Carabao Cup final: Newcastle United’s Eddie Howe hails city’s ‘truly amazing’ passion and team support | UK news

It’s been 68 years since Newcastle United tasted glory in a major cup competition.

Since the 1955 FA Cup triumph, life in this country and city has changed dramatically, but one thing has remained – the love that so many locals have for the team. A passion that’s raging as the side takes over Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final today.

The sense of anticipation in the city was not lost on head coach Eddie Howe, who spoke to Sky News at a media day held at the club’s training ground earlier in the week.

“From the people I know around town and any interaction I have with the fans, whether it’s 6am outside the training ground or when I’m leaving,” he said.

“The passion here and support for their team is really incredible.

“So I think players know the responsibilities they have to be the best.”

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe celebrates the team’s win against Leicester City in the quarter-finals of this year’s Carabao Cup

Today’s team will be captained by England international Kieran Trippier, who has played 40 times for England, including the 2020 European Cup final at Wembley, where today’s final will be held.

Despite his experience at the highest level, Trippier, 32, says playing in front of Newcastle’s rabid fan base still surprises him.

“You don’t even realize until you actually play for Newcastle, how passionate the fans are, how crazy the atmosphere is,” he said, “even I sometimes get butterflies in my stomach when we’re leaving.”

Kieran Trippier celebrates winning the penalty shootout against Crystal Palace in the third round of the Carabao Cup last November
Kieran Trippier celebrates winning the penalty shootout against Crystal Palace in the third round of the Carabao Cup last November

That fervor was on full display at The Back Page, a memorabilia shop a short walk from the club’s St James’s Park Stadium.

There, the shelves are filled with trinkets from the club’s past, from vintage shirts to old game programs and scarves.

Even though they’ve been almost men for nearly seven decades, Newcastle United it has a rich history – a fact that the television screens in the store are reminiscent of, as they play highlights over and over again.

This Wednesday was packed with fans looking for more memorabilia to add to their collection before the final.

Magpies fans at the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton in January
Magpies fans at the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton in January

‘Newcastle United is in our blood here’

Anas Hassan, who travels regularly from his home in Fife, Scotland, to Tyneside to watch the team play, said he was feeling “warm at heart” about the club’s recent form.

“Knowing there is unity here, people are behind the team and want them to win their first major English Trophy since 1955. I think obviously the excitement levels are rising,” added Hassan, who said he would be in Newcastle for the celebrations next week if they manage to win the cup today.

Meanwhile, Stephen Cook, who works at the shop, said simply: “Newcastle United is in our blood here, it’s very important.”

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The context surrounding Newcastle United’s success this season, battling for a top four finish in the Premier League, which would mean qualification for next season’s Champions League, has not been without controversy.

Last year the club was taken by a consortium that includes the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a process that has seen questions raised about alleged human rights abuses linked to the Saudi Arabian regime.

The debate over this will continue, but the shop windows and queues of fans waiting to see the players on their way to training ground this week are reminders that the ties between the club and the community are old and strong.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe greeted fans as
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe hailed the fans’ passion as “truly incredible” ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final

‘Everyone wants them to win’

In the city center, you can feel the hustle and bustle among people of all ages.

One elderly lady said: “It’s fabulous what you do for the city, everyone wants them to win, there’s a buzz about the place which is always nice.”

One young mother summed up the love a place known for its grit has for the beautiful game: “Now we have a team that’s back on a high, the magic is back.

“So what does Newcastle as a team mean to Newcastle as a place? It’s magical.”

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