THE days when the machismo of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan defined Newcastle United seems a lifetime ago.
Back then we thrilled to Carroll’s knockdowns and Nolan’s opportunism – this week it’s been about the technique of young Sammy Ameobi and enduring loyalty of good-guy Shola Ameobi.
Newcastle fans don’t suffer fools gladly, and those who preened and posed about loyalty, only to leave at the first waft of a bigger payday, deserve to be derided.
Carroll was booed for perceived disloyalty and Nolan might be too, considering he was lured away by a better contract.
But this is not black-and-white, if you’ll pardon the pun. Nolan was a fine servant in dark days and his desire and drive helped the city to fall in love with its football club again.
A lot has changed, but that ability to dredge reserves of spirit has not. Newcastle were brittle when Nolan joined, but were teak-tough by the time he left – and in the week when they recovered from two down in Bruges, that quality endures.