Manchester United are in Toon this afternoon.
I for one just can’t wait.
There is fear and trepidation as well, a quick look at the Premier League table ensures that.
However, when it has gone our way, the matches against Manchester United at St James Park have given me some of my stand out memories of this Premier League era.
For those who share season tickets or who pay match by match, I would say that down these last 20+ years, it would be the Sunderland game (when they aren’t too busy trying to get into League One) that would be first choice, then a clear second the game against the Mancs.
Not wanting to give their army of armchair fans an even greater feeling of self-importance…but that is just the way it is.
It isn’t the be all and end all of course beating Man Utd, or indeed the Mackems, I would much rather do better over the course of a season than sacrifice for beating one or both of them.
When it does happen though, it is extra sweet.
What helps as well, is that when Newcastle have got the better of the Red Devils, it has ever been a tedious dull match where Newcastle score from their only chance (though I would take that today!).
Keegan’s 5-0 (Albert, Shearer etc) back in 1996, Sir Bobby’s 3-0 (Ferguson/Shearer) in 2000 and 4-3 (Lee, Robert, Dabizas, own goal!) in 2001, or even Pardew’s 3-0 (Ba, Cabaye, own goal) in 2012.
I have a feeling that if Newcastle can get something today, then once again it won’t come about via a boring performance based solely on defence.
Yes, Newcastle may well have to defend for large periods, after all, any number of the Manchester United players will have cost as much as the entire NUFC team.
However, I do think that Rafa will set the team up with an attacking edge as well, with numbers getting forward when sensible to do so.
Just maybe we will get one or two players rising above themselves and upsetting the many expert predictions.
Whatever happens, I can’t wait for this Manchester United match to kick-off, even Mike Ashley can’t take all of our hopes and dreams away.
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