Life as a Newcastle United supporter has never been easy. Even during their most successful Premier League days they saw Andy Cole sold to their title rivals Man United, a twelve point lead squandered and Kevin Keegan cracking under the pressure of one of the most difficult jobs in English football (all in the space of a few seasons)… and they were the good times!
Fast forward to the recent past and local boy done good and Toon legend in the making Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool just when it looked like they’d finally found a natural successor to Alan Shearer, and before that Chris Houghton was unceremoniously dismissed and replaced with a man who resembled Alan Partridge in more than just a similar sounding name.
Even last weekend’s fixture against a steadily imploding Wolves started well before a two goal lead was squandered by Pardew’s men.
Where did it all go wrong?
Well actually despite the issues already stated in this article (and many more) the Toon Army have an uncanny knack of always bouncing back, and whenever it goes wrong, they usually put it right pretty quickly, and like a phoenix from the flames they rise once again. Even relegation didn’t slow them down and they achieved promotion at the first attempt (not an easy feat!), before re-establishing themselves as a Premier League team with little problem.
It’s clear that there are still issues with the Newcastle United team that need to be addressed, but I have a sneaking feeling that should they hang on to a European spot this season, then we may see this great Phoenix not only rise but spread its wings and soar.
Building for the future
There are some supremely talented players in the Newcastle squad, Tim Krul is a fantastic young keeper, and when you look at De Gea and the problems he’s had adapting to the English league it makes what the young Dutchman has done all the more impressive. Tiote is undoubtedly one of the best holding midfielders in the league and up front the two Demba’s could potentially be the best partnership the club has seen since Shearer and Ferdinand graced the hallowed St James’ Park turf.
Keeping these players and building a team around them will be vital to the future of this great club, for too long now they’ve seen their best players sold to rivals, and without European football to look forward to next season I fear their stars will either look for pastures new, or be sold at a huge profit and replaced with cheap and unknown alternatives. Should this happen I feel the Toon Army can at least rest safe in the knowledge that no matter what, their club will always came back fighting, the spirit and determination of the fans filtering through the players and the rousing atmosphere of St James’ on match day urging the players to put in that extra 10%, and once again emerge as a force in English football. However should they finish in a European spot, keep their best players and bring in some new faces in vital positions, then the future could be a very exciting one indeed.
Many thanks to Gary Marriner for supplying a great photo for this article