The Magpies secured Premier League football for a second successive season following promotion from the Championship but will head into the new campaign under new management, Rafael Benitez having departed for China.
Without a major trophy for the last 50 years, Hayden insists that everything, from a fervent fan base to the facilities on Tyneside, is in place for the club to push on and reach that potential and that people’s disparaging views has left a bitter taste in the dressing room.
“I think it’s there for everyone to see. The lads get so frustrated when they hear certain things,” Hayden told the Chronicle.
“I don’t think anyone, even people who don’t watch Newcastle or have an interest in Newcastle, have to see the potential.
“They have to see what’s there in front of them – 52,000 fans, a stadium that’s packed every week. It’s always packed. Fans home and away, a one-club city. You know, the infrastructure is there. Everything’s there.”
It would be tough for anyone to argue that Newcastle United is not a sleeping giant of a football club but the only way the players are going to put that moniker to bed is if they actually push on and achieve something. It is all well and good using comments from pundits and fans as motivation in the dressing room but having the potential and actually living up to it are two very separate things. It would be interesting to hear how much potential the squad think they have now that Rafa Benitez has left St James’ Park, the Spaniard undoubtedly the reason behind their survival in the top flight. With Hayden speaking about the 52,000 Geordies that fill the stands on Tyneside week in, week out demonstrating the club’s potential, the murmurings of a potential boycott and fan revolt against Mike Ashley may well have legs to stand on. An empty St James’ Park would send a message across not only England but the world and get people talking about how things have gone wrong at a once proud Newcastle United.