Miles Starforth: Remember #colosparty? Vardy's party put it to shame
Remember Fabricio Coloccini's party? Or #colosparty as it was known online.
I was reminded of it by Monday night’s #vardyparty.
Jamie Vardy invited his Leicester City team-mates round his house to watch Tottenham Hotspur play Chelsea.
The rest – Tottenham’s defeat at Stamford Bridge saw Leicester win the Premier League title – is history.
And Vardy and co partied.
The title win – and Vardy’s party – made worldwide headlines.
Coloccini’s party, held in May 2013, was a lower-key affair, though it trended worldwide on Twitter.
It was also a celebration.
Coloccini, the club’s captain, invited his team-mates to his Darras Hall home days after the club secured its top-flight place with a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
We only found out about it because of Sammy Ameobi, who tweeted some photographs.
Twitter did the rest as fans offered humorous takes on the gathering.
Incidentally, that QPR win was unique.
It was the only time in 21 seasons of Premier League football that the club has won its final away match.
Newcastle must repeat that feat on Saturday at Villa Park, the scene of the club’s last relegation in 2009.
I was there that day.
But I don’t remember much about that afternoon bar an abject lack of fight from the team, the deflected goal that ultimately sealed the club’s fate after a troubled nine months and the classless banners in the Holte End.
It was a sorry end to a sorry season.
Had Gareth Barry’s wayward shot not clipped the heel of Damian Duff, Hull City, and not United, would have gone down that season.
The team had been awful, yet the margin between success and failure was still that fine.
Maybe surprisingly, a handful of sombre players stopped to talk in the small interview area at Villa Park before boarding the bus to the airport.
Coloccini, Kevin Nolan, Nicky Butt, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins were all in Alan Shearer’s starting XI.
Michael Owen had come off the bench.
There was talent out there, but Newcastle were neither united nor a team.
And that brings us back to Leicester, who beat United 3-0 at the King Power Stadium just over a year ago to climb out of the relegation zone.
The spirit forged back then has endured.
And Leicester, above all else, are a team.
Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, especially, have been outstanding, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
That hasn’t been the case at St James’s Park for a long time.
Danny Simpson was a key figure for Leicester, yet some on Tyneside felt he wasn’t good enough for Newcastle during his time at the club.
Simpson, neither French nor fashionable, was seen as a weak link at the time, and he left after failing to agree a new deal.
He was replaced by Mathieu Debuchy, a player who only ever saw United as a stepping stone.
At Leicester, Simpson knows his team-mates have his back, just like he did at United during the club’s promotion season.
Benitez, however, is starting to mould the players he inherited into something resembling a cohesive unit.
United have taken eight points from a possible 12 – and kept two clean sheets – since their desperate defeat to Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium last month.
And there’s a new-found togetherness on the field which has got the team through some testing periods.
Newcastle were second-best before the break against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
But they came through it, just as Leicester have done so many times this season.
And Andros Townsend’s stunning free-kick lifted the club out of the bottom three.
Can they stay out of it? That’s not in their hands, with Sunderland, a point behind them, having a game in hand over United.
That could yet change.
But all Newcastle can think about is winning their two remaining games.
Whatever division they are in next season, United can learn from Leicester.
I remember the blood, sweat and tears that got Newcastle out of the Championship last time.
Late that season, Chris Hughton’s team went out, en masse, one Sunday to watch a white collar boxing show before partying on the Quayside. Just like Leicester this season, they were together on AND off the pitch, and it showed.
That wasn’t been the case since.
Unity counts for a lot.
Newcastle need to be united in more than just name.
There’ll be a party of sorts on Tyneside should the club stay up, and Sunderland remain favourites to pip them to 17th place.
Crucially, Premier League survival would ensure that Benitez prolongs his association with United.
And the 56-year-old is one man capable of really giving the club’s fans something to celebrate in the future.