I have been a Newcastle United supporter all my life.

The year I was born we won the league title and my father drove a bus load of supporters with my grandfather down to Wembley for the final. I was then 2 weeks old, I had little choice but to be a supporter as it runs in the family!

(To feature like Arty, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

So what has prompted me to write this ‘letter’?

Frustration. Mainly as it really has been worse (recently) but under wildly different circumstances.

I remember the Joe Harvey era when he managed the Fairs Cup success, the board were local businessmen who despite claiming little money, engineered the club to relative success and a bit of prosperity for themselves along the way.

As long as there was success on the pitch no one cared! There was not the stupid/ludicrous sums of money floating around as there is now due to TV revenue. You were lucky to see ANY football on the TV at that time.

Sunday afternoon gave 10 minutes of a game on SHOOT if you were lucky, then the news occasionally showed the goals later in the week. The point is – things were different then; cost of entrance fee, advertisements inside the  ground and sponsorship were what the club needed for income as well as what the directors/board members added ( or took as fees ). All clubs were the same in this respect, the playing field was more or less level.

Things started to change when Sky TV made an appearance but it was slowly at first, like a snowball rolling down a mountain.  I’ve just started reading Kevin Keegan’s book at this time and had to laugh at the part where Sir John Hall was balking at giving Keegan £1.5 to £2m to keep the club in the second division.

The point is again, money was tight and there was a recession going on, just like now, but Hall had the courage of his convictions and the money was found for Keegan. The rest is history.

newcastle fans

Today the game is awash with money, most clubs in the EPL will get the neck end of £100m from TV income alone, then there are the other income generators to add to the clubs finances, which you will all know about.

It has been similar but on a lesser scale for a number of years, but the playing field is not level now as the income is largely generated by league position on the final day of the season.

This is where the disparity come in, the richest clubs have more money to maintain a top side and maintain their position in the league whereby ensuring higher payment from sky. This has created a three tier league which everyone knows about, but what saddens me is the fact of where our club features in EPL?

IMHO Newcastle United are in the bottom rungs of the EPL, and this is unacceptable, why? There are more than 50k supporters who would readily attend the home games if there was a team worthy of their support.

Most importantly the owner has more than the means to make this club as successful as any in the top 5. To be outside this top tier of clubs and not challenging for the title is abject failure on the owner’s part, and he thus fails the fans who buy season tickets, and equally fails the other supporters and the city!

When Mike Ashley bought NUFC he was heralded as the saviour of the club by many, but some had their reservations about the takeover. Now all the chickens have come home to roost and our worst fears are out in the open, despite a laughable plea to the TV cameras and stupid season ticket holders who could not see the writing on the wall years ago (despite being told/warned by more knowledgeable fans), but more fool them.

I sincerely hope they have recovered from the kicking they took last year (and previous years) at the handling of the club, as it’s going to get worse.

newcastle fans

All fans want a successful club, of that there is no doubt. However, when a group of Newcastle fans see what is going wrong with the club (and taking the positive action to stay away until a new owner is on the scene) on so many levels and have warned the others who are clearly not so knowledgeable, there is great cause for concern.

Why? Simply because the ignorant fans are going to be the death of the club. Simply to think they are supporting the club by attending and paying for their season ticket is in this instance hurting the club, helping to support a bully of an owner who detests the fans.

Enough of this anyway, to the point.

Now that there is so much money available in the game, and we have an owner who has increased his net worth numerous times, some say on the back of our club. Why, oh why, is he letting the club wither on the vine?

For me it can only be that he was forced to try and sell the club a few years ago and is taking a delight in making the same fans suffer for their actions.

There is no doubt that his actions have made the club financially sound! Some say he saved us from doing a Leeds and so on. All well and good but there was also a high degree of self-preservation in that move. Now due to the position he finds himself in, acquiring Newcastle United 8 years ago, making himself many times richer, we are his plaything, paid for many times over.

For all this, and knowing he detests us, and we him, I am sure we could all accept a successful team (with a lot of investment ) and begrudgingly co-exist. It would do his profile the world of good too, but I know that is the least of his concerns, which is where the problem lies.

With the huge money available now, there is no reason this should not happen, it’s the first time that I know of in the history of the club where this condition has existed.

The club is by all accounts (play on words there ) self-financing, so there is no earthly reason for the failure to invest in new players.

That is just my humble opinion on the state of our club on Thursday 2nd July 2015.

Oh finally, Steve McClaren was not my favourite to be head coach, but to be fair was probably the best we could get under the circumstances (or did they try the accordion player who sits outside on Northumberland street ), so we have to give him a chance, at least until Xmas in my view.

His success will depend largely on who comes in I would have thought, as what is left is not good enough.

If you stand still in this game, you fall back, the other clubs are improving and our club needs to improve more than them.

City Hall Gifts - shop.themag.co.uk


  • Stemcoman

    Nice letter

  • ilullissat

    Ashley is the richest owner this club has ever had.He dwarfs all the past owners and yet he has achieved nothing.The club has achievied nothing in the last four decades but some of the football was a lot bloody better than what is being dished up today

  • magpiefifer

    Excellent article Arty – I can’t disagree with anything you’ve detailed,but I’m sure there will be some who can – especially those who renewed their season tickets!

  • Andgeo

    Ashley is a complete failure at running/owning a football club. After 8 years of repeated mistakes and disrespect, he must sell up and get out of our club. Ashley out! Clueless!

  • ilullissat

    Has anyone done a comparison based on percentage spent per personal wealth on Newcastle United.Ashley could spend more of his wealth and he wouldnt miss it.He seems to make money for moneys sake and for all the faults that the past owners have had they will pale into insignifance compared to this current owner.I think Ashley has some kind if OCD disorder

  • desree

    Thanks Arty, I wish we had blokes like you on the fans forum. A really well articulated opinion with a lot of substance.

  • Morpeth mag

    This is one of the best written pieces that ive seen on this site,,, well done Arty,,,

  • 1957

    Great piece and a welcome departure from the recycled Chronicle articles that we see too often.
    The two things that stand out for me, you are right that pre Sky the club needed to keep us coming through the turnstiles to function financially, not so now and in a league awash with money once you fail to invest on a regular basis in playing staff it is difficult if not impossible to get back to the top table and the additional European riches that brings.

  • LeazesEnder

    Well said Arty, you’ve certainly got to grips with these new fangled computers a lot better than Lee Ryder.

  • BillytheFish

    Great article Arty. We have suffered more than most down the years, and I see with interest the 2 people you have a pic for this article.
    John Hall sold the club to Ashley and pocketed a fortune………Gave nowt back to area.
    Kevin Keegan successfully sued the club and pocketed £3m…could have given a few quid to Wallsend Boys, but did he……..?

  • Consett Mag

    Very good piece Arty. Thanks! The only comment I thought re your piece is that with relatively crappy team, 50,000+ fans will still go. Though at last, a decent number are waiting to see what happens next before renewing their season tickets.

    BillytheFish  Sir John Hall, by bringing a guy who knew the game, stopped us from going into the third tier. His appointments subsequently brought in enough income to build us a brilliant stadium. His setup gave us the best entertainment we’ll probably ever see – superb memories we’ll never forget.
    And Kevin Keegan has a strong connection with our fans. He warned us years ago that with Ashley, we’ll go nowhere.
    I’m given to understand that his courtroom win brought him a payout of £2m, which essentially was handed over to his legal team – maybe I can be corrected here – that’s my understanding.

    I think to call Sir John Hall and especially KK is hard. It’s your call.

  • Chemical Dave

    Dear lord, what we’d give for a similar Hall/Keegan revolution now ? Apart from you though ?

  • Chemical Dave

    Spot on mate, Twisting because Keegan didn’t give some money to Wallsend boys club ? Haha wtf ?!