A very good interview today with Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper, who looks back on Saturday’s comeback, which has made news around the world.
Steve Harper – after 3rd goal, went in – he’s not happy
It could be that there will be a new statement entered into the vernacular “Do a Newcastle” and we see that Huddersfield manager has used that phrase today.
This is what Steve said today:
“People talk about buying this and selling that, there has been a lot of focus on that here for obvious reasons, but you can’t buy character and that is what we have in abundance here.”“It’s probably the greatest comeback in the club’s history, it’s certainly the best game of football I’ve ever been involved with.”
“I remember the Leicester game when we were 3-1 down and Alan (Shearer) scored a hat-trick and we won 4-3, but this was just incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”
“It would have been so easy to crumble given everything that has gone on. You can’t under-estimate what a big point that was for us, the days and weeks of doom and gloom.” “Monday wasn’t great losing Andy and Wednesday we weren’t great losing at Fulham.”
“People were writing us off before the game and they had probably written us off at half-time, but when you get the crowd behind you going down that bank, there is a chink of light.”
“We got on the front foot and we kept our shape. We were organized and we didn’t concede again. A lot of comebacks are killed off when the other team scores again, but we were disciplined at the back.”
And of course the old out Newcastle crowd, who had to witness the embarrassment in that first half, supported the lads in the seocnd half when they saw they had come out and were going to give it a go.
If the Newcastle players give it their all, the fans will always support them, it’s when they don’t seem to care and don’t fight, as happened in the first half, that the crowd will turn on the players – and so it should be too.
Newcastle is nothing if not a proud club, and the fans expect the players to play with 100% effort and pride when they wear the famous black and white shirt – otherwise they just shouldn’t bother turning up. That’s really it in a nutshell – it’s not very complicated.
Passion goes both ways – they love their players when they produce a guts and glory display, and they will turn on them if they are lackadasical and don’t seem to care.
“The crowd never turned, it could have been anti-this and anti-that, but they were fantastic. This place can be a roller coaster, as I’ve said before, but on afternoons like Saturday, there isn’t a better place to play football.”
“There were some angry fans at half-time and rightly so, but we have got fantastic support who get behind the team as long as they see you giving your all. We got that on Saturday, it was a special occasion.”
“You could see Arsenal’s players wilt a bit. We stood off them and they hurt us, but with the fans’ backing heading towards the Gallowgate, somehow we got back into it.” “The one thing you will get from this group of players is a never-give-up attitude and you saw the reaction of the fans to that. That is what they want from a Newcastle team.”
We were amazed at the turnaround and the real question after the game was always going to be wht the heck did Alan Pardew say at half time to produce such a transformation in that second half.
Well it turns out Alan ranted and raved at his players for sulking in that first half in front of 51,000 fans, threw things around the dressing room, and made it clear the players had let their fans down badly.
It was nectar to Newcastle fans to hear what he had said at half-time.
And basically it seems Pardew kicked them out of the dressing room and told them to put it right.
And to cut to the chase – that’s just exactly what the lads did in the second half, and almost captured all 3 points.
“It’s probably an understatement to say the manager wasn’t happy at half-time and he said his piece vociferously.”“He wanted a reaction and that is what he got.”
“Joey Barton made a strong but fair tackle on the lad Diaby, he has reacted, been sent off, and he has given us an opportunity to get back into the game.”
“We were really poor in the first half, we stood off and let them play and if you do that against a team as good as Arsenal, they are going to hurt you, which is what happened.”
“We needed to get in at half-time. The manager basically said ‘you got us into this, you get us out of it.’ He got the response he wanted.”
It was just a terrific final 45 minutes, but we want it all to be a lot more simple at Blackburn next Saturday.
The newcatsle tam must come out and play like their lives depended on winning the game, because we must get back to our winning ways and start to rack up the points and get away from the relegation zone.
If the lads can play somewhere near their best at Blackburn then there’s a very good possibility we can win that game.