The end of an era?

Good times.
When Newcastle United were relegated to The Championship in 2009 my world was turned upside down. Like many readers on this blog this football club is my life.

If we win on a Saturday I’m great company, I get really proud of the lads and I’m on a massive high. When we lose I’m slightly less pleasant and normally need a bit of time to get over the defeat. As drastic as that sounds that is how seriously I take football and supporting my team.

I remember being at home when we were relegated as I couldn’t get tickets for the game at Villa Park. When the final whistle blew and I saw Steven Taylor kick the ball away in anger I remember the feeling of disgust, sickness and dread.

My mobile phone wouldn’t stop ringing with people who couldn’t wait to have a pop and mock me. Of course the people who were ringing to give me stick are the usual plastic, armchair fans. Liverpool and United ‘supporters’ who haven’t ever attended a match before. You know the types.

The fact is I saw the sorry state the club were in at the time and although the relegation was almost inevitable and far from surprising it still hurt to learn we were going to be playing our football in the second tier of English football.

To make matters worse I strongly believed that we would struggle in the Championship. With a lack of stability seemingly from top to bottom how would we possibly bounce back? I certainly didn’t think we would be crowned champions. Call me pessimistic but I thought we were on the downward spiral.

I was forced to eat my words as the club were able to keep hold of high profile players who genuinely wanted to right the wrongs of the relegation season. We saw a clutch of senior players that rejected the chance to walk away from a sinking ship and instead hold the group together and get Newcastle United out of the mess it was in.

Many people, admittedly myself included, were sceptical about Chris Hughton when he was originally placed in caretaker charge. After all Chris had found himself in caretaker charge on a few occasions in the top flight and didn’t fair that well.

Luckily Chris also made me eat humble pie as he led the team back to the Premier League at first time of asking. Unlike some of the ego maniacs the club had employed prior to Chris, he had a modest and mild mannered approach to management, which earned him a lot of respect .

In the end the Championship season was a joy for us to watch as fans. It was nice to see a group of players care so much for the cause and each other. None more so than former captain Kevin Nolan. Whatever really happened with his transfer to West Ham, the player will still hold great affection for the club and it’s magnificent fans.

For me the sale of Kevin yesterday felt like the end of an era at Newcastle United. An era that I enjoyed and felt positive about. Newcastle are now under different management and are seemingly trying to change the type of player they want to attract to the club. It seems as though we are starting a new journey.

No longer are we under Chris’ management, no longer is a local lad banging in goals on a regular basis and no longer is Kevin Nolan our captain. With Alan Smith, another influential voice in the dressing room, set to leave and even question marks over the future of Steve Harper it just really feels like the end of a chapter.

Those mentioned above are people who showed a bit of loyalty when the club were relegated. They were a huge part of a dressing room with big heart and tremendous team spirit and for that I’m grateful to all of them. I just hope the excellent team spirit remains despite the loss of some big characters.

Onwards and upwards, No matter who is pulling on a black and white jersey in the future they will have my full backing. If indeed we can expect a new era at St James’ Park, let’s hope it’s a successful one.

If only to stop me moaning!

43 thoughts on “The end of an era?

  1. Great read Mark, one of the best articles in a while for me.

    agree with everything really it does feel like a new chapter is starting for the club with Nolan, Smith and maybe Barton leaving…It’s hard to picture us without Nolan to be honest, leading us out, doing interviews etc but like Barton said thats football and you dont sell your car and replace it with a worse one.

    Our starting 11 this season is going to be a very different one that started the first game of last season thats for sure! For the better I’m sure šŸ™‚


  2. thanks Andrew.
    yeah it’s odd. I feel if Joey does stay next season he will be the voice of the dressing room, he can do what kev did for us I think.


  3. Cracking read Mark, make sure you get yourself on here more often šŸ‘æ šŸ˜†

    If we win on a Saturday Iā€™m great company, I get really proud of the lads and Iā€™m on a massive high. When we lose Iā€™m slightly less pleasant and normally need a bit of time to get over the defeat. As drastic as that sounds that is how seriously I take football and supporting my team.

    Sounds like your describing me!


  4. With the type of players we seem to be trying to bring in I for one will look to the new season with excitement šŸ™‚

    Thats if we manage to get them.


  5. Brilliant read Mark-know exactly what you mean as well, even when Hughton was fired we were effectively the same team, up until yesterday really. Now’s the time when Pardew puts his stamp on the team, and hopefully brings success along with it. Hopefully he sees a place or Barton in the team as well, but I guess we’ll have to see.

    And ditto to what both you and Dan said about moods…football eh šŸ˜€


  6. stupid article.

    u silly paranoid fans thinks ashley is this evil devil incarnate yet u hang on every players words on how much they love our club, what sad nonsense.

    smith nolan barton enrique guti, all these players stayed loyal n played in the championship becuase??? nobody else wud match the wages we were paying them, fact.

    and now that a club has matched nolan wages, where has he gone?


  7. Haha too right lads. I’m foul when we lose or sell a player or linked with gash like karl henry.


  8. That was a good read and you certainly tapped into my emotions. Will be sad seeing the current lot go, but the new side will be, well let’s just say, more akin to the modern, continental style of football.

    The players we are going for clearly show we aim to line up in a flexible 4-3-3 next season. E.g. Matuidi, Tiote & Cabaye as the central 3. Ba as the focal point with Ben Arfa and Barnetta on either wing.

    Matuidi – Makele
    Tiote – Essien
    Cabaye – Lampard
    Ben Arfa – Robben
    Barnetta – J.Cole
    Demba Ba – Drogba

    We are modelling ourselves on Chelsea


  9. Chin up, we could sign some good players this window you never know. We look to be closing in on one good striker already, need a pacy one like Remy aswell. Cabaye looks like a decent player.


  10. Really hope Barnetta is better than Joe Cole šŸ˜†
    Demba ba becoming Drogba? Yes I suppose that’s good enough to lead the line for us šŸ˜€


  11. šŸ˜† Please don’t think im saying the players match in quality, because they clearly don’t. If they did, we would walk into the Champions League next year. However, there’s a clear match in their key attributes and strengths. It’s a tried and tested formula and it seems as though we aim to replicate it to some degree


  12. Aye El Toro, I’m just having a laugh-that’s an interesting point though, our 4-3-3 does seem to be replicating their style, assuming we bring those players in šŸ˜€


  13. Just read the Talk of the Tyne post – the Nolan aftermath – excellent summary and a must read for all the Ashley apologists and those who believe there will be investment sufficient to move us up a level.Even if money is spent,we have lost a lot over the last few months.Why would the rest of the squad and any transfer targets have any faith in a career on Tyneside?
    Pardew is now completely undermined(or a liar) and his position is untenable Look at all his statements on the key players and contracts – the man has no credibility or authority


  14. That was a really good peice of writing, I think every Newcastle fan can relate to what you are saying. I have loved Newcastle since I was about 6 years old, and can honestly say if i didnt have a wedding to go to or someone has died i have seen their games!! Kevin Nolan going didnt give me a sinking feeling in my stomach (i.e Carroll) I get stick for being positive about newcastle on blogs and alot of my mates, because no body can see what Ashely is doing. I can, and i dont mind it, granted he has been a tit at times, I genuinely think he doing what is best for Newcastle United , if newcastle reached Europe that would be the best advertisement for Sports Direct ever


  15. Mark

    Aye I seen that, hopefully it’s just nonsense. We need him as back-up to Ba if we are gonna try that 4-3-3 system because he chases down defenses and puts in twice the effort of Ameobi.


  16. Great post Mark, want to echo the comment about it being a top article.

    Couldn’t agree more that it’s the end of an era. I believe we’ve got big ambitions at this club, and once we’ve secured ourselves financially we should really be pushing for Europe every season. With players like Nolan, Smith and Harper, their wages would be holding us back from achieving that goal more than anything.

    To bigger and better things for our club!


  17. Newkie

    Mate, even if we don’t bring in those specific players, it’s been basically confirmed that we are after them, so we would probably pursue players very similar.


    “why would any target pursue a career on Tyneside”

    Refer to Cabaye’s first interview


  18. Nice one james-top man.
    Yeah agreed bout best. Handy squad player. I just want a proven striker


  19. I think the Best stuff may be true. Was a journalist on Twitter earlier claiming there would be another surprise departure soon


  20. I genuinely think sometimes you have to take a ‘leap of faith’ so to speak. In order to progress and reach new targets. We have to take the blinkers off and look at the bigger picture here. No-one is ‘irreplaceable’. There is a whole market of players out there. The goals from midfield should be in addition to our main strikers, not the main thing keeping us up.


  21. El-Toro, true enough, I just want a better squad to be honest. Really don’t think Best should be sold though…He can put in a shift and would still have an impact next year I feel….doesn’t he have as many goals in as many starts as Ba as well?…


  22. Not sure why Best is being offloaded in truth…quadrupling what we paid must be too hard to turn down…

    I’m off folks. Sleep well


  23. DJG – it seems that way mate , everyone wants to drone into misery just because Nolan has gone!, they need to wait and see the bigger picture, Cayabe is a good start Demba Ba is a very good player, I remember watching him before we were linked WH v LP and thinking BEAST! lol going to be a toon fav demba!


  24. Fantastic article Mark šŸ™‚

    I think you just about hit the nail on the head, and I wonder if that is some of the reason why so many are kicking off? People don’t like change, and that is what is happening at the moment. Of course there is the added factor of past history causing concern coming into play aswell.

    As DJG says though, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith in the quest for improvement and I think that is what we are trying to do. Hopefully it works šŸ˜•


  25. Hopefully it doesn’t end up like daglish time where he literally change the entire team. šŸ˜• šŸ˜

    I believe that dramatic changes will eventually upset the balance of the team.


  26. Great article Mark. The sale of Nolan and eventual departures of Barton, Enrique and possibly Jonas is most definitely the end of the 2000’s squads of huge wages and bigger names. We’ve emerged from the Championship as a hyper Arsenal club, we probably won’t know most of the names coming in eg Tiote.

    In Carr We Trust .


  27. Even if we were to get a 4 million bid for Best i hope he is not sold , Once he got into the side ,he looked imo a good premiership class player and he proved he could get goals at this level .It would cost more than 4 million to replace him ,
    Mark , i also thought it was a great read and i can relate to how you feel when we get beat ,it feels like a kick in the family jewels and when its a game we expect to win and we loose it , i must be the most miserable bugger on gods earth .


  28. SoCalToon? Great. All we need now is CentralVal Toon and we have the state covered.

    Good read, Mark. Last two were good articles.


  29. Come on Norcal… let’s show some Cali love vs the animosity. Don’t know about where you are, but I’ve seen exactly 9 toon jersey’s in 7 years in LA. Can’t let our state rivalries divide us ………… and we never need an “anything val” on this board.


  30. How long does it take for new players to bed in? Especially if you are talking about ripping the heart of the team out in one fell swoop. DJG you are deluded talking about this leap of faith. Look at the fat man`s track record man! Leopards don`t change their spots and all that. This club will never move forward until we have somebody who really cares for the club owning the toon. Don`t call me I`m a doom monger I`m a realist who interprets the situation as it has been since the fat man took charge.


  31. in ashley we trust ay? in ashley we trust. wow. i cant begin to express my resentment towards that man on this blog. suffice to say, what the guy has done is akin to my wife cheating on me. the problem is i have no where else to go. so i will follow the toon till my dieing days. but dont no one dare tell me im wrong for my dislike of ashley, dont you dare. thanks kevin, joey, jose and especially chris for what you did past 2 years, its a shame the owner didnt recognise that. onwards and upwards please God. ps, great article lad.


  32. Freddie S….that’s my worry, a younger, faster more technical team, sounds great in theory but they’ll probably need time to settle in. They may all(assuming we get the players in) hit the ground running but that is one huge fecking gamble, more likely not all of them will and thats why you need the more experienced backbone of the team to see us through the “settling” in period. If no more of that “backbone” leave then fine, but I can’t see that being the case šŸ™


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