A caller rang into last Thursday’s BBC Newcastle phone-in with Chris Coleman and congratulated him on his “unbeaten start” at the club. Coleman was having none of it and was quick to correct him, that we had lost to Aston Villa in his first match in charge.
Indeed, with all the giddiness of the Cookie appointment, it is easy to forget that we lost that first game to Bruce’s high-flying birds. Given the unfortunate nature of their two goals, the spirited response, the attitude and performance of the players, it was a refreshing change and felt like a win.
Then we went on to beat Burton - this really did invoke a feeling not felt since we were partying with Marty.
The manager was saying the right things - he’s not afraid to get down and dirty, to remove those not pulling their weight. He’s moving his family to the area. Substitutions have been made wisely. Things seemed all tickety-boo; play-off place anyone?
Then things came to a resounding halt with our 21st winless home game in a row. We now have only two opportunities to avoid making it no wins at home in 2017. The reckless capitulation to Reading clearly will have tattooed the size of the task ahead to Coleman.
But he seems, strangely, unfazed by the task.
In the local press the manager has talked about some older players maybe needing a rest, that the home win-less monkey was creating too much pressure for them.
He said that younger players played with less fear and more fight. Encouraging words. Even more heartening is his response to the fans’ reaction.
Unlike his two predecessors, no blame of them.
In fact, it was quite the contrary:
You’ve got to feel sorry for the fans. Even if they boo for 90 minutes, they’re still here.
We’ve got to try and look after them, and it’s only us who can change the mood.
This place could be such a powerful place for us, but we’ve got to get them with us. We’ve got to make sure that when they show up next time at home, we send them home with a smile on their face.
As has been reported elsewhere, he hasn’t tried to disassociate himself from our situation. None of this, “not my fault, guv. This happened before I came here.”
It’s, “we’re in this together, and we get out of this together.” A bit like what David Cameron said about austerity, but you believe Coleman when he says he’ll be doing his bit too.
It’s probably a good thing that he’s seen the god-awful rubbish up close and at first hand so early on, because now he knows the size of the job in hand.
Like Sam Allardyce and Peter Reid before him, I have faith that he will do it. What are the odds of us achieving a sneaky win at top-placed Wolves on Saturday?