The last match United played at which away fans were legally permitted to attend was Southampton early March 2020. I was there and it was a day when the sheer stupidity of my optimism as a fan took over any rational thought…Brucey’s Window meant I left St Mary’s after a 1-0 win thinking maybe, just maybe we’ve turned a corner and our manager has worked out an identity, a style…deprogrammed the players who he thought could play no other way than that with which the ‘Mighty Rafa’ had indoctrinated them with.

Then lockdown happened and everything turned upside doon inside oot and what we thought of as reality no longer existed…Steve Bruce and his behind closed door Mags finished 13th and 12th…and I bought into the ‘he’s doing a good job in tough circumstances’ argument. Basically forgetting how utterly biff we were last season until Willock and Graeme Jones arrived and we got to play the last 7 games of the season against teams who had fuck all to play for or who were shitting themselves so much due to pressure they temporarily forget how good they were (hello Leicester)

Today was a spectacular reminder of the misery and utter ineptitude of NUFC under a manager who might be a ‘nice guy’ but who would be the least likely to get a job at another PL club out of all current 20. We were so shit today there isn’t one positive I can think of. There isn’t even an 87 lettered German would to describe how bad it was.

I had a brilliant day out in Birmingham pre-match. Visiting some fantastic pubs in a city that probably gets a bit too much stick from people who haven’t ventured more than 200 feet from Villa Park or New Street station. The brilliant day spilled over to the match and as the players came out for kick off I was not only buzzing to be back but also convinced we’d get something…an early chance for Wilson and a relatively stress free 30 odd minutes strengthened the feeling we’d be ok.

And then around the 30 minute mark Buendia started getting a little bit too much space. Villa won a couple of throws on their right. Cash launched the first two into the six yard box and United just about scrambled the ball away. The third throw indicated no one in a Newcastle shirt or on the side-line picked up on the obvious from the previous two. Cash launched it, United flapped and pissed about and left Ings COMPLETELY FUCKING UNMARKED to put in an overhead kick that was technically beautiful but far too easy. There is no way he should have been given the amount of time he was to do what he did .

The half time whistle blew. Hendrick and Joelinton were having a HT kick about and watching them made me think I could still make it as a PL player at the age of 44 with dodgy knees and zero actual talent. The players came out for the second half and produced a performance of such spectacular shite that at points I was convinced it wasn’t real…like I wasn’t there and everything unfolding in front of my eyes was a bad dream brought on by years of drinking and recreational drug use in my 20s and early 30s.

But no! It was real! And it was turgid. Villa got a lucky penalty that was a penalty…we didn’t get a penalty because…Wilson was offside even if it was minimally so…Fraser got brought on in injury time and Joelinton got brought on when we were 2 down.

It was all shite. We were terrible. We’ll be terrible all season but we’ll probably stay up. Staying up will meet the remit. Rinse and fucking repeat.

NORMAN RILEY

FULL TIME REACTION: 

I am incandescent. This was a gutless defeat.
This was a poor scrappy game between two mediocre teams. The first half turned on two moments: Wilson not scoring when clean through and us not defending a long throw and allowing Ings a moment of quality.
VAR will get the headlines but that’s a convenient scapegoat for tactical naivety. Last week we had no full backs and now we’ve got no midfield either. Bruce has now made the team less than the sum of its parts. We were totally overrun in midfield.
The folly of crossing fingers and praying ASM or Willock do something has been exposed. Willock barely got a touch.
It’s just a shame there was more fight in the stands than on the pitch
Bruce cannot defend this. Defeat next week an we are in serious shit. The mirage at the end of last season exposed. 

Matthew Philpotts – @Mjp1973

Zero positives from today. Almost identical to the other 2 0 defeats here in the last two seasons. He learnt nothing from those two defeats and he’ll learn nothing from today. Desperate start.

Alex Hurst – @tfAlex1892 

Toilet 

Norman Riley 

Difficult to put that in to words. A very poor opening 45 turned on its head by a very good Ings finish. A highlight of an otherwise forgettable opening half. The only other thing of note being a poor miss by Wilson, putting a chance wide of the upright when he should have rattled the net.
2nd time in 2 weeks when those at Stickley Park appeared to favour the opposition. Granted, I’ve seen minimal replays, but the handball appeared harsh. 2-9 putting it beyond our reach, though the same could be said at 1-0.
Only thing of note for us after that was a VAR overturned penalty. Again, not seen a replay but summed up where we are at. That run of good luck previously come Ming back to bite Bruce’s more than ample arse.
All that said, my biggest gripe lies with the head coach.
Clearly incapable of changing the direction of the game, despite having nearly half a game to do so. His ineptitude laid bare for all to see.
As a side note, “plan A” showed today why he’s an NUFC player and not at a better level. Failed miserably to influence a game against bordering on mediocre opponents.
Should probably leave it there.
Steve Wallwork – @stevewallwork