This weekend encapsulates Newcastle United for me at this moment in time, I feel like the club is now the equivalent of the stereotypical big lass who is left looking after the coats whilst her friends are up on the dance floor having fun fun fun.
Football/NUFC is all about dreams and aspirations,’ this year could be the one’, that should surely go for a supporter of any team.
Obviously reality intervenes as well, so if you are a club representing a small town/catchment area then your realistic dreams/aspirations may be to get promoted to League one or Two, and get to the last sixteen/thirty two of the cups and draw one of the big boys.
You might even in your wildest dreams do what Bradford did last season and get to a cup final, despite being a League Two side.
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Or how about this, a club almost goes out of business and is saved by the fans and their money, the ‘ordinary’ supporters collectively owning 20% of their club and the rest of the shares owned by local businessmen/fans.
Then within a generation that club goes all the way through the leagues and establishes itself in the Premier League, builds a new stadium and actually wins a trophy!
That club of course being Swansea who beat Bradford 5-0 in last season’s League Cup final and have only just seen their European adventure end in recent weeks.
Can you imagine the journey somebody who began going to matches in the nineties/noughties has had!!
The Welsh club are surely the ultimate present day example of a football club absolutely maximising its potential…and the rest.
Then we have Newcastle United.
Tenth best supported club in Europe last season and in almost every year’s Deloitte list of the top 20 clubs by revenue, in the World, before Mike Ashley arrived.
Sitting here on Saturday morning with no game this weekend because Newcastle no longer ‘do’ cups. When I say ‘do’, I don’t even mean actually winning something but at least trying – you know, like Everton do who we should have been playing tomorrow, but who are instead hoping to be on their way to Wembley after their lunchtime match today. The odds are against them as it is away to Arsenal but the thing is they are having a go, that’s all we ask for. Bit like the mackems are doing, twice over this season.
The latest message being pushed over a period of time to brainwash as many fans as possible, is that trying in the cups is really stupid for a club like ‘us’. So we got Alan Pardew saying ‘thank god’ we weren’t in Europe again, wanting to blame the European campaign for the near relegation last season, not wanting to say that the reality is that Mike Ashley making no money available for players in summer 2012 was easily the main factor in that near disaster.
The message is, try in the cups and we will all suffer, pointing to clubs like Birmingham and Wigan as justification for sitting on the sidelines idly looking after the coats, while everybody worth their salt is having a go.
Newcastle United are not Birmingham or Wigan. We aren’t better fans than they have, we just have an awful lot more and support a club that should reflect that. Yes TV money is vital these days and of course those who receive Champions League money have a massive advantage BUT having lots of fans should bring you a lot more money than those who don’t. Not just in terms of gate receipts but right through to commercial deals, merchandise and even down to pies, pints and 3 course meals for the corporates – more fans equals more money, lots more fans should equal lots more money.
Plus we have a massive modern (redeveloped) ground in a city centre location able to host small events right up to major conferences. Clubs like Everton should have been left far behind us.
Many thousands of fans have packed in their season tickets for next season and stopped their direct debits.
It wasn’t getting stuffed by the mackems or Spurs at St.James’ park that was the final straw for most.
Supporters have gradually realised that we are being taken for mugs by Mike Ashley and any belief in the club while he is charge has been chipped away until something very ugly has been exposed, with nothing left to chip away.
That Cardiff FA Cup match in January when Newcastle were already safe in the Premier League, yet Cabaye was given the weekend off and Remy was left on the bench until five minutes to go.
I think that was the moment so many people thought, ‘I’ve had enough’.
At any time that big lass can shout one of her mates over to look after the coats and get up and strut her stuff with the best of them again.
One day it will happen – but not while Mike Ashley is still there.