If there is one word on Tyneside ringing louder than any other, it’s the simple notion of ‘effort’.
It is wanting players on the pitch who care about the club and are willing to put in one hundred per cent to win a match, no matter how hopeless the odds. It is wanting players who shed tears when we concede a late defeat and celebrate with the crowd when we win.
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Effort, it is all the fans of Newcastle have been crying out for and something that continues to elude us. Nobody on the board cares and seemingly the players don’t either. There’s only one question left to ask. Where did all the heroes go?
It isn’t unfair to say that the fan base has been split for the past four years since the controversial sacking of Hughton and his replacement by Pardew.
During the famous fifth place season, his detractors were in a minority but after Pardew was exposed the next season, the split became much more pronounced. But what does this have to do with the subject at hand you ask? Simple, under Pardew’s reign the purge of the strong-willed took place.
Nolan, Barton, Caroll, Ben Arfa, Mbiwa, Santon and Cabaye were all players who left the club and all of whom without doubt christened the backs of shirts belonging to young fans everywhere.
Certainly controversial at times (Ben Arfa being either the messiah or the anti-christ depends on who you ask), these players had big mouths and more importantly had a resemblance of ambition. At the time it was easy to blame Carroll for chasing the money, as it was for Cabaye, but in hindsight we have to look at the simple facts. They left a club that was having its soul ripped out.
No ambition. No spending. No risks. Coasting in mid-table is the name of the game and it has killed the club. If you worked at a business that never offered you a pay rise and sold most of their assets, would you want to stay? I doubt it. Pardew was the face of the regime and if you want to see where the lack of heart in the club came from, look at the main clashes he was part of.
He successfully convinced large numbers of the crowd that Ben Arfa not tracking back, meant that he was inferior to Gouffran. Yet we need only to look at the recent Tottenham match to see that no, Gouffran doesn’t track back. In fact he doesn’t really seem to do anything.
Barton was open in his disdain for the board and the way the club was run, but if you follow any of his social media you can see that he genuinely holds a place for Newcastle in his heart. But he was another troublemaker and so off he went.
For four years the yes men; Williamson, Coloccini, Gouffran and many other likeminded squad members, grew in influence. These players are all Championship standard at best, they know they are lucky to don the black and white.
I also doubt any young kids have been asking for the Williamson jersey either. They are also ‘grafters’ and so-called team players, who now form the basis of the squad….and you know what? They’re terrible. Some people say it’s the worst squad we’ve had this millennium and this writer is inclined to agree.
Yet look back and you’ll see widespread arguments coming from fans stating that the troublemakers should have stayed. Flair, excitement and the possibility that anything was possible kept that special feeling of supporting Newcastle alive.
They endured their biggest defeat with the Ben Arfa saga. The last entertainer, a player capable of jaw dropping skills who had been born two decades too late for the great sides of the nineties and early millennium, was disgraced and currently resides in footballing limbo. Now there was no room for him in the new NUFC. The legacy of the Keegan and Robson era was gone. We’re not a club, we’re an avenue of advertising for Sports Direct.
But now the chickens have come home to roost. The simple fact is that you need heart as a football club, without it you achieve nothing. Without the Geordie spirit we are now dangerously close to relegation.
The so called grafters have proved themselves to be incompetent at best and now we have no escape plan. We are relying on other clubs being worse than us, but they’ve all dug in and are turning their seasons around. We are in complete anarchy.
All that is left now is for us to fight back.
We are the only people who really care about our club. Not the media, not the board and certainly not the players. The fans made this club and it’s up to us to save it.
The Ashley Out campaign is leading the way and it’s up to us to support it and get our club back. The heroes of Newcastle United may have been forced out but it’s time for us to step up. The club cannot be saved on the pitch, only off it.
It is time for fans to fight the final battle for the heart and soul of our club. It’s time to be a hero.