‘The beautiful game’ involving NUFC strutting their funky stuff finally returned 68 days after those joyous, manic scenes at SJP and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only ecstatic about that.
It’s been a long summer especially without one of those events whereby the national team are the media darlings for a few weeks before being hated more than that ISIS lot by the hypocritical pigs. Just this last week, I’ve been cheering on an Aussie (urgh) and a Scot (urghhhh) as they smash a little, furry yellow ball around a grass field and I’ve also been enthralled in that Love Island bollocks so having football back is quite a relief.
We considered making the trip via the choo-choo as the prices were very reasonable not long after the match was announced. Dickie Branson’s mob must have cottoned on to this fixture as the prices were outrageous when we went to book up a few days later. Exploitation by a bunch of virgins is no good to anyone so we travelled by coach and of course we strictly complied with the law of not drinking any alcohol on a coach whilst travelling to a football match…….
This was my second visit to Tynecastle having made the trip in 1995 where I was mesmerised by Ginola for the first time. The optimism for the season ahead back then amongst the travelling support was slightly different to say the least as to what it was last night as most people had high hopes of winning the league which we came so close to doing. It still hurts now, you Manc bastards.
I think even the most ultra-pessimistic NUFC fan would have expected us to have more than just one new face from last season’s squad. That face came on at half time to make his debut in the delightful new black and white shirt and Lejeune will definitely pose a severe threat from set-pieces. I’m not sure if it was the new strip but it looked like both Mitro and Shelvey had been on the Juice Plus diets all summer. Perhaps the latter is seriously intent on looking exactly like Sir Alan Barnes?
The first half was an extremely lively affair especially for a friendly. Within the first 180 seconds, we managed to hit the woodwork and also take the lead. Aarons smashed the bar after two minutes before we broke the deadlock one minute later. De Jong beautifully turned his man and threaded a delightful through ball to Gayle who broke clear of his man and finished superbly with his left peg. There is a real player behind those numerous bandages and hopefully de Jong can stay fit this season and show his true worth. No doubt he dislocated his eyebrow this morning whilst having a wash and is now sidelined for three months.
Hearts had a glorious chance to level when Haidara clumsily gave away a penalty but thankfully Goncalves decided to aim for the roof of the away end rather than the roof of the net. The equaliser came about not long after when the Chancellor was dragged out of position and the unmarked Walker thumped a shot past Elliot. He’s not a right back but he had to play there which again emphasises the problems within our squad. Gayle immediately restored our advantage when he nodded home a vicious swirling corner from Jonjo Barnesy.
The second half filtered out like most pre-season friendlies do as both teams made numerous changes and the game never really got flowing. It was nice to see our young world cup winner between the sticks and hopefully he’ll go on to have a long successful career with us. It was also great to see Gayle back at his full-flowing best. He’d have scored over 40 last season if he hadn’t suffered numerous injuries which meant that he only started 26 matches. Some people are sceptical about him in the Premier League but he averages a goal every 182 minutes in that league and he’ll score goals without doubt this season. The ginger mackem also deserves praise for not collecting a booking during his 28 minutes on the pitch.
Friendlies are basically glamorised kickabouts and I don’t think that any sane person was actually bothered about the result unless they had a bet on us. They’re about regaining match fitness and integrating new players (well, player). It’s blatantly obvious to a blind hamster that we need several new arrivals who can make an immediate impact to our first XI. Ashley somehow stumbled across landing the best manager that he will ever appoint and he should be doing all he can to keep him happy not antagonise him. We’ve had 10 years of Ashley’s buffoonery but forcing Rafa out would take his lunacy levels to another level. Hopefully, we can get Jacob Murphy “over the line” (eff off Alan Pardew) and several others will follow suit.
The away end was in fine (well, drunken) form and several good ditties were aired including “You can stick your independence up your arse” and “God save your Queen” as well as a touching “There’s only one Bradley Lowery”.
A cracking trip but it’s just a shame that fellow true faith scribbler Marc Corby did not make the journey so that we could finally dispel the rumours that he is actually in fact Ian Cathro……….