The build up didn’t really begin until Monday – then Shearer declared it the biggest match of his Newcastle career, rallied the fans, and it was really game on.
Of course a week or so ago he’d said they need to win all their home games, starting with Pompey.
It started to feel as though we weren’t even in this match, we were being expected just to turn up and oblige the Toon Army by getting beaten. I started to feel really nervous before we set off for the game. Don’t know why really, as this game, much as it is crucial for Newcastle, is much less so for Pompey. We’re not completely safe, but a point would help and a defeat wouldn’t be a total disaster. Yet somehow you feel the three points for this would get us so close to safety. . and you want them badly.
There’s also the fact of having travelled 350 miles, paid for hotels, taken time off work. Plus there’s the massive stadium that’s going to be full of loud, passionate Newcastle fans, hopefully making a fantastic atmosphere. And how many Pompey fans would have made the trip? Would it just be us and Mr Westwood? Yes we want to win this, and badly, that’s why I was getting nervous.
So the time came to make our way into the city centre. As you’d expect there were people in black and white everywhere. But there did turn out to be a few hundred Pompey fans. The Toon fans had been told to raise the roof, and we’d been in Newcastle on Saturday night, we had heard how much noise they can make when they want to. The stadium announcer and the opera singer doing ‘Blaydon Races’ fired them up at the start, but it didn’t last, and before long it had turned to whistles and hisses and boos. Whereas we got more and more lively and behind our team as the match went on. We all stood up all match, and in the second half in particular we just sang and sang. When I looked at the home fans they were all just sitting silently in their seats, although they did start to boo a bit as our singing went on and on.
As for the football – Newcastle came at us relentlessly for 10-15 minutes, but we weathered the storm. We had chances, they had chances, and as the match went on we pushed harder and harder. Crouch had a nailed on one-on-one with Harper, but managed to shoot straight at the keeper. We also had a penalty that wasn’t given, and Hughes hit the post late on. Jamo kept us in the game, except for one dodgy moment which Newcastle couldn’t capitalise on. As the match went on late into the second half it was all Pompey, they were pushing and pushing for the win. You had to remember the rhetoric and wonder which of these teams were the one desperate to win their home game.
Going back amongst the Newcastle fans, there was a mix of resignation to their fate, and hope that they can still stay up. I guess it’s not over till the fat lady sings, but I think the fat lady has some accommodation booked in or around the north east of England in 4 weeks time.
As for us, it would take an amazing chain of events for us not to be safe now, and if we play with that kind of spirit, we’re going to be OK. I was proud of our team, and proud of our fans.
Written by tracyc.
The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.