Many can remember how charismatic Keegan was and most of us can remember his enthusiasm as manager, which filtered through to his players.
Players from other clubs were looking at us and wanting to be a part of it and it made me feel great to think that we were on the map and classed as the team that was envied by most and was also most people’s second favourite behind their own team.
I remember Warren Barton coming up to sign and Keegan done his usual, ‘sell the club’ to the player routine and then asked Barton what wage he required, to which Barton responded, “I’ll leave that up to you boss.”
Barton later explained that he left the wages up to Keegan because he trusted him to pay him what he was worth, so he was happy to allow it but also, he was proud as punch to know he was pulling on a black and white shirt and being a part of something special.
So special was that time, that the majority of players that were part of it to this day are self confessed Newcastle fans and big the club up at every opportunity and Barton is no exception to that.
Keegan had that knack of making players believe in themselves and expressing themselves on the pitch, which paid dividends for us as we all know.
Those times were brilliant, yet as much as the headline “Stop the ride I want to get ON” was fitting for that era, it hasn’t been fitting for most of our fan life has it?
Stop the ride, I want to get OFF, was usually the order of the day after the Keegan era , with players happy to desert a listing ship like rats and rarely looking back to even bother whether it sunk or not, such was their haste to leave.
Having said all that, I am firmly of the belief that we are fast becoming a club that players are viewing as one of the BIG clubs they would be more than willing to further their career with for the basis of achievement rather than just being the cash cow that many before them seen it as.
Once again, I think we are very close to becoming a club that is not only firmly back on the map but one that could also, once again, be many people’s second favourites and I believe we are only a few short years away from that with the fine tuning and careful tweaking that Alan Pardew, John Carver, Graham Carr and the board, plus every other employee that aids that development can deliver.
As everyone knows, or should know by now, I am a full time optimist that mainly oozes positivity, yet I do take time out to stand back with my wide angled lens to see the bigger picture, which from the outside looking in, I can see that this club is becoming so stable and together that our best players are happy to stay on this ride and welcome those other genuine players that want to be a part of it.
In one or two years, it will be a simple case of, “stop the ride, I want to get ON,” and I for one am loving it.
How far do you believe this club is away from achieving that magnetic pull that draws the quality in that would have otherwise sidestepped in a heartbeat?
I say two years will see us so strong and solid that we will be competing for all competitions with a realistic chance of snatching one or two with some regularity from that point on and we will be known as top drawer around the world.
There’s my optimism and I stand by it, so what is your take on it?« What is a fair price for Andy Carroll? | Do we have more squad depth than it appears? (Part two) »