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Defensive Stalwart. The Big Dan.


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Dan Burn’s ode to the Newcastle class of 2022-23

Dan Burn is sad. He is also happy, emotional, proud and all points in between. After a 20-year hiatus, Newcastle United will be back in the Champions League next season and, although Burn was “buzzing” when the final whistle went against Leicester City on Monday — dancing on the pitch in a tiny beanie hat — he is now wrestling with his own place in history. “I think about coming here as a kid and watching us play Juventus,” he says. “Crazy. It’s not sunk in yet. It feels weird.”


Melancholy is creeping up on him, on all of us. This season has been so special, so loud, so good, so vibrant and so transformational, with Newcastle reshaped by Eddie Howe into street-smart tigers, taking on the big boys, getting to the Carabao Cup final and then rebounding from losing it, with a wide-eyed crowd getting to grips with the pleasure of winning, the thought of an ending is difficult. Just one more match. Just one more outing for The Indivisibles.


“I always get a bit sad at this time of the season, because although you know the majority of the lads will be here next year, it’s never exactly the same,” Burn says. “Some people will leave, others will come in and that’s just football, it shifts and changes every summer. It’ll be a different group and it’ll take me a few days to get over it. You spend so much time with each other — I see these lads more than I see my own family.”

And this team is something else. Powered by the electricity of St James’ Park, the club set on a new course, ambition restored, with that beautiful mix of re-energised remnants from the old regime, pragmatic new signings and a glimpse of Newcastle’s future — Howe has taken that jumble and created something fierce. Way ahead of schedule, they have lifted the club from a relegation battle and soared upwards.

“I love this team,” Burn says. “I love everything about it. We’ve done a lot together away from football and we’ve become like brothers. I’ve never played in a team like this where everyone wants you to do well, which is something I noticed when I first came. I’ve played in a lot of teams where you can feel… not bitterness, but obviously everyone wants to play and thinks they should play and only 11 people can.

“That’s natural, but we have all these characters and such togetherness and I don’t think I’ve felt that anywhere else. We’ve been driven by a desire to have something to show for it. We’ve put in so much work; all those fitness sessions, all the times we’ve fought together, the games we’ve managed to get through. I know we’ve not won anything, but from where we’ve been and how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved… yeah, it’s sad.”


Team-mate Sean Longstaff said something similar in a recent interview with The Athletic. “We love each other to bits, that’s why we’re so successful,” the midfielder said. “This group is only going to be together for one season, because changes will happen, and we want to be remembered for something. We hoped it would be for a trophy, and it’s not to be, but if we can get the club into the top four, this team will be remembered forever. We weren’t meant to be the team that did it.”


Reaching the Champions League is an ending and a beginning wrapped up as one and football will roll on regardless.

With Chelsea away to come this weekend, one final stop on this exquisite journey, here — in alphabetical order (mainly) and restricted to players who have made 10 appearances or more this season, as well as the coaching staff — is Burn’s ode to Newcastle United and the class of 2022-23.


Miguel Almiron “I remember reading something where Miggy was called ‘Galgo’, which is a Spanish greyhound. That’s Miggy all over. That’s what you think about — running, pressing, non-stop, doing it, chasing everything. The first half of the season, in particular, he was amazing. He’s such a happy guy. You always know you’re going to get a smile from Miggy and you can’t help smiling back. How nice is that?”


Elliot Anderson “The Geordie Maradona! He’s been so unlucky. You think about the Liverpool game when Nick Pope was sent off (Anderson was substituted early to make way for replacement goalkeeper Martin Dubravka) and then the Nottingham Forest game when his header was chalked off. With the club able to go out and spend money, it’s going to be harder for players to come through here, but Elliot is such a talent and I really want him to kick on next year.”


Sven Botman “Sven is Mister Casual. He’s like a Rolls-Royce, isn’t he? Honestly, the number of times I’ve seen him slap that diagonal pass out to Tripps (Kieran Trippier)… absolutely ridiculous. You forget he’s only 23 but he’s matured so much as the season has gone on. Another great person — great to have around and a great-looking guy as well, so he’s got the full package! He’s only going to get better and better.”


Bruno Guimaraes “What can I say? Class. Just class. Some of the shots he hits from outside the box… I’ll be thinking, ‘That’s going straight into the keeper’s hands’, and then it ends up in the bottom corner. How does that even happen? I just trust him so much on the pitch. With him and Joey (Joelinton), you know you can give them the ball anywhere and they’re going to be able to deal with it.”


Anthony Gordon “The tough thing about coming into this team is that you need to know exactly what your role is. That’s hard mid-season; in any other team, you can go in and have that immediate impact. We saw it with Alex (Isak) and the same with Bruno when he first got here, they didn’t come in and play straight away. It takes time, but Anthony has got amazing ability and we all know he’ll get there.”


Alexander Isak “His feet are ridiculous! That goal against Everton, when he dribbles down the left and then squares it for Murph (Jacob Murphy)… I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever seen live on a pitch. Just standing there, watching it… I mean, it was a great pass obviously to give him the ball, from whoever did that — it was me, by the way — but to see that in the flesh was amazing. He’s another crazy talent.”


Joelinton “If I could choose to be any other player, it would be Joey. I just love him, man, everything about him — and I’ve told him this myself. Just from where he was, the start he had here, to turn it around and be the player he is. He is absolutely rock-solid. Nobody wants to touch him, you can give him the ball anywhere, he keeps running for days, he can score goals. I couldn’t be happier for him, because to come back the way he has just shows the kind of person he is.”


Jamaal Lascelles “He hasn’t played as many games as he would like, but he’s a great captain. He’s such a good trainer and still leads the team, pushing people on. He’s been injured for the last few weeks, but he’s always in the dressing room, encouraging us. And those two yellow cards he’s been shown for disrupting throw-ins when he’s been warming up… I know we’ve taken some stick for stuff like that, but those little things show what we have and how we all support each other.”


Sean Longstaff “He never stops going on about Tommy, his cat. I’ve told him he needs to have a baby, because I’m sick of hearing about Tommy. But I’m buzzing for him. He’s had a brilliant, amazing season and I’m pleased he’s getting recognition for all the work that sometimes goes unseen, his running and energy. He’s scored some big goals, too. Murph was just saying in the dressing room, ‘Could you have imagined Murphy, Longstaff and Burn potentially playing in the Champions League for Newcastle next season?’. Incredible.”


Jacob Murphy “Just the best guy I’ve ever met. Honestly. I love him as well. He’s always dancing, always cracking on, such a happy guy. He’s had his doubters, but what an impact he’s made, particularly when Miggy was injured in the second part of the season. They were big boots to fill. He did it and did it so well. We all watch Yellowstone, the TV series with Kevin Costner; me, Murph and Longy (Longstaff) are the cowboys of the squad. We all have cowboy hats. I’m hoping that when we go to Atlanta for pre-season we can get kitted out properly.”


Nick Pope “He’s an absolute giant and a brilliant lad. When I first arrived, I wondered who would take the No 1 spot between him and Martin (Dubravka), but Popey has made saves look routine that would be worldies for other keepers. Him coming out from the back and cleaning up has been a big part of what we’ve done this season.”


Matt Ritchie “Matty is amazing to have around. You wouldn’t believe the amount of activities he can fit into a single day — running, tennis, triathlons… he just never, ever stops. He also never shuts up. On the pitch, he’s always angry. I reckon he’s had a run-in with every single player at some point, but he drives everybody on and is a voice out there. He has been a huge part of this season, as much as anyone else.”


Allan Saint-Maximin “Maxi can do things with the ball that I’ve never, ever seen anyone else do. Crazy stuff. I wish he would get more goals and assists because I think he deserves it, but this has been a season when he’s shown real maturity as well. He’s had a difficult time with fitness and injuries, but he’s never kicked up a fuss.”


Fabian Schar “I love Fab. I’m saying that about everybody, aren’t I? I can’t slate any of them, because I like them all so much. He’s been class since I got here. He’s just so calm and so good on the ball. He’s been a big help to Sven. I know he’s a bit gutted he hasn’t scored more often, because he’s had a lot of chances from corners, but he popped up with that absolute worldie against (Nottingham) Forest in our first game. I miss playing next to him, but that’s what happens when you bring in a £35million centre-half (Botman)!”


Matt Targett “A very, very good player who could easily be playing every week. He’s another one who’s very unlucky, just with the way it happened for him at the start of the season — he was ill, I came in at left-back and that’s been the way it is ever since. He’s been great with me. I’ve been in teams where, if there’s someone playing in your position, it might be difficult, but Matty has only been class. We talk about who we’re playing at the weekend and he always shares advice. He’s got a wand of a left foot and I’m sure he’s going to play a lot more games for us — especially with the amount we’ll have next season.”


Kieran Trippier “The mentality he has brought to Newcastle has taken us up another level. When you’ve got someone like him, who has played at the very top — in a European Championship final, a World Cup semi-final, the Champions League final — he looks at the game in a different way. He has lifted the whole group. I’m sure the owners would say he’s the best signing they could have made. He took a risk when he came here and I’m so glad it’s paid off. The amount of chances he’s created, how good he’s been at defending, our captain in Jamaal’s absence… he’s our player of the season and it’s thoroughly deserved.”


Joe Willock “He just glides! I’m frustrated on Joe’s behalf, because if he’d ended the season fully fit I’m sure he would have been picked for England this summer. He would have warranted it, that’s how good he is. Mind, the amount of times I’ve had to tell him what to do and where to go at set pieces drives me mad, but he certainly makes up for it with his quality. And that glide past people… wow.”


Callum Wilson “He’s got that knack all great Newcastle No 9s have, and that’s sticking the ball in the net. I don’t really need to say more than that, do I? He’s been amazing, getting into England’s World Cup squad, coming back from injury and proving a lot of people wrong all over again, particularly after Alex arrived. To get to the level he has and still be pushing himself, he’s just been massive.”


Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall, his assistant “They’re very funny on the training ground and bounce off each other really well. The gaffer is so intense and JT (Tindall) is more relaxed, and you can’t really imagine one without the other. JT works a lot with the defenders but the attention to detail they put into training every day and the constant repetition is one of the reasons we’ve been so solid. Some of the stuff on social media with JT recently has been cracking us all up. And yes, we do sometimes call him ‘Mad Dog’! The gaffer I could easily wax lyrical about. He just lives and breathes football and it feels like he never has time off, he’s just constantly working. He deserves all the plaudits he’s got this season.”


And finally… Dan Burn “What a player, man! No, I just feel so lucky to be in the position I am. I try not to look into the past too much, because you can get caught up in it, but it will be nice to have a moment this summer to think about what we’ve done together. When I came here last year, I wasn’t exactly a stop-gap signing but I knew some people might have that perception, that I was here to keep us up and then others might come in. Maybe that means I’ve played with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, but I’m home and I hope and feel like I’ve done alright. It’s been an amazing year. We’ll see what the future holds!”

With a fair wind, more constant work, more sensible signings and a bit of luck, perhaps that future will bring Juventus back to Tyneside. Perhaps trophies will follow, which is the big idea. But will there ever be another season like this one, when it all felt so new and fresh and dynamic and raucous, when winning felt so novel? When London’s Trafalgar Square was a frothing, black-and-white ocean, when we lost ourselves and found ourselves.


Burn and his dressing-room brothers will indeed be remembered. Done alright? They are the team that dared, the team that did it. They love each other and we will always love them back, as fiercely as they played.


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4 minutes ago, ShorehamSeagull said:

He learned that from Lewis Dunk 😂


Seriously, well done folks - brilliant result. Lots of sore heads in the morning 👏👏👏

What the fuck has happened your lot?

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He made a lovely comment in one interview when he said that when the takeover happened he told his Dad that was his chance gone for playing for NUFC. 3 Months later and he signed.


The most startling thing about this is he would have signed for Bruce and Ashley. 

Edited by Holden McGroin
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