Isaac Hayden claims that he’s always felt a connection to Newcastle ever since watching the film ‘Goal!‘ as a kid and that his move this summer was a ‘dream come true’ and that Arsene Wenger did not want to let him leave.
Hayden would have only been about 10 when the 2005 film Goal! was released but it clearly made a lasting impression. Speaking recently, the former Gunner described how the scenes with the crowds at St. James’ Park gave him goosebumps. He went on to hail the passion of the Magpies’ fan base, claiming that signing for the club has been like a ‘dream come true’.
“As a kid, my favourite films was Goal!,” he said.
“I loved it. I was a mad- keen football fan, I watched it all the time and of course, St James’s Park featured heavily in it.
“I remember thinking ‘wow, that must be a great to play and to score goals’. Growing up in the south, I had no links with Newcastle, but my impression was that it must be a really big club because they’re making a film about it.
“I used to get goosebumps watching that film with a big crowd and amazing atmosphere inside the ground. Everything about it really, the fans were so passionate, the stadium looked incredible, even the black and white stripes.
“I suppose I’ve always felt a connection with the club ever since. I don’t know the last time I watched the film, but those memories stuck.
“What I really love about football is the passion and the connection between a team and its fans, and that’s what we’ve got here. So to be able to call it my home ground is a dream come true – quite literally.”
The 21-year-old went on to talk about his first goal for his new team, which he scored on Wednesday during Newcastle’s 4-1 thumping of Reading in the Championship.
“[Scoring my first goal was] absolutely brilliant.
“Now I can say I’ve scored a goal at the same end as Santiago!
“And the roar was just as loud as it was in the film.
“His goal was probably a bit more spectacular than mine.
“It’s lovely to score my first goal, but, for me, it was all about the three points.
“It was very important, not just for the manager and the players, but the fans too.
“I thought it was a decent performance, and now it’s about building on that.
“Losing against Huddersfield was a huge let-down, because I was so looking forward to my home debut. It certainly didn’t turn out the way I hoped.
“But this game is all about reactions, and I thought we reacted very well.
“I haven’t told the rest of the lads my favourite film is Goal – I’ll probably get a lot of stick when they find out.”
Finally, the youngster spoke about how Arsene Wenger hadn’t wanted to let him go but the move was right for him.
“Arsene Wenger wanted to keep me, but I knew the time was right to move on and I knew this was the club for me,” he explained.
“It ticked all the right boxes, the fans, the manager, the infrastructure, the players already here and, of course, the film.
“Everything drew me towards this football club, and I am really excited about the future.
“This season is about me progressing as an individual and the team moving up the table and winning promotion at the end of the season.”
It’s good to see Hayden enjoying football and doing well, even if it is at another club. It was clearly the right time for him, as he said, and there’s nothing wrong with him trying to ingratiate himself with the Newcastle fans. That’s his club now and I wish him all the luck.