I was in Tynecastle to see Newcastle United in a friendly ahead of the 95/96 season.
The traveling toon army took up most of the grandstand. Everyone in black and white sang the full 90 minutes.
At 34, Peter Beardsley covered every inch of the pitch and scored the only goal.
That season Heart of Midlothian lost badly in the Scottish Cup final and I thought I would never bring them close to winning the title again. Newcastle United had the best team in the Premier League but failed to convert.
In 1996 I left Scotland to work in the land of Oz, Dennis, Neville and the Gang.
I moved into a flat on the quayside (A Jambo on the Tyne) and watched the entertainers from afar… well, the Empress Bar. The first Newcastle United game I got a ticket for was against Liverpool a couple of seasons later , only to see a hat trick from Michael Owen.
Tickets to a club that have been instrumental in establishing the Premier League as the best in the world have been hard to come by. A Premier League football club.
Well, as a longtime Newcastle United season ticket holder and a proud member of Eddie Howe’s Army of Black and White, I ask the above question.
Words fail me to describe the season we have just experienced at St James Park. Heart of Midlothian lost in extra time in the Scottish Cup final and I thought I’d never see them come close to taking silver again!!
I’m sorry, I digress…a championship football club, I hear you say.
In last season’s pre-game discussions, which continue in Boden, I hear a lot of talk about certain clubs being league clubs. Watford, Norwich, Fulham and West Brom to name a few. Clubs relegated and promoted. Mitrovic is a championship forward and so on. At the start of the season, it was our defense that pundits on TV called championship quality. Newcastle United. A championship football club.
For my money, the EFL championship is bigger than the 24 clubs that compete in the current line-up in a season. The clubs that linger in the bottom half of the Premier League, sometimes avoiding relegation, must be seen as at the same level.
In theory, I think there’s a 34-club championship with relegation and promotion somewhere in the middle.
Then another ten Premier League football clubs will fight for the title and European football qualification.
The days of watching a championship football club at St James Park are surely coming to an end. It’s been 10 years since a league manager introduced us to European football. Almost double since the Champions League music started playing at St James Park.
The points tally in the second half of the season (38 points in the last 19 games) indicated the end of Championship Club Day.
I think we’re a few years away from a similar run for a full season. We finished the entire season with 49 points, which is good enough for eleventh or best place in the theoretical championship.
The next transfer window could bring four or five new first-team regulars to be added to an improving squad.
An improvement of five points next season and another five points above that the following season would mean a return of European football.
Newcastle United – To be a Premier League football club in two years.