I probably shouldn’t mention this in a Newcastle United blog, but my first foray into journalism was commentating on Sunderland home games for a hospital radio station.
It wasn’t the easiest at times; pretending that I was delighted when they scored a last minute winner or jumped above Newcastle in the table.
But I carried on, knowing it was was part of the apprenticeship for my future career.
There were some highlights; including covering Alan Shearer’s final game as a Newcastle player as he smashed his penalty into top right hand corner of the net in a 4-1 victory at the Stadium of Light.
However, I digress…
The reason I thought about it this week was the signing of Daryl Murphy from Ipswich Town.
Back then when he was plying his trade in red and white as an uncomfortable gangly left winger, never once did I think he had the ability to score fifty goals in three seasons.
Furthermore, I would chuckle that this was the calibre of player playing for our greatest rivals, while we had one of England’s greatest-ever strikers smashing more records than a clumsy DJ.
Yet, when the news was announced that for the next two years Murphy was a Mag, I fistbumped. Sat alone, digesting the arrival spiel and thinking to myself ‘that is a really good signing’. If the younger version of myself could have seen me, he would of been too embarrassed to even Snapchat about it.
Nonetheless, I’d be confident of knocking the cocky teenager down a peg as once again Rafa has come up trumps.
He is building a team to get out of this division; nothing more.
A world-class manager with realistic expectations and a skin thick enough to repel any questioning voices.
Murphy is the Championship, it’s his home. A place where he has consistently proven that he will score goals.
Dwight Gayle has had a superb start to his career and is still my favourite to finish as the league’s top scorer, however beyond that we have three strikers aged 23 or under. Granted three very talented strikers, but none as wily as Murphy or battle-hardened enough for those horrible Tuesday night games against whoever the Stoke City of the Championship are.
Also, with the summer of Sissoko, isn’t it nice to have a player that jumped at the chance to be at our club.
My enthusiasm isn’t shared by some who feel that we should be aiming higher than the Republic of Ireland international.
We probably were; but Newcastle are a Championship club who lost their right to be picky or snobby by losing their Premier League status back in May.
The days of marquee signings are long gone. Given the fact that I lost out on a day’s pay to welcome Michael Owen to St James’ Park, it is probably a good thing.
I prefer the steady and the sensible. The understated and the unglamorous.
Give me Daryl Murphy any day over Florian Thauvin, Rémy Cabella, Emmanuel Rivière… (need I go on??)
There will still be some cocky teenage versions of myself that do exist in our fanbase, mocking me for eulogising over a 33-year-old ex-Mackem.
Be that as it may, I’m happy.
And even if I wasn’t, who am I to argue with Benitez!