If this Steve Bruce dream becomes reality – What impact would it have on Newcastle fan perception?
I realise that this is tempting fate ridiculously with only a matter of hours to go to our hard-earned third round replay…but the FA Cup is suddenly offering a chink of light this season.
I can hear the scoffing from the other end of the internet as people dismiss me as a delusional lunatic…but I know it’s really you that’s kidding yourself.
I don’t care who you are, be it a hard bitten, regime-hating boycotter who’s only on here to tell everyone how much he hates them, a balance sheet quoting Ashley enthusiast, or one of the thousands of characters in between, everyone had a little spark the night of that fourth round draw.
Home games against Rochdale and Oxford all that separates us from the forbidden nirvana of the fifth round?
Even if it was a fraction of a percent of yourself, you entertained the dream for a moment.
Every year since 1988 a thought has spun briefly around in my head that Newcastle might win the cup. There were times when that wasn’t even a ludicrous concept, but in the main, it has relied heavily on the path Steve Bruce will be desperately hoping to tread. I think everyone knows the path, really.
Winnable ties in rounds three and four, while Premier League teams fall left and right, maybe even some of the biggest threats removed.
Round five needs more luck of the draw, while the big clubs take down each other.
Then you need a home draw in the quarters and a season high performance to eliminate a serious threat and wallop, you’re off to Wembley.
The dream is that you somehow blag it into a semi-final line up where none of the other teams are certain to eviscerate you at the national stadium. See off maybe a pair of West Hams and Southamptons and you’ve won the cup. Easy.
That is Brucie’s dream and I think he’s going to pursue it as far as he can, whether that ends in ignominy against the Dale or with honour against Man City, Liverpool or one of the other clubs we’ve no chance of beating.
I think as much as everyone allowed themselves a shudder of hope at that fourth round draw, the same goes for the reality.
Even the blindest optimist knows that the actual chances of the stars aligning for us are about as good as that of a TV henchman who insists on attacking the hero one at a time, single file, when there is clearly enough of them to rush and blindside him (anyone else been watching the Witcher?).
Rafa surely realised this, as he basically pied the cup off last season, a longstanding bugbear of Newcastle fans that he knew he would be forgiven for, due to his high standing among our support. Bruce has no such luxury. He needs to believe in his dream, as if the near impossible does come off it is a game changer. The club he grew up supporting and has quietly coveted for years would surely accept him then.
It would be interesting to see exactly what impact a stunning victory would have.
The source of fan anger at Mike Ashley is that he continues to run the club in a way that stifles its hope of success. Everyone knows success is possible as we were comparatively way better off in the decade before he arrived. If we were to actually win the cup this would for me outshine anything that has gone before in my life.
The Keegan and Robson eras were magnificent but ultimately we won nowt. If we won the cup it would need to be a massive fluke, with unspectacular victories over lower grade opponents due to huge amounts of luck, but it would be a cup win. Bruce knows that still remains the dream. Get that monkey off the back and see his stock rise immeasurably.
A few years ago, at Hexham races, I saw a bizarre race where a lively horse spiralled out of control, taking out all other runners immediately after a jump. Everyone that is except the 80/1 shot that was far enough back to avoid this. The rest of the ‘race’ panned out as some kind of strange gymkhana, with the remaining runner steadily negotiating the last jumps for an unlikely win.
We need this kind of luck for Brucie’s dream to come true, but first they need to clear the Rochdale hurdle tonight.
Altogether now: “Miggy’s going to Wembley, his knees have gone all trembly…”
Follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf
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