Newcastle United 3 Everton 1, 

St James’ Park, 8/Feb/22, Att:  52,186

There is no better place to be in the world than inside St James’ Park when the place is in rapture. And the grand old home, restored to its glory, minus of the S****s D****t that defiled our beloved stadium for too long was certainly enraptured. Every corner of the place at full time, booming with one song after another as the love for our great, ancient club poured down from the stands after an absolutely priceless win.

Forgive me for the personal flight of fancy. I’d bumped into Colin Whittle, my B&W pal, before the game, at the back of the Gallowgate, collecting for the Foodbank as he does every home game, quietly, undemonstratively as he has done for years. One of life’s good lads!

We talked about life, families, working, retirement and of course Newcastle United. When only six months ago that discussion would have been disfigured by despair and bitterness, tonight we were wreathed in smiles and sharing a straightforward love of Kieran Trippier, a Rolls Royce player.

There’s Ted and Goy who I sit next to and the lads of the Gallowgate West, in our 50s and 60s but still with a school-boy enthusiasm for Newcastle United.

“we’ve got  Bruno Guimarães, he’s not from Beunos Aires, he’s from Brazil, he’s fucking brill” – Steve Lakey, 61 1/2 , Bensham, Gateshead.

I was told at half time Gutty knew the rationale behind the share doings PIF were up to but, frankly, he’d put far too much Brown Ale away to give me any kind of cogent explanation and, even sober as a judge, I think I’d have struggled to grasp it. Wall St Journal Mags, we’re not.

And Smally, back where he belongs in the Gallowgate West. Sitting next to me. An honour, sir. Let’s do it again.

Oh, I suppose you want to read a bit about football. Okay, then.

The first half was a lot like what we’ve seen this season … but we are getting better. Much the same players are pressing up the pitch and a million times better than they were under the Bacon-Meister.

Still, social media isn’t happy with the team-selection and there is gnashing of teeth at the absence of Guimarães, who everyone wants to get a look at. We don’t know how he’s trained, the drills with his team-mates etc. He’s been in the country less than a week. Let’s give Howe some credit for making the calls. Burn is missing with a sore toe. Schär and Lascelles still start even with £90m spent. Who’d have guessed that on 1/Jan/22?

But there were moments that I’m sure are taking years off me. It’s my opinion, for what it’s worth, that our main problems have been caused in the central defensive and midfield positions. We’ve been overrun in those positions. I’ve despaired over the lack of pace in the backline but Everton’s goal (and I’ve not watched any replays, this is me writing this up in my pants in the box room – too much information? Sorry) I could only describe as a Sunday morning social club goal to concede. The backline pushed back and a bit of pin-ball as it can’t be cleared and we’re 1-0 down.

All of the fears return. This is the night it had to work. All that money spent thrown back in our faces and that knot of fear and frustration returned to our collective guts.

Its 1-1 at the Leazes End, Lascelles, berated for clumsiness (Schär culpable too) has got the equaliser with the ball swung into the box.

The first half hasn’t been great. Everton have come to shit-house and to be fair they have done that. I don’t know why, this isn’t Man City or Liverpool they’re playing, it’s Newcastle United at the wrong end of the PL table.

There’s a notable improvement in the second half. Shelvey has had as good a game as I can recall in all the time he’s been here. His work-rate is incredible. Although Willock needs to do more, he has improved immeasurably. I can’t really fault Joelinton’s endeavour, but there has been a moment of pure dark comedy when, with the ball at his feet in the box, he somehow manages to be heading it on the ground.

I love Kieran Trippier. He is without question the best right-back we’ve had at Newcastle United while I’ve been going, and that is 51 years this year. The lad is a force of nature. I’ll text Colin Whittle and purr some more about him.

I like the look of Targett. He’s rock steady and, as I love about Trippier, he’s always ready and he has an efficient economy about his play I really like.

He’s allowing ASM to push up the park. The Frenchman excites and frustrates in equal measure, but he is our greatest threat and he creates panic in the Everton back-line when he runs at them.

Wood needs a goal for his confidence but he keeps going and we’ll take them flying in off his arse. Keep the faith.

We’ve had some breaks. The forced subs Everton have to deal with are great for us.

We are the better side. Pickford is the busier ‘keeper and he is mercilessly abused by a magnificent Gallowgate End. Does his head go? Of course it does. He’s twitching, his kicking has gone to fuck and special mention to the star turn in the Gallowgate lower who brought the toy dinosaur. There really isn’t enough of that in the modern game.

Fraser’s goal to put us ahead was reward for much improved performances from him. A player Bruce couldn’t get a tune out of is now being played in constantly by Trippier and is thriving on the quality behind him, alongside him and occasionally in front of him.

What’s better than a Newcastle United goal at a febrile Gallowgate End? Nothing is the correct answer.

A one goal advantage given the leads we’ve thrown away this season isn’t doing anything to calm our nerves.

Then we have a free kick, right side of the box at the Gallowgate. Trippier. 80th minute with as sweet a hit we’ve seen in many a year.

St James’ Park explodes.

There’s more to come. There should have been a fourth as Murphy, on for Fraser, hits the post one on one. Trippier has left with a bit of  a knock and we’ll wait the prognosis on that.

Guimarães has time for a small cameo. He’s warmly welcomed into the Geordie bosom. There’s more to come.

We could have had more. Pickford will spend some time in dark room twitching. Getting that rave on seems a long time ago.

What a night. What a precious win. What a great crowd.

Big thanks to Wor Flags who have gone above and beyond by taking the displays to the Leazes whilst maintaining the potency of the displays at the Gallowgate End.

They are providing a sense of spectacle and occasion to our games that simply isn’t anywhere else in the country.

Newcastle United is moving, inexorably to being the best place in the world to watch and play football. Hyperbole? Most definitely.

We’re out the bottom three. I know about games in hand. But this feels good, it feels significant.

Villa on Sunday.

I can’t wait to go and watch Newcastle United play football matches again. Our club is waking up.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

Michael Martin @tfMick1892

FULL TIME REACTIONS:

That was up there with some of the great nights. Granted, not as much at stage in some eyes, but Jesus, that was special. Superb performance by everyone. That has to lay the foundation about how great this club can be. Totally immense.

 Steve Wallwork

What a night. After half an hour one down , flat crowd I couldn’t have believed we would end up doing what we did. Vital quick equaliser and then a fantastic team performance that makes me believe for the first time everything will be ok.

 Scott Robson

Kieran Trippier over the wall. Ok first half, much improved second half. Worried about the knocks to Trippier and the fact Targett isn’t available for Sunday but this was something to enjoy. Great free kick and Fraser did well to finish. Murphy and Willock unlucky not to make it four. What an atmosphere, what a performance and what a cameo from Bruno!

 Stephen Ord