7th May 1955. Jackie Milburn scored the fastest goal in FA Cup final history to send Joe Harvey’s side on their way to winning their 3rd FA Cup trophy in 5 years, eventually defeating Manchester City 3-1 at the old Wembley.
At this stage in history, Newcastle had won 2 more league titles than Man United and 1 less league title than Liverpool.
Fast forward to the present day and this still remains the last time our club won a domestic trophy, which means that no Newcastle fan under the age of 65 can say they’ve been alive while their club has won a meaningful honour. We may clutch at straws when it comes to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup but the stark reality is our club has underachieved for over half a century now. That 2006 Intertoto Cup still looks pretty neat in the trophy cabinet though.
The point is that victory in tonight’s game against Oxford gives us the best opportunity to start believing again for the best part of a generation. Not since 1999 have we made the FA Cup final and with a potential 5th round tie against lower league opposition once again in West Brom, Steve Bruce MUST go all out in search of a cup run to give us supporters hope again.
Bruce has generally been saying all the right things over the past few days, in his pre-match presser he highlights how he will field a strong side just as he has in previous cup games this season. Our Premier League status is looking solid as we sit 7 points above the drop zone, and this gives us plenty of leverage to go and attack this competition.
Ask 99% of Toon fans and I think they would snap your hand off to be FA Cup winners, even if it meant relegation the same year…
A day out at Wembley will live long in the memory of Newcastle fans compared to a 12th or 13th placed finish- or even a relegation – something that our support has become so used to in the Mike Ashley era.
However, many pundits predict tonight’s clash at the Kassam Stadium as a banana skin waiting to happen – listening to Danny Kelly on TalkSPORT last night you’d think we were the League One side! The host’s record against The Toon, especially in cup competitions, do give them some reason for optimism though. Oxford dumped us out the League Cup twice in the 1980s and most recently gave Newcastle a lesson when they hammered us 3-0 in this competition back in 2017. There is also a weird sense of inevitable anxiety from Newcastle supporters that we could end up losing this game.
But let’s remain positive. As the Premier League side, the ball is well and truly in our court. The best Newcastle United beats the best Oxford United, and nobody can argue with that. I expect the first 10 minutes to be edgy and nervous but still think – and expect – us to get through to that 5th round.
It is about time the Geordie fanbase was allowed to start dreaming again…
Howay The Lads!