The anticipation, the atmosphere, the flags, the hope – My matchday message to fellow Toon fans

I’m writing this on a Saturday and wishing I was already in the pub ahead of our next match.

Beyond my first home and away match after COVID, I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to the game.

In an ideal world, the match would have been Saturday so we could have had a bigger party for it, but I’m still buzzing with anticipation.

The atmosphere at St James on the night the takeover was announced was incredible. And I think we can probably create something similar for this match.

We’ve been given a new vigour, a reason to be excited again with the takeover. Up until now, matchdays were more about the big day out – the football felt like a chore in-between pubs.

Now, I can’t wait to get inside St James again. I can’t wait to see Wor Flags return after a long, admirable spell away.

I can’t wait to hear the crowd, excited instead of being there purely out of habit, which is largely why I’ve been there recently.

This might be the best home atmosphere some of us have ever witnessed. If last Thursday was anything to go by, we’ll make some incredible noise.

Matchdays have been routine for me for a while, but this game might give me goosebumps for the first time in a long time. The anticipation, the flags display, the hope, the atmosphere.

This will be our first game in over 14 years without Mike Ashley at the helm. The first probably since Rafa’s appointment where it feels like there’s some ambition.

There were small moments in Ashley’s reign that felt like new beginnings, like Rafa and Keegan’s appointments, but it turns out they were false dawns.

This doesn’t feel like a false dawn. It feels like the beginning of something amazing.

I must admit, Bruce being there will put a small dampener on the day for me. I do need to remember that it’s not about him, but the knowledge that we could be watching his classic turgid football for 90 minutes again is less exciting.

For me, sacking him immediately and instating Jones as caretaker while we find that perfect fit was the right choice. But I’ll only dedicate this one paragraph to his frustrating presence.

Because this is the first day of the rest of our lives. Staveley has spoken more about her plans for the club in a week and a half than Ashley did in 14 years. We know it’ll take time to truly become a powerhouse, but we’re used to waiting.

Until then, let’s enjoy what will be one of the most memorable days of our lives as NUFC supporters.

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