Newcastle United Need To Get Revenge & Put The Mackems Down For Good
At the back end of last season, in the space of a fortnight, Newcastle's season went from a bad one, to a disastrous one. In back to back home games during April, Newcastle were embarrassed and humiliated by both Liverpool, and even worse, Sunderland.
Firstly Newcastle were stuffed at home by their most bitter of rivals in a game that will live long in the memory of both sets of fans. A game that saw Newcastle produce a truly unacceptable performance against the great unwashed from down the road and will now, tragically, always be remembered for the Mackem manager himself sliding on his knees in celebration.
A fortnight later against Liverpool, it somehow got even worse. Newcastle produced one of the most dismal and embarrassing performances I have ever seen my team produce as we were destroyed and humiliated 6-0 in our own backyard.
These two defeats combined to help send Newcastle into a tailspin that very nearly resulted in the club being relegated in May.
Six months later, and in one of football’s little quirks, this season's fixture list has given Alan Pardew and his team a chance for redemption. With back to back games against Liverpool, followed by a trip to the Village of the Damned a week later, Newcastle have been given the perfect opportunity to put right last season’s wrongs.
In part one of this monster double-header, Newcastle successfully got the Liverpool monkey off their back.
If I'm honest, prior to Saturday’s home game, I was not optimistic. With the 6-0 drubbing still fresh in my mind, along with Coloccini's injury and Daniel Sturridge's penchant for scoring regularly at St James', I just couldn't see us getting even a point against the Reds. Thankfully for the Geordie faithful though, the Newcastle team that turned up on Saturday were determined to rectify last season’s horror show.
For the first forty minutes Newcastle were excellent, there was a zip and purpose about our play and we were deservedly ahead thanks to another Cabaye pearler. Typically for Newcastle though, it wasn’t to last. The game turned on the red card with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa paying the ultimate price for pulling Suarez back with only Krul to beat.
With the scores now level and the home side down to ten men for the remaining fifty minutes, it seemed it was only a matter of time until Liverpool would put us to the sword. Against all odds however, something rather special then happened. Young Paul Dummett, who only came on to fill the void left by Yanga-Mbiwa, incredibly put the home side back in front as St James’ Park erupted. From then on Newcastle may not have held on for all three points, but my god they dug deep and showed real character, defending like their lives depended on it and hung on for a draw that felt as good as a victory.
A hard-earned and battling point like this should really help develop the moral of the squad that has taken a real battering at times this season.
Next up on Sunday comes the second of Newcastle's "Redemption games" - away to the Mackems in Gus Poyet's first home since taking over from ‘Il Duce’. With Sunderland rock bottom with just one point from eight games, Newcastle have a golden opportunity to return the favour from last season.
Of course, as we all know, form goes out the window on derby days and that Sunderland will be no pushovers, especially with a new manager in place. After all, surely Sunderland cannot be as bad under Poyet as they were under Paul... Can they?! Under Di Canio the Mackems were a car crash and Paulo probably would have been sacked in May had it not been for his finest hour at St James' Park helping them to stay up by the skin of their teeth.
Regardless of Poyet's possible impact, on Tyneside there is only one word that is ringing around the city this week. Revenge.
Newcastle fans are baying for blood. The 3-0 defeat hurt and it hurt badly. Every time I see the image of Di Canio sliding on his knees it boils my blood. I, along with thousands of other Newcastle fans, want to see revenge served up at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
What happened last season against Sunderland was unacceptable. It means too much to people here. What sets the Tyne-Wear derby apart from many others is the pure tribal-ness of it. It’s not two sets of fans living alongside each other in the one city coming together twice a year. It’s civic rivalry. Our city versus their city. Our team versus their team. Last season, our side let its city down.
Newcastle have now exorcised the Liverpool demon, on Sunday the time comes to lay the Sunderland ghost to rest, restore the new world order and help carry on the Mad Italian’s good work by keeping the old enemy firmly rooted to bottom of the table.