I was alarmed to see a headline in The Telegraph that said ‘Newcastle have Europe in their sights’. Admittedly the author of the article intimated that European football is more likely in future seasons than this one, but it also mentioned ‘whispers of Europe on Tyneside’ for this season following our good start.
The reason this alarms me is because it raises expectations and we’ve been down that road before. Many times.
I prefer it when nobody thinks we’re capable of anything significant and that with each win we’re exceeding expectations. Obviously our current Premier League position is going encourage some talk of Europe in people of a more hopeful disposition, but I fear that such people are simply setting themselves up for disappointment.
I think we are worthy of out position because, although we’ve ridden our luck in some games, you have to have something good to go 9 games unbeaten. But we are worthy of our position when it’s taken in the context of the teams we’ve played. That’s not to say they were all ‘easy’ games by a long chalk but some of those teams have already been away to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs and their ilk. We haven’t.
I can see us perhaps getting a point at Stoke and maybe all three against Everton, but then comes the dreadful ‘triumvirate’ of Manchesters City and United away followed by Chelsea at home. If we get a point from those three games I think we’ll be doing well.
It sounds like I’m trying to put a dampener on things and you’d be right. I just want us all to keep things in perspective.
Anyway, Steven Taylor has been talking about the club spirit at Newcastle and how the team’s relationship with Delboy has improved. Taylor said:
“Nrr nwas a theporation nween squaw ‘n thairman“
Fortunately they then shipped in a journalist who speaks broken nose and it actually translates as:
“There was a separation between the squad and chairman, but the main focus now is he’s been straight on our side from day one, since before pre-season
“He keeps everyone together, he sorted out the problem we had with bonuses, he leaves the gaffer to do his job and there’s been no hassles, nothing at all.
“We’ve been for meals when the chairman has come along as well. That just shows the togetherness now that we have as a club.
“The dressing room has always been very strong, but you can’t be split in different areas of the club. The amount of times things have been leaked over the years, but everything feels like how it should be now.“
And, talking about our upcoming tricky three fixtures Taylor added:
“They’re going to be worried about us more than we’ll be worried about them. Our defence has been great and we’ve got players who can hurt them in attack, so they’re going to have to be careful of us.”
First though, let’s try and get a good result at the Britannia Stadium tonight. I think we have something to prove in terms of our response to defeat.