Some people say the magic of the FA Cup has disappeared … tell that to the 52,000 at SJP today. 7500 Luton fans travelled up from darn sarf for a glamour tie against a Premier league side – that’s what the FA Cup is all about.

We sold 45,000 tickets today. 45,000 mags paid to watch a United side, who are only just around the corner from an absolutely dreadful run of form, less than two weeks after Christmas. 45,000. Doesn’t seem like the actions of a deluded fan-base who are losing faith in their manager. Stick that in your fucking pipe Sky Sports et al.

I sat with my Dad and two mates in the Milburn Sports Bar today – £10 for adults and £5 for kids. It made a nice change from our usual standing spot in the  Strawberry Corner with the padded seats, ample legroom and tremendous view. I wouldn’t sit there every week but it’s worth a go once in a while. We were surrounded by Luton fans – whilst I had no massive problem with it today, I feel that it goes against everything I want football to be to have away fans openly supporting their team in the home end. I prefer the tribal, fuck everyone else attitude every time.

On to the match. I was delighted to see that Rafa had picked a strong team – we had a chance to get a really positive result at home and push into the massive game vs ‘shouldn’t be in our league’ Swansea with a spring in our step. We did not take it.

3-1 flattered United massively. Luton started the brighter and were unfortunate to fall behind to two terrible goals. We dominated the remainder of the first half and scored a very well worked third in what should have put the tie firmly to bed. The half time break (sat in a warm room inside watching the other results come in) saw us discuss a pretty confusing performance from United and we emerged from half time to see Luton score a ridiculous goal. I hope Woodman doesn’t take that one too hard as I think he has the potential to turn into a decent keeper.

Even at 3-1 we should have had the nous to see the game home comfortably – but that’s not the Newcastle United way. Luton dominated the second half in terms of possession and territory and had a couple of decent chances – their disallowed goal didn’t look offside to me and Bob Lee Jr struck the bar with a cracking free kick (I really felt for him and in different circumstances would have wanted him to hit the back of the net with that). We eventuately trundled home having kept the scoreline at 3-1 but nobody can take any real confidence from that performance.

On a different day we don’t sneak those two goals in the first half, Luton have a bit more fortune and we’re back on the telly every single January for the next forty five years with replays of us getting turned over by a lower league team (see Hereford).

As a side note, all credit to Luton today. They came with a really positive, attack minded attitude and played some really excellent football. To the novice it wouldn’t have been totally obvious which side was from which league. Not as much noise from their fans as I’d expected but I guess they were flattened by conceding those two terrible goals. I hope they all have a good weekend in Newcastle, apart from Tommy ‘definitely not racist’ Robinson and his band of idiot mates.

Poor performances all over the pitch were summed up for me by Shelvey’s petulant trip in the middle of the second half – his attitude stinks and he only makes that foul because he can’t be arsed to track back properly. He really needs to look at himself, as one of our senior pros and one of the only people in the squad with PL experience, to lead the rest of the lads by example. He’s not doing that at all.

I hate to be so negative after a win when our form has been good recently but I’m feeling pretty deflated this week – the lack of progress on the takeover, lack of any financial support for Rafa when it’s so FUCKING OBVIOUSLY NEEDED and that dreadful second half performance, being outfootballed by a League 2 side at home have totally soured my weekend.

Fingers crossed we put that right next week and smash Swansea.

MICHAEL CARLING  

 

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