Newcastle United is out of the FA Cup after losing 2-0 to Manchester Cty.
Despite the lack of people at St James’ Park, the deep disappointment was there for all to see, as the club’s best cup race in 14 years ended at Tyneside.
United must now get up for the trip to Bournemouth, but there is no doubt that the opportunity to play at Wembley, despite the lack of public, was a reward that Steve Bruce and his team felt was at stake.
Here are a few things we learned from a bad day at the office for Newcastle fans.
Alan Shearer did his best for Newcastle, but they just weren’t in the races
The legendary striker watched the game from the end of the Leazes End as the Match of the Day outdoor studio settled at a safe social distance behind the goal.
Shearer, who dragged United to two FA Cup finals in the late 1990s, drew the semifinals at halftime and likely gave the Magpies a favorable draw against an Arsenal team.
But by that time, Newcastle was 1-0 down and knowing they needed a massive change of fortune to advance to the next round.
Shearer would have enjoyed the Dwight Gayle opportunity at Gallowgate End and the club’s all-time top scorer instinctively tried to stretch to apply the finale himself!
Unfortunately, this was not the case and the tie was quickly resolved thanks to the long-range effort of Raheem Sterling.
The magpies looked down and out long before the final whistle.
There were still 22 minutes left when Sterling scored the second goal.
But soon after Karl Darlow had taken the ball out of the net, Lee Mason blew in to take a break.
Given that Gayle had just missed that golden opportunity before Sterling’s magnificent shot aggravated the moment, it seemed that the United players knew that their chance to return to the game had disappeared.
When the players left the field for a snack, Gayle was still cursing his luck.
The cruelty of soccer had been summed up in one or two passages of the game.
It’s still worth wondering where United disappeared in those last 22 minutes?
Worryingly, Joelinton didn’t even get a shot.
The post-game press conference sent a strong message to the Premier League
Steve Bruce did not regret his words when asked about the long delay coming from the top flight chiefs about the takeover.
In short, Newcastle has reached a stage where they need to know who will be the owner next season.
Bruce confirmed that United had made a free transfer by signing into Mark Gillespie of Motherwell.
However, they’ll need four or five more new additions next season to make sure they’re good enough again to stay in the Premier League.
Whether it’s the consortium led by Amanda Staveley or Mike Ashley again, NUFC needs to prepare for another season.
Bruce’s call for “clarity” after the game was gripping, and after a day that started with stories about Premier League emails sent to the wrong reps in the Middle East, the situation must now be resolved quickly.