Nothing best describes Newcastle as much as the word paradox. The club has, throughout all of the last decade and a half, taken a tremendous fall from grace as it is no longer the behemoth it once used to be.
Yet, it still enjoys unprecedented levels of support from the Toon, and is very much part of top flight heritage despite the ignominy of the relegations it has been subjected to.
Now, there is a sense of optimism mixed with unease among the Newcastle faithful, and for good reason. While overall, they have had a quite alright season, the board has not inspired any confidence at all in recent years, not having any budget to sign players, firing the experienced Rafa Benitez and instead hiring relative pariah Steve Bruce as manager.
And while Bruce has been respectable so far, Newcastle fans only got a glimmer of hope when they somehow managed to land full-back Danny Rose this winter transfer window.
The England player, arriving from beleaguered Tottenham, has shown that he has buckets of ability, but is yet to fire on all cylinders. He has had a slow start and was caught unawares in yesterday’s match against Arsenal, where the Magpies were hammered 4-0.
Now, fans returning from the game were rather surprised to see some unexpected people in their train – specifically Rose and his teammates Allan Saint-Maximin, Nabil Bentaleb and Christian Atsu.
At first the fans were quite friendly, asking for the usual selfies and autographs. But then a few among them started riling and taking the piss out of the players, needling them over their dubious performance against the Gunners. Rose, not one to take insults lying down, got up immediately and had a minor scuffle with a few people.
The issue was, however, resorted quickly and the impromptu meet and greet session had no further interruption. (Alternate reports later emerged that the fight happened after Rose declined to take a photo with a ten year old fan. The motive remains unclear.)