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Alan Shearer: “You’ll struggle to find a more connected set of supporters than Newcastle’s“

“The Ashley era hurt so much,” thinks the Legend.

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Premier League Hall of Fame 2022 Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images for eSC

Newcastle United’s legend and all-time greatest Premier League goalscorer Alan Shearer wrote a personal essay for The Athletic ahead of the Carabao Cup final.

The striker, whose 260 EPL goals lead the way on that front and will do for a few more years and unless Harry Kane can break his longstanding record, touched on his past and present in the Tyneside club.

I won’t just publish the whole letter here because that’d suck for the outlet where Alan originally wrote it under a paywall, but I have no problem sharing a few paragraphs here that brightly represent the dark times of Newcastle and the new, shiny era the organization entered barely a year ago.

So much has changed, in fact, that our beloved Magpies will be playing in their first final since 1999 while trying to lift their first domestic title since 1955. Crazy.

Here’s Alan for you, folks.

Newcastle is dreaming again. Whatever you think about the takeover and the owners [...] this is an occasion for our magnificent supporters. I hope that side of it is understood. Plenty of clubs go through challenging spells and those experiences are not always transferable, but I can’t think of any with our stature, history and fanbase which has waited so long for a trophy.

It is hard to explain to people outside why the Ashley era hurt so much. There were dreadful decisions in the early years. There was the way people were treated and fans ignored, there were two relegations and countless embarrassments. But the worse thing about it was a slow draining into grey. What does Newcastle stand for? Pride, passion, atmosphere. They were going, going or gone. There was almost nothing to invest in.

These days, you’ll struggle to find a better atmosphere than at St James’ and you’d struggle to find a more connected set of supporters. I was at Southampton to see the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, and I spent half the game just watching our fans, hypnotised by the bouncing and singing; Tuesday night, 330 miles down the country, 3,200 of them, home at god knows what time and then up and out for work.

Wembley is for them.

Two days to go. Here comes Newcastle.