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If Newcastle United fans have only this to complain about…then we have made massive progress

1 year ago

You know, time can give you a great sense of proportion. A person can look back at a period of their life that they thought wasn’t the best, thought they were in a rut and things weren’t getting any better, then when things get worse they think to themselves… “Those times weren’t so bad after all”.

Everyone has had that job they’d happily jack in and everyone has had the job they really enjoyed.

Politics is a different beast. Most people will likely pick apart the government of the day, no matter their merits or weaknesses, or even their own political persuasion. Then when years pass, opinion changes to “Those times weren’t so bad after all”.

The same with music, I’m classic British myself, but that’s another subject that could divide the room. Every generation has said the same thing. Something along the lines of “How the hell can that rubbish make the charts” and “Isn’t the musical landscape awful, boring and uninspired these days”.

Then we come on to football and, in our own back yard, Newcastle United.

The “Glory” days for some will be those of Kevin Keegan and “The Entertainers” and then Sir Bobby and his side made up of some pretty attractive stuff. To others, you might look back at when Kevin Keegan was actually playing for the club, go further back and it’ll be the goalscoring exploits of Malcom Macdonald and Bobby Moncur captaining the side. If you’re old enough the next port of call will be the real glory days of the 50s when actual trophies were paraded. Jackie Milburn and others the stars of the show back then.

Back to the modern day and we can still look back at yesteryear for happier times with our football club and reminisce about how good certain players were, how lucky we were to have seen them.

However, under the previous regime they were a product, a means to try and keep the club in the Premier League and nothing more, but like I said, time can give you a sense of proportion. And perspective.

Newcastle United now actually have a team to be proud of. Likewise with the manager. And we have proactive owners, willing to spend money and back said manager and improve said team.

As we prepare to take on Manchester City, a few things should be said.

When their club was bought out in 2008, a mere year after we were bought by Mike Ashley, Man City were a middling Premier League club and that first season post-takeover, finished 10th. The following season, after further significant investment, they jumped to fifth.

It’s also worth noting that back in 2008, Manchester City had the football dinosaur that was Mark Hughes in charge. Some ten years later, we appointed Steve Bruce. You’ll forgive me for partially laughing and crying in equal measure at the comparison.

By the close of 2010/11, City had qualified for the Champions League with a third place finish and lifted the FA Cup, the following year they won the league. Heady stuff for that club and their supporters must surely have been amazed at the transformation.

Under a year ago, we as Newcastle United fans had a manager that oversaw an horrendous start to the season, with only four points on the board until we got into November. Just run that back in your mind. FOUR points and already into November.

We also had an under prepared squad in both personnel and fitness. We had a fanbase both disinterested and apathetic in equal measure. Players were labelling the manager a “coward”…the training and tactics were shoddy and ill preparing the players for Premier League matches. The enjoyment was minimal, save for some gallows humour and a relegation battle to look forward to. Oh how the pundits and media loved it. Of course they would, Newcastle United were failing miserably.

Now we have a cracking set of players giving their all for the club, fans are in the stadium giving vocal backing, Wor Flags are back giving us great visuals and we’re talking about being disappointed with the transfer window after a raft of signings, simply because we haven’t added a striker to the mix. Like I’ve said, if Newcastle United fans have only this to complain about, we’ve made massive progress.

Onto Sunday and in the bigger picture, we’ll see if and when we get to be where Manchester City are but one thing is for sure, there will be no “Things weren’t so bad after all” when harking back to the Mike Ashley era. From where we were 12 months ago, the time period could be a lifetime when looking at things in perspective.

Shelve your disappointment, calm your fears about the state of the squad. It HAS got better and will get better still.

Regardless of what happens against Manchester City on Sunday, I’m more than happy with the progress we have already made on and off the pitch and I’m confident that what is to come will delight this pessimist and satisfy anyone that remains doubtful of what the owners are trying to achieve at the club. Be patient.

Wherever “there” is, we will get there in the end and it will be a far better and more successful place than anyone could ever have hoped for a year ago. That is an absolute certainty.


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