Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans Treasure United's Year to Remember; THE BEAUTIFUL GAME Defeat on the Last Day Can't Spoil the Party

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans Treasure United's Year to Remember; THE BEAUTIFUL GAME Defeat on the Last Day Can't Spoil the Party

Article excerpt

Byline: Sara Nichol

ADRAMATIC final day of the season may have seen Newcastle's Champions League hopes dashed but fans could reflect on an "unforgettable" season.

The day started with a glimmer of hope that the Magpies could clinch a place in the top four and anxious supporters filled pubs across the region with that dream in sight.

But a 3-1 defeat away to Everton meant Alan Pardew's team finished in fifth spot; above big guns Chelsea and eight places above arch rivals Sunderland.

In the end, wins for Arsenal and Tottenham rendered the Goodison Park encounter meaningless, although that did not stop fans celebrating a season to be proud of.

Finishing as high as they have only two years after being promoted back to the top flight, and with the Europa League to look forward to, Newcastle, Pardew - who was named Premier League manager of the season last week - and their legion of loyal supporters reflected on a campaign few would have predicted. The initial atmosphere of deflation when the final whistle went quickly turned to talk of the highs of the last nine months.

From Papiss Cisse's wonder strike at Stamford Bridge and Hatem Ben Arfa's world-class goal against Bolton to thrashing Manchester United 4-0 and a derby day victory on Sunderland's home turf, the season was certainly one of the best in recent years.

At the packed Three Mile Inn, in Gosforth, Newcastle, fans gave their views of United's final performance of 2011/2012, their overviews of the campaign and predications for next season and European football.

Mike Saunders, 38, said he was over-the-moon the Magpies had claimed a place back among the Premier League giants.

The civil servant, from North Kenton, Newcastle, said: "I knew they would struggle to get a result against Everton.

"And I expected Arsenal and Spurs to win, so I can't say I'm too disappointed.

"It's typical Newcastle, we got a result against Chelsea then got hammered by Wigan - you can never predict how they will do. …

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