Callum Wilson had a rather ungrateful job on Saturday.
Graeme Jones tossed in the deep end, asking for the rot to be stopped temporarily, just three days to prepare for the Crystal Palace match, and massive pressure was on his shoulders.
It was shocking to watch the game from the point of view of the NUFC attacks on a Neutral as Jones, rightly or wrongly, went out of his way to make a major point with very defensive team selection and negative tactics.
Callum Wilson, very isolated and unsupported by the fact that Newcastle’s only other players were encouraged to support center-forward Allan Saint-Maximin, was saddened. On one of those days when he just couldn’t get going and you noticed very early that he wasn’t ready, waving his arms theatrically when challenged and falling to the ground without a foul.
In any case, Callum Wilson lacked supplies and support, he had half a chance in the first half, but from a very narrow angle into the side netting.
When Palace finally broke Graeme Jones’ defensive black and white wall in the 56th minute, it really looked that way from a NUFC perspective. It’s very hard to see that we’re getting anything because we haven’t had a clear chance throughout the game.
Then, 25 minutes from time, Palace missed a cheap corner and when she was sent over, Chaos ensued and the ball hit Krafth and soared into the air only to be hit beautifully by Callum Wilson, his perfectly executed overhead kick sent the ball accurate in the upper corner.
I hit the air when Callum Wilson scored that goal … and I loved it.
So what I hear you scream everyone did …
Well I have to put my hands up and admit I’ve waited 29 months for this.
The first twelve years of Mike Ashley’s reign had been overwhelmingly bleak, but I had barely held out.
Hiring the likes of Dennis Wise and JFK had really put me to the test, but Hughton’s recovery and then nimble fifth place in 2011/12 and half the 2013/14 season (up to the top 6, Cabaye sold mid-season and bought nobody and the season? collapse) had just kept me afloat.
Carver and McClaren almost knocked me out, but Rafa Benitez turned out to be the driftwood I could hold onto to Mike Ashley after giving the Spaniards all kinds of guarantees of support.
This turned out not to be the case and so May 12, 2019 was the last time I really celebrated a Newcastle United goal. A visit to the capital and a very enjoyable trip down the Thames before the game with countless other Newcastle fans that culminated in a 4-0 hammering from Fulham and the appropriate player of the season Salomon Rondon who got pretty much the final kick of games scored and season.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Ashley forced Rafa out and although this owner had made some really embarrassing manager appointments, this was by far the worst that Man Utd fan Steve Bruce walked in, something I had always feared.
The unsuspecting management was all too predictable, as was the embarrassing behavior in press conferences and interviews. It pushed me over the edge.
I’ve still watched every single NUFC game I could and even traveled to many trips BUT from that final whistle in May 2019 at Craven Cottage, I never really celebrated another Newcastle United goal.
At best, most of the time it felt like you were doing the movements, at worst, it felt like a NUFC goal was negative as it seemingly only helped the presence of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce to extend.
Of course, everything has changed now and the takeover removed Ashley about three weeks ago, what a day!
Something was stopping me from getting tickets to Tottenham, and some time after they sold out quickly, it may explain why my subconscious had done it. Steve Bruce would still be responsible for this first game under new ownership.
I was partying when Callum Wilson met on that second minute and gave us short hopes, but it was still a maybe 80% / 90% celebration as part of me probably thought that this might somehow contribute to being foolish too To lead the new owners to give Bruce a little more time, maybe even until the end of 2021, which could / would have been disastrous.
However, on Saturday any fog that still hung over the Tyne had really lifted and by the time Callum Wilson scored that brilliant goal it was certainly no less than 100% when I struck the air.
The game was a shock but I loved it, it was the first game in 29 months that I wanted so badly for Newcastle United to win, or at least get a point because it meant something. Each outcome is so important now because it is a small step that will hopefully lead to much better times.
Under Mike Ashley, no result led to anything. The plan was just to try to crawl and survive from season to season, nothing at all about building for the future on or off the pitch.
It was fitting that I and other Newcastle fans can now look into the light again, this new era of post-Ashley AND Bruce was marked by such a spectacular first goal, thank you Callum Wilson.