Remember when the whole country was laughing at us?

Posted on February 24th, 2010 | 45 Comments |

Calderwood: The quiet man.
Calderwood: The quiet man.
It’s a simple yet poignant reminder of just how well the team has done, and it seems that this is the weapon in the armoury that Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood will use to push Newcastle over the finishing line and win the promotion race.

I’m sure we all know the reasoning behind this which goes back to the summer. Recently relegated and with a team in disarray that seemed to generate negative news stories and revelations on a daily basis, an owner that didn’t know whether he was selling or staying and a management duo in Hughton and Calderwood that were never sure if they were going to have a job the next morning, let alone next week, were among contributing factors that led to us all being ridiculed by fans of teams across the country and gave a carte-blanche to the newspapers to print some horrendous stories.

The former Tottenham defender has been far from vocal during his time on Tyneside but in an interview today, Calderwood lifts the lid on what is driving the players on. Calderwood had this to say:

“At the start of the season we were probably relegation candidates in a lot of people’s eyes. We shouldn’t forget that, and the fans shouldn’t forget that as well.”

“The rest of the country thought we might ‘do a Leeds’ and go down again.”

“Just as soon as you sit back and relax, go back to that moment in pre-season when, more or less, people around the country were laughing and scoffing and hoping we would fail, and we’re still proving them wrong.”

That’s about spot on really. I certainly remember a large percentage of our fans, let alone other fans, being of this mindset and “that moment in pre-season” surely must be the embarrasing 6-1 defeat at Leyton Orient. However, could it be that the result at Brisbane Road could have been the most important drubbing of the season for us?

I would argue yes. It was only really after that result that things started to get done. Big earning players who had failed to produce started to be moved on and a committee made up of senior players was formed, a new dawn where players didn’t form their own cliques and were encouraged to discuss their feelings and interact with each other was born. Calderwood thought way back then that togetherness could get the team performing. He said:

“We had to consolidate and everyone had to pull together at some point.”

“They did, and what we were left with was a real good group of players, with a solid attitude, and, I mean this, a hardness in them.”

“If we could keep the basics right, we thought their ability would give us a chance.”

Keeping the basics right has served us well so far this season, with our defence being one of the key areas and often enabling us to nick a goal and a scrappy win. At times it hasn’t been pretty, but the priority has to be to get promoted by any means neccessary. Failure to do so would be a catastrophe which is why I’m ok with winning ugly. Overall though, Calderwood has been pleased with what has happened so far this season and has praised the players attitude and application by saying:

“They’ve really grasped the opportunity, or the threat of not being successful in this division, really, really well.”

“It’s worked out well so far, and I hope no one would ever underestimate it and think, if we did cross the line, that it had been easy.”

Some of our performances this season have backed up the view that at times it hasn’t been easy. To be fair, we were never going to win every game this season but overall I’m happy that the results are going our way, and that we have a team that seem to want to play for each other and the shirt.

I’m just happy we’re no a laughing stock anymore!

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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45 Responses

  1. All true enough. The banners held up by the villa fans on the final day still rankle, but for the chance to get back up and beat them again one day – complete with banners of our own. Having said that, this is all a bit premature. The fight for 1st and second is still very much alive. We will have plenty of time for champagne and cigars if we get there.

  2. We temporarily (fingers crossed with our club) seem to have stopped shooting ourselves in the foot and are experiencing comparative anonymity but I think other fans have long memories and would disagree.

    However, there are more unfortunate fans who are having to put up with the top spot. Sympathy to Portsmouth, Palace fans etc

  3. I don’t think we were a laughing stock, more we were more a target for people who were envious of our past glory days (even with trophies), our huge crowds and also an easy target for the tabloids who hated anything outside the top 4.

  4. Mags09 – I actually feel sorry and pleased for the Palace fans.

    Sorry that they are going through the pain of administration but pleased with the way they are handling it. They have been nothing but a credit to their club and I’ve yet to see or hear of them really moping around.

  5. Jibe Talkin’ :)

    Like it Toonsy.

    The championship has been a world away from the premiership when we play teams and I know non of the opposing players….been nice to play in the shade away from the glamour and win plenty of matches…I missed that winning feeling.

    Hopefully plans and a steady build for success are already taking place.

    The future is black and white.

  6. SJT – I just think in general I have been enjoying the championship more than the prem. The fans are better thats for sure, apart form Forest fans, they should all be strung up!

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be in the prem but it aint much fun playing games for mediocrity. At least games at the minute have a purpose.

    Now, to get the noise back at SJP……

  7. Most fans around the country were probably more concerned as to what was going on with their own clubs rather than give a damn about NUFC.
    Sure no one knew what to expect having lost most of our talented players and most have been pleasantly surprised, except for the constantly carping crowd (myself included)who`s main beef has turned to how will we compete in the PL.
    Ah well typical fans, two guys, giving three opinions !

  8. To be honest I dont think anyone who supports a prem club really cares whats happening outside the premiership and therefore dont give a toss about the toon
    saying that I work with a bunch of spurs/chelski/manure fans and they all say we’re doing well – in previous years they’ve done always been good for a bit of banter, its somewhat hard to slag them off when they just compliment us!!!

  9. Jibe Talking? What is this a sailing blog now? :D

    Good words from the Scot and you too, Toonsy. I have to say I really like the articles that you lot are posting here daily.

  10. Well i guess some were laughing, but not many really.
    Most fans of other clubs i know were respectful & saddened by our demise.
    But it does tell ya’ a lot about our own misconception of what we think others think. Lot of paranoia really.
    Just like, i think we lot have sympathy/empathy with other teams going through hard times, namely: Pompey, Palace, Cardiff, Darlo etc.
    Well, at least, i LIKE to think.

  11. CLiNT – On the contrary, I remember fans from Spurs, Pompey, Stoke all leaving nasty vindictve messages.

    I am awaiting confirmation of Portsmouth’s demise before I dish some back.

    Most of them were laughing at us to b fair.

  12. Everton fans were singing “Cheer up Alan Shearer” at Fulham on the last day of the season. I don’t know why they were so delighted at us going down. Teams like Everton and Villa were in danger of being relegated before they appointed Moyes and O’Neill so you think they would be more considerate in that aspect.

  13. Sure, some fans were a bit vindictive but I think most of the ‘laughter and mocking’ was whipped up by the press. I may be paranoid but I’m sure they’re still eagerly awaiting the next ‘soap opera’ episode at the club. I think our recent success is a disappointment to some elements of the press.

  14. would love the mackems to gain down like but the teams in the prem this season are poor really poor cant see hull burnley or portsmouth winnimg any the scum are sh*t but looked at they fixtures if villa beat pallace tonight they have 4 homes games on the spin lucky as f*ck like but one hopefully in my lifetime we will get revenge for that horrible dark dark day last may hopefully this may us up them down hwtl!!!!!!!!!!

  15. we got batterd pilor to post last season deluded us toon fans to ambitous third biggest attendences last season third in highest wages 3rd shittest team joke man mike ash stripped the club of its assets since day one parker dyer emre given milner ab faye duff bassong ,owen (2top scorer cl this seanson!)martins and so on and brought in crap unproven players and in sum cases didnt bother replaceing them

  16. some villa fans had a banner already prepared on the last day of the season sayin SOB ON THE TYNE.what goes round comes round,thats why i have no sympothy for portsmouth fans,they had a good laugh when we went down.

  17. Too much tit-for-tat in this world for my liking. Even within the boundaries of football banter. I’ll be satisfied with our own successful season if and when it occurs and afford myself a satisfied grin. As for relegated teams or teams in trouble, I’ll wish them well. Always room for banter at a match but wishing ill fortune on a team and basking in it when it happens, isn’t my cup of tea like. Particularly when for every smug fan there are three or four decent fans not wishing you ill.

  18. Jibe Talkin’! Nice one.

    Personally, around the time of our relegation, I was far more angry about the avalanche of sh*t articles in the papers than any chants coming from the terraces.

    And I still get angry at some of the stupid comments from TV match commentators and summarisers who STILL don’t seem to be able to concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch during toon games.

    Anyway – top article. Enjoyed reading it.

  19. toonsy, y’can’t count spuds as fans mate. :)
    & anyway, i’m not talking about the odd tit that comes on here to take the piss.
    One bad apple, n’ all that.

  20. Darth,
    couldn’t agree more mate.
    When live games are on bbc y’can have no commentator, bliss.
    You just get the crowd roar. Red button them out.

  21. well they still r ….we r playing teams that dont even have half the class that we have and still some of them manage to get a draw and some even beat us….

  22. henock says:
    February 24, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    “well they still r ….we r playing teams that dont even have half the class that we have and still some of them manage to get a draw and some even beat us….”

    Just like some of them have managed to draw and beat teams like Liverpool and Manchester United in the past, Henock.

  23. bowburn – think you nailed it. there’s always gonna be some jerk off supporting whatever team that’s going to be obnoxious but i remember in the pub after the last game, we had a lot of other teams supporters (chelsea, west ham, man u) all coming up and being kind about it all

  24. henock – It is fans like you that contribute to maing us a laughing stock, thinking we should sweep all in front of us! Correct me if I’m wrong, but teams in the prem that don’t have ‘half the class’ of the big 4 have still beaten the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, in fact I can’t remember a season where the top have been beaten so frequently. Every team will lose a game here and there, it’s how the team performs over the season that counts!

    bowburn – Aye, perhaps I was a tad harsh on Pompey. Maybe it’s perpetuated by the goading I recieved from my Portsmouth born in-laws. Your right though, it’s not nice to see a team struggle for existance like they are.

  25. @ MDS – isn’t WBA winning that match a good thing? add one more fixture into the mix for them? 1-1 at the moment anyway, but i’m hoping they take that one.

  26. 1-1? Hopefully it goes to penalties ans West brom go through.

    Although on the other hand we still have Redaing to play so perhaps an extra game for them could also be beneficial for us.

  27. Agreed Toonsy-been an enjoyable season compared to last….I wish we could stay here forever haha :)

  28. I wouldn’t go as far to say I wish we could stay here forever SJT :D

    Still, we may aswell make the most of it as next season will be a struggle if we do go up, make no bones about it.

  29. If it’s ‘in-law’ related, that’s allowed mate. Particularly if they’re


    like mine…

    I’ve said it before on here but I’m in no particular rush to go up this season.

  30. Just going back to the stuff about other fans laughing at us as we went down;

    -Everton sang “cheer up Alan Shearer…” when they were at Wembley in the FA Cup- I wanted Everton to win the cup as I was sick of the top 4’s domination but I changed my mind about them as a club when I heard they’d done that
    -Pompey joined in with the makems when they played each other towards the end of last season with the same song as Everton fans
    -The banner at Villa; “Who’s your next messiah, Ant or Dec?” was just stupid! The press stirred up all this crap about Newcastle fans crying for Shearer and Keegan as manager but to be honest I didn’t know anyone who were calling for them, we were only furious and wanted them back once Ashley had c*cked it up big style with the pair of them

    I hope next season we get a full house for every game, make as much noise as possible and show all these clubs that we are the most loyal supporters ever and we need to make sure that they know we have not forgotten what was said about us by them and the media but whatever happens please make sure that if there’s a Sky camera shoved in your face if you are going to say anything (and I don’t think you should because they played a major part in NUFC being the laughing stock of football with cameras stationed outside SJP 24/7 asking random clowns questions who had blatenly never been to the ground before) say very little and don’t cone across “delusional” because if we do go up the whole media hype will begin once again and everything the club does will be over-scrutinised! The media is the one thing I haven’t missed this season- yes we have been on TV nearly every game this season but at least we are not the top news story every 15minutes when more crap is spouted about the club that has been twisted to make us seem the problem!

  31. So WBA being beaten is actually both good and bad news for us.:lol:

    Anyway, The Special One has done it again~~~Whooooooo……2nd leg Pls score more. ^,^

  32. Sadly, I don’t think we’re yet in a position to tell whether or not the whole country is still laughing at us. All we’ve really done is show that we’re slightly better than a very mediocre division. Next year (assuming we go up, and that’s still an assumption) will be the proof of that particular pudding. If we become next year’s Premiership whipping boys, then they’ll be laughing all the harder because we’ll have become a yo-yo club.

    So, I’m praying for either Ashley to sell to someone over the summer who knows at least SOMETHING about the game, and will build us from mid-table upwards. Or: him to show a bit of faith in Hughton (who has already exceeded my expectations), back him in the transfer market. Scrap that ridiculous 30k wage limit and see what the lads can do with the brakes off.

    Either way, I’ve yakked on too long. I really just hope we go up and don’t make fools of ourselves.

    HTL !


  33. the club atm is losing in the region of 500,000 a week,according to the local rags,ashley may still look to sell in the summer.

  34. I heard the wage limit was 15k a week, but if its 30k then I dont actually think its that bad. There are plenty of people who would come to us for that who would also improve us as a team. We could get people like Vela on season loans from the ‘top four’ and perhaps using the so called ‘scouting network’ would be able to pick up a couple of players from the scans, eg skjelbred, and russia, who wouldnt demand such high wages but would improve us. I think it would be folly to go and offer someone 50k a week and then struggle as we would then be back in the same boat as last season. We need to have stability both on and off the field for at least a couple of seasons and in my opinion this stretches to the wage ceiling too. We need to looking for the right players who will be an asset to us for at least 5 years or so. What I dont want us to turn into is a selling club where we buy youth and then sell on for big profits. That would obviously generate cash in the mid to long term but is not the ideal situation I want the club to turn to, we need to get the hungry up and coming players and keep them so we benefit from them. How many kids have Arsenal had and lost over the last few years?

  35. Trojan, the only information we get from the club is mis information, leaked deliberately via selected media sources.
    I dont yet know why but we will find out in due course, the NOTW ran a story at the weekend saying FCB had put 25m into the club but didnt want it to be known?
    Ahem, then why print it?
    Anyway, who gives a toss how much he is putting in, the fans have always supported the club, he is the owner and current custodian who should take profit and loss in the same manner and its in his interest to sort out the mess he created.

  36. bbb –

    Sort of wasted an hour of my life doing that last article, when I could have just read this first and copied and pasted your comment in and said ‘discuss’… 8O

  37. Too add my bit I’ve loved this season but … we all will never forgive Ashley for the treatment of Shearer but more importantly for that dished out to King Kev(by the way my cat is black and white and called king kev! He’s ace and up for future managerial success I feel !) Anyway lets stay positve we can rebuilt without Ashley !