Here's this weeks column for Nufcview - doubtless you'll all have an opinion (especially the Manc and Chelsea contingent!).
So then, five games unbeaten, three clean sheets and a top six position in what is shaping up to be a very open league this year. We’re looking solid at the back, combative in midfield and the lads at the front are starting to click…this couldn’t be our year could it? Nah, course not…I find a reason to think it’s our season every time, Jesus you’d think I’d remember that I’m a Magpie not a cockney red.
Whilst I’m eternally optimistic where the toon are concerned (apart from when the Caledonian chancer was in charge and employed a bigger entourage than Mariah Carey - I knew we were going nowhere under that clown) I have to temper my enthusiasm at our good start with a couple of nagging doubts that surface every now and then.
Will Big Sam continue to find a place for Smith when Barton’s fit? Our midfield is certainly getting stuck in and we all appreciate that but it does lack some creativity and the ball can get bogged down in the middle of the park when we’re screaming for Oba or Owen to be released.
Will we always play the big-little man combo meaning Oba or Owen alongside Viduka or Shola rather than both the little fella’s up front together? I’d like to see us rip into some teams and take a chance occasionally.
Will the injury curse hit us again? You know the one; Roeder never mentioned it and Souness never shut up about it.
Will the FA declare this season null and void after we’ve done the domestic treble for blatantly not allowing Chelsea to win everything even though they’ve got the most money? Aye, I’m back in optimism mode again!
Seriously, the fact that I can only think of two sensible reasons to dampen my cheerful disposition is testament to the whole air of professionalism and enthusiasm that has engulfed St. James Park in recent weeks. Full credit for that must go not only to Big Sam but also to Chris Mort and Mike Ashley (Bigg Market Mike as he’s known in our house). A recent example being Charles N’Zogbia’s new contract, the manager tells the chairman that the player deserves new terms, the chairman sorts it quietly and with the minimum of fuss and one of the hottest young players in the premiership is rapidly tied up on a five year contract before Arsene Wenger even gets a sniff. Under the old regime it would all have been played out in the columns of a particular local evening newspaper and after the player had been publicly told he ‘owed the fans’ would have ended up in him leaving – or am I wide of the mark?
Anyway things are looking good, everyone’s upbeat and, for the first time in ages the management and players at the club are in tune with the fans.
Bugger it, I’ve changed my mind, altogether now …We’re gonna win the league!
Howay the lads