We're Back - ToTT Review of the Season 2010/11
Pre-Season for a Toon fan is always exciting. It is a time filled with unbearable anticipation of the season ahead. A time when all the pressures that have built up during a long summer without Black and White football begin to slowly find a release. A time of looking forward and wondering what our team will be like this year, and who will even make up the team on opening day. Above all, It is a time of hope.
Last year was no different. After the bombshell of 'No Capital Outlay' took the edge off our invigorating championship triumph, the summer pause rekindled the 12 year old boy inside of many. We had highs including Newcastle becoming the first English team to beat Deportivo and win the Teresa Herrera trophy and lows like losing to a comfortable looking Norwich. A glimmer of hope for the season emerged in the form of Leon Best regaining some form before, predictably, getting injured, and so all our hopes of scoring seemed to rest on a young local lad called Andy Carroll. We were linked with many players, but signed very few and so the season began with the majority of fans unsure of how our side, which was clearly too good for the Championship, would bridge the gap to the Premier League.
The welcome home party was hosted by Manchester United and given a special Monday evening berth and Sky coverage. It did not go well for us. James Perch, our summer utility signing from Nottingham Forest, was aptly labelled 'a fish out of water' as it was largely his shortcomings that led to a comfortable 3-0 trouncing from the team who finished as runners up the previous season and were hotly tipped to go one better this term. Doom and Gloom set in amongst supporters and we needed to be given something, anything, to show us we weren't in for a nightmare of a season. That something came in our first home game.
That first game at St. James' park will live long in the memory. Aston Villa finished 6th in 2009/10, and horrible visions of Villa fans holding up mocking banners as they relegated us to the championship in 2008/09 will never be forgiven by many. But, in perhaps the greatest argument for the existence of karma I have come across, it was their turn to be a club in disarray. Their talismatic leader Martin O'Neill had spat out his dummy and left over the sale of their best player, and what played out on that lovely Sunday afternoon was nothing short of glorious revenge. I could build it up, tell how it all started with the visitors missing a penalty and how our 10 heroes (and perch) rode to victory on the back of a Joey Barton screamer, but I won't tempt kharma to a reversal. simply stating the score will suffice. 6-0.
Part 2 to follow