Newcastle were famous or should that be infamous, for prioritizing the Premier League over the cups over the last 9 years so we never had long cup runs and usually ended up getting knocked out in the early rounds of both the FA Cup and League Cup.
Not something you would expect from a club like Newcastle, who are famous for winning three FA Cup finals in five years in the first half of the 1950s – a time some of us can still just about remember.
We took apart Blackpool and Stanley Matthews in 1951 (2-0), Arsenal and Joe Mercer in 1952 (1-0) and then Manchester City and Don Revie in 1955 (3-1).
Joe Harvey with FA Cup in 1951
Carried aloft by Jackie Milburn and big Frank Brennan
Frank was 6ft 3ins back then – equivalent maybe to 6ft 8ins today
The cups have now become important again under Rafa Benitez – in fact since Rafa has come in to manage the club everything has changed for the better at Newcastle and that’s probably a big understatement.
The manager seems to be determined to return Newcastle United – a sleeping giant if ever there was one – back to its rightful place of being a top team in Europe and winning trophies again.
Rafa was asked on Friday, when he was interviewed by Sky Bet, if the cup run was a positive:
“It’s positive to have enough people in your squad to keep using players and you don’t get too many injuries.”
“It means the ones who aren’t maybe involved in the league games can play in the cups.”
“Then you can keep everybody happy.”
In Rafa Benitez’ simple but powerful philosophy of football – concentrate only on the next game and how to win it – whether it’s league or cup really doesn’t matter.
He just wants to win every single game Newcastle play.
Sounds very good to us and that’s ambitious isn’t it?
Howay The Lads!!