Every generation of supporter, even at a club as steeped in failure as our own, should be able to remember the idols of their youth.

For me it was the likes of Nolberto Solano and Gary Speed; phenomenal players on the pitch and respectable guys off it.

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

But for a child now making their way into following football, either through their own curiosity or the traditional guiding hand of a mentor (most likely their father or mother), there is little choice at Newcastle United of finding a hero to inspire their passion.

“I made a G today”

But you made it in a sleazy way. Selling crack to the kids.

“I gotta get paid,”

Well hey, that’s the way it is.

(Changes, Tupac Shakur)

If I was a parent, the only player at St James Park that I would be happy to have on my child’s bedroom posters, their replica kit or treasured sticker album, is Jonas Gutierrez. Now that he is gone, the entire squad seem to embody, one way or another, the ‘easy G’ attitude criticised in Tupac’s immortal words. They play for money, themselves and nothing else.

What connection do they have to the kid that glares wondrously at their icon?

I would hate for my offspring to desire to be the next Tim Krul or Moussa Sissoko.

Those individuals are not the devil incarnate but their riches are made in a sleazy way – even if it’s all above board and at the encouragement of Sky Sports.

Footballers were never perfect, nor do I ever want them to be, but it would be refreshing to look at them perform and be convinced their efforts were sincere. When did that last happen in NE1?

Not a single squad member at Newcastle – with maybe two exceptions – can look at their pay cheque from last season and say honestly that they deserved their salary.


It is almost as if sportsmen no longer exist in the real world, merely the fantasy land of Sky Sports TV.

There is such a disconnect between us and them that it is nearly impossible to care about who they are, how they play, and whether they faithfully respect this city.

Somebody desperately needs to reassure me that kids still understand players are real people. My last few visits to Premier League matches, where eager hordes clambered to the sides of barriers just for a brief glimpse of reserve goalkeepers warming up, were a concerning sight.

And yet these elite professional mercenaries are nothing compared to the rotten state of the club itself. Seeing an adult wearing the W**** shirt makes me angry. But seeing a young lad or lass, not knowing about the immoral misery-profiteer stamped on their clothes, is an undeniable tragedy.

As a cynical adult, I can make an informed decision to boycott all club merchandise and matches but the same cannot be said for the unyielding loyalty of youngsters.

Without being aware of it, these kids are slowly becoming corrupted into Ashley’s cheap world.

And what about the kids that are savvy enough to know about the true reasons for fan anger, including the realisation that a man is tearing the soul out of their city, their civic institutions and their inheritance as inhabitants of this beautiful place?

An eight year old will have lived knowing no different to the Ashley era.

Hopefully they don’t continue to grow alienated from their local football club into their adolescence or adult lives because of boardroom insensitivity.

To finish on another quote, as Reverand Lovejoy’s wife says on The Simpsons, “Won’t somebody please think of the children!”

(Thanks to Adam Barnsley for the image at the top of the article)

  • GToon

    Stephen you are right with what you have said but it’s no different at any club really. The problem we have is that because the great masking agent that numbs all pains, covers all cracks, hides all inefficiencies and rights all wrongs, otherwise known as a decent football team is something we don’t have at the moment we are looking at ourselves and finding faults. Without going on and on let me just ask you this….. Do you think there has been a similar post to yours on a Chelsea or Man City forum? It’s not like their players are any better than ours in terms of their personalities but they win things. That’s all.
    And by the way nice uncle Mike is thinking of the kids. That’s why they get in for a fiver or less!

  • nutmag

    My hero’s were the great team’s  after the war my sons the Keegan and Robson times. Now alas out of seven grandsons only one had a brief spell supporting the toon.  The others support other teams the sad thing being I can’t blame them. Ashley’s legacy will reach far into the future with lost generations.

  • 1957

    This is a football wide problem not just in this country but across the world. I read an interesting article a year ago by a Brazillian journalist who put their decline down to the migration of players to Europe and beyond for wages in some cases 10x what players earn in Brazil. Money is everything to a modern player, just look at Ba and Remy, happy to be subs at Chelsea and eventually move to poor quality leagues who pay well.
    I think drawing he line at Jonas is unfair, Perez seems to have his feet on the ground, Janmaat as well.