definitely get one more glass out of them.
    It may not be Waitrose OJ and we may have to settle for smartprice but that’s all we need. In the summer we can buy an orchard of orange trees. Have I exhausted this analogy enough yet?

  • Tim

    I agree. Obviously it is down to the players and manager to do better – BUT, regardless whether they do or not, can we hold OUR bottle and keep OUR pride? Like someone says, when you walk out of the ground after the Preston game will you be able to say ‘at least I did my bit’ after singing in defiance during the game, whether we play well or not?

  • Berkshire Mag

    Great article. I am getting fed up with all the negative comments on here, yes we blew it big time yesterday, yes we should have beaten Leeds, yes we’ve been pretty terrible for a while now BUT let’s get behind the lads now, 3 to go, 2 wins will do it, also Reading & Huddersfield have some tough games coming (Forest & Fulham). We may well stumble over the line, but who cares as long as we do? Rafa made a big error yesterday with 5 changes, I know he favours the same tactics but i’d rather him than any of our previous “managers” since Robson. Since 1974 when I fell in love with the Toon I have had so many disappointments, I don’t think this will be another one, but if it is we’ll all be back next season. HWTL.


    If the players are not up for it how can we be up for it. We played really well against Leeds and it was a great atmosphere. It is a 2 way street, give us something to cheer about. Even a bad performance with every player giving 110% gives us something. Right now Huddersfield are going to get us promoted by dropping points, if we struggle against the likes of Ipswich etc what chance we got of staying in the premier league. The only thing that would keep us up is money and I think we all know there are going to be limited funds available.

    • Tim

      Because you have your own pride as a NUFC supporter above all else and at least you can say you showed your bottle and pride in the midst of difficulties. I agree; the players at times this season can’t handle the pressure. It’s poor. But can you? When the going gets tough the players have a choice – and so do the fans. We as fans can go along with negative vibes and moan OR we can stand up and be counted by singing in defiance and showing pride for yourself and seeing what happens then.

      • Damon Horner

        This lime should be in the article haha.

        All considered, if the fans have unconditional and unwavering support nobody can level fan led implosions at us.

      • Geordiegiants

        Well said, EVERY single time we have been beaten, the doom and gloom merchants come out like it’s ok, cause Rafa has made a mistake so we have a right to crucify him. When we win a couple on the bounce it’s been hysteria. When are the most fickle fans in the country going to wake up and realise it’s not easy, we aren’t going to win every game, we SHOULD stand together in defeat as well as glory. Everyone in every walk of life makes mistakes like Rafa, the thing is how we deal with the mistakes and move on from them. Some of the things said on here after we have been beaten is disgraceful. You only have to look at the state this club was in only 1 year ago.
        Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Mal

    Well said Brian. Top article.

  • MadMag83

    Against Ipswich we appeared to crack under the pressure of playing a team who were up for it and a crowd who were right behind them and created a hostile atmosphere.

    We need our players and fans to do the same for us against Preston and Barnsley.

  • Lofty

    Well said Brian. I remember going round the pubs after the last game of that season belting out ” and now you’re gonna believe us, we NEARLY won the league” North East humour at its best.