A Pleasing Few Days

Thursday 18th December 2014

Being busy is something I like. Even on the few occasions I get to relax a little bit I find myself looking for things to do to fill my time. So the fact it has taken me until Thursday to pen my post Newcastle at home thoughts is not only down to those essential daily aspects but also other things both expected and not so. Plans for Monaco away for example. Lots of searching, booking and reserving for a destination we have never visited for a match. Some would class this as non-essential. I disagree of course….but then again , I would!

I think I have mentioned it before but I quite enjoy the Saturday evening kick-offs. Not great if you have other early evening plans of course but if you plan your diary better ( 😉 ) they are always very entertaining, especially if you get the right result of course. Plenty of time for pre-match fun and frolics took me via an excellent pub in the Covent Garden/Charing Cross area of London where the array of ‘goodies’ on offer is quite something. The perfect start to match day in my book.

The Ale Lovers Sweet Shop

The Ale Lovers Sweet Shop

After supping such treats the tube journey (especially on a Xmas shopping Saturday) can be a little bit difficult. A strong bladder is certainly essential and our chosen pre-match destination in London N5 was reached with a huge degree of relief as anything else! Events continued along the same route and contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable day all round. The football of course can take this to new heights or completely ruin your day! We have all experienced plenty of both down the years.

Saturday evening, under the lights, after an extended day, just before Christmas on a perfect day for football. All the ingredients for an ideal game to unfold in front of us. On this occasion, by and large, that is exactly what we got.

Despite dominating for long periods, those thin dividing lines were emphasized as always. The Geordies had one excellent double chance to equalise in the first period, a situation that would have undone all our hard work to take a lead we thoroughly deserved, Olly’s fine towering header giving us the first jostle of four we enjoyed across the evening. Newcastle’s goal highlighted our worryingly all to frequent failings of not being able to reach a near post cross first and at 3-1 I felt the next goal would be crucial. I think there is no doubt had it gone 3-2 there is a chance we might have crumbled. Other matches this season suggest we have little reason to think otherwise.

Saying that however, my thoughts above all sound extremely negative on what was overall a thoroughly positive and satisfying performance. After all, if we were to look at every chance in every game we would score double figures in most!

Santi has been in fine form in recent weeks and his first goal and our second was quite superb. I’m not strongly in favour of ‘cheeky’ penalties to be honest, certainly not from anyone playing for us. Probably down to a certain cock up involving Thierry and Bobby Pires a few years back! If nothing else however, it definitely shows how much Santi is playing with confidence right now.

Sandwiched in between was Olly’s second, another cracking goal that contributed towards a thoroughly entertaining game overall….and of course three crucial points.

Monday’s weekend hangover was accompanied by the eagerly awaited Champions League draw. Fortunately I can work from home so Sky Sports was on for a process that is nowhere near as painfully drawn out as the Group Stage version. For me personally there was only one destination where I hadn’t visited in pursuit of the mighty AFC with Atletico Madrid the only other team left where I hadn’t visited the stadium. The latter came out in the early stages and although our chances increased slightly as the draw progressed, so did our chances of being paired with Bayern Munich or Real Madrid! Firstly Real Madrid disappeared and as I shouted ‘Munich, Munich, Munich’ accompanied by the expletive that means ‘go away’, I soon punched the air knowing I had a 50/50 chance of getting my first choice.

I like Porto as a city so had they come out of the hat it definitely could have been worse…..but…..’Arsenal’……was shortly followed by ‘AS Monaco’ and a private personal jostle ensued like we’d just scored a last minute winner! At last, a draw that has produced something ‘different’.

Within about an hour, once the dates had been revealed, a little 3 night jolly for our party was booked and wacked in the diary for mid-March. Luvvly jubbly.

Attention now turns to Anfield and Liverpool away on Sunday afternoon, a stadium that has seen us experience every possible emotion over the years in numerous competitions. Both our clubs have made inconsistent starts to this year’s campaign making the whole game one of the more unpredictable examples.

Come on you mighty yellows!



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