So, Newcastle United are now officially relegated.
No real surprise to anyone who watched us play this season, but still devastating to say the least. A team with as loyal support as ours should never be in this position, let alone facing relegation on a regular basis.
And there is only one person to blame, Mike Ashley.
My first game at St James Park was on January 7th 2006, the day Alan Shearer scored his 200th goal for Newcastle United against Mansfield in the FA Cup.
It was nothing short of magical, seeing the ball hit the back of the net at the Gallowgate end and the crowd going absolutely mental. Seeing the entire crowd stand up and cheer for a club legend was something else.
It’s embarrassing to admit now, but as a kid I turned to my dad and asked…
“Why is everyone cheering so much for him?”
When he explained what had just happened I understood what it was like to be a Newcastle fan and fell in love with the club.
Unfortunately, I did not get a season ticket for Newcastle until after the fat man took over the club and have kept it ever since. So, as a still quite young Newcastle fan, only just turning 18, all I have really known is a Newcastle under Mike Ashley.
I hear stories of what the club used to be like, challenging for the title and beating Barcelona in the Champions League. The legacy of Beardsley, Supermac and the ‘Entertainers’ era – but that’s all they are to me, stories, legends of the past.
Believe me, I hate the ‘fat controller’ as much as the next fan, but I have never been able to give up my seat out of hope that the club I love could one day return to the glory days I hear about so fondly.
I understand why people don’t go to the match anymore, and why some people may think I’m doing the club more harm than good because I go, but I want to make one thing clear. I DO NOT go to support Ashley, I go to support the team I love. And come Sunday, that’s what I hope the toon army will choose to do too.
I see it going two ways on Sunday, either a stadium full of ‘Ashley out’ banners, or a crowd full of Geordies supporting their team in one last act of defiance against the regime whilst we still are in the Premier league.
I hope the toon pick the latter option for a number of reasons.
Ashley has already proved he refuses to listen to the fans.
When we wanted Pardew out, he only did so once he could get some money out of it.
When we asked for a proper replacement manager, he didn’t listen and almost got us relegated.
When we wanted a decent manager in the summer, we were given Shteeve and didn’t sack him until it was too late.
Ashley has already proved that he doesn’t listen to us in the past, I don’t see any reason why he would on Sunday.
There is however, one man he might just listen to, Rafa Benitez. In Rafa we have been given hope.
We have one of the best managers we have had in a long time, and with the news that Rafa is genuinely considering staying despite us being in the Championship, we need to give him every reason to do so.
Given the right support, Benitez will be able to strip the team out and build us into a team we can be proud of again. Surely even Ashley knows that we need to keep him if we want the best chance to get promoted next season and become the great club we used to be. Especially with the amount of money going into the Premier League, Rafa might just be able to make him stick his hand in his fat f***ing pocket and spend money on players that are committed to this club and can make a difference – that is why we need him to stay.
A wall of noise cheering the manager’s name is much more likely to make him stay than a hostile fortress demanding the club be completely stripped out.
By all means, if Rafa comes out and says he’s definitely leaving after the Spurs game, then give Mike Ashley everything you’ve got. I will gladly join you in doing so.
However, until then, let’s do all we can to build a great club.
This time last year, Mike Ashley said he won’t leave until we win something. Well, why don’t we try to keep a manager that can actually win something then?