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Opinion

I can’t help looking at these ‘what if’ moments for Newcastle United

1 year ago
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I cannot help but have the feeling ‘what if’ at Newcastle United.

This month marks 25 years since I started supporting this great club.

That is 25 years of great Newcastle United memories, great players in Shearer, Ferdinand, Asprilla, Solano, Robert, Given and Speed. Not forgetting the great Cheick Tiote who always will remain a hero of mine for that scintillating 4-4 draw against Arsenal when he scored that awesome volley.

Also, Sir Bobby Robson who is my top football hero. I am delighted to say I had the pleasure to meet the late great man on three occasions.

The first meeting took place outside the great St James Park upon my first visit back in October 1999 when my Dad kindly took me to the Derby County match when we won 2-0 that evening.

I was brought up from 1994 to 1997 on just absolutely captivating football where if they scored three, we scored four…and I loved it.

We then were all anguished and pained by Keegan’s departure and his replacement Dalglish who we thought would carry on the good work.

Sadly, in 1997/1998 we finished 13th and we barely entertained with Asprilla, Ferdinand, John Beresford and David Ginola sold and replaced with inadequate players who performed nowhere need the standard needed.

From being title contenders, Newcastle United had quickly become at risk of relegation.

After Gullit’s disastrous reign, it took Sir Bobby to save us and turn us around and sadly he was dismissed in August 2004. For me, the club has not been the same since his dismissal.

We had the appointments of Souness, Roeder, Allardyce, the return of King Kevin, then Kinnear and Hughton’s reign but it has been a mixture of good and bad (and very bad).

Hughton, like Keegan, was then badly treated and Pardew came in, who initially did well but that was then punctuated with poor runs of form, alarmingly in 2014 there were more draws and defeats than there were wins and then he resigned to join Palace, to be replaced by Carver.

Carver then gave way to Steve McClaren and I usually get very angry if I try to remember his reign, as for me we should never have appointed him. He wasted money on the wrong players and presided over a horrific run of defeats and performances to match. Sadly Rafa’s arrival was too late to save us from relegation.

Now in my 25th year as a fan and Rafa sadly left, he could no longer work at the club in the current structure and we have Steve Bruce in charge. I try…and I say, I really try to get behind him…and I do not blame him for taking the job.

However, I just worry he is another Pardew or McClaren and whilst the Tottenham result was hard fought and I was extremely delighted with it, the capitulation to Norwich and the underwhelming performance against Watford are reasons to worry.

I cannot help but thinking ‘what if’ had Rafa stayed?

What if he had been given what he wanted and recruited the players of his choice?

I am very concerned that Joelinton is our only fit striker with Muto the only potential alternative.

It doesn’t bear thinking about if something happened to the Brazilian, especially with no end in sight for Gayle’s injury problems.

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