It all started so well…
After an electric atmosphere around the city all afternoon, a stunning flag display inside St James’ Park and 52,000 fans all in full voice to give the new owners a big Geordie welcome, Callum Wilson headed home less than two minutes in to give us an early 1-0 lead.
The crowd went wild, with a real sense of euphoria swirling around the stadium, however that would prove to be the only shot on target we’d have in the entire match.
As we’ve done all season under Steve Bruce, we were so cheap defensively as Spurs scored a quick-fire double in the space of five minutes, with goals from Ndombele and Kane putting them 2-1 midway through the first half.
A moment of major concern then arrived off the pitch, as the game was stopped and medics called over to the East Stand to assist a fan who’d collapsed in the stands. Thankfully, it’s since emerged that the supporter is awake and responsive in hospital – the best news we’ll read all day after the scary stoppage saw a defibrillator dragged across the pitch.
With seven minutes of first-half stoppage time still to play, both sets of players returned to the field as the game resumed. The incident had sobered up a visibly concerned St James’ Park and Spurs took advantage, with Son tapping in a Harry Kane cut-back to make it 3-1.
The second half summed up just about everything that’s been wrong with this team under Steve Bruce.
You have to question what he said to them (or didn’t!) in that team-talk, but the tactics were abysmal and practically non-existent at times, with us often pumping diagonal balls to Joelinton and hoping for the best.
Jonjo Shelvey – who came on for an already booked Sean Longstaff – then capped off a dire second half display with two silly yellow cards, meaning he’ll now be banned for next weekend’s trip to Crystal Palace despite only just returning from a long-term calf injury.
Inevitably, fans turned on Steve Bruce soon after, with chants of “WE WANT BRUCIE OUT” bellowing around St James’ Park.
We did pull a goal back at the death – Eric Dier put Jacob Murphy’s set piece delivery into his own net to give fans the faintest glimmer of hope – but Spurs kept the ball for most of the four minutes of added on time that followed and it ended 3-2 to the visitors.
Bruce will put the defeat down to bad defending and bemoan the red card, but we ran out of steam as we so often have this season and had absolutely no plan B once Spurs had got themselves back into the game.
Our time will come, and we have plenty reasons to be more than just hopeful as we head into an exciting new era on Tyneside, however it’s vital the new owners act fast and remove Steve Bruce from a ship in danger of sinking as long as he stays in charge.
A final word must go to Wor Flags who put on another magnificent display at the Gallowgate End, made even more special as Jimmy Nail’s ‘Big River’ played just moments before new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan was introduced to fans for the first time.
The river will rise again.
The river will rise again.