I’ve been thinking about writing to a Man City fanzine ever since the unfortunate home game featuring Tiote’s disallowed goal.
I picked up the thread from Twitter of an oft-repeated line from City fans that I have heard many times over the years – in person, through the internet and at matches against this particular opponent.
Basically the average Man City fan seems to intensely dislike Newcastle for being glory hunters, pointing to lower attendances prior to our 1993 Premier League debut and ‘Entertainers’ era as evidence of a fickle, half-cocked support not fit to share a stadium with the long suffering blue half.
This is normally supported by a ridiculously inaccurate and unsubstantiated statistic along the lines of ‘average crowds of 9,000’, dismissing the fact that our arrival coincided with the Sky TV era Premier League kicking in, and attendances rocketing all over the country, as well as failing to research Newcastle’s consistently healthy home gates against national average down the years, irrespective of what division we’ve been in.
Anyway, the question I want to ask Man City is, “Where’s the glory please? Where are all the cups and titles and fabulous experiences that we’re so clearly all here for?” I’ll tell you where it is, it’s at your ground, because Man City are winning things, smashing everyone and topping up their attendances with day trippers now, whereas Newcastle are in possibly the worst kind of hell we’ve ever been in, and we’ve still won nowt for 45 years.
At least when you’re in the lower reaches of the second division you’ve got hope. Hope you can get promoted, maybe have a go at the league cup. When your club has its soul sucked out and you live a mid-scale existence of hopeless nothingness, then you’ve felt real pain. Then it takes something to keep coming back, to support your team because they’re your team, in spite of a fundamental dislike of the premise of their current existence.
Which brings me to the latest question: to jack or not to jack? The sound of season ticket renewals being ripped up is deafening at the minute as more and more people swear off NUFC until the Ashley regime goes. But is it the right thing to do?
If thousands rap in now, will their abandonment be fuel for Man City and suchlike to point out our fickle nature at deserting the club at a time of desperation? Mike Ashley is not Newcastle United and never will be, the club is still there underneath all the gaudy advertisement and well-balanced spreadsheets. If this regime has another season then a billionaire bankroller takes us on in the style of Sheik Mansour, are we inviting the glory hunter tag when people come back post-Ashley?
Alternatively, are those that are keeping the tickets the mugs? Lining the pockets of someone who actively takes the p*** while enduring weekends of misery, pointlessness and, occasionally, humiliation when the time and money could be spent on your family or doing something less masochistic, could be described as the actions of a daft lad.
No doubt anyone maintaining their interest will have to endure many a sanctimonious lecture from shiny arses who don’t like football, enlightening you on what a miserable misuse of lovely money and human emotion you are foolishly involved in.
I’ve even heard a conspiracy theory that Ashley, ever the ruthless businessman, may be utterly determined to break the Newcastle fans after perceived personal threats to him and his family after the Keegan debacle, the protest march etc. If this is the plan then a) he’s doing a grand job and b) we could be stuck in this state of suspended animation for many years to come yet, as he turns the screw and turns a profit.
There’s no right or wrong answer.
I would say, if you enjoy the matchdays, make your peace with what you’re signed up to and don’t let it break you.
If it’s been ruined for you and has become a chore; walk away, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.
As for any Man City fans reading this, let us know when we’ve suffered enough for your liking.
You can follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf
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