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Opinion

Despite the lazy stereotype, Newcastle fans are possibly the least deluded fans around

3 years ago
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A long time ago, in a carpet shop far, far away… (actually it was in Byker, so it wasn’t really that far) we bought a new carpet. I love that thick, new carpet feeling, when you can feel the furry bits under your toes. It’s like a freshly mown football pitch in August. But there was something that made me worry the furry bits off our new carpet. Something that threatened my new carpet-happiness.

It was the immediate threat of me spilling tea/beer/Vimto all over it.

I’m a worrier. I worry. I had to tell myself to stop worrying about it. To enjoy it. Even if I was drinking Vimto.

Promotion is supposed to be enjoyed, too. And despite the club policies of the past ten years or so, I’m enjoying it. But some Newcastle fans seem to be worrying before we’ve even finished the season.

Securing promotion the other day gave us all a feeling of pride, success and contentment that we haven’t felt for years. The feeling of relief, and this was a potent part of the mix, was different to the relief of Jonas Gutierrez’ final day of the season performance against West Ham a couple of years ago. In our hearts, we knew that day that we were in for the same hullaballoo a season later.

The Rafa relief would have lasted longer than a satisfied exhalation, had it not been for the almost immediate doom mongering of speculation; we need to spend a gazillion pounds to stay up; Rafa will go and manage a club who will flash the cash; we’re a yo-yo club.

Well, maybe.

There are certainly those who don’t feel the same optimism of ’93, or the fresh start of ’10.  Maybe that’s because the last few years have seen a new caution in the fans. Maybe it’s because in 1993 we were also utterly brilliant. I remember listening on the radio to the Grimsby match…and beer going everywhere.

A team that good would give hope to any football supporters. Yet despite the lazy stereotype of being deluded, we’re possibly the least deluded fans around.

Promotion to most clubs is a source of untethered elation, but perhaps because our last two have been on the bounce from abysmal relegations, both born in the incompetence of the board, relishing the moment doesn’t seem to be what it could. I think that’s a shame. Still, I don’t think we should be worried about spilling our drinks yet.

We have some good players. Instead of seeing Matt Ritchie as ‘not fitting in with Bournemouth’s plans’, I’d rather think of him as ‘fits in with Rafa’s plans.’ We have some players who have developed, like Paul Dummett; despite criticism, he has stuck to the job and learns. He is quicker to put in a cross, and while he is never going to be rapid, is learning to position himself. That’ll do for me. Well done, Paul.

We have some players who have done their job and helped us get promoted, yet who will probably stay in the Championship. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if they are replaced carefully, but we can’t replace everyone at once.

Improvement and development are not instant; too much stress on a system can wreck it, and you can’t check the variables.

So I’ll enjoy this for a while longer, thanks.

Yes, I worry about the potential fallout from the visit by HMRC; we don’t want the transfer budget taken up with that.

Yes, I worry that Rafa will walk – but these things haven’t happened – and they might not.

So come in, have a positive promotion celebratory cuppa. Benitez beer? No problem. If you spill it, I’ll clear it up.

You can follow the author on Twitter @georgestainsby

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

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