Some of you may be thinking: what is going on with Newcastle United? But this time, you may be thinking it for all the right reasons.
Following the clubs fantastic start to the season, the club has given back to the fans in abundance. Starting with half-price season tickets for existing holders, an open training day at St. James’ Park, and half-price club membership if bought in-store. There is a lot more fan interaction at the moment although some will say that it is long overdue.
I was lucky enough to receive an invite to check out the media side at SJP as part of my course, and had the opportunity to listen in on Steven Taylor’s interview and Alan Pardew’s pre-match press conference and though I would provide you all with some quotes that are actually direct from the horses mouth.
Ahead of the game on Monday, Alan Pardew had a clear idea of what he needed to work on following last years’ 4-0 defeat at the Britannia: “It’s a different type of game, the pitch is narrow, the grass is long and they put you under enormous pressure. It’s a difficult place to go and try and get a result.”
“We had a terrible day there last year, where I had to take some fall. I set the team up to combat their style rather than focus on our own.”
The manager seemed very buoyed by the performance midweek: “The Cabaye goal was so late, if we had another two or three minutes I think we’d have won it. I think it’s very unusual for a professional football team to have three key decisions go against you, and that’s fuelled us more than anything with a desire to put it right.”
“We can’t let the loss affect our minds, we just go on to the next game. No team ever stays unbeaten.”
“I think if Tottenham would have come and beat us and won that game 2-1, and we didn’t respond like we did, I think we’d have had a much different feeling than we had afterwards. There was honour in the performance against Blackburn.”
“Santon experienced the Premiership somewhat, and he’ll learn from that. He thought he would get a number of free kicks, which he would have done in Italy. You don’t get those here, and things like that he’ll learn from. Technically when he had the ball and was going forward, you could see he’s going to add to us as the season goes on.”
“You understand that the trust from the terraces to the team is the key element of success, in my view. If they don’t trust the manager, or the team, if they feel that the wool is being pulled over their eyes or there is a lack of commitment, they won’t forgive them. I think there is trust from the terraces in what we’re doing, and that we’re trying to win every game.”
“I think based on the first half against Blackburn we could have been slightly questioned on that front, but in the second half we were outstanding and unfortunate not to win. I think the Chairman and the Board trust me, I trust my players, and the fans trust the players.”
“The one thing I took from Alex Ferguson, that’s very important, you keep momentum at a Football club, even in defeat.”
After the open training session yesterday, Steven Taylor said of his injury that he was “disappointed to miss the Blackburn game, and the focus is to play on Monday night.”
“I was sat on the bench last year, I was disappointed with that and the result, but hopefully we’ll put that right this time round.”
“We’ve changed the way we’ve played. They’ll be worried about us as much as we’ll be worried about them. We think they will be more cautious of us.”
“There is a ‘Never Say Die’ attitude at the club. For the lads to come back strong in the 90th minute against Blackburn, coming back from behind is really encouraging.”
“We’re enjoying our football and playing with confidence, and we’ve got that winning mentality.”
All in all it was a great day. Everyone seemed to enjoy and it gave a great insight into how things are run, not just on the media side of things for me personally, but also in terms of seeing what the payers actually go through and what is said to them.
Hopefully there’ll be another one soon!