They needed to win to avoid relegation. A 1-0 lead over West Ham was better than losing by the same scoreline, but it was still too close for comfort.
Enter Newcastle’s marauding Jonás Gutiérrez to save the day.
Jonás added the final touch to Newcastle’s victory, scoring the team’s second goal. And it was fitting. After a two-year absence spent battling testicular cancer, the Argentine returned just in time to save his club from relegation — likely caused by Mike Ashley’s general terribleness — after spending so much time and energy trying to save himself.
But Jonás’s moment of triumph is even more impressive when you consider what he told Sky Sports after the game:
“To be honest a few months ago I didn’t know if I would be able to play football again. I’m here, I’m back, and I’m enjoying playing football. I have a second chance in my life. It was fantastic being here in the stadium today.”
To go from not being certain if you would ever be able to play again to saving a club from the uncertainty of relegation — all within the span of a few months — is pretty amazing.
Jonas also thanked Newcastle fans for their support during his time away from the game:
“All the love they showed to me through my illness. Newcastle were fantastic with me and with the team. To be honest they don’t deserve to have this problem, to be in this situation now.”
It probably isn’t the best of times to talk about what fans deserve or not when it comes to wins and losses, but it’s probably fair to say that no one deserves Mike Ashley, and, more importantly, Jonás deserves a goddamn round of applause. 👏👏
Good on you, sir. May you enjoy many, many more years free of both cancer and Mike Ashley.
Also, fuck cancer.