It’s been a couple of weeks since the world nearly came to an end and I’m not talking about that bloke with the pudding basin haircut setting off his missiles. I’m obviously on about the transfer window.

The fallout from some fans on these pages would suggest that we are heading for oblivion, while the blind faith of some others, can border on that shown by followers of one of those dodgy cults in America.

So here are a few paragraphs from someone too close to being 60 years old, trying to see things from both sides.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think this Newcastle United transfer window was the worst we have ever seen, although that is faint praise indeed. The bar isn’t exactly high. I believe the transfer window has simply been the final straw for many and has been the catalyst for those fans to blow a fuse.

Sadly for many of us old farts, we have seen it all before. The current debacle reminds me so much of the   1988 -1992 period.

I vividly remember standing on the Goodison Terraces with 7,000 others for the first game of the 88/89 season.  Full of drink and full of optimism for what was ahead. The game kicks off and I turn to my brother and mumble of few incoherent words in his ear. We have a big bear hug and then hear a roar. I look back at the pitch to see Tony Cottee running off to celebrate his 30 second goal. Optimism wiped out in less than a minute. Only at Newcastle bloody United.

By the time we got to the end of October, we were rock bottom with one win in the first eight. This included being 3-0 down at home at half time to Coventry, the atmosphere inside St James Park was toxic.

I’m now ashamed to say that I was one of those in the new Milburn Stand who left his seat at half time to stand over the tunnel in order to hurl dogs abuse at the likes of Cornwell, Brock and Tinnion as they came out for the second half.

I now realise that any last bit of confidence they may have had, was wiped out the minute they stepped back onto the pitch. What kind of supporter was I, doing this to people who didn’t earn that much more than the fans and would end up selling insurance or running a pub. (Unless you know different, these lads didn’t end up as Millionaires, like the mediocre squad numbers do now).

I was sick, tired & angry and had reached the end of my patience. After yet another false dawn, I wanted to see change.  I wanted to see a board that had the same passion for the club as its fans.

However, not everyone felt the same.  Fans turned on each other as the season headed for its inevitable conclusion, culminating in punches being thrown amongst the 14,000 who bothered to turn up at the last two home games.

I remember being trapped in the toilets by two very angry old blokes (probably about 40) – ‘What are you still doing here if you don’t want to support the lads. Take your moaning to Sunderland, you bloody mackem’.

I told myself that this was the end , that I wasn’t watching them in the second division again, and I wouldn’t return until the regime changed.  For what it was worth, my season ticket was theatrically thrown on the pitch after the Millwall game.

Of course commitment to my boycott lasted 12 weeks. The lure of Leeds as the first game of the season saw me heading up to the ground, along with 24,000 others. The club was back in Division 2 but getting virtually the same crowds as before (down by a thousand). Does that sound familiar?

So why did the John Hall takeover succeed a few years later?  In my opinion, the major difference between then and now is that it took the club to be on the verge of oblivion before change occurred.  For all our problems at the minute, we are nowhere near that position today.

Now if we had not come back up last season and had seen a second season end up like that of Aston Villa, then I do believe 20,000 plus would have  voted with their feet and quit. This would have led to a half empty stadium , with little media exposure and much less revenue  coming in, and this  would have brought about change.

Because the owner would have wanted it.

The sad truth is that as long as this club is hanging onto the bottom branch of the Premier League money tree, nothing is going to change.

Ironically, I think the strongest and most fervent my support has ever been for this club was in the 92 season, when we plummeted towards the third division. I was close to being unhinged at those iconic games with Portsmouth, Derby and Leicester.

My support was certainly a damn sight better then, than it has been during the past ten years.

Therefore I’m not going to judge anyone on the stance they are currently taking, because I don’t think it’s as simple as “happy clapper” or “anarchist”.

I will leave you with a quote, which I think comes from an 18th century philosopher called Voltaire.

“I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Or was that  Joey Barton on Talksport?

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])



  • Rich Lawson

    It’s always better when your winning,even in the Champioship,Even better than the result on Sunday was the way we played as a team and some unexpected individual performances,lvd Gamez,if we can get a win over Stoke this must be a start none of us really expected,but some of the budget buys don’t look so bad now ?

    • Kneebotherm8

      Gamez was one of Rafas sht buys,according to some,he never got a chance last year for some strange reason(he did have some injury problems). His performance at Swansea suggests to me that,when fit,he’s our best left back.

      • Geordie-7676

        Don’t be daft. He played well, and looked solid throughout, but don’t forget that he was up against a group of players that were lacking in ideas, that played the ball backwards and sideways for 90 minutes, very rarely threatening the flanks.

        I like Gamez, good old fashioned professional, who will probably give his all for the team when asked to do so, largely because he wont be able to believe his luck in actually being asked, but best left back? Not a chance.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Time will tell,we’ve seen Dummett play at this level and,unfortunately,he’s been made to look daft a good few times.

          • Geordie-7676

            Dummett deserves alot more plaudits than he receives. Very underrated by the masses, however, football matches are won and lost on mistakes, and if you actually watch him play, he very rarely puts a foot wrong.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Talking about the championship there?

  • Oooh bobbi fleckman

    Point of order Jinky, Brock had not been bought at that point, he was (always) Jim Smith’s first signing. I can’t recall Tinion being in the side at that point.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Tinnion played later that season- useless
      Brock signed in December.

  • Steve Pearce

    Don’t be so sure that nothing is going to change Jim. All I can tell you is that I’ve taken the first step towards reclaiming our beloved club and all will be revealed when I’ve gathered the support we need.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      You’ve re-mortgaged your house? good for you, everyone must to the same and look to invest in the club.

      As one of my lines says Money talks and Bull…. walks.

      • Steve Pearce

        So you must do a lot of walking, because I bet you don’t have the money to invest. Just keep your sarcasm to yourself and when the time is right as I said, you will find out.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          The only way to get rid of Mike Ashley is to buy his shares. Until fans realise this, it’s all hot air

          • Steve Pearce

            So are you going to buy all his shares then Bobbi? I thought not – you’ll find out my plans soon enough and I can assure you the only hot air involved is blowing out your ass!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’ll happily buy some shares, how much are you going for? £20k if you have kids us fair.

          • Steve Pearce

            I’m going for £3 million. Although I wouldn’t normally sell myself I have kids and grandkids to think of and that would be a fair price. But owning me would drive you mad and see you sent to a secure unit – which would suit me fine!

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            £3m is very good, 133 wealthy people like you, pledging that much will see us ‘Ashley Free’ in no time. I even think he’ll accept less.

          • Steve Pearce

            Read my comment again…

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I thought you were a little mixed up, for £3m I think you need to get down the docks but the hours are not good

          • Steve Pearce

            Ho ye pssst ye Vacuum Cleaner Kelley
            Ho ye pssst ye Pressure Cooker Tams

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’m sorry, I don’t have a clue what you are on about

          • Albert Stubbins

            lol- its Kelly btw mate

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          If this includes waving your mum’s bedsheet about with misspelt insults, I’d save yourself from getting into trouble

  • ghostrider

    I don’t see anything majorly wrong with the club to moan about, to be honest.
    I see plenty of um’s and arr’s about little tweaks we can do here and there….but that applies to every club in every league anywhere in the world.

    We might not be in the ideal position that we all want but we could be in a hell of a lot of worse bother.
    I want success in whatever shape or form that comes in. We all do.
    How many fans of how many clubs that are far bigger than Newcastle United and also in far bigger cities, do you think are dreaming of success but who are sitting in lower leagues and rarely gaining much forward ground?

    Sometimes it’s better to take off the blinkers and then walk backwards for long enough to see the bigger… wider, picture and try and understand that we are among the elite clubs and doing battle with them.

    I’ve seen the days of the old second division up to present day.
    The highs and the lows, or the good the bad and the downright ugly.
    That’s part of being a Newcastle united fan and also goes for 99% of other teams all over the world.

    • Dixon

      How much does Ashley want for the club ,and is it achievable

      • ghostrider

        I’m not too sure. I’ve heard 400 million mentioned but that’s basic speculation at this point.
        There’s only one kind of group or person that can buy Newcastle United and run it how a certain section of fans want it run and that’s to have owners that are willing to put in their own personal fortune as a present and not as a loan.

        This will be denied but that’s all I can think it can be .
        Fans running it could not scrape that kind of money up unless a rich fan has the ability to go cap in hand to a bank and basically put up the entire club as collateral in the even of defaulted payments.

        Or weirdly, we could have an owner like Ashley who does allow spends and who does actually know how to run a club without bank begging or placing the very structure of the club in peril.

        • Oooh bobbi fleckman

          If 50,000 natchgoers coughed up £10k each that buys it and leaves a pot for working capital / rainy days.

          Keep the club as it is, with its cost base, that gives a profit (staying in the EPL) of £50m a year. That is a good investment.

          Add to the fact that the majority on this forum say we can get another £25m in perimeter advertising and £10m in merchandise, that’s £85m.

          Also, were told by experts on here that our corporate income should go up, the investors are looking at their money back in 4 years!

          • ghostrider

            Yeah I agree with you, it looks fantastic and those that want to be a part of buying it are in for a right treat, aren’t they.
            I wonder how long it would be before they start looking in the mirror and shouting…GET OUT OF OUR CLUB. Haha.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            The owners based in Newcastle can blame the cockney mafia owners

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        If all fans put their money where their mouth is, then yes, it’s achievable.

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    One of the major differences between the time you talk about and now is that the club’s hierarchy then was pretty anonymous nationally. It is doubtful if many outside the area could have told you who McKeag or Westwood were or what line of business they were in.
    In contrast, nearly everyone knows who and what Ashley is. I tell you this: he has robbed this club of every last shred of its dignity. If you don’t appreciate this, it just shows how far you have become desensitised.
    Yes, we got relegated that season, but at least the money Newcastle got for Beardsley was re-invested. It wouldn’t have been if Ashley had been in charge. Then again, the supporters then wouldn’t have tolerated him the way the SJP faithful do now.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      The Beardsley money was spent on the Millburn stand.

    • Albert Stubbins

      he wouldnt have attended games the way he does now- and the atmosphere at home games would have been toxic – thats modern day football Im afraid.

  • Lord

    In more recent history, we are nowhere near the debacle of the KK/Wise/Xisco/Milner fiasco -> JK -> Shearer season that ended in relegation, player sales but no new recruits, Shearer being snubbed and a disastrous pre-season. We take for granted now that we bounced straight back from that previous year of preposterous mis-management.

    • Peter

      All credit to Hughton and the senior players in 2009/10 for sorting it out…even if it did take a 6-1 pre-season friendly defeat at Orient…

  • S.G.M.

    One glaring, obvious difference between them days and now is that money is generated by TV audiences and not Gate receipts. It matters not one bit what the fans think, or even if they turn-up.

    • Guest 2

      Wouldn’t quite say that. Gate and matchday income was 25 million for 15/16.

  • Mal

    The glue holding everything together at the present time is Rafa. Whatever you might say about individual weaknesses he has a young, enthusiastic team who seem to be playing for each other and for the shirt. He also has them really well organised. So far they are punching above their weight; Moreno is the one making the big difference I think as he is so quick to get up to support the lone striker. HTL.

  • Martin

    David Kelly’s goal against Portsmouth still remains my favourite ever goal. We were minutes away from Division 3 and it was such a classic volley. It was mayhem in the scoreboard.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Aye , unhappy days back in late 80;s- just got me first s.ticket at the time as well, lol ps You didnt hurl abuse at Kevin Brock in October against coventry- he didnt sign until December- Jim Smith signed him, lol good article though mate.