Diary Of The Newcastle United Armchair Fan – ‘Until we meet again, take care’
Another one from The Newcastle United Armchair Fan.
Boycotting Newcastle United through the 19/20 premiership season.
Here is part nine as we progress through March:
Saturday 4th February 2006
Newcastle 2-0 Portsmouth
“Thank God he’s been sacked, we’ve not played this well all season”.
The whole of St James’ Park seems to be having a huge sigh of relief.
Graeme Souness’ disastrous reign as manager is over and caretaker boss Glenn Roeder is doing his best to unite the fanbase. NUFC start the match brightly and deservedly take the lead through a fine Charles N’Zogbia strike.
Despite the score staying 1-0, there’s no anxiety in the stands. Newcastle are taking the game to Portsmouth and further goals are inevitable. Alan Shearer has been tied with Jackie Milburn on two hundred NUFC goals for the past four league and cup matches, we know that just one more goal for the Toon legend will see us all witness history in the making.
On sixty four minutes, Shola Ameobi controls the ball with a superb back heel and the roar goes up. Our hero is neck and neck in a race with (derby legend) Andy O’Brien and has just enough to nose ahead and slide home the second in front of an ecstatic Gallowgate End. The number nine races to the corner, arm aloft in a trademark celebration. This goal is like no other.
A few minutes later, a stop in play allows the fans to serenade their new all time top scorer. This only happens once in a generation. A chant of “Stand up if you love Shearer” whips round the stadium. He’s lived the dream, the local lad come good. Loved and celebrated in equal measure. He’d go on to score five more competetive goals before the end of his career.
Tuesday 3rd March 2020 8pm
West Brom 2-3 Newcastle United
FA Cup 5th Round
In 2006, Newcastle reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup. That was our sixth FA quarter-final in ten years. Since then we’ve never been back, exiting in the third or fourth round for the next thirteen straight years. If anything sums up the neglect of NUFC under Mike Ashley then let the lack of ambition in the cups be exhibit A.
West Brom away has provided some special memories over the years. Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa instigating a 3-0 half-time lead in 2012 being a personal highlight. I was also in the Smethwick end in 2014 when Coloccini bulleted home a header to seal a fine 2-0 victory (Ayoze Perez with the other). Today, five thousand and fifty black and whites travelled down to the Hawthorns hoping to see United confirm a place in the quarter-final, just ninety minutes from Wembley.
Having Saint-Maximin back in the starting line-up gave the team an immediate lift and he soon left his mark on the match by thumping a superb effort against the post. Soon after, he set up Almiron for the type of goal we should be consistently scoring with the attacking players at our disposal – excellent running from Almiron and a perfect through ball from Saint-Maximin allowing him the opportunity to slip home the first of the night.
When Joelinton set up the same player to score his second of the game, it felt like we’d taken a huge step towards the next round and this was confirmed when Lazaro bundled home his first for the club. At 3-0 it really should have been cruise control but Newcastle United did what Newcastle United does best, which was to put their supporters through hell! Two late goals and a penalty appeal for West Brom did nothing positive for the blood pressure.
When the final whistle went mind, it was the Toon into the last eight of the competition. We couldn’t go all the way could we?
Wednesday 4th March 2020
FA Cup Quarter-final draw
“Ball Number four Newcastle United will be at home to….Ball number one Manchester City”…
At first I felt like most Toon fans “well that’s that then, it was fun whilst it lasted.”
After sleeping on it though, my belief grew and grew. Haven’t we already played Man City at home this season and played well?
Didn’t we come from behind to beat them just last season?
Don’t they play the mighty Real Madrid just a few days before our cup clash?
Isn’t it much better to play them at home in the quarters than at Wembley in semis?
We can do this, in fact scratch that, we WILL do this! Newcastle United are going to Wembley, we’re going to win the FA Cup!
Saturday 7th March 2020 3pm
Southampton 0-1 Newcastle
The word ‘cursed’ doesn’t do this away trip justice. Having endured over thirty years worth of misery at The Dell, Newcastle carried this dreadful record into our matches at St Mary’s. A cup win in 2004 and a 2-1 league victory also in 2004 have provided our only highlights away to Southampton since 1972. A personal demon of mine being throwing away a 2-0 lead in the last few minutes under Kenny Dalglish in one of his first matches with match of the day being kind enough to showcase Matt Le Tissier’s equaliser in the opening credits for the entirety of the next season.
Today it looked like our South Coast misery was set to continue. United contriving to make and then waste four glorious first half opportunities against the ten man saints and then missing a first half penalty due to superb save. With the second half petering out it looked like we would have to settle for a point from another goalless draw. Saint-Maximin had other ideas though, seizing on to a defensive blunder and prodding the ball past the keeper to net our first league goal in over seven hours.
The goal sparked wild celebrations in the stand and in my flat. Little did we know it would be the last for some time.
Friday 13th March 2020 11am
“Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time.”
For what it’s worth, I think this is absolutely the correct decision.
There was a lot of talk about playing games being closed doors but football without fans isn’t really football, not as we know it anyway. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and the right thing to do is to suspend events of this nature until things start to calm down. There are simply more important things going on in the world right now.
Stay safe guys, look after each other and I’ll see you on the other side.
Until we meet again, take care.
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