Newcastle United to stick or twist?

Well I never, we go into this ridiculous Qatar World Cup break with Newcastle United looking down from the higher echelons of the Premier League, having suffered just one defeat,

When your think about the marginal offside flag and excess timing of the Liverpool winner, things could have been even better.

We have played five of the toxic six and beaten two of them, drawn with two of them and suffered that one very narrow defeat, this is outstanding stuff and I can’t wait for this season to resume.

I wonder how good Arsenal actually are and whether they have the stamina to keep this up all through the season, only time will tell and the same can of course be said about us.

However, with ASM (surely due to hit form), Isak and other others waiting in the wings, we maybe are stronger than we realise…so do we stick or twist in January? A could of signings could make all the difference.

Are we in a title race? Of course not, we all know Man City will be stronger and better as the season goes on, but hey we can dream.

Saturday was a great day, with it being a ridiculous 5.30pm kick off the town was suitably jumping and the alcohol fueled support was passionate to say the least. Anyway, a quick question, why do we insist on going out at the same time on a Saturday for a 5.30pm kick as we do for a 3pm kick off? O boy does your liver take a pounding.

Anyway, changing pre-match pubs (Peppers is now seriously short-staffed on a match day) we went to my least favourite Newcastle pub, The Junction, a place where they serve beer in the wrong glasses ( a hate of mine) while serving you with a grimace. However, it gave us a chance to watch the scores coming in whilst chirping away like giddy teenagers.

I left early as my intention was to go and see what the anti-Saudi protest was all about and how may were taking part, the problem is, I couldn’t find it. I walked past the drummer and foodbank outside the Gallowgate End looking for this protest but really could not see them anywhere, the only evidence they were there is a photo on…….wait for it….the RTG website….obviously! More about them later! Obviously I was well oiled but surely I would have noticed them?

Anyway, into the ground and talking to a couple of lads, it would seem there had been a little bit of malarkey in the town as apparently some Chelsea fans had tipped a programme sellers stall over, not quite like the old days but still a bit naughty. I had spoken to a couple of Chelsea fans pre-match and they were more nervous about us giving them a hiding on the pitch, and while this did not fully take place, NUFC were still by far the better team. Indeed, I can only think of Nick Pope making one save, albeit a good one, just before we scored.

Our goal of course was a thing of beauty. I think we were all waiting for Miggy to pull the trigger before Joe Willock steps in and side foots into the top corner with both power and precision. I thought at one point the whole stadium was going to spontaneously combust in the moments that followed, these are moment when nothing else matters as everyone is at one and it is spinetingling.

How did we play overall? Pretty well.

I am mystified how Sven Botman is not in the Dutch squad, without doubt right now he is the best CB in the country. Of course he is surrounded by high performing team mates, we know how good Kieran Trippier is, but Fabian Schar is also playing at the top of his game. You could give plaudits right across the park and I even think the Murphy and Longstaff haters have changed their tune, Longstaff it has to be said, covers every blade of grass and it’s a pity that the WC has come too early for both him and possibly Dan Burn, who again did not put a foot wrong…..Harry Maguire? Really!

One highlight for me was Newcastle United club captain Jamal Lascelles getting involved with the Chelsea left back and on the pitch at full time. I thought the team did themselves proud both during and after the match, as they showed they are not going to be pushed around by anyone. As the melee sorts itself out, led by Dan Burn they turn toward the Leazes End where mass celebrations break out and of course the obligatory mid-season lap of honour where the majority of fans stayed to salute Eddie and his team, I noticed when the melee was going on that Eddie stayed silent, not getting too involved. Meanwhile, him with the scary eyes, Jason Tindall, made sure he had a few points to make, great stuff and a joy to watch.

Coming out the ground and it was rocking, cue a little bit more malarkey under the Leazes End as things threatened to boil over for a few minutes. Of course when trouble breaks out it is widely condemned and indeed a video came out of up near the black (and white) Bull of some disorder between the fans. I was not there so can’t say what happened, except someone on the ground did take some kicks which is out of order totally. Of course our Wearside friends obviously were in attendance as their ‘not obsessed NUFC thread’ had videos, pictures and opinions all over it, condemning those taking part, accusing all NUFC fans of being animals whilst somehow forgetting their own urchins that have been causing trouble for weeks with visiting fans at the SOS, kettle and pot lads?

It’s only a matter of time before the RTG protagonists turn on each other as any Sunderland fan who sensibly expresses any appreciation of what NUFC are doing on the pitch is widely threatened and condemned, slowly but surely the acceptance at what is happening on the pitch up here is sinking in and there is a certain resignation to some of their comments these days.

So what else happened? Well sometimes credit is due and Sunderland on Friday night won away at an in form Birmingham City, the second goal was indeed high quality, it’s just a pity it was scored by one of those who belongs to someone else. That said, you can’t deny it was a good result and much needed.

Back in the PL and there was expected wins for Liverpool, Arsenal and I suppose Spurs, but meanwhile Man City deservedly crashed at home against Brentford…how many did we score against them? A result which while upsetting a few fixed odds coupons, delighted fans in other areas including NE1. As it stands we sit only two points behind them and it feels very canny indeed.

So it is a break for this World Cup. I am one of those who doesn’t care at all, I don’t watch other clubs in Europe, I don’t watch women’s football and I don’t watch international football. If a game is on the TV I don’t turn my back but I have more interest in darts than football. By the way, have you seen the shirts worn by Chris Dobey and Callum Rydz (both top players from this region) both have NUFC colours, well represented in a similar fashion to what Lewis Ritson wears in a boxing ring, all NUFC fans and proud to show it!

So football is coming home (again) but I am not bothered about ’Nobby Dancing’…for me it is Bruno et al coming home fit and hungry.

Enjoy it if you are watching.

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