The scoring in the Carabao Cup final ended as early as the 39th minute when Manchester United took a 2-0 lead and then seemed happy to sit back and hit on the counter.
Casemiro’s opener from a sumptuous Luke Shaw cross was followed by yet another Marcus Rashford goal, only six minutes later.
To say that Newcastle were flat or not worthy is to discredit them.
Yes, they came into the match, not in the best form and yes, this was far from an ideal performance from them. The Magpies have played much better football this season and they will know it.
But while the most important stat line ended in favour of the Red Devils, almost every other one was in favour of the Toons.
Newcastle had 61% possession of the ball, had an xG of 1.05 as compared to United’s 0.93, had 15 shots to 14, and had almost twice the number of passes (347 to 187).
Sure, a lot of this can be attributed to Erik Ten Hag’s strategy of sitting back after going a couple of goals up, but Eddie Howe’s men would surely feel they could have, and perhaps should have, done better in their first final since 1998-99.
But let this missed opportunity take away anything from the magnificent achievement of being in that position in the first place.
Ever since the change of ownership, NUFC has been flying high. And this may just be the necessary failure needed to catapult the team into future success.
And one of the catalysts for this change of ownership was present during the medal distribution of Newcastle player – Amanda Staveley.
Staveley is a British business executive and is noted for her connections with investors from the Middle Easter. Amanda was instrumental in helping a Saudi consortium take over Newcastle United in October 2021 and has since joined the board of directors.
Now, a member of the board present at such an important occasion is obviously not a news item. But it is what she did that has raised some eyebrows.
She was seen warmly embracing, consoling and even kissing the Newcastle players as they made their way for the medals.
While some see this as warm and empathetic, the widespread verdict is that this behaviour is just weird and uncomfortable.
Imagine a male board member doing this after a women’s match. Now that would raise hell, let alone eyebrows.
In fact, the more you watch it, the weirder it gets.
When Howe’s turn comes for the meet and greet, Ms Staveley seems almost ecstatic and excited, as if she got the wrong memo saying that Howe’s men won.
Howe himself is forcing a smile, perhaps not knowing at that moment how to react when your employers are smiling while your players are heartbroken.
He wants none of that sunshine energy from Amanda, as he calmly proceeds to shake the hands of the next in line while Amanda is still speaking in Howe’s ears.
Newcastle United and everyone involved should just move on as quickly as possible and never think about this moment again.
Peak cringe content.