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Opinion

‘Why I’ll miss this season more than others in the years to come’

1 month ago
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Newcastle United might go on and win things in the future and I’m sure there are going to be many happy times to come at the football club.

However, I’m going to make a bold prediction, one that will probably prove to be incorrect…but I’m going to make it anyway:

I will probably miss this (half-)season more than any other Premier League season in the years ahead. That is to say, I will look back on it more fondly than any other season to come.

Compared to 99% of the time during the previous 14 years, this has been absolute bliss. I would argue that it has been the best part of 20 years since the club has been *this* united, this hopeful and basically, this happy!

I’m not trying to argue that this unity is going to be a short term thing under the new ownership. We all now have the same goals when it comes to ambition for the club.

However, once the final whistle sounds at the end of the Burnley game this afternoon, stage two of the re-emergence of the club truly gets under way.

And this brings new expectations. Gone are the days of just settling for Premier League safety and plodding along

That’s why I tweeted what I did in April 2022. In it, I said:

“Savour these days Newcastle United fans.

“The club is transforming and I’m sure good times are ahead.

“But the way I see it is, these are the “honeymoon” days for the new era. Which ends once the new (next) season starts.

“New season. New start. New pressures. New expectations. Am I right? #nufc.”

So, I’m not trying to temper anything or play down the adventure to come in any way. However, we’re a football club, and as such we have expectations for each and every season…but the problem is for too long it was just the same thing (try to stay in the Premier League) with no room for ambition or sporting growth.

We’re not doing that anymore, which means we’re swapping old problems for new. Give me the problems Arsenal and Manchester United are having compared to what we’ve been through. Every time.

When we kick the last ball against Burnley, I will look back at the decency, professionalism, and unflinching hard work Eddie Howe has brought to his coaching of the players, and the manner he conducts his press conferences.

I will look back at the mentality shift he has pressed on the players; to believe in themselves; the confidence they now have that they can take on any team they face.

I will look back on the new man he’s made of Joelinton. That’s the gift of a Newcastle United career he has given him when after two or three years he was looking lost, as our most expensive striker flop. He’s found a way to use him effectively in midfield and you can see the belief he now has.

I will also look back on “Wor Flags”, on new songs for new Geordie heroes, and a fanbase that loves going to the match again. On the “Easter miracle”, as I called it of 2-1 at home to Leicester. On Bruno’s back flick at St Mary’s. On Kieran Trippier’s two belting set-piece strikes at St James Park. Bruno again, making a fool of former Newcastle favourite Tim Krul at Norwich.

And many more great memories of early 2022.

However, it was the Monday night game at home to Arsenal that really gave me the belief that Newcastle United can go to the next level and maintain it.

That’s why I don’t mind the comparison I made to the Arsenal and Man Utd of today – because while those are stories of failure, at least there is ambition in those clubs.

We have missed that for far too long.

We are now going into a new era of ambition and hopefully glory. The sky is very much the limit.

You can follow the author on Twitter @jonniegrieve

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