In the past couple of seasons there has been a distinct decrease in the level of noise at our beloved St James’ Park. Some fans have seemingly blamed the extension of the family area as the main culprit and I can’t disagree with them – but why has the noise decreased and how can we solve the problem?
I’m not going to lie, I am a season ticket holder in Level 7, and have been since the start of the 2011/12 season. In that season, even though Level 7 had become the family area, the noise levels still seemed to be as deafening as they are known for. The noise was unbelievable in games against both big and smaller teams, like it was during the Championship season, I distinctly remember losing my voice at a dull 1-0 win over Leicester. So can the extension of the family area really be blamed?
In some ways, yes, because even though for the majority of my first season as a season ticket holder the ground was bouncing and it was a truly amazing time to be a Newcastle supporter, not all games were like this. Norwich was a game that stood out to me as being almost completely dead except for the goal and the sound of conversations between friends. The Swansea game can also be used as an example where SJP was like sitting in the Stadium of Light. The problem only got worse last season when the results weren’t going our way. Every game, everyone wants the crowd to get going, waiting for the first man to chant. The only problem is there’s no big, fat, bald 40 year old men that’s stood there ready to belt out the familiar phrases. They’re all now sat in the Gallowgate end.
But these leaders of fans are surely under utilised in the Gallowgate. They already have men who are prepared to be the first singers. Level 7 did, but now they need them back. This meant I spent many a game last season wishing somebody in Level 7 would start chanting to show the team that we were behind them. This random hero amongst us all never stepped forward. This can be put down to a simple reason, and the same reason I haven’t stepped forward myself. I don’t consider myself to be brave enough, and neither does anyone else in level 7 by the sounds of it.
Do we get help from other areas of the ground? Every so often. But not on a consistent basis. People will point out how much noise comes from the Gallowgate end every game. However, the only problem with this is that the Gallowgate sounds about as loud as a librarian’s funeral from Level 7. So no help can be received from the other singing section of the ground.
Then you have the majority of the stadium that grumbles about there being a lack of noise and choose to do nothing productive like actually trying to get a chant going. These people will even take to Twitter and other social networking sites to complain about how the youngsters and the extended family area is killing the noise within SJP. All I have seen in the past season is abuse be sent towards Level 7. But what these people fail to grasp is that the vast majority of the people in Level 7 are the future of Newcastle United and need to receive a better example than the one being currently set.
In a football ground it should be all for one and one for all, but you just didn’t get that feeling at SJP last season. We need to start feeling like a family again, shouting and chanting as one giant body of what we are: Newcastle United Football Club Supporters.
So how else do we make our beloved stadium as loud as a Pavarotti concert? We need those leaders amongst fans (and they know who they are) to come away from the Gallowgate end, climb the millions of steps to Level 7 and use the power from within their almighty lungs to spur on the thousands sat in the heavens to join them in chanting for Newcastle United. We have all seen with our own eyes the effects that a noisy St James’ park can have on a football game. We have made the players on the pitch feel invincible. That they can take on the world because they have 52,000 fans roaring behind them.
We need that feeling back. The players need that feeling back, because God help us, with Joe Kinnear in charge of transfers, the players on the pitch need all the help they can get.