Newcastle United – Our Club, My Era
As Morrissey’s lyrics ring true and ‘Bigmouth’ does indeed strike again, I for one am sick of hearing about Joe Kinnear.
Newcastle never seem to learn from their mistakes; we are constantly stuck in a cycle of stability and chaos. This got me thinking about how we, the supporters of Newcastle, individually perceive our club.
How each of us see and support Newcastle will be different. Yes, of course, there are overarching similarities such as our hate of the colour red, affinity with magpies and love of Bobby Robson. However, the period we have grown up in will have dictated our perception of what supporting Newcastle means, while also altering our expectations.
I was born at the beginning of the 1991 season. Of course, I can’t remember anything around that time so my football timeline started when I was five and the reign of King Kev. I remember my dad taking me to the odd game and a buzz of excitement as ‘the entertainers’ gained plaudits from all around the footballing world. Nights against Barcelona and demolitions of Manchester United were etched in my mind as the optimistic; entertainment loving brain of mine was developed. Oh, how I was set up for a fall.
Growing up with Newcastle teetering on the edge of brilliance caused my expectations to rise. By the time Bobby Robson came to the helm I was adamant success was round the corner. Yet my dad remained grounded; almost pessimistic in my eyes. At the time I didn’t understand it – I went to every game expecting us to win. For a while I was reassured in my beliefs as Bobby lifted us to the lofty heights of third and some Champions League success (I’ll always remember watching Craig Bellamy scoring against Feyenoord to put us through).
This purple patch in Newcastle’s history was followed by a number of years whereby my expectations and optimism have been reduced; Souness and Allardyce the main culprits. In a way it helped me swallow the bitter pill of relegation. Although it was still a shock, right up until the final whistle, my beloved Newcastle had been on the decline for a number of years. A team I had expected, as a youngster, to win things, challenge for titles and silverware, were humiliated down at Villa. For many, including myself, this was a reality check.
Although I can’t speak for Newcastle fans as a whole, I for one most certainly get easily caught up in the whirlwind of success. While my expectations were momentarily grounded following relegation, last season provided reason enough to bring back the optimism. We had stability, excitement and a brilliant foundation to build upon. But lo and behold we shoot ourselves in the foot – again. And when I say ‘we’, I mean Mike Ashley, Alan Pardew and the players. Yet in a way I blame myself. My childhood is filled with memories of Newcastle in the Champions League and making record breaking signings – I can’t seem to lower my expectations from these.
I now understand why my Dad was more grounded during the Robson days and, while he always wants us to win, has away days of the old division two and a fear of being relegated further stuck in his mind, to cause a more realistic approach. It is interesting to talk to people and their memories of Newcastle United. I can only feel for those who have Joe Kinnear’s time at Newcastle as a base for their perceptions of Newcastle. I hope one day my generation’s lofty, almost delusional, expectations of Newcastle will be realised.
I’d love to hear about fans who grew up in different eras to me, love hearing about Newcastle’s great history.
You can follow Patrick @paddygall26 and visit his very own blog here
New issue of our magazine on sale in all Tyneside newsagents, or to order online now for only £3 (plus postage) CLICK HERE or why not start a subscription – prices from only £23 CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]