Newcastle fans and baseless accusations
Newcastle fans are deluded, we expect a team to be winning trophies despite a drought spanning decades, we think we have a golden right to Champions League qualification, we have ideas above our station.
These are the baseless accusations which have been commonly levelled at Newcastle United fans by supporters of other clubs for the last 20 years, but not so much these days, I wonder why?
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There was a time when we competed with Manchester United for the title, when a visit by Chelsea or Manchester City meant an almost guaranteed three points, when walloping Tottenham 7 – 1 wasn’t seen as a freak result, just another great attacking display by what journalists called, without a hint of irony, the Barcelona of the North.
Understandably, fan expectation and excitement used to be high, we were rightly proud of our team and its attempts to crash the Manchester domination, then it went wrong.
Long before any of us had even heard the name Mike Ashley, back in the days when your main choice for a pair of Nike basketball boots on the high street was JD Sports, JJB or Inter Sports, we employed Kenny Dalglish who systematically took apart the best team in the history of the club.
Now Kenny did some good things also, he brought back the reserve team which Keegan had dismissed with a typical cavalier flourish, but his damage to the first team was almost total (though obviously not by today’s standards).
Aside from an all too brief return to glory under my personal favourite football man ever to walk the earth, Sir Bobby Robson, we have been slowly slipping backwards since.
The arrival of a billionaire owner brought a small surge of excitement back to the Toon, until things started to go wrong, from here it is a story with which we are all far too familiar.
The old accusations of delusion and false pride have never rung so hollow as they do today, as we are a club devoid of hope, resources and pride, left to flounder by an owner who has less interest in Newcastle United than he has in his decision of whether to have toast or Crunchy Nut Cornflakes with his morning fry up.
Declarations of no interest in domestic cups or the Europa league, the sale of any player capable of stringing more than two passes together, the sponsors, the insults and disrespect shown to the club heroes and heritage have all served to first diminish, and then destroy, whatever hope and expectation the fans had of actual success.
We are certainly no longer deluded, we have no pride, false or otherwise, we know exactly where our level is because it has been rammed home to us from all corners.
Something the current regime are extremely good at is laying out in no uncertain terms, by word and deed, exactly the competitive level of the club. In short, there isn’t one outside of top flight survival.
For a club which has in relatively recent memory enjoyed nights in the Champions league, trips to Wembley and seen its name at the top end of the league, this is not good enough.
What it has served to do is not just drastically lower fan expectations, it has removed them and replaced them with fatalistic cynicism which none of us really enjoy.
So when the owner makes a vaguely suggestive speech, as he did at the weekend, it has the effect of offering a starving man a turd sandwich. He knows he shouldn’t eat it, he knows it’s a turd, but it’s all that is on offer so why not see if he likes it whilst pretending that it’s a roast dinner to his starving friends.
To carry the analogy a stage further, I am amazed how many hungry people (Newcastle United fans) would rather eat a turd sandwich (believe Ashley’s statement, or regard it with a ‘wait and see’ attitude) than starve.
This is the real indication of how the expectation and pride have been slowly but surely drained from the once proud Toon Army.
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