Newcastle had an extra weapon to defeat Manchester United on Sunday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claiming the fans’ noise stopped him getting instructions to his players.
Steve Bruce employed the perfect game-plan against Manchester United on Sunday, when they soaked up pressure and hit them with pace on the counter-attack, which is exactly how the goal came around.
But the Norwegian boss of the Old Trafford club said the noise from the stands made it “impossible” to pass instructions to the players.
Speaking about the goal which came from their corner, the Chronicle report Solskjaer told reporters after the game: “With the pace we’ve got, we should lock that corner down but it’s impossible to get the message across because we gave the Newcastle fans something to cheer today.
“We gave them the game they wanted – end to end at times. We gave them too many counter-attacks.
“That lifted their crowd. You could see they were behind the team, behind Brucey so it was impossible for me to put one or two of the players where they should have been.
Manchester United was always likely to draw a bigger Newcastle attendance
With much of the talk being about fan boycotts so far this season, a game against Manchester United was always going to attract a larger attendance, with many casual fans wanting to go.
But there are two ways to look at the situation, and each will split opinion among supporters.
There is no doubt that a full St James’ Park helps Newcastle, with the backing of the fans playing a major part in intimidating the opposition, or even affecting communications between them – as referenced by Solskjaer.
But on the flip-side, without those fans the atmosphere factor decreases substantially, making St James’ Park a more hospitable place for visiting teams to play.
So, of course, there will be fans who say Solskjaer’s comments are proof that a boycott is damaging to team performances.
While other fans will agree, they will point out that this is the entire point of the boycott – to hit Newcastle United in the pocket, while making the owner realise that without them, his product could depreciate through a lack of results and potential relegation, thus forcing him to sell.
It is an emotive topic, and one that will constantly cause debate among fans, with those from either side refusing to accept the others reasoning.
Ultimately, it is up to individual fans which path they choose to follow, and no one can, or should, have a go at someone for following their respective belief.
But for one Sunday in October, it was great to hear a defeated manager acknowledging the part the crowd played in sealing a vital Newcastle win.