Football is a funny old game. Last time I sat down to write, Newcastle United was winless in the league, in the relegation zone and facing an uncertain next few months. With injures stacking up, players not delivering and the negative tactics from Alan Pardew not yielding results, it looked as if the grey clouds had set in early over Tyneside, and we were in for an unhappy and very miserable winter. What a turnaround we’ve seen from the Newcastle players in the past few weeks, and what a fortunate change in circumstances for Pardew.
I think this change probably began at the Swansea game; we fought back from being down twice to earn what, turned out to be, a very good result down in Wales. That was on the 4th of October, since then we haven’t lost a game! Who would have thought? Not me that’s for sure. Heading to the Leicester game I didn’t hold much hope of finally getting that first win. A game that had 0-0 written all over it until a great solo effort from Obertan in the 71st minute broke the deadlock, I sat back in my seat for the remaining 20 minutes absolutely convinced we’d bollock this up. I’d seen us throw away a lead against Palace earlier in the season, but to the players credit we held on against what was a pretty average Foxes’ side. I don’t know how on earth they slotted 5 past Man U. Nevertheless, with an away trip to Spurs the following weekend, football was starting to get very exciting all over again.
Andrew and I caught the train down to London the day before the Spurs game. Sunday morning had me waking up to the mother of all hangovers, but after a quick nap on the tube, and a bottle of Lucozade (which has nothing on Gatorade, just for the record) we got to Seven Sisters Road in North London. Now, I’ve been to some crappy places before, I went to school near Albury in Australia which for anyone else who’s been to Albury, I feel sorry for you. Its not nice. I’ve been to Wembley, which despite being the ‘home of football’ isn’t an enjoyable place to be, I’m sure you’ll all know what I’m talking about. Seven Sisters Road is right up there too. Dirty, smelly and ‘cheap’ would be words I’d use to describe it. If you’re after a cheap kebab and some knock off Adidas trainers, then I’m sure its great.
We made our way along until we reached White Heart Lane. This was my second away trip, but unlike Stoke this is a little more what I envisaged. The streams of home and away fans walking towards the stadium, venders selling scarves and memorabilia, the scores of Police everywhere, this felt like a proper away day. This season I’ve been buying a programme for every home and away game I attend, the kid at Spurs charged me enough to bail out Greece but my need for a souvenir proved too strong. As we made our way up the stairs, I spotted an Adelaide United sticker on the wall, the A-league is growing rapidly and no doubt a bandwagon Aussie-Liverpool supporter stuck it there; it was great to see something that reminded me of home!
The first half started as you would expect, we quickly went 1-0 down, and I thought that the floodgates would open, I figured we were in for a typical Newcastle United spanking in London. Although we managed to with hold the spurs attack for the first half, much to my surprise and as the 2nd half was beginning I turned to Andrew and we both thought that this was going to be like the Stoke game all over again. No sooner had I finished that sentence, a sublime Sammy Ameobi run down the right wing and a superb finish drew Newcastle level. The away end went mental. People launched forwards, everyone was hugging everyone, it was a phenomenal feeling. A Geordie lad had scored an astounding goal and we were going to love every moment of it. It was a feeling of utter jubilation, like nothing all in the world mattered. As the game got back underway the away end really kicked into full swing, the noise from the fans was deafening. We were back in the game and wanted to make sure the players knew we were behind them. Our endless singing payed off; a few minutes later our young Spanish star Ayoze Perez on his first start for Newcastle scored the match winner. It was one of the best feelings of my life. A completely unexpected away win in London, that’s why I came to Newcastle. I wanted to be apart of those away ends and feel what it’s actually like.
Following this result, we’ve beaten Man City, Liverpool, West Brom and QPR, keeping clean sheets in each. What a turn around in fortunes for this team. The players are full of confidence and are playing like a real team. Everyone is chipping in and doing their part. Football is a roller coaster, and following this mad football club proves that, but that’s the reason we love them, you never really know what you’re going to get. Long may this winnings streak continue.
Howay the Lads,
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