I remember, back in the late 90s, being a called a ‘glory hunter’ by fellow football fans.
It was no reflection on me personally as I have been here since Ardiles, it was actually more of a compliment that finally our club was considered amongst those with a chance of glory, of challenging, of winning.
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Of course we all know that the trophies never came; we challenged, got to finals, led the league but never got that elusive trophy ‘over the line’, but did we not still enjoy some glory?
I have read the odd fan on The Mag refer to the Keegan era as a failure, I have read fans say that we should stop deluding ourselves about being a big club because we haven’t won anything.
Well I believe that it is these exact fans who are deluding themselves, with a misguided idea of what glory is exactly.
To put it as plain and simple as a I can, if you think that the measure of a big club, and the glory it has, are solely found in trophies then you could not be more wrong.
Glory is found in the moments when your club gets its day in the sun, moments like beating Barcelona or Juventus, moments like sitting at the top of the league or breaking a world transfer record, cup finals, Champions League campaigns, having players and a manager who are the envy of others, here is real glory.
Sitting in a packed St James Park awaiting the visit of a top European side, feeling that anticipation, knowing it is going to be televised all over the world and actually believing that you have a good chance of victory, is a feeling that I will never forget. True glory.
Not being able to get a Cup Final ticket, but getting up at the crack of dawn to get ready for a full day of television coverage about your team in the most watched domestic cup final in the world, seeing the players leave the hotel and taking the coach to Wembley, seeing your club’s history replayed all day. True glory.
That feeling of pride seeing Keegan unveil Shearer, knowing that Fergie and Man United wanted him but couldn’t have him because he was ours, he had come home to live the dream of wearing the number 9 shirt and lead us into battle. True glory.
Watching Sir Bobby take a poorly managed and ill equipped team from the verge of relegation back into the Champions League, playing the kind of football that excites football fans, young players mixed with experience in an irresistible combination. True glory.
Are moments like these not glorious for a football fan?
Did your chest not swell with pride in your club, your city, your region?
When was the last time you felt like that?
Sure those moments were fleeting, and usually followed by the reality bump of blowing the league or losing the cup final, but they existed and we all felt it.
It is small wonder that so many of us choose to revel in these all too brief memories, as they are all that we have left now. To speak of Newcastle United winning something these days is ridiculous indeed, but that has not really been any different for the majority of the club’s history and surprisingly few teams do actually manage to claim trophies on even a semi-consistent basis.
The real sadness stems from a realisation that the moments of glory, like those which I described above, are beyond the reach of Newcastle United now. Ask fans for their high point of last season and you’ll probably be told about the victory over Chelsea or Spurs, good victories indeed but how can winning a single league match compare with what we had, especially when ultimately it was a meaningless victory in terms of the pursuit of honours.
Big clubs provide moments of glory for their fans, the biggest do it consistently, these moments are shared with the world and thus the status of the club is raised. How long has it been since Newcastle United had a day in the sun? How long will it be before we have another?
Make no mistake that we have enjoyed glory, for many of us it is still all too fresh in the memory, which makes it all the harder to accept our current predicament. When you have seen heaven it is all the harder to accept the hell we currently find ourselves in.