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‘A pleasure to stand in the sun, watching Newcastle, singing along, without a care in the world’

2 weeks ago
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43 points!? Would you believe it.

Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing…but was there really any doubt we would stay up following the takeover?

We are so far into the top half, so clearly home and dry, that it’s hard to really remember just how much trouble we were in not so long ago.

On the day, we battered Norwich, who were terrible. The scoreline looks clear and obvious but Newcastle never really got out of second gear.

In fact, we were average for large parts and helped out massively by a team bottom of the table who crumbled at the reality of going 1-0 down. Whilst the performance perhaps didn’t reflect the scoreline, this was a result, and a manner of result, that would not have been possible a few months ago, never mind any time in history under Bruce.

What I will say though, for the first in god knows how long, it was a pleasure to stand in the sun, watching Newcastle, singing along, without a care in the world.

This was a half strength Newcastle team too.

Without their first choice right back, centre back, no Jonjo Shelvey – who would be a usual starter, Ryan Fraser on the wing, or either of our top two centre forwards. It is testament to the character in the squad. Minus Bruno of course, but I can’t believe that squad managed to put in an ok performance. No doubt a similar squad under Benitez or Bruce would have spent much of the game with their backs against the wall.

Howe has done an incredible job in just making this side competitive again. We now approach football matches with the aim of winning them. There is a plan, we don’t turn up to concede possession, play anti-football and rely on “just pass it to Allan” tactics. You just know that come Saturday, irrespective of the outcome, this side will go toe to toe with the best team in the world and give it their all.

When was the last time you could say that?

For Howe to get the best out of players who had previously not only looked like they weren’t up to it, but really, looked like they would never be up to it, is nothing short of a miracle. Emil Krafth has turned into a remarkably reliable right back in recent weeks. Fabian Schar has come in from the wilderness. Jonjo Shelvey’s renaissance seems to have lasted longer than it has done under previous managers, Joe Willock has found his shooting boots again and what do you know? There is actually a player in Ryan Fraser.

Even Jacob Murphy delivered I think his best NUFC performance on Saturday.

Of course, the real success story is the 40 million Brazilian… no… not Bruno. Joelinton has gone from an ongoing joke to a fan favourite. That is largely down to Howe’s management and it is something he won’t get enough credit for. Can you imagine if in December 2021, someone told you Joelinton might stand a chance of making the Brazil World Cup squad one year later? If it was 10,000-1 you probably wouldn’t have wasted a quid on it.

The media will naturally paint a picture that the turnaround is driven by money, Arab blood money (whatever that means) to be precise. It’s not true. No doubt the new signings have had a massive impact, especially Dan Burn and Matt Targett, but there is far more to this success story than January signings. For starters, Kieran Trippier has barely played a game and Bruno barely started one for 6 weeks. That context will always go missing, but we know, and really that’s the important thing.

Who cares what the media will say? I don’t. Let’s just enjoy the rest of the season. Let’s have a go at the big sides, and lets have a laugh when Everton go down and the mackems are forced to spend another season in League One.. haha!

It’s been an incredible season, we got our wish, we got the takeover, and for the moment that’s all you can ask for. However, wouldn’t it just be great if we could stick it to Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp this weekend, letting everyone know Newcastle United are coming…

HWTL

Stats from BBC Sport:

Norwich 0 Newcastle 3 – Saturday 23 April 3pm

Goals:

Norwich:

Newcastle:

Joelinton 35, 41, Bruno G 49

(Half-time stats are in brackets)

Possession was Norwich 45% (44%) Newcastle 55% (56%)

Total shots were Norwich 5 (2) Newcastle 13 (6)

Shots on target were Norwich 2 (0) Newcastle 7 (2)

Corners were Norwich 2 (1) Newcastle 3 (2)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Longstaff, Guimaraes (Gayle 87), Willock, Joelinton (Almiron 67), Murphy (Ritchie 74), Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Schar, Shelvey, Manquillo, Fernandez, Wood

(Norwich 0 Newcastle 3 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Norwich 0 Newcastle 3 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Saturday’s victory – Read HERE)

(Alan Shearer absolutely loving it – Saluting Newcastle United Brazilian three goal salvo – Read HERE)

(Just look at that Premier League table after Norwich 0 Newcastle 3…Read HERE)

(Norwich 0 Newcastle 3 – Eddie Howe’s black and white army! Read HERE)

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonnyinsg

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