Normally on a match day I wake up with a sense of hopeful anticipation, which this season has been crushed by the time that the full time whistle gets blown. I've woken up a day early with the deja vu of every football fan's affliction - PMT (that's pre-match tension). This manifests itself in many ways and occupies far to many of my diminishing thought processes.
One of the things that is bothering me is that I turned down a ticket for the game at Stoke tomorrow. This is something that I rarely do, but I had a couple of mitigating factors, firstly I'd hoped that I'd be away for the Easter break (a combination of lack of organisation and the expense of a weekend away in Glasgow put paid to that). Secondly, I went to the Britannia Stadium last year for the FA Cup game. As ever, it was a grim game (the only upside of it was that it proved to be Allardyce's last one in charge) by my pervading memory of the match was the simmering threat of violence that the Stoke fans seemed to exude. A year ago that was for a fairly inconsequential FA Cup game, the thought of the tension that would be about for a game that if we don't win will see Newcastle United so deep in the clarts* that the only likely outcome is relegation, made it a deeply unappealing game to want to shell out my hard-earned for.
Tomorrow's game is going to be crucial in so many ways, Shearer will have hopefully had some time to put his mark on the team, to get them playing as a coherent unit. Little Mickey Owen might decide to have one of those rare games that remind us why the club paid £16m for him. Beye is now fit again after the on pitch assault that was given to him at Wigan, and Bassong might be fit again... However, there are a lot of mights in the last couple of sentences. None of it helping my PMT.
By 7.00pm tomorrow this will all be over... until the next game that is.
* For the benefit of any non-Geordies reading this - clarts is a word, see, I'm multi-lingual as well!