Newcastle Cup saga, part seven: Shearer helps create the Longstaff legend

There is a moment in midfield that human vocabulary can’t do justice to.

Bruno Guimarães He does his thing, though; It spins, turns, opens space and the ball comes Sean Longstaffwho pushes her away and continues running, just as he always does. Kieran Trippier He takes it, in the zone, the challenge ride, Longstaff brings it back again, and Sean, son, seriously, you can miss as many as you want if you’re only going to score this challenge.

Time stops, but Longstaff continues to run, just as he always does, raising his right arm in a shy approximation of Alan Shearer, and now he has reached the elbow where Gallowgate End meets Milburn Stand and the other Newcastle United Players run to intercept him.

During these few seconds, St James’ Park is no longer a football field packed with people, but a fiery furnace, roaring: “It’s one of ours.”

then sudden clicks on the NE1’s 4G network as countless fingers mash countless buttons on the phone; Trainline, LNER,, AirBnB, planes, trains, cars, park benches for hire, anything. If you’ve never seen a city in motion, just wait until the last weekend of February when Newcastle upon Tyne becomes Newcastle upon Thames; Peeing, on a roll, on a mission.

“Tell me mama, mama, we won’t be home for tea, we’ll go to Wembley. Tell me mama.”

Five minutes on the clock, but when it happens again 16 minutes later – less dramatic but more decisive – even those hopeless or naysayers, the Newcastle pessimists who buried and blessed their hope years ago can’t help but believe again. If you can’t do much about this history of near misses and obsession and never try, it’s time for a change of script.

Finally, maybe. Please make it this time.

It’s a night of beginnings and curiosities: one Longstaff goal and then another, ample compensation for those missed opportunities in FA cup And Premier League; Newcastle’s first major final since 1999 and first in the Premier League League Cup since 1976; most amazing of all, Nick Pope He concedes a goal, that certainly never happened in living memory, and although the difference in score raises a wave of fear, this is the new Newcastle.

By God, we’re muttering and muttering, breaking into song and holding our breath. Sometimes all at once.

The second half oscillates and drifts and when Guimaraes does something else, something worse, seeing the red of that crisis Samuel Edouzihamstrings, and then Alexander Isaac With the possibility of a concussion, it’s just like the good old days; Newcastle United, have been making life difficult for themselves since 1892.

But this new Newcastle grit his teeth and look at him.

It’s early afternoon at The Strawberry, and the evening has started early.

How long to wait six hours when you’ve already waited 68 years?

Today is also deadline day, with televisions broadcasting yellow and blue transfer signals to upturned gazes. Connor GallagherAnd Yuri TelemansAnd James Madison are the names on their lips. More pub chatter about assumptions and bragging than expected.

At the bar, the staff has already been sent to change two barrels.

A small crowd gathered around the pool table, as if that was the important game, while in the corner a backslap salutation followed that of a pause. The worn seats here are like those in St James’s next door, they suck you in and don’t let go.

“We wanted to get here early,” says Paul, clutching a newly purchased black and white scarf. His predecessor lost somewhere after the quarterfinal victory. “And where do we want to be?”

Since 1955, when Newcastle last won the title, everything around Strawberries has completely changed. At that time the stadium was almost all terracing, with about 2,500 permanent seats. St James’ Hall, the adjacent boxing hall, was demolished to make way for a tube station.

Now, it’s surrounded by high-rise buildings, student housing, and, for once, optimism.

Through it all, Strawberry has remained consistent.

If Newcastle win tonight, the inside of the pub won’t change. But those in it will.

In recent weeks, finishing hasn’t been Longstaff’s strong point – no matter how much he runs and runs – and so he called a friend for a little advice.

More specifically, The 25-year-old midfielder is from nearby North Shields He called Shearer, Newcastle’s record goalscorer and someone who understands Gallowgate’s troughs and swells. Someone who knows how painful it is to get close.

“Sean called me up for a chat and I just told him not to be so meticulous and not worry about picking spots,” Shearer said. the athlete. “You can think things through. The key is hitting it and hitting the target. I told him: ‘You’ll score eventually, believe me. As long as you keep getting these situations, it will happen.’”

Some predict.

“It’s really special, not just for me but for everyone from Newcastle,” Longstaff says afterwards. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a night like this. Unbelievable. All the energy left my body after I celebrated.”

That last part, at least, is a lie: He probably sleeps on a treadmill.

“I gig for him,” his teammate said Dan Byrne Longstaff says. “He’s a great player and an even better lad. He totally deserved it. He has a bit of a stick about missing some chances, so I’m really glad he did it in a game like this. I’m sure it will live with him forever.”

By the way, Shearer also says, “How cool is that, man?”

Wembley. this is very good.

Sean Longstaff celebrates scoring Newcastle’s vital opening goal against Southampton (Picture: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Guimaraes puts his foot on the ball again. Boza.

joined Newcastle a year and a day ago; 366 days is hardly unbelievable. Bruno’s years are like dog years, you can fit seven years of human life into it.

Latest development: Brilliant dribbling to set up Longstaff’s opener That late red card The midfielder left the field in tears for the second time in his last two games at St James’s. Now Guimaraes faces a three-match suspension, lucky Newcastle have three Premier League matches left before the final.

For a moment after the game, one Newcastle man looks sober. With Guimarães suspended for the next three matches, Newcastle’s failure to recruit the number 6 in January is now exposed. at the sight of Jonjo Shelvey Waving goodbye to the St James’ Park crowd at half-time – he later joined the team’s traditional image after the win as well – paints it in cruel irony. His departure to Nottingham Forest was confirmed an hour after the final whistle.

The sight of a groggy Isaac taking off after James Ward-Prowse’s free kick is barely helped is helped.

Weight of reason amidst the waves, says Howe, counterbalancing the New Deal Anthony GordonA jubilant reception on the field before the start, for this massive score. “I don’t think this window was ideal for us. But that’s just the reality of the situation.”

In moments like this, you wonder about a lot of managers. Are they from heaven or from stone? After all, it is practically impossible to plan if you do not dream about where you want to go.

Does Howe dream of being the first Newcastle manager to lift a domestic trophy since Duggie Livingstone claimed the FA Cup in 1955? “I have no control at night when I’m already asleep,” he admits.

One Man, One City Join what is now a daydream.

Eddie Howe going to Wembley for the Carabao Cup Final (Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

burn she has I dreamed about it. Like a local player, Longstaff grew up watching Sir Bobby Robson’s teams at Newcastle in an era when winning something for the club seemed like a reasonable aspiration, if forever out of reach. Then came the barren years. Lost obsession.

says the left-back next to an empty pitch and gleaming with drizzle, after an hour of frantic endgame. “The change since the new ownership came in is so massive. We never thought we’d be in this position as quickly as we have been.”

Before kick-off, Byrne, now 30, felt the weight of the match.

“It’s definitely the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in,” he says. “Even in the warm-up, I felt like I was getting emotional and was trying to control myself. The place was bouncing.”

The conclusion is a strange kind of mirage. Guimarães was sent off in the 82nd minute, Newcastle reduced, Isaac faltered and had to be substituted in injury time, Southampton Pay, however, the score pad shows progress in the sum of two goals.

“You can tell the fans are nervous,” Byrne says, “but they must be after the years we’ve lived. It’s kind of ingrained in us that it has to be like this!” When Brossy was standing over that free kick you were thinking, ‘No, please; Please don’t bend this, but I thought we were pretty strong. I was relieved.”

But this pushes the burning towards logic and there is no place for that; Not here, not tonight, not with Newcastle in the cup final.

“I can’t believe it,” he says, “not really.” “It won’t sink in for a while. It probably won’t sink in until we’re out at Wembley.”

Yet for some, those 11 creeping minutes of extra time and the semi-hesitant final whistle are enough to start the sinking, to dissolve into a moment when everything feels worth it, these years of hurt, of kinship and family and loss and snotty noses in the rain and walking to The bus stop, the dead-end pint, the arguments, the frustration, the parties falling apart at the end, and the absence of friends. and Newcastle. This is who we are and what we look like.

Text from a friend: “I cried. I cried at my dad.”

(Main graphic – Photo: Getty Images / Design: Sam Richardson)

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