If we took a poll of who has been the best player so far this season at Newcastle then we would expect Alan Smith to either win it or be one of the leading contenders.
Alan Smith – we must keep it up
Alan has had a tough time of it at Newcastle in the two seasons he has been here and of course his Achilles injury of last year, which kept him out half the season didn’t help.
But we knew Alan was a much better player than he had shown in his time on Tyneside, and he is now showing what a vital player he can be for the club.
It says something when the lad has missed just one league game so far this season, through suspension, and we ended up on the losing side – 2-1 at Blackpool a couple of weeks ago.
And Alan is one of the senior players who has been right behind stand-in manager Chris Hughton, since he took over as interim manager for the third time, and Alan talked today about his manager:
“Chris is the manager, he’s in charge and he gets on with it,” “Simple as that.”
“What we’ve got at the club are players who, when we go over that white line, take responsibility. Chris is the boss, he makes all the decisions. We just get on with it and try to do the best we can.”
“There seems to be momentum building and that’s great. Chris and Colin Calderwood have done well – all of the staff have been great – but we’ve got to keep it going.”
Newcastle’s start this season has been more than we could have hoped for, and most Newcastle fans are now wondering if it can last, or whether it is just still a shot in the pan.
But it’s been 9 games now, and we’ve dropped just 5 points, and Saturday’s performance was such a memorable one – even against poor opposition – it showed a new spirit among the lads – a new spirit that was just great to see.
With the future ownership, management and playing staff still in doubt – well after all this is Newcastle – those expert pundits in the media, or should we call them the gloom and doom merchants, predicted (or at least hoped for) the demise of a great football club.
But so far so good and Hughton and his players, to their enormous credit, have made those predictions look foolish, from the so called experts, who keep revealing they really know very little.
“In the summer, I didn’t see why we couldn’t do well,” “A lot of people probably said with everything going on it would be too much of a distraction.”
“That’s what the coaching staff have done so well, they have taken all the distractions away and we’ve just got on with it as a group. We’ve knuckled down and worked hard because I think we felt we had a point to prove.”
“As players we put pressure on ourselves to produce good performances. We’re knocking the ball around because wins bring confidence, performances come with confidence. The pressure for us now is to keep winning.”
“As a professional footballer you should be constantly putting yourself under pressure so standards don’t slip. We know we didn’t play well against Plymouth and we wanted to put that right, which I think we did against Ipswich.”
“This is only the start. Wins are massive, especially if you can put them back to back and get a run going. We’ve got to carry on being as committed and as dedicated as we have been. If we do, that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.”
The improvement in Smith this season has been startling, to say the leas and for the vast majority of Newcastel fans, this player epitomizes what is good about the Newcastle team this year.
100% commitment in every game, a down to earth attitude and a burning desire to keep the good form and good results going.
And there are others this season who have stepped up to the plate. One such player is Kevin Nolan, who has already hit 6 goals, and threatens to have his best goal-scoring season ever, as he keeps popping up in the right place at the right time to poke that ball in the net.
“We went with two up front for the first time in a while and Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger were tremendous,”“That let Kevin Nolan bomb on from midfield and he got his hat-trick.”
“He fully deserved it because he’s probably been one of our best players this season. He likes to bomb forward and can do that if Nicky Butt and myself just sit in front of the back four and concentrate more on the defensive side.”
Next up is QPR tomorrow night, in what promises to be a tricky game for the lads.
But a big crowd and the same attitude the lads displayed last weekend, will go a long way to getting Newcastle their 8th league win in the first 10 league games.
Who would have thought we’d be saying that last June?
Howay The Lads!!