The party ground

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FOOTBALL - By LUKE EDWARDS

FOR­GET fourth place, for­get un­beaten starts, the big­gest suc­cess Alan Pardew has achieved is mak­ing New­cas­tle United fun to watch again.

New­cas­tle are never more dan­ger­ous than when their long suf­fer­ing sup­port sense they have some­thing worth sup­port­ing again.

They are not unique in that, of course, but it had been for­got­ten for too long at St James’s Park. There are so many clichés that can be used, but I’ll go with the most sim­ple. When New­cas­tle fans are at their par­ti­san best, they re­ally are like an ex­tra man on the pitch. When they roar and they scream, sing and they shout.

Any­one who has played there knows how in­tim­i­dat­ing and in­tense it is, the only prob­lem is that in­ten­sity has weighed too heav­ily on the shoul­ders of home, rather than vis­it­ing, play­ers in re­cent times. New­cas­tle United were con­stantly in dan­ger of be­com­ing vic­tims of friendly fire.

Things have changed this sea­son. Even when New­cas­tle fell be­hind against Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur last week­end, there were no signs of dis­gruntle­ment in the stands, merely a de­sire to help lift the play­ers.

By the end, af­ter Shola Ameobi had pegged Spurs back for a sec­ond time, the sta­dium on the hill over­look­ing the city crack­led with en­ergy that fu­elled New­cas­tle’s play­ers as they went in search of a win­ner.

It is to Tot­ten­ham’s credit that they did not wilt be­cause they were cling­ing on for a point and were might­ily re­lieved to head home with one. That is what New­cas­tle’s sup­port can do to you – just ask Arse­nal.

Few would have an­tic­i­pated it in the sum­mer, par­tic­u­larly once the win­dow shut and Andy Car­roll’s re­place­ment still hadn’t been signed, but there is a feel­good fac­tor on Ty­ne­side which has brought unity as well as mo­men­tum.

Re­sults have been good, but more sig­nif­i­cantly in try­ing to ex­plain the cur­rent mood, they have been un­ex­pect­edly so.

As well as be­ing hard to beat, New­cas­tle have a threat go­ing for­ward. They have nat­u­ral width and pace and should

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