We played really well last week at Sunderland, but we came away with a 3-0 defeat – but the general consensus was that we played well and it was only the rookie ref Robert Madley who not only gave away a penalty for a little nudge on Steven Fletcher, but he then sent him off.
There´s nothing like giving the other team, a penalty and reducing your side to 10 men to tip the balance in any game but that’s exactly what Madley did last week.
OK – so we were unlucky.
Steve McClaren and Jack Butland after the game
Hey – you stopped me winning my second game at Newcastle
But yesterday against Stoke City we all thought that if we could only play near our standards at Sunderland we have a good chance to win our second game of the season and only our fifth win in 30 league games this year.
We have picked up just 19 points in 29 league games before yesterday’s game.
We talked last week about what the talking points would be today that would have prevented us from winning – because we find winning very difficult these days – we now have just four wins in 30 games as proof of that.
And sure enough all the news today is about a young 22 year-old Bristol-born goalkeeper Jack Butland who has played for all the England Youth sides, for Great Britain in the London Olympics when he was just 19 and twice for England.
He showed yesterday with his display that he is the heir supreme to Joe Hart as the next England goalkeeper.
He made at least four terrific saves in the second half to deny Wijnaldum, Perez, Sissoko and Lascelles and a great Mitrovic header in the first half had beaten Butland but hit the inside of a post and came out to hit the goalkeeper but still didn´t rebound into the goal.
Jack´s display yesterday reminded us of a Leicester City goalkeeper back in 1961 when we lost 3-1 at St. James Park and the young goalkeeper on that day looked simply unbelievable.
His name was Gordon Banks who made his debut for England three years later and the rest is history – we´ll never forget that save from Pele in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico – an unbelievable save from that Pele header when England were World Champions and Newcastle had just won the Inter-City Fairs Cup the previous year.
In those days both England and Newcastle had good teams and we were looking forward to England winning more World Cups and Newcastle winning a lot more trophies.
We´re still waiting.
And at least on yesterday’s display Butland looks like he could become a world-class England goalkeeper – and he didn´t have a bad game last Tuesday night against Chelsea either.
So we can talk again about how unlucky Newcastle are and the fact we were the better side – especially in that second half – but a win still alluded us.
And make no mistake wins and 3 points are what we need as we still sit with just 7 points from our first 11 games the worst start in Newcastle´s 123 year history.
Yes – we were unlucky.
What will we be talking about next weekend after the early kick-off game at Bournemouth next Saturday.
And that comes before another long (and boring) two week International break.
A win would be very good but wins seem to be so difficult for Newcastle this year.