Most Newcastle fans are looking at this game tonight at Old Trafford against Manchester United with perhaps just a little bit of trepidation.
But this is really a success story for Newcastle United, who returned to the top flight of English football last season, with some top performances and a new willingness to fight in every single game.
Tonight will be no different but the opposition is just a little bit better than last season – to say the very least. 😀
And the start of the season is no different to last season, when we didn’t really know what to expect from a proud Newcastle club, that had been completely ravaged by the disaster that was relegation.
With Sol Campbell not yet fit, and injuries to Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Danny Simpson and Leon Best, this is the probable team Chris Hughton will field tonight in a 4-5-1 system.
Perch Williamson Coloccini Enrique
Routledge Nolan (c) Barton Guthrie Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Taylor (R) Smith Lovenkrands Ameobi Vuckic Ranger
One possible change to that team is former Red Devil Alan Smith in for Danny Guthrie, but it looks like Newcastle will start with just one out-and-out striker in Andy Carroll – if fit – and the Danish International Peter Loevnkrands will start this game on the bench.
This is the side that Chris Hughton started at Glasgow Rangers nine day ago, in our final pre-season friendly when we went down 2-1 to the Scottish side.
In pre-season we won one, drew one and lost two, but pre-season is never a good judge of how the team will do in the first few games of a new season.
But the Newcastle defense will have to be at their very best tonight, if Newcastle are to make it a close game, although nobody really expects the Magpies to get anything out of this game – but stranger things have happened of course.
And indeed two years ago the lads got a creditable draw 1-1 in the corresponding fixture.
That was when manager Kevin Keegan was still in charge, and it seems like almost 10 years have past since that time – at least in terms of the things that have happened to the Newcastle club – mostly negative.
But since we don’t want to become too depressed on our re-entry to the Premier League, we’re not even going to go through the litany of mistakes that were made at the club .
For Newcastle fans, here is the starting Newcastle side for that game two year ago:
Beye Coloccini Taylor(S) N’Zogbia
Milner Duff Guthrie Butt (c) Gutierrez
Subs: Harper, Enrique, Geremi, Smith, Edgar, Bassong, Donaldson
So of the 18 man squad – 10 are gone – Given, Beye, N’Zogbia, Milner, Duff, Butt, Martins, Geremi, Edgar and Bassong – with Milner, Given and N’Zogbia looking to switch clubs again very shortly.
Michael Owen was at the club at the time, but never fit and hardly earned his ridiculously high wages – but he’s left now too, and is now at the Red Devils of course.
Suffice to say that Newcastle and its famous fans are just delighted to be back with the big boys, and of course they don’t come any bigger than Manchester United.
Whether we can nick a surprise point (or three) has to be a little doubtful, but not impossible.
It will be a success if Newcastle can compete well with the Red Devils, and we expect to see every single Newcastle player in a black and white shirt play their hearts out for the side tonight.
We’ve come to expect that of our lads, and we’d be surprised if they do not show that new terrific spirit, determination and pride in playing for Newcastle United, that has been so evident since Chris Hughton took over 13 months ago.
If they can do that – we’ll be happy enough – and then we can take Aston Villa apart this Sunday at a sold-out St. James’ Park.