Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMagpies flying high - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Magpies flying high - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Magpies flying high

To say the last few seasons at St James Park has been a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement to say the least.

Ever since Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley sealed his 100% stake of the Geordies in 2007, the club has experienced nothing but controversy and poor management.

From the unexpected sackings of Kevin Keegan and Chris Hughton to the revenue-generated sales of key trio Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton over the last year, owner Ashley has done himself no favours in securing his name in Geordie Folklore.

To rub more salt in the already hurting wound of Newcastle fans, Ashley has recently signalled his intent to carry on running the club his way, a way in which Magpie fans despise.

But times change and within a year, Newcastle have gone from a team many expected to struggle after winning the Npower Championship the season before to a force many believe can achieve great success.

Since his surprise appointment last December, Alan Pardew has grown from villain to a leader in a matter of months and has achieved nothing less than a miracle.

The former West Ham and Southampton boss suffered a very difficult summer this year when star men Barton and Nolan, along with Spaniard Jose Enrique left Tyneside for Queens Park Rangers, West Ham and Liverpool respectively.

When many would have succumbed to defeat and accepted that they would struggle again this season, Pardew decided to accept the boardroom’s decisions and move on.

Making an unbeaten start to the season in the league, Newcastle see themselves occupying a Champions League spot after nine games with 19 points and could move to within one point of Premiership holders Manchester United if they defeat Stoke City on Monday night.

It’s no secret that the Geordie’s are defying expectations and many believe it is because they are yet to meet any of the ‘bigger’ teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

But that doesn’t mean Pardew shouldn’t be hailed for his achievement and with a lack of funds and a team lacking blockbuster names, the former Crystal Palace player has suddenly put Newcastle back on the map.

How he has done it will remain unanswered until the league begins to form its shape but no-one can deny that Newcastle deserve every success that lands there way.

The signings of Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba to name a few has replaced the bigger names with players who are willing to put a shift in without the controversy that comes with the name.

By selling their star assets for millions, Ashley has been able to balance the books and they have recently revealed that they are set to break even this financial year.

This has also allowed players such as Leon Best and Jonas Gutierrez to come out of their shell and put a smile on the bewildered faces of the black and white followers.

With a huge following of over 50,000 and seasons of dismay, it has suddenly become a time of celebration for the Geordie faithful.

Matt Maltby

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