If I was granted three New Year’s wishes as a Newcastle United fan
An ideal time in the heart of the festive season to get a snapshot of views from Newcastle United fans on how they think things are going.
So we sent out various questions to a small number of regular / irregular contributors to The Mag.
Here we have Jamie Smith:
What would be a perfect NUFC Christmas present to unwrap?
I’m assuming this is meaning a gift that NUFC are receiving that I can request, as opposed to me asking for something from the NUFC club store that you are encouraging Mag readers to crowdfund as a Christmas thank you for the excellent content.
If so. I’ll say three first team reinforcements in toot sweet in January because these injuries are killing us. Even if they’re loans, we need strengthened in the short term.
In 2023, what have been your three best Newcastle United moments?
I think they may be a bit obvious but there are three markers for the progress of the year.
Beating Southampton to seal our first Wembley trip in over 20 years was a tremendous night.
Then sealing Champions League qualification against Leicester despite an underwhelming game.
Finally, that rocking night against PSG, showing we weren’t out of our depth in the Champions League, will live long in the memory.
In 2023, what have been your three worst Newcastle United moments?
The League Cup final defeat was very deflating. Head to head against Man Utd we’ve proven we can do better than that day and I think it turned into a bit of a no show on the big stage again.
I felt a similar Deja Vu feeling after the poor second half v Milan saw us out of Europe altogether, when half an hour earlier we had been in the last 16 of the CL.
It may be recency bias, but the way the Chelsea game ended gets third for me, as the semi final line up presented a real opportunity to win the Carabao Cup if we’d held out for another 90 seconds.
In January, NUFC play Sunderland in the FA Cup, plus PL matches v Liverpool, Man City and Villa. Would you take defeat to the Mackems if it guaranteed three PL wins in January?
No, I’ll have the cup win.
I feel there’s time to reboot the PL season after the winter break and still secure a top six finish, so I want the possibility of winning the cup to remain, and a derby win would be very nice too.
I’ve seen quite a few respectable top six finishes bring European qualification and I’m done with celebrating these moderate semi-successes. I want a cup and this attitude of three points in the Premier League trumps any sort of cup result ever and the league is our bread and butter, has become a parody.
It’s something people just blether out of some kind of muscle memory and don’t apply to the context of the current situation. We need a cup. Cup, cup, cup. Stick your respectable league finishes with the Japan Cup, The Texaco, the Intertoto and all the other cludge that doesn’t count and let’s have an upgrade in mentality.
If you could guarantee five NUFC players to be fit for the rest of the season (including all those currently unavailable), who would you choose?
Bruno, Botman, Isak, Wilson, Schar
I would have said Nick Pope but his season is as good as over, so I’m sticking with feasible answers in case some kind of god of karma is reading this.
Would you have a problem dressing up in a red and white Santa outfit if asked to?
Na – I have little kids and if this scenario occurred it would be for good reasons, I would never let this kind of extreme stuff get in the way of my own life.
Similar thing to the bands I’ve seen at their stadium, I wouldn’t want to deny my chance to see them (Foo Fighters, Springsteen, Oasis) just because it was there, much as I’d rather it was elsewhere.
If you could invite three current Newcastle United players to yours for a social gathering at Christmas, who would you invite and why?
Dan Burn – comes across as a top top man, seems to be a sort of social secretary at the club and a fellow Geordie is always good to enjoy a pint with.
Jacob Murphy – just seems like a quality character who would be a great laugh if he is on the pitch (and instagram) antics are anything to go by
Finally, I’m going to go with Bruno who just exudes good vibes and I want him to come to my house because j’adore. He can have a few kinder eggs with the kids.
If you could invite three past Newcastle United players and/or managers around to yours for a social gathering at Christmas, who would you invite and why?
Shearer, who as well as being our greatest player has been a great laugh whenever I’ve seen him at various shows and talk ins around the place.
ASM because he’s such a generous lad he’d likely have paid my mortgage off by the time he leaves and I want to give him a cuddle and tell him he did a fantastic job at a rubbish time for us.
Finally, and I’m sure everyone will be saying this, but I’d have Michael Owen, life and soul of any party and could get everyone going with brilliant party games like throw the apple core into the bin.
Assuming you don’t think that position has been reached already, what would it take for you to think Newcastle United needed to consider replacing Eddie Howe?
Nothing this season, if we failed to make Europe and poor performances like Spurs, Bournemouth or the Milan second half became commonplace and it persisted into the new season you’d have to think it had gone wrong. The national narrative of seemingly wishing trouble on Eddie because of recent wobbles in very difficult circumstances just stinks and I’m glad it’s something that isn’t even on the radar among Newcastle fans.
If, as a Newcastle United fan, you were granted three New Year’s wishes (apart from the obvious of winning something!) to come true in 2024…
Beat the mackems
Continue to the FA Cup final
Get someone very beatable in the cup final, Sheff Utd or something.
Your New Year’s resolution that is Newcastle United related…?
To wage a campaign make it a criminal offence to respond to any defeat by saying “look where we were two years ago.”
Do you think this FA Cup derby match will make you wish for more derbies to return in years to come, or never to happen again?
I stand by what I always say, we’re better off without a team that raises its game 300% against Newcastle taking a place in the division. If we win the cup match I’ll likely think this more, as it will have scratched an itch to beat them.
Never again is harsh though.
If the club continues to rise to the level Man City are currently at, it might be fun to have them as a tortured bystander, getting thumped twice a season and having to endure us winning their league, instead of hiding from us in the lower downs.
Win the FA Cup or League Cup sometime in the next five years AND finish between 8th and 10th in each of these five seasons, or win nothing AND finish between 2nd and 4th in every one of these five seasons?
On a single season basis I’d take the cup but European trips are just mint and that sort of record would suggest the club would have gone off track in the years ahead. That kind of constant would surely see us win something in year six though. Surely.
Three words to sum up what has happened this season so far?
Injuries ruin ambitions
What are your favourite ever past Newcastle United Christmas time moments / memories. Could be any kind of memories – matches, presents, whatever?
Hands down, the best on the pitch was winning away at Arsenal and Leeds to go top of the league, then consolidating that by beating Boro on Boxing Day.
I have personal positive memories of some good all day Christmas party sessions me and my mates have had for relatively unremarkable games (1-1 with Villa in 2015, 2-3 v Leicester 2017, 0-0 v Fulham 2018).
My two personal stand outs though are two very different times.
First , a 2-1 win against Spurs in 2008, Damien Duff’s last minute winner sealing a great day that is one of the last times I remember having a Christmas time drink around the pubs with my dad (albeit a good while before he died).
Second is Miguel Almiron’s first goal for Newcastle to claim a 1-0 against Crystal Palace in 2019, one of the first games I went to with my little lad, just me and him after a cracking day watching Spiderman at the pictures and having a slap up Christmas feed.
I mean, Christmas is about family, isn’t it?