Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nerves, Hopes and a Clap of Thunder

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nerves, Hopes and a Clap of Thunder

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN DALBY

SO it has come to this. After a season that can only be described as nightmarish, Newcastle United's fate is no longer in our own hands.

Instead, Premier League survival or summary dismissal will come down to a mathematically complex set of other results in an unseemly scrabble for points and goal difference that will take until extra time has been played in five matches tomorrow to determine.

There is something especially distressing about the fact that even if we win 10-0 at Villa Park, it will count for nothing if Phil Brown's men play a blinder against Manchester United's Z-list and Sunderland get a result.

Didn't we almost have it all, though? When we scored goals in the Tyne-Tees derby, my jumping, yelling euphoria would have been more appropriate had we won the league.

I spent much of the time behind the sofa, brandishing a cushion against the Dalek-like advances of

Tuncay and Downing. My husband retired upstairs and closed the study door, always a clear sign that I'm either watching a crucial football match or being unreasonable (events that often occur simultaneously).

The nervousness I felt wasn't far removed from the experience of watching an England penalty shoot-out in an international tournament.

But the last time I compared Newcastle to England, I noted that Steven Gerrard dismissed the possibility of failure to qualify for the Euros as "unthinkable", right before it happened. And despite almost dizzying relief after the Boro result, I was left with a strong sense of foreboding that this season might still go horribly wrong.

How right I was. This notion of impending doom was realised with dramatic flair after the almost biblical end to the Fulham game.

Darkened skies, a sudden downpour; I wouldn't have blinked an eye had locusts begun raining down onto the pitch at St James's Park. …

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