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Opinion

With Joelinton up front and hope in our hearts, bring on Manchester United…

2 days ago
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All roads lead to Manchester United today.

The focus of the world’s media will all be on Old Trafford.

All those loyal Manchester United fans around the globe sitting in front of the TV with their new Ronaldo shirts on.

Apparently there is another team playing at Old Trafford this afternoon, not that you would know it by the coverage.

Though there again, Newcastle United fans are arguably the people least excited in the entire planet about this game, including me and the other 3,000 or so travelling to the match.

I am down in the north west for the weekend and sitting here looking forward to what lies ahead, apart from the match that is. The pre and post-match drinking will be great, the game not so.

Don’t be so bloody pessimistic I hear you shout, you just never know…

…but that is the thing, we do really really know.

After all, even / especially our own Head Coach tells us how lucky Newcastle’s players are to be even on the same pitch as the mighty Manchester United. On Friday, Steve Bruce’s eyes lighting up as he talked about Old Trafford, Ronaldo, Manchester United, talking of a ‘big big big club’, ‘big big big occasion’, a ‘carnival’ for the travelling Newcastle United fans to look forward to.

The thing is, the fight has been totally drained out of us. We now travel away solely for the laughs and the socialising.

Between them, Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce have drained that last bit of defiance, fighting talk, out of us.

Whereas once upon a time we would still face a tricky away match like this, with a distinct similarity to the cast of Braveheart…now Steve Bruce leads us into battle having already admitted defeat.

The thing is, for all the hype around Ronaldo’s return, Manchester United haven’t actually been very good.

Playing the teams who ended up 13th and 15th in the Premier League last season, Man Utd have had a lucky 1-0 win (v Wolves) and a 1-1 draw (v Southampton) that they were fortunate not to lose in the final stages, in their last two matches.

Indeed, over their last three and a half hours of Premier League football, Manchester United have only scored two goals, both scored by a striker that cost around £43m less than Joelinton. Yet Newcastle fans, almost to a man / woman, are forecasting five, six, seven goal defeats with Newcastle United failing to even get in the opposition half.

This is the natural end result when you have an owner and head coach who constantly belittle their own club, we have an entire generation of fans, a fair few who will be at Old Trafford today, who know nothing other than Ashley ownership.

That £43m Joelinton signing the stand out bit of evidence as to how badly run Newcastle United are, Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce signing a goalscoring centre-forward who even before we got to the end of the Brazilian’s first season, Bruce was admitting that Joelinto was neither a natural goalscorer or centre-forward. Instead, a player who prefers to play towards the left and isn’t too keen on getting into the box. Only at Newcastle.

Callum Wilson is knackered, again, Steve Bruce admitting on Friday he has no idea when he might play again. Should he have been playing him in those early games when Wilson was carrying an ongoing injury problem?

Joelinton will play today in his place, at centre-forward. Six goals in 72 Premier League appearances. Bring it on!

Dwight Gayle may not be first choice Premier League level but he is a centre-forward who can score goals, he won’t be playing though. Steve Bruce having brought Joelinton onto the pitch in all three PL games so far, Dwight Gayle not given a single minute of PL football and indeed only four PL starts last season. Yet he was given a new contract earlier this year that takes Gayle up until he is almost 35 years of age…why?

Never mind Ronaldo, Manchester United have Mason Greenwood who has three games in three PL games so far, a cost nothing striker who at the age of six had already joined the younger age groups at Man Utd before Ronaldo walked out on the Old Trafford club in 2009.

Greenwood is the only Manchester United to score (twice) in their last three and a half hours of football and no doubt he will add to that total today, as so much focus is put on Ronaldo, even if he is sitting on the bench for most of this game.

Steve Bruce has Newcastle United already beat before kick-off, telling his players that this is the kind of occasion you have to make sure you enjoy…talking as though NUFC are some tenth tier club that have found a miraculous route through in the FA Cup in order to play at Old Trafford.

It is difficult (impossible?) to have any self-respect as a fan of Newcastle United whilst we have abhorrent individuals like Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley and Steve Bruce in charge.

One day it will change, I just hope I’m still around to see it.

Meanwhile, enjoy today’s special occasion…

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