And so it came to pass that Mike Ashley spaketh and the clouds parted and lo, United did put in a performance that greatly pleased the multitudes and finally a team was smited and once more did Newcastle stride forth into the promised land. Cabella and Perez and the minging Ryan Taylor were left out from the QPR fiasco with Cisse, Anita and god help us, Williamson back into the side presumably to add more weight against a supposedly physical West Ham side who ironically finished the day in Europe after not putting a tackle in since Christmas.
The first half was nervy. I love nothing more than a bit of football nostalgia so plugged my ‘tranny’ in (no, come on..) at kick off to listen to events at Hull and after a positive opening when we created a decent chance for Riviere inside the first minute, we laboured backed by a noisy SJP crowd. Riviere did have another half chance when he shot narrowly wide with an overhead kick that looked in at first from my spot in the East Stand but although they never really massively threatened, the Hammers did start to enjoy decent spells of possession as we dropped deeper.
News of Hull having two goals in quick succession disallowed did little to soothe the nerves and at half time, we went in if anything in an even more precarious position than we were at kick off, only 45 minutes from a goal at the KC Stadium standing between us and the Championship.
The second half was possibly our best of the season though as we pushed up the pitch by ten yards and all of a sudden looked to grasp the gravity of our situation. Anita was everywhere, winning challenges that he’s been nowhere near all season and we should have taken the lead when Janmaat broke down the right and flashed a seemingly unmissable cross over for Riviere three yards out but he completely aired his shot and let’s not beat about the bush, he’s been utter dogshit all season – get shot, for fucks sake. The hero of the afternoon, Jonas Gutierrez turned the game in our favour ten minutes into the half when he planted a cross bang on Sissoko’s head from eight yards out shortly after though and our cowardly captain for once obliged, planting a header firmly past Adrian to spark jubilation in the stands.
Despite a couple of twitch moments when West Ham broke, they never really looked that interested in getting back into it and with men committed, we broke for an almost schoolyard style four-on-one dash with Anita’s tiny legs going ten to the dozen, supported by three options to tap a pass to for an open goal. Inexplicably, he completely lost his nerve and played the ball directly to an incredulous Adrian and when West Ham broke with us caught short, you were left with an awful feeling that an outrageous miss like that would come back to bite us but no harm was done as Gutierrez wrapped things up with the moment of the season.
After running himself into the ground for the cause all day, Jonas cut inside and fired a shot with a slight deflection off Jenkinson into the bottom corner to an outpouring of relief and emotion. If he celebrated the cross for the first goal wildly, he joined in with the delight of the crowd, stripping his shirt off and racing full length of the pitch. The man has been an absolute hero, coming back from cancer to play at the top level and never leave anything on the pitch. He will be a loss – someone who gets us and we get him – top man.
We coasted to victory in the end with the bizarre sight of Anita being subbed off to a reception that would have been over the top for Messi at the Nou Camp and the final whistle bringing almost instant chants of ‘Get out of our club’. The day belonged to Gutierrez and the supporters who have put up with a season that so often has veered into disgrace.
Am I happy?
I was in the instant that we confirmed safety, yes. If Ashley is true to his word and is set to stay until we win something/get into the Champions League, then no. We are a million years from either of those happening and weasel words mean nothing when every action has alienated fans irreparably from the owner.
Just fuck off, eh Mike?
Thanks for reading this over what has been a wretched season and have a great summer – just forget the twats for a couple of months and get your feet up in the garden!
Keep the Faith
Newcastle United – Krul 6, Janmaat 8, Coloccini 7, Williamson 7, Dummett 6, Anita 9 (Gouffran n/a), Colback 7, Sissoko 7, GUTIERREZ 9, Riviere 6, Cisse 6
Ref – Atkinson – 7 – Can’t even think of a decision he had to make
Our Fans – 9 – Fantastic. Let’s get this right, as miserable as this season, our fans have never been to blame and never needed prompting. The best thing about this football club by a million miles.
Their Fans – 5 – Good numbers, never heard a peep from them