I was barely two months old when I saw Newcastle win the FA Cup – put in my pram and walked by my parents from Hebburn to South Shields to the only friends with a TV.
I was on the cinder track in front of the Gallowgate wing paddock on Good Friday 1965 to see promotion secured against Bolton.
I was under the Leazes Shed against Ujpest Doza and found Radio Budapest’s English language short wave broadcast of the first half of the second leg.
Now I am on the verge of resigning my membership of the Toon Army.
Why’? I’ve come to realise that Newcastle United is not a club of which I am a member. It’s a business run by an owner with a similar degree of pride in his product to Gerald Ratner. And a similar degree of respect for his customers.
We know something of the Ashley business model. Pile it high, sell it cheap. Hire lots of minimum wage temporary agency staff and drive them with the threat of the sack. It’s only that last element missing from SJP.
Great virtue has been made of scouring Europe for players offering “value” and of driving hard bargains over transfer fees and wages.
Players signed with a view to being sold and not with a view to thrilling the crowds.
So why are Newcastle United in such a mess?
I fear the answer is that the penny has dropped with too many Newcastle players. Why was I signed? Because I came cheap. What a great motivation to be the best I can be. I know I am paid in a week as much as many of the punters earn in a year but it’s a sight less than many a player no better than me playing for a big money club. Another great motivation.
But best of all, I have a fixed term contract that means they can’t sack me and, even if I’m sent out on loan to play in League 2, they have to pay my wages. So, if I have to play I will. What does it matter if I only make the bench? Better still, to be left out of the team and able to stay at home under the duvet.
Look around your own workplace. Do the temps give of their very best? Or those who see themselves as underpaid? Or those who scour the paper for the next job.
That’s it. Mind made up. I quit
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