The close season for me has been a bit of a non-event for Newcastle fans like me if I’m honest.

I think it is the modern way football has evolved that I’m struggling to buy into.  You see, I’m from an age that precedes the internet, mobile phones, transfer windows, the Bosman ruling, retiring shirt numbers (not to mention one to eleven) and SKY bloody sports!!!

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Back in my youth, when NUFC were pretty awful, once the final game was over and the cup final put to bed, the summer was about getting away from the football routine and doing something completely different for a while.  I used to play back then too, so it was nice to have a break from dragging yourself out of bed on a cold and wet morning with a hangover.

The endless speculation about who every club is linked with, is quite frankly tedious to me.

I show an interest when the blokes actually signed and is having his official photo taken in a black and white shirt, before that, it’s all just a waste of time and effort getting interested.

Back in the day, if we signed a few players then great but I don’t think we got so caught up in the way the football media ‘searches’ for a story these days just to satisfy what exactly?  I might chat about it occasionally with work mates but not the daily inquest as to why this player or that player is going to sign for NUFC.

But that’s the modern way it seems.  Not just daily gossip but constant speculation.

I liked the old days of The Mag when I could sit and read it in a leisurely manner which could take me a couple of weeks during my lunch break usually.  Now there’s enough opinion on a daily basis to fill an old issue of The Mag every single day.

Do people not have other things going on in their lives?  I’m sure many do and that’s probably why all these people telling season ticket holders not to go to the match, or give the club (Ashley) their hard earned cash, make little inroads.  There just aren’t that many people with time to read all the opinions going, never mind agree with them all.

I just don’t have the time to read all the articles and most of them don’t interest me, or I tire of quickly reading the same issues.  Maybe since I don’t read them all I’ll regurgitate similar things here?  It’s all a bit too serious at times and I miss the funny and alternative pieces that were the cornerstone of the magazine (pictured below).

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Then there is the comments section which seems to be a forum for people to abuse each other or the author for no other reason than having a difference of opinion from the safety of a keyboard in an unknown location.  Debates will always rage in the pub pre/post match on these issues but it never turns to personal insults, funny that!!

Ok, the internet lends itself to being more current than the magazine ever could be.  Having to hit deadlines that by the time they make it to print can be last week’s news is not always ideal.

Recent things that have annoyed me about football include the following:-

  • Loaning out new signings – so effectively buying somebody you have no intention of playing and giving them to someone else.

Sammy Ameobi??  This is a guy who has been at the club long enough to decide whether he’s any good or not.  Surely the decision to be made this time was either get rid of him or sign him up with a clear plan to coach and motivate him into a consistent first team performer.

Obviously nobody in the Premier League thinks he’s worth a punt so he ends up in the Championship, possibly his level.

Then we have the 2 Forest players, why?  Numerous clubs seem to do this to prevent other teams signing players who might potentially turn good at some point.  It just seems a big old waste of time and money having players on the books you can’t use.

  • I also don’t get how some people get so excited about some of our new signings.

Even The Mag website posts ‘class’ videos of these foreigners I’ve generally never heard of.  I don’t know anything about the players we have signed so far!!

Anyone can put a montage together of highlights of someone’s best bits.  I reckon I could do that for Obertan, Riviere and many others.  I’ve lost count of how many foreign players we have been linked with never mind signed, whom some fans seem to have such an expert opinion on.

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For me they are all an unknown quantity in the Premier League regardless of how they have performed in other countries.  It seems many would get rid of Cisse and have been quick to have a pop at him.  I think he was brilliant in an attacking team with support up front.

On the flip side he was hung out to dry in a failing team playing as a lone striker running his pods off.  Put a montage of his NUFC time together (minus the red cards or course) and people would be falling over themselves to get him signed up sharpish.

  • Letting talent go and retaining dross.

As one example, Abeid is surely a player we should be giving a chance to.  He has been out on loan and come back a different animal.  I’d give him this season to establish himself around the team given we need a squad.

Or is this NUFC finally showing some balls to get rid of people they do not believe in, much like Mourhino did to us with Chelsea’s rejects.  If so, then why the scenario with Sammy as previously described?  Well, it seems it is because his contract is up in a year so they want to cash in now.  Some folk in uproar as Jonas and RTaylor were peddled?  I’d let Colo go too.  In my opinion they have served their time and someone else needs to step in and hopefully do much better.

  • Did Mike Ashley need to tell the footballing world that this was going to be the season he was finally going to spend his (sorry, our) money.

That’s probably increased the value of several players already.  Probably why Charlie Austin is suddenly worth as much as Alan Shearer was.

Yes, refreshing to hear him speak.  No, I don’t trust him with what he said about progressing the team.  Ambivalent to his philosophy for the club, definitely.  Yes Mike, communication is good but don’t give away your plan to the competition!

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  • Non-impartial and unopposed pundits and commentators.

Niall Quinn on SKY talking all things Newcastle, Paul Scholes slating Man City every time they play Champions League on ITV, are just two examples where the teams actually playing don’t always have a representative of their own.

I’m sure I watched a Liverpool game where the pundits were made up of 4 ex-Scousers and Robbie Savage!!  Let’s have some balance please, or I’ll continue to get annoyed and turn the TV off in a huff.

  • The FA and Premier League double standards.

I’ve seen videos of players this past season lashing out or grabbing people by the throat, but depending on who it is or which club is involved, seems to define whether it’s bad enough for a ban or not.

Then we have issues like Mackems being sent off,  when the ref clearly states he made the decision so it can’t be re-refereed which don’t even result in a retrospective ban for the culprit.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a decision in football where someone should clearly have been punished and yet nobody was.

Even more amazing is those other clubs at the bottom didn’t seem to think it might affect their status in the division and didn’t make anything of it.  Then when you compare this to the McManaman challenge on Haidara which they buried their heads in the sand with…well I could crush a grape, rip a tissue and jump off a doll’s house!!!

Atmosphere, tickets, away games, home games, journalists, SKY scheduling, money money money, loyalty (Fabian Delph anyone?), replica shirts, teenagers on superstar wages, 25 year old ‘kids’ still turning out for the reserves but nowhere near the first team, first teamers not even playing reserve football blah blah blah etc etc etc – I’ll leave the moaning there for the time being.

It’s not just NUFC that this affects but most clubs in the top division and some in the championship too.  We’ve got a new manager and some new players.

They all start with a clean slate and will be judged from this point forth.  I do feel mighty relieved that super John isn’t going to be steering the ship.  However, is this going to be any different from all the other seasons of mediocrity we’ve been exposed to?  My head tells me not but my heart hopes for something more positive.  Not long now to discover which NUFC will turn up this season.

So I’ll continue to prefer a summer of camping, cycling, summer holidays, lazy weekends, trips to the beach or the countryside – anything different really so I can recharge my footballing batteries and start the season with a fresh head.

I’ve already forgotten most of the previous seasons as there wasn’t much to want to remember.

Fingers crossed we aren’t writing this one off by Christmas.

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