Sometimes a draw can feel as good as a win, sometimes a draw can feel vaguely disappointing and sometimes a draw can feel like a earth-shattering loss. It all depends on the expectations going into the game and the way in which the team plays in the game. I can recall a Monday night at Anfield - the first time that I'd been there, when a Shearer-inspired comeback secured a 2-2 draw and it felt so much like a win... The cliche of one point gained, rather than two lost was never truer.
Yesterday, the 2-2 draw with Stoke felt like the exact opposite. This was a game that should have been won by half-time and in fact appeared to have been won by half-time. As the January transfer window prepares to crack open, Owen is starting to find a bit of form (what an astonishing coincidence!) and comfortably put the Toon 2-0 up. And then of course the second half started and the team stuffed it up.
Having survived the rigors of Christmas shopping with my Mother, I'd slumped in front of the TV with Soccer Saturday on. Now, Soccer Saturday is an odd phenomenon - for a programme that is basically radio on the TV (a host and three so called pundits, watching a game and then relaying what they have seen with the added benefit of their 'wisdom' in order to explain to the viewer what is going on). Its one of those programmes that shouldn't work, but for some reason it does. I suspect that the reason it's watchable is Jeff Stelling, Hartlepool's most (only) famous supporter and all round football geek. His child-like enthusiasm and in depth knowledge (such as
the last time that Arbroath scored in the Scottish Cup... with a striker who's name started with Mac) make the fact that you can't see what is on the screen somehow watchable. He also manages to control the ex-footballer numpties who 'ohhh' and 'ahh' at the screens that are in front of them.
For yesterday's game Phil Thompson was 'commentating' on the game from St James' Park... I found myself from 4.30pm desperately hoping that Thompson wouldn't utter another word...that time would somehow move forward by another 20 mins and Newcastle would get hold of those elusive 3 points. Every time someone off camera uttered a "argggggg" or an "ohhhh" I developed a twitch and then a ridiculous amount of relief when Charlie Nicholas' was panned to, rather than "Tommo" (why is a school boy nickname like that on a man in his forties vaguely unsettling??). Anyway, as usual, Tommo got more excited, Stoke mounted a comeback and Newcastle had a draw that feels like a bitter loss. The exact opposite of the Liverpool game all those years ago.
Too many draws could ultimately prove the downfall - games like yesterday's should have been won...Two points lost, which may become crucial when the Soccer Saturday lot commentate on the last game of the season... Stoke staying up and Newcastle relegated?? I so hope not.
In the meantime the denizens of Wearyside are looking for a new manager... Which will mean the creation of a new chant - I've missed the surreal nature of the Peter Reid song, and the Roy Keane one always brought a titter... So, I wonder what the song will be for the next one? What rhymes with Allardyce??