The annual seven day stretch between that friendly “curtain raiser” at Wembley and the beginning of the proper stuff is upon us.
Obviously, due to the Newcastle United demotion last term we shared an opening weekend the Community Shield but things are back to normal (or as normal as it gets for the black and white faithful) this season.
That familiar feeling has started to swell in the pit of my stomach as we approach our new campaign after being away for a year, wondering what stories unfold over the next nine months has got me chomping at the bit to get under way…at least that’s what I should be experiencing.
Truth is, for the first time in a very long time I really don’t know who to feel about our upcoming campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, I still very much have that buzz experienced by a child on Christmas Eve but I’m not sure that when I look under the tree whether I will find that much wanted shiny black and white steam train set, or a disappointing flaming bag of Ashley branded fertiliser.
Sad truth is, it’s been far too long since that pre-season euphoria has lasted through a season at St James’ (in some cases it’s barely lasted a match!). If you don’t include that anomaly of our shock 5th place a few years back, you would probably have to go back to the early days of this millennium when Sir Bobby guided us to back to back top four finishes to really feel that a season truly delivered for the toon army (without relegation preceding it of course).
Since earning my stripes in the early 90s I had an instinctual feeling to know what to expect going into the kick off of a new season, the warmth of feeling anything was possible of under Keegan, the quiet need to be reassured during the reigns of Dalglish and Gullit, the chirpy sensation of Robson’s run being replaced with the uncomfortable realisation of Souness’ destruction of a still good side would take us away from the summit sooner rather than later.
Following that debacle with knowing that while a safe pair of hands Roeder wouldn’t take us forward…
…And then the seller of poorly fitting sports tat arrived.
Now I like to think of myself as a positive person but the drivel we loyal supporters have been served since that fateful day in 2007 has even cracked my optimism. From Messrs Keegan and Houghton being dragged through the mud to old Schteve taking us even further back than even the most pessimistic fan thought possible (we’d been relegated five years earlier for crying out loud!). Let’s not forget the dark shadows of Kinnear, Pardew and Carver still linger long in the mind…
Rafa came in five games too late to save us from the long term mess we had found ourselves in and even though It took a while for our newly constructed squad to gel together he brought us back from implosion to mixing it with the big boys. So with that said all should be rosy right?
I’m still not sure…
So again I ask how should I feel? Are we destined for relegation? A relegation that will be so destructive it will finally see drop off a cliff in the style of Wil E Coyote as many have before us?
Let’s be honest it’s all about consolidating our status in the premier league this year which I feel is more than achievable. Will it be the regular bumpy ride? Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less!
Guess I’ve answered my own question then, am I excited?
Sunday afternoon against Spurs?
HOWAY THE LADS!!!
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