For Aston Villa the trip to St James’ Park may be just another away day but, since May 24, 2009, meeting the Villans has carried greater connotations for their hosts.
On that day six seasons ago Newcastle travelled to Villa Park needing a victory and favourable results elsewhere to avoid relegation to the Championship.
Damien Duff’s 38th minute own goal was the difference as the Magpies succumbed to football gravity, acting as a cue for the home fans to begin taking a sadistic pleasure in their rivals’ misfortune that was the antithesis of sportsmanship.
Gloating banners emblazoned with slogans such as ‘Who’s your next Messiah, Ant or Dec?’ were revealed as the Holte gloated in a most unsavoury manner.
Reminiscing about the events of that day the pain clearly hasn’t dulled with time for Newcastle manager John Carver certainly:
“Let me tell you, I never spoke to anyone for an hour after the final whistle went. That really hurt me.
“And I wasn’t with the football club, but it was my football club and that hurt me.
“Every time you come up against Aston Villa, that stays in there.
“I remember the reaction of their fans after the game, and that stays inside. That will never go away.
“Every time we come up against Aston Villa that’s in the back of my head. Definitely.”
Times have certainly changed with the Villans, sixth under Martin O’Neill in 2009, now in the relegation tractor beam and 27/20 for the drop.
Newcastle are 19/20 to continue the payback that begun with a 6-0 victory at St James’ Park upon their return to the top tier in 2010 with another win.
Their ailing visitors, who have lost their last six successive Premier League games, are 29/10 for a much-needed three points, while the draw is 23/20.
However, the 8/5 about bwin’s specially-minted Newcastle win/Aston Villa relegation double may appeal more to Geordies with long memories.
Sign up for a new account at bwin.com to harness a £30 free bet that cops a £48 profit in the event of a Mapgies win playing it’s part in the Villans’ demise.