Last night I awoke in the middle of the night, filled with a horrible feeling of anxiety for hours, worrying about my first true love – Newcastle United.
Relegation is not certain…but it is creeping forever closer, and if Saturday´s performance against Southampton is repeated, then it is guaranteed.
I don’t have the time or the inclination to list the players’ failings from that game specifically, or this season in general, but suffice is to say that more of them looked like they didn’t care than those who seemed like they might.
So relegation is almost certainly happening, we have a bunch of players who for the most part don’t appear to care about that fact, an owner who is profit driven and probably more interested in the current state of Sports Direct. An MD who fails to inspire, a head scout who was rewarded for doing his job once with an 8 year contract and subsequently a position on the ‘board’, plus a world renowned manager brought in too late to stop the rot.
We all know this and nothing new has been said there. There is also nothing Newcastle fans can plausibly do about this.
So what can we do?
In recent history we have had: the Pardew Out campaign, the Ashley Out campaign, we have booed the team off the pitch, mass walkouts and staged protests. The list goes on.
My position on the aforementioned efforts is irrelevant, but at the end of the day we still have a team that is performing terribly at football/their job and hurtling towards Championship football. We all still end up in a bad mood most Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons. We still have the same owner.
Looking at the attitude of a lot of the players, both under McClaren (with motivational guru Steve Black…) and now under Benitez, they just don’t look like they care. It is also not always the same players. There seems to be something inherently wrong with the club at the moment.
The fans cannot fix that with any campaign, walkout or universal disapproval. Yes, protests have worked at other clubs such as Liverpool but circumstances vary and we are not privy to those differences.
So again, what can we do?
Instead of going to the game praying for a win and some faint hope and then ‘ahhhhhh-ing’ every misplaced pass, or to air some grievances at Sissoko et al for their blatant disregard of the shirt that means so much to us…why not show an international audience (we are on Sky against Man City on Tuesday night) what a terrific club we really are, and what amazing fans we have?
Let’s stop getting irritated by the media questioning the atmosphere at St James Park and providing ammo for people like Sam Allardyce to put in their two penneth. A toxic atmosphere does nothing positive for anyone. If you want to tell the players how sh*te they are, do it on Twitter.
The Dortmund fans (pictured below) made international news (I live in Spain) for their atmosphere last week when they sang You´ll Never Walk Alone with Liverpool. Granted, they have a lot to sing about and I believe it´s also an anthem of theirs, but German clubs have been heavily praised for their atmosphere and approach to support even when the going gets tough.
I believe PSV were championed on here when one of their star players left to join a certain relegation destined team in Northern England. We have all seen the videos on Youtube/Benchwarmers etc of fans singing loudly, waving flags etc. almost oblivious to the football game at times.
So why not treat the game against Man City as a testimonial as such.
Imagine a game with loads of scarves, flags and songs about legends such as Alan Shearer (see image below), Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan.
About players who weren’t as gifted but at least tried, such as Kevin Nolan, Ryan Taylor and Shay Given.
About current players who we might like a tiny bit (I have a soft spot for Mitro after trying to play whilst looking like he had done 2 rounds with Joshua).
Why not belt out some anthems like the Blaydon Races instead of the self mocking negative songs about how sh*te we are?
Imagine a packed St James full of Black and White paying glorious tribute to times gone by as we accept our fate heading into a potential period of transition as Aguero puts City 4-0 up? What would all of our critics make of such an atmosphere when they are quick to throw around the words poison and toxic?
Or better still, imagine Mitro powering a header past Hart in the 93rd minute to complete two consecutive 93rd minute home victories?! (We can dream).
Maybe if the former happens, the US investors looking to buy Swansea will see that our fans are better, we are good value considering our Championship plight and they want to be part of something. Maybe not. But it beats shouting at each other, being in a bad mood for the entire game and going home angry.
I’m not saying we should accept defeat, or that this is a revolutionary idea that will change anything, but now more than ever I appreciate the effort that was put in by players gone by. Why not thank them for that, to demonstrate how alienated we are with the current crop.
The message would maybe hit home harder if our atmosphere made national news for how good it was, and the players might just question how they can put in such futile effort for fans so great.
I know this is fanciful, and is easy for me to say as I won’t be at the game versus Man City. But I will be watching a stuttering stream from Bilbao praying that I am proud to watch Newcastle United once again. To expect that pride to be provided by the players is more fanciful.
For those at The Mag and nufc.com, your coverage of Newcastle is second to none and previous negative campaigns have received at least neutral – but widespread coverage.
How about a Geordie Call to Arms?
A Tuesday night against Man City, everyone bring their Shearer testimonial scarves, their flags and ignore what’s on the pitch, and have 50,000 Newcastle fans collectively acknowledge the past and maybe, just maybe, affect the future.