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Alan Pardew's side has shown an unwillingness to give up on games, which has already served them well.
Despite their lack of vitality this season, all the determination and abject refusal to surrender is certainly still in place around St. James’ Park.
This is present among both fans and players. Despite the stadium name officially being the Sports Direct Arena, fans have been painting its former moniker on the entrance wall since the rebranding, refusing to let the history die.
The players have carried this fighting spirit through into the fixtures. Although they may have deserved to lose at least three of the league games played, Newcastle have in fact just lost one—a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
While it’s true that Demba Ba has been the catalyst for many a comeback, the other 10 players on the pitch have matched his fighting spirit. It’s a sad fact of the modern league that teams often seem content to take a loss if they find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline with only a few minutes remaining.
The Magpies have no such defeatist attitudes and will chase the game to the end. This was illustrated by their 4-4 draw with Arsenal in February of last year, when they erased a 4-0 halftime deficit to share the spoils on a day when some fans left before the second half.
An earlier Carling Cup fixture between the two sides had ended on that score, so their lack of faith was understandable at that point. The recent sale of Andy Carroll was heavy on their minds and the team looked unlikely to get anything from the game.
I used to work opposite St. James’ Park, and that day was an exercise in contrast. The level of dejection on the faces of fans leaving at halftime was only matched by the elation of the supporters who stuck it out until the end.
That triumph taught them that a game is never out of reach, and it has carried them through to this point. It’s true that the team needs more depth, more energy and a more concerted effort from the start, but there aren’t many other sides you would take in a crisis right now.