The Newcastle players have been rightfully praised by fans and pundits alike.
Unless you have the benefit of a significant transfer budget, any run of three Premier League wins in a row is something to be celebrated.
All you can ask of any players/team is that they play for the manager and the supporters, which is certainly the case so far this season, and was the same in the Championship.
However, many Newcastle fans want to take this many steps further, with local journalists also keen to jump on the bandwagon.
If you listen to some people, then this current NUFC side is by far the most committed we have seen in living memory, so much better than those Newcastle players in the past who didn’t care about the club/couldn’t wait to leave/only interested in cash etc etc.
Playing devil’s advocate, how do you know Mikel Merino’s committed?
He has only started four games for Newcastle and whilst he has definitely played well and put everything into those matches, how can anybody know he is any different from those that have gone before?
He couldn’t get a game at Borussia Dortmund and the 21 year old is now playing in the Premier League in front of fifty two thousand adoring fans every home match. Who knows though what the situation will be in even eight months time?
Unless you have just started supporting Newcastle United, you will have had plenty other similar situations.
The fans loved Mathieu Debuchy as he was a star man in the 2013/14 season but then when he got the chance to play Champions League football and compete for trophies, rather than stay at a Mike Ashley stifled Newcastle United, suddenly he was a traitor only interested in himself.
Daryl Janmaat came in and Newcastle fans were thinking what a result. Costing half of what United had got for Debuchy, Janmaat was just as good and totally committed…only to then leave straight after relegation, having told his then international boss moths before the season ended, that he was going to do so if Newcastle went down.
DeAndre Yedlin is the man in position now and with no prospect of getting games at Tottenham, a move to Newcastle who were hot favourites to bounce straight back to the Premier League, was a no-brainer. What though if he has a stellar season and next May some club comes along offering to double his wags and give him Champions League football?
The answer is, we don’t know. We only find out when circumstances change and another club poses the question.
Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Coloccini…all players who many fans would now question just how committed they were to Newcastle United.
Yet these were key players in Newcastle ending up fifth in 2011/12 and just missing out on a Champions League spot.
Fans might want to rewrite history now but nobody can tell me that that team/squad could have finished in fifth if the Newcastle players concerned hadn’t been totally committed…at the time.
The truth is, that the Alan Shearers and Shay Givens are few and far between, Newcastle players who were top quality and could have played for any other club but ended up staying long-term at St James Park.
Playing devil’s advocate again, say Newcastle finish in lower mid-table this season but Man Utd/Man City/Chelsea/whoever wins the league, come in and offer Jamaal Lascelles massive wages and the chance to play in the Champions League and potentially win trophies. Imagine if the vibes are already that Mike Ashley is once again going to restrict spending (after spending nothing in January 2018)…would Lascelles say ‘No thanks, rather than CL football and trophies and more money, I love the Toon and would rather stay here, even though the owner is never going to let the club have a chance of being successful’?
What the bottom line is, for me, is that until we have a club that is run on ambitious lines then we will always be in danger of losing our best players.
Going back to that 2011/12 team that finished fifth, can we blame any of them from becoming demoralised when Mike Ashley refused to allow that breakthrough season to be built on, instead only Vurnon Anita arrived that summer.
So when Ba, Coloccini, Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Cisse, agitated for moves and/or lost interest, can you really point the finger at them?
I just hope that Rafa Benitez will be given the proper backing to create a situation at St James Park where the best players will want to stay regardless, as they believe it is a club going places.
Until that is in place, I don’t think you can count on any quality player being long-term ‘committed’ at Newcastle United.