Twelve months ago, we were in 14th place after drawing 0-0 with Liverpool.  We go into 2022 in a far more perilous league position, and with a threadbare squad.  But that is small beer when viewed against the seismic changes that have happened at this club, our club, over the past twelve months.

With Ashley and Bruce at the helm, Newcastle United had become a husk, an ersatz version of a football club barely going through the motions, making up the numbers in the most joyless fashion imaginable.  We followed it out of duty, habit and routine, but that was about it.  We do not know whether 7 October 2021 will end up being the turning point that so many of us hope it will be.

The jury is still out on PIF, Staveley and Reuben – and we must keep them honest.  Howe also still has plenty to prove.  The players are the same ones who got us into the mess we’re in.  But we are, at least, recognisable as a football club once again.  There’s a common purpose.  Owner, manager, players and supporters all pushing in the same direction.

It’s not much, but at the same time it is absolutely everything.  My hope for 2022 is really simple – Premier League survival.  For a litany of reasons, I don’t subscribe to the view that relegation would help our rebuilding process.  We simply need to be in the Premier League.

I think we’ll stay up.  I’m backing us to stay up.  I’m tired of being cynical and fatalistic when it comes to Newcastle United.  Ashley did that to us all.  But he’s gone.  Forever. Finally.  When looking back at 2021, all else is noise.

Howay the lads and Happy New Year to all.

 Yousef Hatem

The year 2021 – a proper tale of two seasons.

A year that started horrendously and finished with us lower in the league but in love with our club again. The home game against Manchester United should be the last time we ever need to mention the Dark Lord of Sportswear. We are in nineteenth position in the league due to the ineptitude of his ownership and the rank indifference he showed the club for fourteen years.

The new owners have a lot to prove and some PR missteps apart are rightly being given time to prove themselves. Brentford was an OK atmosphere given the result, it was better for Norwich and Burnley, then it was like it always should be for Man United. We started with a goal from Andy Carroll amongst a run that saw the then manager lose any credibility. We stayed up thanks to Joe Willock becoming the best version of himself and other teams below us being incompetent.

We brought Willock on loan in Jan and signed him in August, he is our only addition of 2021. Nobody will ever forget the feeling when they read Luke Edwards even thought this would happen. Eddie Howe over Steve Bruce in the space of four games. Seeing a fitter, sharper team with tactics and an idea of how to play the game. Are some of the players good enough? No, but the manager is trying to get every last drop out of them. There are no days off with this manager. (Did we really celebrate a manager turning up to work? Yes, yes we did.)

Gone is rank incompetence, ticking along, taking off gloves after two years, not being proud of the club or its supporters (Bruce wasn’t) and not trying with any ambition. It’s been replaced with hope and belief.

The owners have a period of grace, the manager has one win but it feels like we could have had four and the atmosphere has changed. 2021 I need you to go, but I will remember you for a long time.

Stephen Ord @smord84

Amidst the understandable exhilaration about the demise of the ancienrégime, it’s easy to forget just how utterly shite we’ve been as a football team this year. Set aside that ludicrous, miraculously flukey run at the end last season – when Willock could have solved the climate crisis and the Palestine-Israeli conflict with a single swish of his boot–and we’ve won three games in 323 days. And two of those came in the space of a week at the end of January when we beat Everton and Southampton.

In 2021, we’ve conceded more goals than any other Premier League team in history. In 2021, we’ve failed to win a single cup game. In 2021, we’ve signed just one single first-team player. Years of neglect have finally had the consequences we all feared. Above all, a once competent and well drilled squad has been allowed to drift, to age, to become an ill-disciplined rabble. For this, Bruce, Charnley, and Ashley should hang their heads, not that they will care for a moment. They are undeniably the architects of our current misfortune.

But there is hope, irrespective of what happens this January. The most important match of 2021 was our last one. Not for the result, but for the performance. Motivated, dynamic, disciplined. A team that can win games. A manager with a plan, thoughtful, studied, uncompromising in his standards. And a stadium that was raucous, united, and unbowed. In more than 30 years, I have never heard St James’ like that.

It might just be that 2021 was the worst, most mediocre year in our recent footballing history. But, of course, it will also be the most important and transformative year we will ever know. Not because of the obscene wealth of our immoral owners, but because we got our sense of belonging and identity back. Everything else is noise.

Matthew Philpotts @mjp19731

I was separated from my club for twelve painful years because of irreconcilable differences. I wanted us to be a proper football club and compete for trophies. They only wanted to ‘tick along’ without putting their Premier League status at risk. Remember the ‘research’ which showed that trying to win a cup would potentially mean relegation? The process of divorce had reached the ‘decree nisi’ stage some time ago but, for some reason, I just couldn’t go through with the ‘decree absolute’.

October 7th will always be the most important date in the history of me supporting NUFC.

If someone had said to me at the end of 2020 that we would rid ourselves of Ashley, Bruce and Charnley, have owners who want to compete for honours and a manager who wants his team to win playing decent football (and more importantly,  seems to have a plan to do this) I’d have taken their hand off, even if it meant getting relegated. We would never have had a night like ManU under the previous regime because of the way they abused the club and its support.

Yes, we’re in a parlous position in the league but I think our key point of difference over previous seasons will be our ability to invest to improve the team

and,  ironically, the togetherness that Ashley’s departure has bequested the club. Add in the fact that Eddie Howe’s ability to improve players is already paying dividends (who would want to sell this new, Viera-like Joelinton now?) and I believe we should have enough to keep us up.

If we can delay our next PL game until mid-January so much the better. I’m sure there’ll be bumps in the road that will test our faith but we must always remember where we’ve come from – never forget, never forgive! The direction of travel in 2022 is onwards and upwards to the sunlit uplands. HTL!

 Wallace Wilson

2021 will not be a year that Newcastle fans will forget in a hurry. Confirmation of the protracted takeover by PIF, the Reubens and PCP will be one of those ‘where were you’ moments. The jubilant scenes outside SJPin October when the takeover was finally sealed were emblematic of a club held in chains for so long, its potential neutered, its hope destroyed. The fanbase deserved that release, regardless of the naysayers.

On field, the year started with more behind closed doors games and more desperate performances under Steve Bruce, most notably Sheffield United, West Brom and Brighton away, which would have seen the end of the manager’s tenure at any other club. In spite of the beleaguered Bruce, the team managed to scramble to safety (and a scarcely believable 12th place) thanks to the inspired form of Joe Willock, who made his loan move from Arsenal permanent in our only major summer signing – a typical lack of ambition from the previous ownership.

A dismal winless start to 2021/2022 piled the pressure on Bruce, who should have been sacked before the Spurs match which marked the first under new ownership. That he was there on such a special day marking a fresh start for the club will always grate on this scribbler; however, the shambolic performance in a 3-2 defeat sealed his fate and he was dismissed soon after to universal relief across Tyneside. That a self-proclaimed fan of the club could be so out of touch with its supporters during his mediocre spell in charge is as remarkable as his lack of tactical acumen.

Following a prolonged managerial search which appeared somewhat chaotic from the outside, Eddie Howe was appointed and has instilled a more positive approach, as well as healthier communication with supporters, although vital results continue to elude us despite our improved performances.

Most importantly, the feeling around the club is infinitely better than it was at the beginning of 2021. The atmosphere during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United was superb – a full house in full voice, with Wor Flags again lending a breathtaking backdrop pre-game in the Gallowgate.

Whilst we end the year in the relegation zone and it looks a tall order to secure top-flight survival, the future looks remarkably bright and we finally have hope of better days ahead.

A paradox, yes, but isn’t that what supporting Newcastle United is all about.

Howay The Lads!

Craig Shaw @shawzey15

On January 3rd last year a soulless and fanless St James Park saw us completely outplayed by Leicester and the annual pointless transfer window opened and delivered nothing.

If someone had said to me at around 4 o’ clock that day that by the end of the year we would have no Ashley, Charnley or Bruce and we were now able to buy anyone we want , I would have simply thought said person was totally insane. What a year it’s been.

In true NUFC style we still haven’t really been able to enjoy it or let it sink in because of the continued ineptitude on the pitch,

but in years to come, decades even, 2021 will be the year that changed everything. From being ‘no ones’ to ‘someones’ might take time but from when Ashley handed the keys over on October 7 it didn’t just end 15 years of chaos and hurt, it reinvigorated me as a supporter again.  We have conceded more in a calendar year than anyone since the early nineties but still everyone is in fine fettle. What a club.

2022 will continue in the same vein . New players will almost certainly come in. Results probably wont drastically improve and we could start in July as the Championships richest club.

I personally can see us trading in loans, Howes trusted players and players out of contract but is that me just refusing to believe that we could spend £60m and finish tenth?

If we play like we did against Manchester United we will stay up but our problem isn’t that, its doing it for successive games so I think its going to be hard but personally I cant wait to go to games again, home or away and that will stay whether we play Arsenal or Blackpool. Sometimes you have to go back to go forward.

To predict what would happen at NE1 is usually unwise to say the least, but I can BOLDLY predict we will feel better than this time last year.

Happy New Year everyone.

 Scott Robson