Newcastle fans are enduring a tough season so far.
Now 12 weeks into the season without a single win, the Premier League makes depressing reading.
The football itself has matched the results, going along to the games has most certainly turned into a duty rather than pleasure.
Off the pitch as well, the atmosphere has reached new lows, little wonder with the quality of football and the results.
It is a distant memory, the days when Newcastle fans made their own fun on the terraces no matter what was happening on the pitch.
The all seater era has continually dragged down the atmospheres at all Premier League stadiums but so far this season at St James Park, we are experiencing all-time lows, in my opinion.
Rafa’s football often doesn’t help of course, he invariably won’t or can’t send his team out to press the opposition and overwhelm them. Instead trying to pay a patient game that kills off any chance of the crowd getting going and has so far failed to deliver a single point at St James Park, albeit that some of the games were against a few of the better teams.
Maybe it isn’t a surprise that the points Newcastle have picked up have come on the road, the one time you are almost guaranteed great backing for the team.
The support has been excellent this season on the road and as well as the three goalless draws, the other two PL away matches saw a very decent spirited display in the 2-1 defeat at Man City, whilst for 70 minutes Newcastle were in control at Old Trafford.
So how to cure the lack of passion at St James Park? Especially with these two crucial home matches seven days apart, neither Watford or Bournemouth get the pulses racing in terms of rivalry/hatred and they won’t bring many fans themselves.
Maybe inadvertently we will see the passion return tomorrow, thanks to the law of unintended consequences.
I don’t want to focus too much on the nonsense yesterday but I think the Jamaal Lascelles episode may give us a positive unintended consequence.
The increasing of Lascelles’ contract length from five years to six years and then dressing it up as a massive feel good positive was 100% pure Keith Bishop nonsense.
The NUFC captain tied himself up in knots a bit when fluffing his lines – trying to say he wanted this to be a time when everybody would pull together. I don’t think there was any malice or real criticism towards fans involved, it was more just he tried to say Mike Ashley hadn’t vomited into the fireplace when they went for a pizza, then somehow instead ended up coming out with a comment that the owner came over as a ‘nice guy’ at the meal.
Whatever the circumstances, maybe this spark is what we all needed, Newcastle fans and players.
No matter how it comes about, the fans turning up tomorrow with a bit more fire in their bellies can’t be bad thing.
Likewise, maybe the whole Lascelles thing going a bit daft in the press and on social media will see the players show a bit more fire as well.
The old siege mentality coming into play, the team feeling it is the captain and the rest of the players against the world, come out onto the pitch and prove a point?
The media and the players themselves have kept saying how great the team spirit and determination has been, despite the shocking results, but I’m not convinced.
To me, I don’t think the players have been ‘at it’ to anything like the degree they were last season when getting results such as the wins over Man Utd and Arsenal, as well the victories at Leicester and West Ham.
Maybe this Lascelles episode will help turn the tide.
Hopefully, the players will be wound up AND Rafa will send them out tomorrow to press high against Watford and get them on the back foot, which in turn can help get the crowd going.
Supporters love seeing the opposition chased down and in reality, if Newcastle are to score goals then forcing the opposition into mistakes near their own goal looks the most likely bet in terms of starting to score goals and standing a chance of turning this around.
Patient play in front of subdued crowd is getting us nowhere, time for the passion to return to St James Park tomorrow, both on and off the pitch.