If Carlsberg did football weekends eh? What a weekend for Newcastle United! It started with our record breaking away victory over Cardiff on Friday night to keep us in title contention, it continued in to Saturday afternoon when Sunderland’s relegation was confirmed and ended on Saturday evening with Brighton losing at home to Bristol City – had Brighton won that game they would have been confirmed as the EFL Championship title winners.
But listen, I’m not going to give too many words away writing about Sunderland – but I have started so I might as well continue…
I am not a Sunderland obsessed Newcastle United fan, I have a lot of good friends and indeed members of my own family who are Sunderland fans and whilst I can’t deny their demise hasn’t made me chuckle a little, I’m not getting too carried away as we’re hardly flying high ourselves are we? A lot of the comments I have received on my Yahoo articles since I started doing this 2 years ago have been from Sunderland fans but when I have checked my Sunderland counterparts’ articles out, I notice a few Newcastle United fans commenting on his own articles. We’re local rivals, it is to be expected and as long as it is all done in good fun I have no problem with that – I actually quite like reading the comments!
As I said though, we’re hardly in a position to gloat – we were relegated last season, the second time in a decade and most (every) Sunderland fans will tell you they have beaten us 6 times in a row. Our club was raided by the HMRC last week and Rafa Benitez’s future has still not been decided. When we hit the headlines in the national press it is rarely for anything positive so whilst their relegation has tickled me somewhat, I am not going to gloat. We have been there before and I know their fans will be hurting and despite raising one hand at us to show how many victories in a row they’ve had, they’re hurting, whether they admit it or not. I also think they will struggle massively to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking and have a feeling it might be many years before we next meet them in the league (assuming we don’t follow them down!).
No, I won’t gloat, I won’t rub it in. I’ll just basque in the relatively small glory I am feeling right now but mindful that North East football is very much swings and roundabouts. We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…
Saturday’s loss for Brighton means Newcastle United now go in to the final weekend of the season knowing that the title chase is still alive. It is a scenario I never thought would happen and I said as much in an article I wrote a few days ago. I fully expected Brighton to turn Bristol City over at home to clinch the title but the nerves were on show for all to see and it wasn’t to be for Chris Hughton’s men. On Sunday, 7th May 2017, Newcastle United face Barnsley at home and Brighton travel to Aston Villa. The formula for Brighton is very much the same as it was going in to their last game; win and they win the title but this time there is a little more pressure as anything less than a victory could hand Newcastle United the title.
When this season started the title for me was never the aim; it was simply to gain promotion and even during our rough run of results during March and April when we surrendered our lead at the top of the league, I wasn’t all that gutted; I was more concerned that promotion was in doubt rather than our inability to top the table. I think my head is still in the same place now even if the title is achievable, I don’t mind losing out to Brighton – of course, I would rather we won it than them but I won’t be shedding a tear if we come second. We’re up, that is all that matters.
Mind, I did say in my last article that the fact Aston Villa could play a direct role in winning Newcastle United the league is somewhat sweet. Newcastle United need to concentrate on their own game though and first and foremost we must beat Barnsley at home. We can then hope Aston Villa have beaten Brighton and that Henri Lansbury has scored a Jonjo Shelvey esque screamer in the top corner to win us the league. Imagine that.