Much has been said about the failings of both the team and individuals on Saturday but people don’t seem quite as comfortable talking about the failings of the Newcastle fans inside St James Park for the defeat by Wolves.
As usual the effort of the Newcastle away following at both QPR and Derby County couldn’t be faulted but what happens these days when fifty thousand of us gather together inside St James Park.
Basically, unless things are going very well the atmosphere is non-existent.
Obviously every single one of us is responsible as individuals but whatever binds the travelling fans together, certainly isn’t there at home games.
I thought the team were poor against Wolves but you could hardly accuse them of lack of effort, well apart from Ayoze Perez maybe – his failure to chase down balls and track back had the bloke next to me at risk of the veins popping on his forehead.
There might not have been loads of them doing it but the only sound at half-time was booing from a significant minority of Newcastle fans.
On the back of six wins in a row and a six goal away win four days earlier, are these people for real?
Sadly, the Gallowgate Flags initiative is all a bit irrelevant when it comes to the actual match, waving flags before kick-off clearly has zero benefit to the atmosphere once the whistle goes. The only way it will deliver any real benefits is if the club allow the flags during the game and give fair warning to those who might not want a flag waved in front of them to move their season ticket.
The reality is that we have the best positioned football stadium in the entire country, a hundred+ drinking establishments within 5/10 minutes, why would anybody be leaving the pre-match patter in the bars to go inside the ground before they have to?
Undoubtedly, the biggest help would be a move to safe standing areas, preferably behind both goals. It would be a major step forward for the club to give their backing to this idea (Celtic have now got standing sections back at their ground now), rather than only play at the idea of helping the atmosphere (letting fans raise money and pay for flags to be waved pre-match).
For the moment though, I have to say that the group of fans I feel both most sorry for AND get irate at, are the teenagers.
Back in the day when you could stand where you wanted, once you got the chance you gravitated towards the part of the ground with the best atmosphere. Which for me was the old Leazes until they pulled it down, then the Gallowgate corner.
I don’t know whether they are going to be a lost generation as football fans when it comes to atmosphere but when I look around where I am, they are generally slouched in their seats half asleep and/or trying to film stuff on their phones.
Sad or what!
They should be the ones bouncing around, singing their hearts out for the lads and all that.
A couple of kids around 15 year old next to me only roused themselves to boo the players at half-time, then left with around 10 minutes to go – no doubt to get back home as soon as possible to go on their X-box or whatever.
Maybe that is simply the bottom line, kids these days are so used to sitting on their arses playing games, they don’t see anything strange in doing so at the match.
Just like my kids will thank me one day for kicking them out of the house to go and make their own entertainment unless it is torrential rain, they will see the benefits if/when standing areas return and they realise that filming a goal isn’t the pinnacle of being at the match.