Times have been hard of late for supporters of the St. James Park club. Yet for 82 minutes on Wednesday night, Newcastle bossed a tough Stoke side and was unlucky to lose 2-1. Alan Pardew spoke about the game toThe Telegraph:
Even with the defeat we will grow in confidence from this. We’ve got Wigan on Monday night and we’re going to have to win it.
The Geordies played with the intensity and energy that was their winning hallmark last season at a ground in which only Man City had scored this season and where Stoke is unbeaten in the League.
That makes it four defeats on the spin for the Magpies; yet the last time Newcastle was 4 and 0, it was in a match with Arsenal after 26 minutes at St. James’ Park.
Here’s why we should know by now never to write the Geordies off.
Relegated to the Championship, Newcastle was going to be the next Leeds and drop again to football oblivion, right?
According to the pundits, they’d then face a survival battle and do well to survive. Right?
Wrong. They smashed Aston Villa 6-0 on the first home day of the season and finished 12th.
Carroll was sold, then Nolan, doom and gloom reigned, relegation predicted the "experts," right?
Once again, the sceptre of relegation looms. Newcastle is going down, right?
You don’t become a bad team overnight. Out-of-form stars like Papiss Cisse are returning to their very best.
If you can score at Stoke on a wet, windy evening, you can score anywhere. Cisse did that with a fine finish on Wednesday,
All strikers go through goal droughts. If Cisse finds the electric form he showed with 13 in 14 games then the Premier League should brace itself for a backlash.
Newcastle is a team of winners who do what it takes to get the job done and succeed in their goals for the season.
They don't win every game, true; yet having qualified for the Europa League a week ahead of EPL rivals Spurs and Liverpool, who still may not qualify, the Magpies can now concentrate on one competition.
Due to various factors, they’ve been up against it this season but now have a chance to build some real momentum in the Premier League with only a skeletal squad expected to travel to Bordeaux.
The last time Newcastle gained top flight momentum was in spring last season when they won seven out of their last ten games to finish fifth.
On the first day of the season, Newcastle was battling with a good Spurs side who at 1-1 was also looking to win.
Give the magician his wand.
Ben Arfa collected the ball from a short corner, jinked between two defenders, won a penalty and, significantly, took it off Ba the regular taker and scored.
He repeated the trick a week later, scoring one of the goals of the season to rescue a point against Aston Villa with a typical Hatembomb.
Ben Arfa is Newcastle’s talisman who is not afraid to step up when it matters and take responsibility.
Newcastle never knows when it is beaten and this will stand it in good stead.
Twice down at Goodison Park, a ground where even Man United couldn’t overturn a one goal deficit, Demba Ba assisted by Shola Ameobi rescued a point.
Newcastle came back against Aston Villa, twice against Reading away and from two down away in Brugge to gain crucial results.
Newcastle wins and loses as a team, the players stick together, there are no cliques in the dressing room or ever any dissenting voices in the press.
Ask Arsenal. Newcastle is at its most dangerous when the odds are against it.
The Fates have conspired to hamper Newcastle’s season.
Never mind Europe and its complications, apart from the winning goal off Cisse’s backside against WBA. Newcastle hasn’t enjoyed much luck or had many decisions go its way in 2012-3.
A horrendous injury list, Ba's over-the-line goal against West Ham, Cisse’s over-the-line goal against Man U at home and suspension by FIFA from the Swansea match have summed up the hand Newcastle has been dealt this season.
Yet they’ve gone on with it, safe in the knowledge that the tide will turn eventually and Lady Luck will smile on the Magpies.
Dutch international Vurnon Anita had his best game for the club and seems very much up for the fight to restore Newcastle's wounded pride in the Premier League. Speaking about the Stoke game to The Journal, he was upbeat about the club's future:
We worked very hard, we chased them down very hard when we were out of possession. We must keep the faith even though we have lost this game in the end.
This kind of spirit will be crucial to Newcastle as it seeks to return to winning ways. As will the returning Nile Ranger whose recent inclusion has been one of the major positives of Newcastle's campaign of late.
Anita bears a resemblance to Hollywood actor Wesney Snipes and to paraphrase his character in Passenger 57, "Always bet on black and white."