Watching Newcastle United lose is never a pleasant experience and so I won’t dress up the 1-0 defeat at Leicester as anything it shouldn’t be. We lost, we didn’t score and we got no points. But. There is a big but. Two weeks ago we all know a Steve McClaren team would have been torn apart by The Foxes in the East Midlands. When the first goal went in, heads would have dropped, players would have stopped doing the basics and we’d have been on the end of a real ragging. Case for the prosecution – Man City, Palace, Everton and on and on. That didn’t happen on Monday night.
The reason it didn’t happen was that Newcastle United’s disparate squad after eighteen months being coached by deadbeats like Pardew, Carver and McClaren had received a couple of days direction under one Rafael Benitez. He did have an immediate impact and right up until the final whistle we were still in the game against the league leaders. I won’t insult your intelligence by claiming we played particularly well. You and I know we didn’t. But we were much improved on the disgraceful shambles we witnessed at home to Bournemouth in what represented one of the worst performances I’ve witnessed in over 40 years following United.
Frankly, I am still in a state of shock that an Ashley-run United has somehow managed to successfully court Benitez and that he is in the dug-out at SJP. Let’s make no bones about it, Rafa is one of the best managers in the world and I’d put him up against any current manager in the Premier League. I honestly believe we have a manager who can look any of his peers in the eye and who has a CV to compare to the absolute best.
His appointment potentially signals a real sea-change in policy at United and in the long-term his presence at SJP could present a watershed for the club if he is allowed to implement the wisdom of a stellar career and transform our club – providing he carries the support of Ashley and I know we all have serious misgivings about that. However, Rafa has joined a club with so many failings there is no way Ashley can imagine he can ignore what Rafa advises how they should be addressed. If Ashley has appointed Rafa to piss about then we are really through the looking glass with our football club.
But that is all in the medium and longer terms. In the here and now our club HAS to survive this season. We HAVE to stay in the Premier League and we CANNOT be relegated.
That is why for the rest of the season we all have to pull together and back the manager and the players with everything we’ve got because the stakes are so high – we have to keep Rafa at United and we can only achieve that if we are a Premier League club.
I’m sure all of you have read this old twaddle for any length of time understand this is a fanzine that has much good to say about the people who own and run our club. We take none of that back and we also know a lot of the deep faults at United remain. The club is in a holy mess from top to bottom.
But those concerns have to be parked until we know what division we will be in next season. There is hope at United now and it comes in the shape of Rafa Benitez. We have to demonstrate to this man the support he has behind him from the people in the stands.
Clearly, that has to be shown on Sunday when we face the old enemy from down the road. Our cod-eyed, wet-lipped, empty-headed neighbours will waddle up St James’ Boulevard shouting their mouths off about six-in-a-row but what they have to witness at SJP is a support utterly committed to making our grand home the most intimidating cauldron their players have ever experienced and where the support for the man in the home dug-out and his players is full-on, committed and in frenzy.
Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the football club we all love.
No-one needs to be told about the stakes in this derby match and as I write this on Wednesday morning I can start to feel the nerves beginning in the pit of my stomach (or maybe that was last night’s chilli) and the old intensity starting. I know you’ll all be the same.
Whoever had the idea to suggest every single one of us brings something Back & White – scarves, flags, banners etc to SJP on Sunday to display as a welcome to Rafa and signal support for the team needs a pat on the back. The whole place needs to be buzzing at KO but thereafter I make no apologies for hoping the stands spit venom towards the visiting team, appeal every decision and make life very difficult for anyone who isn’t fully committed to getting a home-win.
Newcastle United expects ….
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
This is issue 124 of true faith, Newcastle United’s number one fanzine and the most widely read independent fans’ led publication in the UK. To date, this issue has achieved the largest readership we have ever received be that in hard-copy or digital format since we launched true faith in 1999. true faith is absolutely and 100% FREE. All you need to do to get access to the fanzine is click on the image as below. You can read true faith on any device you care to mention. Loads of you are downloading the fanzine onto smart-phones and tablets. The latter is our preference but we aren’t arsed how you read it, just so long as you rad it. We all hope you enjoy it very much and we’ll have a new one ready for you before two shakes of a lamb’s tail. All the best from everyone who has put this issue together for you.
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MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Sunderland, St James’ Park, 20/Mar/16, KO: 1:30pm