I have had a few interesting conversations with Newcastle fans since the end of the season.
Well when I say ‘Newcastle fans’, I mean specifically younger supporters, which in this case scenario means under 40 and especially any under the age of 35 or so.
I know we are the bookies’ favourites to come straight back up and I think that is the most likely thing to happen BUT whe you start talking about life in the Championship longer term you can see eyes glazing over.
I’m only 50 and yet when I talk about the dark days of years spent in the second tier, you would think you were chatting about Doodlebugs and rationing.
Then it struck me, what does relegation actually mean to anybody under the age of 40?
What it equates to is having a bit of a laugh visiting loads of different grounds, winning nearly every week, amassing 102 points and scoring 90 goals, then strolling back into the Premier League.
This is of course how it looks for the under 40s because the only real solid memory they will have is that 2009/10 season – because you are going back 25 years or so for the last proper miserable typical second division/tier season – in 1991/92.
It sums up how relatively privileged younger/under 40 Newcastle fans have been, in terms of being in the top division at least.
It then hit me just how poor Newcastle generally were when I was first going to the matches.
I had gone to odd games with older relatives but my first regular every home match season was 1978/79, the season after relegation under Richard Dinnis.
I have just worked out that 10 of my first 15 seasons as a regular at St James Park was watching second division football – from 1978-1984 and 1989-1993.
Only the Keegan inspired Beardsley, Waddle, Gazza era of the mid-80s was spent watching football in the top division.
I’m just glad it wasn’t the all-seater grounds no atmosphere era that we have now. The football might have been rubbish but what a laugh we had following Newcastle home and away on the terraces.
These days it is really only about being in the Premier League when you are a club like Newcastle, it is farcical if with out advantages of fanbase and stadium etc that we aren’t straight back into the top division at the first attempt.
Spending a few seasons in the Championship wouldn’t be much of a laugh these days, it would harm both the club and the support – the only massive silver lining would be if it sickened Mike Ashley enough to make him sell.
So in days gone by, I honour those times in the second tier but we can’t afford to make this more than a temporary stop, anything more than one season wouldn’t be very funny.
Sad to say but being in the Premier League is what it is only about now, so kids(!), let’s hope this stay isn’t for keeps.