The Carabao Cup dream is over, what is next for Newcastle United?

Fan-favourite Bruno Guimarães was visibly moved when the Magpies suffered defeat to Manchester United. Credit: PA Images

ITV Tyne Tees Sports Correspondent Simon O'Rourke reflects on Newcastle United's Wembley Weekend and the Magpies' defeat to Manchester United in the Carabao Cup Final.

What to make of that big Black and White Adventure? The first thing to say is there are all sorts of positives and all sorts of useful lessons to be learned. For Newcastle United as a club, for Eddie Howe and his squad, and for Magpies Fans, who painted London Town black and white. 

But there are negatives and reality checks which shouldn't and won't be ignored.

Let's accentuate the positive first. The tens of thousands of Newcastle Fans who made the trip will almost all come back with terrific memories of a fun-filled weekend. To be in Trafalgar Square on Saturday night and see the sky turn a certain shade of Geordie, was to know what this meant to the supporters. They even cleaned up their own mess and Westminster Council has thanked them for it. But it was more than just being there for a cup final. It was the feeling of being relevant again, of being impossible for the wider football nation to ignore. The Magpies are back in the national conversation and they're not going away.

Newcastle's ownership means sometimes the conversation will be difficult, but that's a fact of life for the club now. What's undeniable is how far they've come and how quickly the club has risen up the Premier League pecking order. This weekend was a celebration of that.

But they lost and it's never, ever OK to lose a cup final.

In this case though, it was not unexpected, nor was it a disaster. This was the first one of the new era. The early chapters of what might yet become an epic story. The odd setback is to be expected and can even lend some depth to the narrative. Winning would've been great, but losing was not the end of the world. The important thing is that no one should be OK with losing. It's fine to treat this weekend as the first big adventure of the new era, but next time it's all about winning.

And it does feel like there'll be a next time. Newcastle United's owners are many things to many people, but they are definitely very, very wealthy. More will be invested in this project, this Black and White Dream. The real food for thought was how much more might need to be done. Manchester United are just a much more talented team. They handled the game and the occasion better than Newcastle did. Casemiro was head and shoulders above anyone on the pitch and certainly anyone in black and white. If Newcastle United have come a long way in a short space of time, then here was evidence that they still have a long, long way to go.

But that's fine. Eddie Howe is a revelation, there are adults in the room behind the scenes and the team will gradually and carefully be enhanced. 

Newcastle United didn't win the cup. The long wait for silverware goes on and those painful numbers will get bigger (54 years since a trophy. 68 years since a domestic trophy). The absolute cold-hearted truth is there are no guarantees the Magpies will get one soon because English Football has plenty of heavyweights and not everyone can win. But all comes back to the idea this is the start of the journey and it feels like Newcastle United are heading in the right direction.

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