I’ve done something I’d thought I’d never do.  In the 23 years of supporting Newcastle United, I’ve never even contemplated this, but unfortunately it’s come to this…

I’ve actually wanted Sunderland to stay up rather than Newcastle.

There, I’ve said it.  I’m ashamed of myself (and believe me, my 11 year old self is giving me the proverbial kicking, as I type), but I’ll explain why.

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On Wednesday night (Arsenal v Sunderland), a team of players proceeded to fight for a result which their club, their city, and their fans, desperately needed.  So much so that it reduced one of the most respected managers in European football (who has managed Holland, Belgium, Russia, and PSV to name but a few) to tears.  As a result of which, I found myself thinking that Newcastle should get relegated – simply because it’s nothing short of what they deserve.

I started supporting the club in 1992. I was 11 years old and we were in full swing of a campaign which would see us win the 1st Division championship and achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Watching the games with my Sunday dinner was the highlight of the week – games against Tranmere away, Derby at home, and beating the Mackems at a monsoon soaked SJP (I still haven’t forgiven my Mam for taping over the game with an episode of Soldier Soldier).

From then on, my love affair with the club had started – my first live experience beating Bilbao at home in 1994, Howay 5-0, Tino’s Barca hat-trick, my first season ticket in 2000…this was my club and I couldn’t get enough of it.

However, over the past 5 years I’ve felt so disenfranchised and detached from the club that I’ve seriously thought about walking away from them altogether (I keep telling myself that I will, but I’m always drawn back to them).

The players have become so cowardly and lazy, that it’s plain to see they’re just going through the motions to try and get a move away from the club (Coloccini and Sissoko, I’m looking at you), the managers are simple yes men who will bow down to the board at any given opportunity for fear of losing their job (both Pardew and Carver are guilty of this), and the board only care about a profit line and lapping up whatever Ashley throws at them.

The club is rotten to the core, with a severe lack of passion, commitment, and affinity for the fans and the area that they come from.  It’s been said before many times on this site, but I’ll say it again…

This isn’t my club. This isn’t the club that I fell in love with.

Imagine the potential that this club has…

This is a club who, in the 2009/2010 season in the Championship, averaged over 43,000 for every home game.  We have the 3rd highest average attendance in the Premier League for this season (10th highest in Europe) with over 50,000, and we’re in the top 20 of most valuable football clubs in the world.  With the right owner, the right board, and the right manager, we could (and perhaps should) be hitting top 6 every season.  Instead, we get given relegation battles and Sports Direct advertising

This game on Sunday is perhaps the most important game in the history of the club.

Survive and we’ll be subject to more contempt and placation from Ashley and his band of lapdogs.

Relegation however, may tip the club over the edge.

It’s safe to say, that we won’t go back up at the next attempt as the majority of the squad will leave in the summer and most probably won’t be replaced, or if they are they’ll be replace with sub-standard alternatives who aren’t fit for the Championship, let along the Premier League.

Relegation will certainly force Ashley’s hand, but whether that’ll be in a positive or a negative way, we’ll have to see.  If Ashley does go, the first thing I’d like is to have the old ‘Newcastle United’ lettering put back on the East Stand…if you’re reading this, prospective owner?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it), I won’t be watching the game as I’m at a wedding in the middle of North Wales where the phone signal is just like a Mackem in Milan (you’ll never see it).  However, as much as I try, I’ll still be hoping we can get a result.

Newcastle United Will Never Be Defeated….