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Newcastle United must be ruthless and take no prisoners as favorable fixtures approach

Where do we lean our ambition? It was put to me out of the blue during a Chronicle podcast last week and my immediate reaction, with no time to consider, was to sweep away any ceiling beyond which everything is unattainable. That answer sent an eyebrow up.

I suppose in the case of the Geordies we’re talking about when Newcastle United, having battled crippling injuries after rising to great heights, can make their progress permanent because a takeover produced hope instead of fear and standing shoulder to shoulder shoulder to shoulder with the giants of the Premier League.

I will always argue that shy kids are becoming now. When United avoided relegation shortly after the arrival of new owners and a new manager, would it have been called too ambitious to say next season’s aim was a top four finish, Champions League qualification and a Wembley Cup final? However, I succeeded in every respect.

Was it too ambitious for Leicester to dream of winning the Premier League title even during their big season? For Wigan Athletic to dare to think about beating Manchester City after reaching the FA Cup final? Show me your self-imposed restrictions and I’ll show you failure. Aim low and finish low.

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I wrote a book, The Impossible Dream, about Sunderland’s goal hero Ian Porterfield winning the FA Cup at Wembley from the Second Division platform against the mighty Leeds United in 1973. For every club it’s not just of dreaming, but to go after the ultimate prize with full determination, detailed planning and the unwavering belief that nothing is impossible. Then the impossible can become possible.

Dreams are the fresh air that fills the lungs of every football fan. We have to believe that Newcastle can win silverware and Gateshead can return to the Football League if we support them. Take that and what’s the point? Belief in targeting stars should be across the boardroom to the manager’s office, dressing room and on to the terraces. If it isn’t, I have only one question: why?

Of course, against the background of a relentless desire for success, it is still necessary to keep a sense of reality, not to expect the unexpected, but this does not mean that you cannot overcome dreaming and actually plotting. Plot for sustained success if backed by hard cash and not a fleeting flirtation with champagne and caviar that is for the financially disadvantaged. United don’t want to pop in and out, but to be permanently immersed.

Meanwhile, back at base, the Geordies are given a little time to catch their breath before a final charge aimed at Europe and a resurrection. Before trying to put another brick in the wall.

Tottenham hit and put to bed, Newcastle can rest and then chase down the nine-point bid against PL’s lesser mortals _ Crystal Palace away, Sheffield United at home and Burnley away. All right, two is when 50,000 Geordies aren’t around to lend a hand, but it’s unlikely to strike terror into even faint hearts. As for Sheff U, we thrashed them 8-0!

Yes Palace produced a huge shock by winning with their backs to the wall at Liverpool, but that removed them from any relegation threat and so they have little to play for apart from respectability.

It’s time to put your foot on the accelerator, be ruthless, take no prisoners, don’t give an inch. Do you want it bad enough? Ten points from the last 12 suggests NUFC certainly do. In fact, the goal should be three wins, not just going undefeated. The same rule always applies. Shy Timothy gets nothing. Brave Billy takes the girl.

Local hero Les Ferdinand returned to town, NUFC Legends hosted the dinner and £14,405 was raised for the admirable Tiny Lives Trust.

It was a partnership made in heaven, those whose love is judged in black and white and a good cause. Fans Terry Sweeney and Les Hancock were behind the game at the Grand Hotel Gosforth Park, which was sponsored by Baltic Mortgage Solutions, as Sir Les was honored for his two explosive years with Newcastle United.

They saw United finish second in the Premier League in both seasons, the closest they have come to winning the league since 1927.

First with Peter Beardsley and then with Alan Shearer (with Pedro still in the team), Ferdinand scored 50 goals in 84 appearances. A fantastic effort by all to reach £14,000. It’s a sports night at its finest.

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