The party ground
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