Logos. Symbols. Colours. Emblems. All of these things matter in football. Some people show them in tattoos. Some people name their pets after players. Others ensure they have every shirt and tweet pictures of their favourite city to demonstrate its beauty. 

In Newcastle, these things matter more than most in a lot of ways. The famous black and white stripes. The cathedral on the hill. The Tyne bridge. Newcastle Brown Ale. The number 9. Famous one armed poses. I could go on. 

Over the last 14 years, those same symbols matter more and more, not because of what the represent, but because of what has been taken away from us and what that in itself represents. We will never forget the words St. James’ Park being removed from the ground and spray painted back onto the wall by angry fans. Having it replaced in name by Sports Direct Arena. The stadium itself has become a symbol of the the decay and decline that the club found itself in. 

Broken seats, dirty and filled by advertisements representing one man. Instead of it being a place we can be proud of, as it always has been, it showed us just how far the club has fallen. 

That decline is also of course demonstrated no better than on the pitch. The players and the management being the symbols of that, which we turned up and watched every week. When our new ownership came in, we were promised a lot. More communication, and they’ve delivered. They’ve made St James’ a better place to be – just a simple clean meaning so much. We as supporters too, symbols of the strength we believe can be found in that famous stadium on Saturday afternoons, have found a new level. A new connection with the team. That yet another part of the symbolism from the new owners to an extent, coming from a new management team. 

We have been denied one “fresh start” moment because of the way the the cards have fallen. Finally we have that. New owners, new manager, new belief. 

There’s been one final symbol of the past however, and that finally came this week, as the emblems of the past fell. 

It feels odd to say I’m emotional about a few letters being taken from a stadium, but they too are a symbol. Finally, a symbol of the past. Newcastle United is beginning to feel together again. Whole. United. Moving in the right direction. For all of the media attention seekers saying how difficult we are to be involved with, this today, shows how far from the truth that it. We want owners who want to be here. We want a manager who has a plan and players who give a shit. There is no greater way to prove that point, than by looking at our collective glee when seeing some giant letters stacked against a wall. This means something to us all. 

This too, feels big. It is symbolic of what we want and crave as a fanbase. Our team back. Our club back. This, now, feels like we finally have the fresh start we wanted. Let’s enjoy the ride that our new manager is capable of taking us on. Who knows where it may end. I’m excited to watch and hope again. Dream again. In the words of Bruce Springsteen, “meet me in the land of hope and dreams”. 

St. James’ Park once more symbolises the place where those hopes and dreams may finally be realised. 

Dai Rees – @colemans_dream