I feel compelled to send this correspondence as the tension of imminent relegation grips all followers of Newcastle United.
This drama, that is season 2015-2016, is viewed from afar, as my connection to this club was born out of the black and white strip and moniker of the Magpies.
My club is the (Aussie Rules) Collingwood Football Club in Australia (Black and White stripes and called the Magpies). The Premier League is very keenly followed in this country and, naturally, a huge number of Collingwood fans follow Newcastle.
However, this season something strange happened…….my passion for Newcastle has grown enormously even though their season is bordering on ludicrous.
I feel there is a great similarity between both clubs and that’s not just the similarity of colours and nicknames.
Collingwood was born out of the slums of Melbourne and the club identified itself as a club of the people. It’s a blue collar club that has always looked after its people, especially through depressions and bouts of unemployment.
Collingwood took the battler in. The battler finally felt a belonging in their life and it allowed them to, just for a moment, forget about the hardships they faced on a daily basis.
This, over the decades, led to Collingwood becoming strong because the battler on the street could relate to this club. By taking them in and looking after them, the club, in return, received undivided loyalty.
Now the club has over 80,000 members, boasts the largest supporter base in Australia and plays its home games at the MCG. They have a young team and aspire to play finals again this season.
To me, the fabric of Newcastle seems similar. A working class club that is the pride and joy of its people and a bastion of freedom for the supporter who is continually facing the hardships of life.
Blue collar clubs (Collingwood / Newcastle) survive and succeed on HONESTY. Every person who has played a game of football at any level can assess honesty of performance. That’s the moment you look at yourself in the mirror after the game and say, “Did I give 100% today”??
This is a key ingredient that seems to be missing from Newcastle at the moment. The current squad seems to turn this aspect on and off like a tap. If the group can display HONESTY during all games it will unlock the key component to survival………….the people.
At present, the people are divided, as I read so many negative stories about the club, manager and players.
Granted, criticism is warranted on a number of occasions, especially at managerial level, but if honesty in performance is achieved then the people will respond. The passion of the Newcastle people was evident when Mitrovic scored the winner against West Brom a few weeks ago. The roar and emotion of the crowd at St James Park could be felt through a television set 17,000kms away.
It’s this tsunami that has to galvanise this club to survive this season.
Oh, and when the club does avoid relegation it has the following players all 26 years of age or younger on its list: Wijnaldum, Shelvey, Townsend, Dummett, Aarons, Perez, Mbemba, Saivet, Mbabu, Haidara, Thauvin, Mitrovic, Armstrong, Lascelles.
Recruit an ambitious manager, keep all your youngsters and attract strong defensive players who are blue collar and will play with an attitude that befits the Newcastle region, then watch this club rise once again.
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