54 years, 7 defeats, 12 points, 24 years on…This is Newcastle United’s time to shine
and live on Freeview channel 276
Their first trip to a major cup final at the new Wembley Stadium is one that supporters will relish. The chance to end all sorts of unwanted records and become heroes is one that Eddie Howe and his team will relish.
Standing in their way in an unfamiliar venue are very familiar opponents however - Manchester United. Just the mere mention of their name is enough to send shivers down the spine.
Memories of that 12-point lead, that 1999 final and all those years of heartbreak will come flooding back this weekend. But these are memories we should embrace as Howe’s side take to the field to banish those demons.
This Newcastle United side are not like the ones that fell short of overthrowing Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominant side - and this Manchester United side aren’t to be feared in the way those teams were. Sure, the Red Devil’s will be tough opponents on Sunday, but they’re nothing Newcastle won’t feel they can overcome.
Erik ten Hag’s side found that out at Old Trafford in October when a resilient and tough Magpies team came to town. The disappointment of last weekend can overshadow the fact that the Magpies have been beaten just twice in the league all season, with both defeats coming in spirited performances against Liverpool in games that could easily have gone either way.
But this team won’t allow one result to knock their season off course and will undoubtedly approach Sunday like any other game by ensuring they are tough to play against, hard to score against and ruthless in attack when they get their opportunity. Of course, playing at Wembley isn’t a normal occasion, however, as Howe stated in the week, the team will approach this game like they would any other match in the capital.
"We're keen to get the majority of the work done that's not focused on the game (media interviews), so I can focus on the football and the tactical side,” said Howe.
"It will be a normal preparation in terms of our training week. We’ll make our way to Wembley as we would do the day before the game.”
But for the thousands of fans inside Wembley, and those watching on TV, this game is anything but normal. It’s a chance to put the past to bed and to see the birth of a new era.
The takeover of the club in October 2021 offered a new hope and less than two years on, that hope is here. Whilst a new era on Tyneside is already underway and all signs point to a very positive future, sealing that first trophy will go a long way in proving to the world that Newcastle United are here to stay.
It may seem like being just another piece of silverware, but this trophy means everything to the club, players, fans and the local area. It won’t be an easy watch on Sunday, in fact, the football itself will probably be the worst part of the whole weekend, but it is something that needs to be embraced and maybe, just maybe, 54 years of hurt is put to bed once and for all.