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Bobby Moncur – In Defence Of The Indefensible

6 years ago
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Very sad to see Bobby Moncur stuck in reverse.

Having supported Newcastle United for just short of 20 years, like many others I’m struggling to remind myself of a time where I’ve found it harder to derive meaning from my relationship with the club.

This bond however, is unconditional, for which I’m grateful. There’s no getting rid of me and I couldn’t ever get rid of Newcastle United.

Subsequently, there was always going to come a time when hope would return to lighten up the dark thoughts, thoughhts that have been successful in suffocating dreams and optimism over this excruciating period.

That moment occurred between the 60th and 69th minute of Saturday’s game against Cardiff City, when St. James’ Park roared back in anger. A sign of passion, but more importantly a manifestation of the support that no people like our governing powers can ever curb. It was a welcome reminder of the club I once fell in love with.

The widely discussed reasons for shifting from a 60th to 69th minute walkout were nostalgic and appealed to a time in which the club came close to fulfilling its unquestionable potential.

It is therefore disappointing and somewhat saddening to see one of the most celebrated characters of Newcastle United’s history, Bob Moncur, a man closely connected with that time, miss the point by such a big distance when he tries to share his assessment of our current plight in today’s Chronicle.

It mirrors the sentiments of a few other ex-players and club associates – John Anderson on Total Sport being the most obvious example on a more frequent basis, consistently asking what fans are hoping for in the light of Manchester City’s investments and expressing sympathy for the “pinioned manager.”

In his column, Moncur not only bemoans the efforts of supporters who want a club to pride themselves in, but also inexplicably justifies his arguments with the fact that he played for the club 40 years ago. In his own words, he therefore “knows more than the average fan.”

In other words, he’s telling us to listen to him. So I decided to listen and read it again and again.

In what way he makes use of this knowledge and provide us with more informed insights, I don’t know. Like many others, Moncur resorts to an egotistical rhetoric in which his personal experiences and affiliation with professional football gives him the right to tell others what’s right and what’s wrong if you “really care about the club.”

He tries to be diplomatic in his graceful gesture of entitling other people to their own opinion, but ultimately retreats to vague and irrelevant arguments regarding a top-ten finish and having less money than Chelsea. ‘Who should Newcastle have finished ahead of this season?’ he asks, echoing one of the most used and ill-conceived arguments surrounding the question of Pardew’s future.

The tiresome misconception that fans are angry because Newcastle United are not heading for the Champions League is belittling and insulting to the intellectual capacity of the people opposing Pardew.

It’s not because we’re not finishing above the best clubs in the country people want him out. Neither can excuses be found in the argument that “he has to work with Ashley.” He’s been consistent in defending Ashley and all his principles, dedicating wins and advocating his idea of an impossible transfer market.

The explanation lies elsewhere. The 9th place is not a reflection of what the club currently represents to people who care most about it. The 9th place is not why Pardew has to go. It’s because he’s slowly but surely downsizing and tailoring Newcastle United to his own limited, negative and boring idea of what this club should be. It’s not because of the past 6 games.

It’s because we’ve lost more games than any English league club other than Fulham and Stevenage over the past two seasons. That in itself is not because of injuries, Europa League or the Cabaye sale. It’s because every player with above-average ability regresses and disappears into oblivion under his management.

It’s because of the many times we’ve played good football for 45 minutes, showcasing the ability of the squad, only to then retreat into the cowardice approach that is a representation of the man himself. His desperate attempts to explain this recurring theme is repeatedly filling the words of a hypocrite and liar in denial of his own shortcomings. There simply can be no sympathy for him – but these facts seemingly do not matter to Bob Moncur.

“He still after all is the manager of Newcastle United. As I said previously we should always support the man in that position”, Moncur says. The idea of unconditionally supporting someone who’s damaging something I love, is very hard to grasp. My loyalty lies with Newcastle United, not the people consciously reducing it to fit other purposes.

“Let’s hope we go from strength to strength from here,” he concludes.

I have no idea what strengths we’re coming from, and with Pardew I’m struggling to see what strengths we could possibly be heading for.

What do I know? I’m just an average fan.

You can follow Noa on Twitter @noabachner

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