There was a story in the USA press last May that pointed out how loyal the fans were in England for their football (soccer) teams.
That famous banner seen around the world
And it turned out the person who was quoted – not a Newcastle fan we may add – had just seen Newcastle being relegated after losing at Aston Villa and was surprised and impressed at how loyal the Geordie fans seemed to be.
They had seen the banner that had proclaimed “Proud To Be A Geordie – We’ll Support You Ever More.”
Of course at that time quite a few of the Newcastle fans had tears in their eyes – as the disaster was finally sinking in – and it was unusual for a soccer story to be in any papers.
As an example I get the USA Today each day – and yesterday there was not one word about soccer (they cannot call it football over here), in the 12 pages of sport in the daily paper.
Last Sunday that same banner was unfurled at the end of a long and hard season at QPR’s Loftus Road.
Yes – it was the same banner, but in such different circumstances, since Newcastle had just completed a magical season with the unlikely Chris Hughton having plotted Newcastle’s return to the top, as a rookie manager, in great style.
What a difference a year makes.
Chris Hughton has always appreciated the faithful Newcastle fans and a game hardly went by last season without Chris mentioning the support the team had received from the fans.
Chris talked about what it was like last year, in an interview we missed on Sunday:
“I was there at Villa Park last season and it was a sad day for this great football club,”
“After that there was a lot of uncertainty – but the one thing that remained constant was the support of the fans.”
“From that day at Villa Park to Loftus Road on Sunday, they have been right behind us every step of the way – that’s why they’re up there with the best fans in the world.”
“All I can do is say one final ‘thank you’ for their backing this season and we hope they can enjoy their summer knowing that Premier League football is waiting for us in August.”
“I hope they’ve enjoyed the season and we’ve given them something to smile about. It’s been a long season but we achieved what we set out to do and the supporters played a huge part in that.”
Let’s hope we’re just as happy next year at this time – and we are quietly hoping the lads will do a lot better than expected next year – back among the big boys.