Why I will be renewing my Newcastle United season ticket next year and probably for the years after that…
Whenever the end of January rolls around each year, it gets to the time where those of us on a direct debit payment for our season tickets, need to have a think about whether or not we’re going to renew for the year after.
I’m not a fan of this Mike Ashley era that has well and truly stagnated our once great club. Anyone across the world who dares to argue that Newcastle United weren’t once great (as I so often see from Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal fans etc.) are not worth anyone’s time. We have every right to feel as upset as we are with the current regime, and we don’t in any sense deserve to be branded as a ‘fickle’ group of fans.
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However, supporters like myself are allegedly (and to be honest, probably accurately) part of the problem. I paid good money for my season ticket this year, and as a student currently in my first year at University, I can hardly afford to do so.
I see articles, blogs, and comments all around social media stating that the only way we can drive Mike Ashley out of our club is to ‘hit him in the pocket’. I likewise have seen hundreds of Newcastle fans post pieces, after the dire and predictable comments of Lee Charnley, saying the likes of ‘I’m done’ and ‘I’m sick of it’ and ‘no more money from me until Ashley goes’.
I can’t find it within myself to do that, which I’m sure will infuriate many a Magpie who would be willing to read this piece.
I’m a young guy. I’m 19 years old. And this current season is only my 2nd as a Newcastle United season ticket holder instead of paying match by match.
Last year I got myself one as the decision to move to university loomed, and had I decided to move to the likes of Huddersfield or Brighton that were within my choices, it would have been my last chance for some time to get one.
In the end, I opted to study a Sports Journalism course at the University of Sunderland. I didn’t choose it for the purpose of getting to renew a season ticket at my beloved Newcastle United, but it meant that I could – if I wanted to.
Now as the renewal period comes around I almost find myself being indirectly pressurised by the Tyneside footballing community to keep my cash as far away from MA’s pocket as possible.
But in all honesty, as much as I wish Ashley would go elsewhere, I just can’t refuse to give up my physical support for Newcastle United.
I haven’t been around for anywhere near as long as many who read or contribute to The Mag, so many of you may snort derisively at my limited experience in black-and-white support. My first proper game I went to was at the back end of the 2008/09 season, at home to Middlesbrough on a brisk Monday night.
Yes, that season we were ultimately relegated, but that game against the ‘Boro ended in a 3-1 victory after falling behind to a 3rd minute goal from Tuncay. For that game, the club were handing out giant black-and-white flags to fans, and were urging everyone there to sport the club’s colours as much as they could.
The atmosphere was unforgettable.
The moment when Obafemi Martins put us 2-1 up in a game that was so, so crucial to our season… well, I’d never heard a noise like it.
I fell deeply in love with the club that night. I fully understood just what Newcastle United means to our city, our people, and our belief.
That fat businessman from London will do all he can to squeeze every penny he can out of this club, without a care to that belief that often simultaneously drains away.
But, for me, he will never, ever remove the raw, relentless desire I have to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, take the Metro into Newcastle, and support my team.
In my opinion, the moments that hurt as a Newcastle fan will hurt you the same no matter where you are. Anyone who wasn’t at the game would have felt the sting of Adam Johnson’s late winner for Sunderland in December just as much as the people who were.
But those moments like Obafemi’s goal against ‘Boro, Cisse’s goals against Chelsea this year, and Sissoko’s goal at City in the Capital One Cup (which happened to be my first away game) produce moments of euphoria that can only be fully embraced when you’re there.
Newcastle United are a club that will have those moments every year, no matter how dire things get.
They may become less frequent as the years go by under Ashley’s reign, but they will come around. And those moments alone can make up for so much pain that we have to endure.
I’d miss moments like that far too much if I were to turn my back on the club in protest.
You can call me naïve, you can say that people like me are helping to ruin the club just as much as the man at the top himself. But I couldn’t be the same person without those days sat in the Leazes end each year.
I love this football club, and always will, for better or for worse. And whilst I’ll never support the regime, I won’t stop supporting the team.
Comments welcome below.
You can follow the author on Twitter @RhysMelhuish22