Happy new year...well let's hope so
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BLOG ON THE TYNE
The calendar year of 2007 actually promised quite a lot as far as Newcastle United were concerned - but not for the first time in history it eventually conjured up absolutely nowt!
This time 12 months ago we were within swinging distance of the top six, still in the FA Cup and still in Europe.
And going into 2008, a lot of Geordies are already starting to wonder - what next?
Freddy Shepherd has gone and Mike Ashley and Chris Mort are in which delighted the majority of Toon fans yet sadly results on the pitch have not changed a great deal and United are pretty much in the same position they were in 12 months ago - apart from we aren't in Europe this time around.
And although the up and coming January transfer window is a chance to change things as far as Big Sam is concerned there is no golden promise of cash so far from the Toon board meaning, as ever, the next three games are crucial.
Starting with Manchester City on January 2, Newcastle go into the game with supporter unrest as the backdrop for the first game of the year.
And although there have been plenty of calls for Big Sam to go, it appears that the United board are happy to stick with their man - unless a total disaster unfolds.
A total disaster would be Wigan, Liverpool or Pompey type performances in our next few Premier League games and an exit in the FA Cup against Stoke - get ready for clips of Ronnie Radford by the way everybody.
Beating Stoke City would go a long way to easing the pressure on Big Sam no matter what way you look at it.
Don't forget the FA Cup kept Kenny Dalglish's head above water back in 1997/98.
Back then Newcastle were handed the easiest set of draws of all time with the likes of mighty Stevenage beaten after a replay and deadly Tranmere dumped out before a mammoth effort in the semi-final against Sheff United secured a place in the final and in Europe before Arsenal eventually beat the Toon at Wembley.
It was the same for Ruud Gullit a year later but the crazed Dutchman did have a harder run of games before being beaten by Man United.
That's all history of course but the point being, the FA Cup could, just could be Big Sam's saving grace.
And while many fans are desperate for a change in manager a substitution now would not only prove costly for the Toon owner but it would also mean yet another period of transition.
Fact - we could still make this the best season since 1968/69 and Big Sam could be the most successful boss since Joe Harvey.
Yes it's a long shot but this is Newcastle United, expect the unexpected.
I don't expect many people to share this enthusiasm but I hope the players are acutely aware that the season is far from over no matter what happens.
But Stoke have to be beaten first though and I'm sure fans would accept a place in the fourth round coupled with Arsenal type performances against Man City and Man United a week later although nobody is expecting to pick up anything from Old Trafford are they?
Surely it can't get any worse than Wigan though!
Toon fans don't ask for a lot and even though it was against Chelsea reserves on Saturday, the team did put in a massively improved showing at Stamford Bridge.
Lucky us eh? It wasn't exactly hard to beat the JJB experience.
But seriously you have to have a big heart to be a Newcastle fan and going into 2008 it's likely you are going to need an even bigger one!
The fans - the best in the country by miles - of course will always be there - it's what they have always done and always will do.
Yet until they have a team that is back up where it belongs and challenging for honours again they will never be happy.
So, happy new year to all Chronicle and Blog on the Tyne readers - have a good 2008!
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON 2007 AND THE COMING YEAR?