THERE’S no place like home, in football as in life.
Not least when you call home St James’s Park.
And Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew’s confident the club’s signings will thrive on Tyneside.
The club’s pre-season was played out across Europe with the stadium unavailable due to the Olympic football tournament.
Newcastle have played in an Austrian border village, an East German town and on the sun-baked Algarve over the past few weeks. Tomorrow’s season opener will be the first opportunity for the United’s new signings to experience St James’s Park on a matchday.
The game is close to sell out, and at least one of the club’s summer arrivals will be involved.
Vurnon Anita is used to playing in the impressive Amsterdam ArenA, but Pardew thinks the atmosphere at his new home will impress the 23-year-old.
Anita could also be joined in the squad by former Reim midfielder Romain Amalfitano, who has never played top-flight football.
“Anita has played in the Amsterdam ArenA, of course,” Pardew said.
“He’s used to big crowds, so it isn’t a problem for him, but it’s a very different atmosphere in our place.
“Hopefully, the passion and love for the game we have will surprise one or two, maybe Anita.”