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Daring to dream

6 years ago

The number nine – synonymous with heroes such as Milburn, MacDonald and of course our leading goal scorer of all time, Alan Shearer.

Shearer; a symbol of the dreamers that Newcastle had become under Keegan, another hero for our beloved Black and Whites – both on the pitch and in the stands. Daring to dream – that’s what sport is about, isn’t it?

He was the man, possibly one of the last in a generation of football players, who turned down cash and trophies to achieve his own bout of personal glory. Doing such an act is something that very few players understand these days.

Sport was once about being the best and not being the richest – being proud and not wealthy. Just look at the vast majority of Olympians who represented Great Britain in London back in 2012. It wasn’t about the money it was about being the best, representing their country on the greatest athletics stage of all. Look at the Rugby that England has embraced in recent weeks – Japan beating South Africa – who would have thought it?

We see stories every season of giant killing in the domestic cups, I mean, how many times must we see that Ronnie Radford goal paraded on the BBC? It’s about the ambition, the character, the passion and the desire.

Now, undoubtedly, these giant-killing scenarios are one offs and happen sporadically. You cannot win a league on giant-killings. Hell, you cannot even stay in the league on just giant killing alone – especially not these days. There are only about four giants so I doubt 24 points would see you through. Such is the state of the Premier League these days.

The Premier League is fast deteriorating – we all see it as football fans.

The elite few splash the cash and buy everyone in sight, just so that the few that might catch them, cannot.

On a global level, FIFA is corrupt to the core and it wouldn’t surprise me if the English FA was the same. A sport turned business, where the rich get richer, the best get better and the bottom-feeders scrap around for whatever ****’s left to be served up.

We have Sky to thank for that. The company that arguably saved English football is now slowly killing it with its astronomical funding and ****-taking of the match-going supporter – especially those that travel to away games. Well this year my subscription was finally cut. It wasn’t the £3 rise, honest!

So where are our dreamers now? Long gone.

Well, they are at Newcastle United anyway. I’m 25 and I fear for my levels of cynicism already. Modern society, what’s it going to become? The way the papers and TV pundits would have it, if you’re ambitious you’re deluded.

Have you, the reader ever played a sport to a decent level and from the outset thought – “I just want to be involved”? I doubt it, not if you participated to a fairly good standard.

Newcastle supporters are brandished by many as deluded, but very few have come so close to glory and yet, been so far away on such a frequent basis. Our last significant cup win was in’69 and you have to go back even further domestically.

We challenged in the Premier League, amongst England’s elite for 16 consecutive years, frequenting European competitions and made a strong claim for silverware on several occasions. So why shouldn’t we (or any other team’s fans) dream?

Myself – I was born in eighty-nine, finding my love for Newcastle and its team in that era of romanticism. Born and bred on a mentality that just like in Gladiator – “it’s all about the glory of Rome”, or in my case, Newcastle. A desire for us to be the best, or at least try our best, and fight for what we believe in. The same desire that there had been for many-a-year before I was a sparkle in my parents’ eyes.

Now, I fear for the generation of fans that enter the fray at St James Park, for they will only know of desperate times with no passion, no desire and no fight and there’s only one person to blame for that, Mike Ashley.

Do I believe we have a set of mercenaries on the pitch? Yes. Not all of them, but most.

However, they aren’t any less loyal than any other set of mercenaries at any other ‘decent’ club. They seem to make up 99% of the top flight. You only have to look at Delph and Sterling to see that. These lads are introduced to so much money from such a young age it makes you sick.

Myself and a few team-mates discussed how it would take 4 years to make the same amount of money a youngster at Manchester United does in a week. How can you relate to that? In every team these kids are supposedly representing you…

Undoubtedly, our mercenaries should take some blame for the fact they’re collectively showing a lack of the qualities I discussed earlier in this piece. Not only that, they’re showing a lack of professionalism and character, they should want to beat the people that probably at some point humiliated them last season.

In this aspect, I regretfully say that Captain Colo needs to step up to the plate. His heart hasn’t been in it for a season or two and he doesn’t appear to be enjoying playing his football. Why would he when his good friend Jonas was treat the way he was? We need a new captain and a one who hasn’t been poisoned by the club yet.

As for other senior players, (do we have any?) I think there’s only really Janmaat and Krul who I can include in that. Krul’s now out for the season and Janmaat’s temperament is questionable at times, but he’s at least one of the very few that seems like he cares. The direct opposite of our superstar who’s destined for bigger and better things, heading to a big club like Palace for £10million in January no doubt. Don’t worry Moussa, I’ll get my knackered old Ford cleaned out and drive you there myself.

Then there’s the management – the underwhelming appointment of Steve McClaren, steering the ship towards the rocky coastline and into potential oblivion. I feel for the guy, I genuinely do, but he’s taken a poisoned chalice that he didn’t even want. He had a reputation to save and foolishly thought this was where he could save it. He might as well be an Ostrich because he too must have had his head in the sand the last 8 years.

Now we arrive at Charnley – Arguably up there with the greatest flops as chairmen in Premier League history. A couple of crap appointments, both of which put the club at risk in both a footballing and financial sense. Surely even the fat lad realised that.

As a desk jockey myself I should see this guy as an inspiration. If I’m ever so inept in my place of work and making his salary I’ll be howling with laughter.

Finally, we arrive at Ashley. He said it in his own words, that he was the one ultimately responsible. He was the one that promised big things – was it going to change in a single summer, none of us expected that, but what we did expect is progress.

Apparently progress is going 8 games into a season without a win. Hard start? Couldn’t care less. This is the league where supposedly anyone can beat anyone on their day. I take it we’re in Arctic winter then, 8 long years of insult after insult and now we head into our 9th. Nine…hopefully it’s his time to bow out and we can still have happy memories of that number. I could go on for hours about this…person. I’ll not though. I’m sure half of you have the same thoughts and the other half of you will criticise my lack of support.

Which brings me to my ultimate point in all of this rant – congratulations if you got this far and didn’t fall asleep:

Whatever you do on a match-day, whichever side of the fence you stand on – stand there, and shout your opinion from the rooftops. St James Park is just a library of disgruntled customers who struggle to muster up a grunt or groan. The upcoming game against Norwich is the first in a series of cup finals, either get on their backs or get behind them, but don’t sit in silence. If you’re just going to sit there in silence go to the pub and watch it – you’ll get a better view.

Less than four points out of these two games should be met with the utmost anger and contempt from our fan base – would you sit and get slop thrown at you in a restaurant and happily clap it off and pay to go back the next week? No. You would voice your opinion or concern and not go back.

Similarly, would you tell a loved one their singing was crap, if they were about to humiliate themselves on X Factor?

If the Newcastle fans, whom the club spiritually belongs to, cannot be arsed, then who else will inspire our team?

We were here before these knackers, we’re here now, and we’ll be here after they’ve gone. Time to re-ignite that passion and time to stand up for our club!

WE are the mags!

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