Sitting in my usual seat in the Gallowgate end on Sunday to see Newcastle finish the season in style with a well deserved 3-0 win over Chelsea, saw my mind cast back over just what has happened to the team over the period of a few months.
The flashback just emphasised what sort of journey we have been on with us bearing a resemblance to a well-organised group of kids at the start of the season at home to Spurs who maybe didn’t quite have the know how to believe in their own ability and then ending the season against Chelsea at around 4:55 pm this past Sunday, looking every ounce and inch a group of fully grown men.
That balmy Summer’s day for our season opener against Spurs where a slightly overcast St James’ Park bore witness to what looked like the beginning of a trend where we would huff and puff but not quite blow the house down is hard to take in being just nine months ago with the improvement of the whole squad plain to see.
Unlikely heroes have emerged and got songs sung after them in the likes of Paul Dummett and Mo Diame. Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles would be celebrating England call-ups if they’d been playing for a club South of Leeds and there is a method in our gaming approach that hasn’t been seen for years in what looks like an actual plan.
Things just seemed to click on the day when we beat Man United at St James’ and from then on the belief from everyone increased tenfold. So much so that there seemed to be a lot more fluidity in the side and the way in which we had played all season started to make more sense.
I have complete faith in the team improving further still if some actual money is allowed to be spent on team building when in a position of strength and instead of expecting to battle against relegation just a few short weeks ago, maybe start thinking of attacking the European qualifying spots. This bit is out of everyone’s hands aside from Mike Ashley and it will be him that dictates where this journey goes next.
With the likes of West Ham and Everton getting rid of managers in the last twenty-four hours, the media will no doubt link Rafa’s name with their vacancies whilst he’s waiting for Ashley to convince him he’s wanted here by spending some money on quality as the transfer window creaks open so the journey has some mileage in it yet.