Friends Re-United To Save NUFC?

There’s definitely a despondency taken over Newcastle fans of late.

What’s most worrying is the level of apathy that seems to have become the norm.  It’s never nice when fans are handing their season tickets back, but it’s at least something when there’s a sense of righteous rage behind their decision.  You know a club is on the slippery road to ruin when fans are letting season tickets lapse because they’ve stopped caring so much about the club.

(To feature like Paul, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

To any objective bystander, football is a prime example of futility.  At its basics, it’s 22 men kicking an inflated pig’s bladder around a pitch, of no consequence to anyone other than those playing the game. What has made football the trillion-dollar game that it is today is that we fans care about what happens on the pitch.

Fan engagement is absolutely central to football, feeling part of the action, and watching men with almost superhuman skills in a sublime sporting contest.  But engagement isn’t just consumption, buying a ticket, a pint or a hotdog, and shouting your lungs out with the crowd to support your team.

The real thrill of football is the sense of having a stake in the action.  It’s like the thrill of placing a bet, of knowing what’s going on and feeling thrilled skilfully guessing the good result.  So my diagnosis of our current malaise is that thrill has gone because the engagement’s gone.  We can still consume Newcastle, but the belonging that attracted us in the first place is gone.

One of my favourite Mag covers was from February 2013, the relegation-battle season, of Debuchy (and Cabaye by reference), and the headline sticks in my mind to this day: ‘Friends Re-United to save NUFC’.  That’s the kind of heroic story that fans can engage with, and indeed, it was thanks to Debuchy and Cabaye’s efforts that we cleared the drop with a handful of games to go.

newcastle fans

But dodging relegation seems to be where the apathy started to set in.  The messages have been lost from the transfer market dealings.  Players came in at the last minute, or no one came in at all.  And the fans are just left shaking their heads.

It’s almost impossible to work out what’s going on, to make sense of events at St James Park.  Without a certain level of transparency from the club, it’s impossible to work out what’s going on at the club and whether we are going in a good or bad direction.

Quality players like Janmaat snuck in unannounced, giving the impression that they were treading water at Newcastle until a ‘big club’ snapped them up.  Davide Santon was sent out on loan, and despite club’s denials, the loan deal was always intended to be permanent, hardly a fitting departure for a player who’d turned out 82 times for the club.  What’s happening with Facundo Ferreyra and Siem de Jong who join to a fanfare of publicity and then played less than two games between them?

How can you possibly enjoy what’s going on when there’s a permanent sense of confusion and chaos about the club’s intentions?  Does the owner really see us as his main football interest, or is he planning to slide assets over to another club, if not ‘Gers then another fallen glory who needs his cash?

It’s ironic in a season where we’ve had at times 6 local lads on the pitch (Sami, Colback, Taylor, Armstrong, Alnwick and Dummett) that the club feels more alien than ever.  The club decently stood by Ryan Taylor and we should be licking our lips in anticipation of him getting back in the groove on the park.

We should be hoping for a decade of domination like the Manyoo kids gave them, or at least the competitiveness of Liverpool under McManaman, Gerrard, and Fowler.  Instead, we’ve bowed our heads to the inevitable that the good ones will move on, and only the mediocre will stay to grind out the task of avoiding the drop and keeping the Premier League gravy train rolling for the Sports Direct empire.

And it’s us – the poor mugs who give their time, hard earned cash and our hearts to the team – who’ll be the last to know as the sneaky-beaky antics continue in the Gallowgate.  So my fear is not that we’re going to be another Leeds, Portsmouth or Darlo and come to earth with a crash – the owner is far too astute to get caught up in his own hubris.  I just worry that one day I’ll sit down in the Milburn Stand and just see 22 strangers in funny colours kicking that bladder.

You can follow Paul on Twitter @heravalue

  • LeazesEnder

    …’ watching men with almost superhuman skills ‘….. ‘Sami, Colback, Taylor’….

    Almost but not quite!

  • Martin Frost

    I’ve been a toon fan since a young boy, started following back in 1996. All the family support the Toon. I love our club. But Mike Ashley has pushed my patience in 2014. I find myself no longer caring. A defeat used to ruin my week, now I barely batter an eyelid.
    From the selling of key players, to not replacing them, penny pinching, allowing us to complete a season with just three senior CBs (from our Championship season), renaming of St James’. Wonga, countless 3-0, 4-0 defeats. So many things have pushed me to a point of just no longer caring. This isn’t the Newcastle United I used to love. And until Ashley leaves or he actually begins to invest and build a worthy squad I fear my love won’t return.

  • IanDubbleYoo

    For me it’s not uncertainty that has me disillusioned, it’s the opposite. Ashley may or may not sell up at some point, but the meantime we exist solely to promote Sports Direct.
    There is a chance that we might employ a competent manager in the summer, if that happens I will concede that we care a little about football. But if John Carver gets the job, as seems inevitable, that’s the final proof that Mike Ashley will do absolutely anything that’s cheap, expedient and will keep us treading water.

  • Hez

    its not I don’t care, it’s more what’s the point in caring? Where’s the excitement or passion in following a club with no ambition and a club which solely exists to make a fat rich, greedy man a bit more fatter and a bit more richer? Before Ashley there was hope

  • Davidelder888

    For the first time I’m My life I turned off the laptop before the end of the match last weekend (I live in Belfast not that I would go to SJP at the minute anyway ) I can’t get behind our team if they aren’t trying anymore its pointless. When the fans unite against Ashley I’ll be there with my pitchfork.

  • amacdee

    Caring ? Past it a few hundred games ago. All I want now is to see the Fatman hounded out of SJP carrying his Loan shark money in dirty rolled up bundles, just as they did with tyrants in the past. Images of Gaddafi spring to mind ;-)  #Ashleyout

  • Fedup10

    Spot on article. Hate to admit it but after 45 years I have had the love of my club beaten out of me. I fought it for a couple of years now but the time has come where even if I was offered a free ticket i wouldn’t bother. I hope that if Ashley leaves the love will return.
    I would rather watch an Ashley free NUFC in the Conference than the current shite.

  • DavidDrape

    very true Paul. Zombie fans

  • DownUnderMag

    I think it is apparent that Ashley doesn’t care about the long term success or future of the club, let alone the fans themselves.  If he can make as much money as possible right now, and is looking to sell up in the next few years, then why would he bother worrying about the next generation of fans…the lack of passion.  As long as he gets his pound of flesh right now then he is a happy man and will have long since jettisoned the club before the rot that he started really starts to effect the club.

    That is the real worry for me.  Not what the fans are moaning about now, but the long term underlying damage that this owner is doing to the club as a whole, tearing at it’s soul, what made us special.  The Passion!  Win lose or draw, the fans would always support the club because they at least tried to better their current position.  Now, we know the limitations of our clubs ambition.  We know that we have no interest in a cup run or finishing in a Europa league place.  Avoiding relegation and spending as little as possible to do so is all that is of importance…at least to the owner.

    Ashley and his minions simply do not seem to understand that football is about passion, it about following YOUR team, about dreaming of success.  Football is about the FANS, not a high-street business to suck every last penny out of for shoddy merchandise.

    I’ve said it before, Hell is but the absence of hope…and that is exactly what we have at NUFC now, no hope of ever being more as long as this owner still calls the shots!

  • Alsteads

    Can you imagine what kind of feel good factor, fan base, surge of support could do to some one that came in and took over from FCB??? In the state of the premier league as it stands it could really reignite us

  • Alsteads

    I don’t think for one moment fella that we could or should even think like we could of competed like the man spu generation. I hear where your coming from with the local lads etc and it does make me proud but Sami ?? Needs to drastically give more, Alnwick not at this level, Armstrong no where near yet ( will he?) Taylor say no more has been here yonks and still can’t establish himself over Williamson, colbacks a plus but still have the image of him celebrating when he scored etched in my head??!, dummett yes! But he needs bringing on now to next level and I don’t think we have anyone or the structure in place to do that. He certainly seems intelligent enough but If I was him in a year or two if we weren’t moving right way then I’d be wanting another so called larger club to progress
    As for the owner being astute. Not sure if that means selling complete shite in jumble sale shops and draining a club and it’s profile for his own sorry end/profit like a local loan shark would do to the estate and it’s people without giving a FxxK or appointing complete knackers likes of wise and kinnear cos he has as much football vision as he can see his small prxck past his fat belly!
    Yes I might be a bit personal but so is being treat in utter contempt by a prxck like this to a point he laughs in your face as he takes your money. If it was in the pub you would drop him

  • DownUnderMag

    Alsteads I don’t think it needs a Citeh style money-bags owner to come in and buy success.  What the fans want to see is that the club, still in the top 20 richest list in the whole of Europe, can at least look like it’s trying to be as competitive as it can be, have a good run in a cup and just look like it isn’t ripping the fans off of every penny it can with nothing in return.  We should not be struggling to compete with the likes of Swansea,  Southampton, West Brom and West Ham to buy players, let alone the likes of QPR, Palace and Hull.

  • Cornflake

    It’s been tough the last two years when the team basically shuts it down after Christmas time.  That’s still so much football that the club basically writes off.
    Each year also around this time, transfer talk starts to ramp up.  Sure they’ll bring in a guy or two, but it’s never close to what’s needed.
    It’s ever so frustrating not to be exited come Saturday.

  • newcastle7

    Sorry to disagree but still get the same buzz as ever going to a match.This will never go away no matter what league we are in.I suppose it all depends on what category supporter you are.What you people forget is that there are over ninety teams in our leagues and that out of them all you are the biggest moaners of them all.You wanted Pardew out you got your wish and still moan.He has done a brilliant job at Palace and you have all been proved wrong again.I find this sie sad and depressing at times wish I had been born in Crewe.

  • MilitantGeordie

    I still care a great deal about the club otherwise i wouldn’t be here writing posts and reading the latest news. I’m not spending any money on the merchandise or tickets anymore but that’s my own personal protest against the owner.. not the club. Before Ashley bought it i used to buy tops and tickets knowing i was chipping in my little bit but now it seems all the money dissapears and goes to another company. I don’t even have any black and white tops anymore since my washing machine destroyed them all but there’s no way i’m buying a wonga top!

  • MilitantGeordie

    newcastle7 Why say sorry to disagree when you’re not? You love it Troll!

  • magpie9

    Alsteads  It would be the biggest ever fattys gone piss up

  • nufcslf

    Fedup10 It would have to be something very special for me to be sold on what has always been the love of my life again. I don’t only hate Cashley’s time, but the idiots that continue to finance it. Simply pathetic and has done a life’s time of damage for me and many others.

  • nufcslf

    Alsteads Hear, hear.

  • Davidelder888

    Fantastic post take a bow.

  • nufcslf

    MilitantGeordie I still wear loads of toon stuff…not Cashley era…and take some stick because of what I say about the present set up. I have to tell people…I live in Vancouver, Canada…that I am from Newcastle and will always love the badge, black and white top etc but not Sports Direct United. Often falls on deaf ears because there is just not that same passion as we have for the club we support. Will watch the match Saturday morning, only hoping the regime loses yet another home game so fatty might eventually f**k off. Sad, but true and we can only hope.

  • nufcslf

    Hope Deduchy scores a bloody hat trick.

  • Alsteads

    I hear you fella and I gave up on all that city billionaire dream stuff long time ago. I remember going into a game (late cos I was in the pub for my shame) we were all ready 3-0 down in the first 11 minutes but I still went in cos I thought we’ll get back into this!!! I look around now and my heart sinks when we go 1-0 down cos I know with the exception of one maybe two players we haven’t got it in the team to fight back and take control of the game. Yes we had come backs and draws this season but really…..??? Hull city??? Stokes???
    My anger is at Ashley and everyone who buys into it for their own financial gain

  • Hez

    You’ll work it one day, enjoy the match on Saturday, hope the performance last weekend gave you the buzz!!

  • Alsteads

    Why Crewe?? Have I missed something? You’ve completely missed the point of most fans and I don’t even want to go into the effort to explain to you how you’ve missed the point as you mention you still get a buzz going to the match but you don’t say what team………..SMB???

  • centrepaddock

    I still care but I’ve stopped enjoying it. Without hope and you take away our passion. We go 1-0 down and ground goes quiet. Turn the clock back 10 years if we went a goal behind we got behind the team. We used to intimidate opposing players when they took a corner, we’d goad players we didn’t like. We’d target hot headed opponents and wind them up. The opposing keeper would get a hard time for 90 minutes from those behind the goal. Now we’re indifferent.

    I can’t see anything changing until the FCB sells up, only then will our hope and passion return.

  • Jarra MIck

    No Mr Moncur you were born in Scotland so why don’t you fcuk off back up there and take that poisonous dwarf Beardsley with you. You are the problem remembering glory days instead of facing up to the cnuts who have ruined our club.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 Simon, the self proclaimed super supporter. We wish you had been born in Crewe as well. 
    You are a complete moron and the very embodiment of why those outside our region take the [email protected]@s out of Geordies. You were stating previously, you kept going when crowds were only 6-7k  when in fact attendances have never ever been that low in living memory. You said you have supported for 50 years, yet you aren’t even 50.
    Loving something means caring for it,  wanting the best for it and if needed, fighting for it. Those few Ashley lovers left here, or the silent sheep/appeasers in the crowd are exactly the type who haven’t fought for anything in their lives and never will.

  • trickster1966

    heravalue NUFCTheMag #fallingoutoflove #nufc