“Because we have 52,000 in the stadium, doesn’t mean we’ll win games. Because we’re Newcastle United, doesn’t mean we’ll win games.”
The words of Matt Ritchie after Newcastle’s shock 2-1 home defeat on Saturday and, unlike his finishing so far, our most expensive summer signing is bang on.
None of us saw two defeats from our first two games; some in fact saw no defeats in 46 games.
But, as so often in football, what a difference a week makes.
I have to admit that I was one of those caught up in the ‘Rafalution’ and had probably expected Fulham and Huddersfield Town just to be glad to be sharing a pitch with the great Newcastle United.
However, blinkered by positivity, I’d forgotten a few key things.
Firstly, we aren’t that great. We are a side that is used to losing and for the last two seasons we have been one devoid of character. It’s no surprise that the majority of us fans have latched onto Jamaal Lascelles, as for the first time since the likes of Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton, there’s someone who genuinely seems to care.
The team are finding their feet in the league, but it’s evident that mentally and physically we aren’t tough enough.
Fouls aren’t awarded as freely as in the top division and this is the first thing that needs to be addressed.
However, Newcastle won’t be afforded the same time to gel or get acquainted with the league.
They are the hunted, the scalp of the Championship.
The team where players find that extra ten percent and the away trip the fans are most looking forward to.
If ever evidence was needed to verify this thought, it was found at Craven Cottage.
Upon leaving the ground after our first game, I overheard a Fulham fan asking his mate if he was going to frame his ticket after their 1-0 win. Nothing makes me cringe more than a side bringing out a DVD after one victory, but even our past sins were surpassed here.
The ticket comment was intertwined with a barrage of texts from fellow football fans, some who I hadn’t spoken to in months, desperate to let me know they were watching and that I should expect more from the ‘moneybags’ of the league.
It turns out it’s not just me obsessed with Newcastle United.
The desire for us to do well isn’t shared by other fans. Read any comments sections or social media feed and you’ll see them bleating like sheep after the first two games.
Positivity built over the summer is very much a local phenomenon.
The key now is that we remain in our bubble; stay 100% behind the team and Rafa, and ignore the odd idiotic post match comment from so called fans.
Let’s not forget there’s still 132 points to play for, that we do still have a world class manager and a left-back, winger and centre forward are likely to be signed before the end of the transfer window.
Burnley only had one point from their first three games last season, which in reality means if we avoid defeat against Reading we are, at worst, in the same position as last season’s champions.
Granted a win on Wednesday would settle a few nerves; but even if we are still searching at full-time, the least we can do is stay united.