The Best Possible Legacy For John Alder and Liam Sweeney
Well hello new season.
It seems to have come around all too quickly this time, as storming out of the Cardiff game early in disgust at the state of our club, seems a distant memory.
A lot has happened in the meantime, but I would feel it amiss if I didn’t use this column to voice my disappointment in the response of some fans to the end of season walkout.
I left early because I wanted to start showing how pi**ed off I was at the running of the club and the humiliation we were repeatedly being exposed to in the early part of the year. If anyone didn’t, because they had genuine reason or desire to stay, fair play to them. What I can’t accept is criticism of the walkout from the apathetic minority, with the war cry of, “you won’t hurt Ashley, he’s already got your money.”
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Just for the record, Mike Ashley is worth £4 billion and no one should be thick enough to think you can even attempt to hurt him financially with a spot of non-attendance. The point of the walkout was a show of intent, a mobilisation of numbers to say enough is enough, and throw a flag up to the Newcastle board that they could not continue to take the pi** out of the unconditional support.
If the club was constantly besieged by unrest it would create constant negative publicity that may ultimately impact on Ashley and Sports Direct. It showed a bit of spine among Newcastle supporters, and this might well be needed for further action this year.
This seems less likely right now, as the board has responded on one level at least, with some (essential) decent investment in the summer squad overhaul. I’ve heard people bemoaning the number of ins v outs as balancing out, but realistically only Debuchy and Remy (who was never ours) of the leavers were first choice regulars and surely the majority will be satisfied with the summer activity.
Further to this, the club has again acted with credit in light of recent tragic events. I still struggle to comprehend that two guys lost their lives travelling to see Newcastle play, but I struggle to get my head around so many of the unspeakable actions of the evil scumbags of this world. This is obviously a far bigger issue than football and the sadness of the deaths of all on flight MH-17 is something that should sit heavy in the heart of any decent person. The loss of John Alder and Liam Sweeney has made it sickeningly real and close to home though, and a small consolation can be taken from the magnificent response in the region and beyond.
The club have played their part in this, in my opinion getting the tributes spot on ahead of what will be an emotional game with Man City. However, I still think there is one important step they could take that would start righting a few wrongs.
John and Liam followed this club to the other side of the world. I didn’t know them personally, but it’s clear that NUFC was a massive, massive force in their lives. I wonder if some of the overpaid posturers of recent years felt shame about their pathetic surrenders last term, or if our manager felt a twang of humility when they sat and thought about this event. They cannot begin to comprehend what this club meant to these lads.
As fellow Newcastle fans, we can, and we all know how much the years of emptiness hurt; how much it would mean to have a little taste of success.
John and Liam will never know that success. However, would it not be worthwhile to try and achieve something in their honour? Would a serious, all-out assault on the FA Cup in the name of these people not be the best legacy possible? It’s a disgrace that it takes something as unfathomable as this to shock the powers that be into appreciating fans’ feelings and commitment, but if the club deemed this a worthwhile move they would regain a lot of goodwill and Newcastle United might start to get its soul back.
We can only hope though, as we have at the dawn of so many seasons before.
You can follow Jamie on Twitter @Mr_Dolf
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