Steve Bruce said as soon as he arrived at Newcastle United, he’ll take the cup competitions seriously. After staying true to his word, Newcastle United find themselves in the FA Cup Quarter Final draw.
There will be those who say the draw so far has been kind to Newcastle, they needed replays against Rochdale A.F.C and Oxford United, before beating current Championship leaders West Brom. The fact is Newcastle do not get to choose who they face, all they can do is beat the opposition in front of them.
The last time Newcastle were in the FA Cup Quarter Final, Glenn Roeder replaced the unpopular Graeme Souness as manager, guiding the Magpies to a seventh placed finish and European football.
Newcastle are by no means safe in the Premier League, which will be a major concern to Bruce. The confidence the players gained from their FA Cup performance against West Brom will certainly help them going into an important run of fixtures in the league.
This is all very unusual from Newcastle, getting through to the latter stages of cup competition is very alien to the club. In fact, of the last Newcastle squad to make it as far in the FA Cup, only Emre is still playing, at the ripe old age of 39. Under Mike Ashley’s ownership, Newcastle have been allergic to cup runs.
Supporters dream of a good cup run, it gives the whole place a lift. The scenes in the away end at the Hawthorns were something special, it is upsetting that Newcastle supporters have been starved of those scenes in recent years. There is no reason why Newcastle cannot go all the way to the final, Bruce has been there before as a manager with Hull City. Newcastle may prefer to draw one of the bigger teams, Bruce’s side have faired well against them this season, beating Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and drawing with Manchester City. It’s against teams below or around them, where Newcastle have somewhat struggled.
Newcastle supporters deserve to enjoy this, it’s been a long time since the club haven taken the cups seriously. Bruce has the hunger and desire to deliver silverware, Newcastle is his boyhood club and no matter what people say about him, in terms of him being the right man for the job - You cannot knock his determination to deliver a trophy to a club that has been starved of success for many years.
The reaction of the players at progressing further in the FA Cup shows the influence Bruce has had on the dressing room. Newcastle are just two games away from making an appearance at Wembley, when the club last appeared at the National stadium, the famous Wembley towers stood tall.
Should Bruce lift the FA Cup, he would become the first Newcastle manager to lift a major trophy since Doug Livingstone in 1955. The trophies the club have won since including the Fairs Cup, Intertoto Cup and Texaco Cup no longer exist. Bringing the FA Cup back to Tyneside would be something incredibly special, there’s still a long way to go but Newcastle have a real chance of creating unforgettable scenes in a football mad city. Now is the time to just enjoy the fact that Newcastle have reached the latter stages of the FA Cup, no talk of tactics or the differing opinions on the current manager, just enjoy the first cup run the club has had in a long time.