The annual seven day stretch between that friendly “curtain raiser” at Wembley and the beginning of the proper stuff is upon us.

Obviously, due to the Newcastle United demotion last term we shared an opening weekend the Community Shield but things are back to normal (or as normal as it gets for the black and white faithful) this season.

That familiar feeling has started to swell in the pit of my stomach as we approach our new campaign after being away for a year, wondering what stories unfold over the next nine months has got me chomping at the bit to get under way…at least that’s what I should be experiencing.

Truth is, for the first time in a very long time I really don’t know who to feel about our upcoming campaign.

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much have that buzz experienced by a child on Christmas Eve but I’m not sure that when I look under the tree whether I will find that much wanted shiny black and white steam train set, or a disappointing flaming bag of Ashley branded fertiliser.

Sad truth is, it’s been far too long since that pre-season euphoria has lasted through a season at St James’ (in some cases it’s barely lasted a match!). If you don’t include that anomaly of our shock 5th place a few years back, you would probably have to go back to the early days of this millennium when Sir Bobby guided us to back to back top four finishes to really feel that a season truly delivered for the toon army (without relegation preceding it of course).

Since earning my stripes in the early 90s I had an instinctual feeling to know what to expect going into the kick off of a new season, the warmth of feeling anything was possible of under Keegan, the quiet need to be reassured during the reigns of Dalglish and Gullit, the chirpy sensation of Robson’s run being replaced with the uncomfortable realisation of Souness’ destruction of a still good side would take us away from the summit sooner rather than later.

Following that debacle with knowing that while a safe pair of hands Roeder wouldn’t take us forward…

…And then the seller of poorly fitting sports tat arrived.

Now I like to think of myself as a positive person but the drivel we loyal supporters have been served since that fateful day in 2007 has even cracked my optimism. From Messrs Keegan and Houghton being dragged through the mud to old Schteve taking us even further back than even the most pessimistic fan thought possible (we’d been relegated five years earlier for crying out loud!). Let’s not forget the dark shadows of Kinnear, Pardew and Carver still linger long in the mind…

Then along came some guy from Madrid….

Rafa came in five games too late to save us from the long term mess we had found ourselves in and even though It took a while for our newly constructed squad to gel together he brought us back from implosion to mixing it with the big boys. So with that said all should be rosy right?

I’m still not sure…

So again I ask how should I feel? Are we destined for relegation? A relegation that will be so destructive it will finally see drop off a cliff in the style of Wil E Coyote as many have before us?

Nah….

Let’s be honest it’s all about consolidating our status in the premier league this year which I feel is more than achievable. Will it be the regular bumpy ride? Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less!

Guess I’ve answered my own question then, am I excited?

Sunday afternoon against Spurs?

HOWAY THE LADS!!!

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



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    “Survival & consolidate our position in the premiership”
    That`s as good as it`s ever going to get under the Fat lad.
    The delusional fans are not the ones that think we should be a top club,
    they are the ones who think that we will get anywhere with Fatso in place

    • Jezza

      It just beggars belief that after 10 years of his systematic dismantling of NUFC for personal profit some fans are still being taken in by Fatso.

      • Guest 2

        Hardly surprising when a lot of the bums on seats these days are students, hospitality, or ‘saturday shoppers’ – rounded off with amateur accountants who just love what Fatty has done.

        • Brian Standen

          Total rubbish! There are a fair few there for the hospitality and freebies, but 99% of people who go do so because they support the team!
          You can watch any game free of charge in virtually any pub, so the people who PAY to go do so because they love supporting NUFC.

          • Jezza

            Yes I agree they are all there to support their team but the thing is the new breed of football spectators just don’t feel it the way us old uns did back in the pre Premiership days. I swear the atmosphere in an uncovered St James’s Park back in the 70’s and 80’s with a mere 20,000 crowd was always infinitly better than anything you get with 50,000+ in the modern all seater stadium.

          • Brian Standen

            Without doubt! The Leazes End, Galliwgate Scoreboard, Gallowgate Corner, The Paddock ! All made the atmosphere better than it is today! But things evolve, people get comfortable, people get old, the young fan of today as so much more other than football to relieve boredom! Sorry I am reminiscing and diversing from your point!

        • Albert Stubbins

          There’s always been loads of students- local ones I may add, following the Toon- I myself was one many years ago as were dozens of my pals and lads I went to school with- Thirty years later most of us still go. My son has gone for years- now he too is a student and still goes to the match. Football has changed but theres still a conveyor belt of local lads following the lads.

          • Guest 2

            Nowt against students in general – but you can’t use the past as a yardstick. If you did then you would recall what a crowd used to, and is supposed to, sound like.

          • Albert Stubbins

            There’s loads of reasons for modern crowds being sanitized. It started with Thatcher. I blame the middle classes and itv not showing The Young Ones anymore!!! Lol lol

            Sent from my Samsung device

            ——– Original message ——–

          • Jezza

            Yes, a couple of thousand likely lads in the Crazy Corner used to make far more noise than 50 odd thousand make in the whole of the modern day all seated, all covered St James’s Park.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        true

        • Brian Standen

          Your right in fairness but that decent NUFC team you talk about still WON nothing.
          While Ashley is there we will always be more than suspicious, but as long as Rafa is there we have hope, and a little bit of pride!
          Under Pardew etc even the pride disappeared!
          So why don’t the moaners give it a rest until they see how the early season pans out?
          I see a squad with a cracking team spirit!

      • TheFatController

        It’s modern day terminology is ‘codependence’, so it’s to be expected that some would be taken in. Huge numbers of people are taken in by many things every day that aren’t doing them any good.

        It’s gets touched in in relation to Newcastle united and Ashley when the ‘can’t not turn up to a game’ rationale is given – straight codependency. sometimes relationships are too important to accept it’s abusive – like housewives who should but won’t leave their husbands as ‘I stay for the kids’ or ‘he’s alright some of the time’…

        There’s always an excuse for staying in codependent relationship if you don’t value yourself higher than the other person.

        If Ashley was voted in, he’d be out of course. But as he isn’t going anywhere, massive denial on the fans’ part allows the relationship to continue, as there’s nowhere else to go and watch Newcastle united sadly….only mike Ashley’s decency matters in this relationship, everyone else is powerless other than to give up on their club, which is too painful.

        • Jezza

          Yes I agree with all of that but the thing that I can’t understand is why some fans still believe that Ashley is doing his level best to produce as good a football team as possible for Newcastle United FC when all the evidence of the past 10 years clearly indicates he is not.

          • TheFatController

            Pure denial, you can will something to ‘be’ so much, you only select evidence to make it ‘be’ (e.g. ‘Yes I agree the market is inflated’)

            Ashley sees that weakness in supporters because once a year he trots out with a ‘I’ve learnt lessons’ etc

            It’s the same as ‘I’m sorry I abused you’ lines, playing on the hope of people who need hope as the alternative is too painful.

            So, do fans needing hope choose to believe Ashley is changing, or do they face the harsh reality that sooner or later the pattern of the last 10 years will repeat (popular manager with principles clashes with unpopular owner not agreeing with those principles)

            Denial is a very enticing option. But can only last so long.

    • Damon Horner

      blaming the fans? you sound like Dennis Wise.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        No just idiots like you & you sound like Pardew

        • Brian Standen

          Why call fellow fans idiots? Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it’s what makes football so great!
          Even if you disagree you can respect others thoughts

  • Leazes Ender

    Let’s be honest if Pardew had built this squad you wouldn’t have known the difference.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      don`t tempt fate

  • magpiefifer

    It’s certainly deja vu with Ashley – some with blind optimism,others with understandable trepidation,and those with realistic scepticism!
    I would love to know what went through Rafa’s head when he decided to take on the poisoned chalice that is NUFC 17 months ago – was he aware of Ashley’s total lack of footballing ambition,or did he believe that despite Ashley’s financial straightjacket that he could turn our club into the power that it’s fans deserve!?
    Whatever the process,we fans know that we have the manager we deserve, but not the owner!!.

    • Clarko

      £38.27m spent in 14/15, £92.02m spent in 15/16, £54.72m spent in 16/17 and £33.12m spent so far in 17/18, totalling a £218.13m spend in just over three seasons (including a relegation). Your “financial straightjacket” comment is just unfair.

      • Leazes Ender

        Amazingly we have a squad valued at just over half of that…..

        In the 13/14 season the value of an average player was £4.59m
        This season the value of an average player is £4.06m

        Its like magic with all of that ‘spending’ you would think that the value would have gone up, but alas we sold players as well.

        • Soldier

          and thats the whole point, what was the net amount in the period stated, i guess it will be more than expenditure by quite a bit

          • Leazes Ender

            Is that what its called ‘Net spend’ well there you go!

          • Soldier

            you know & i know he hasn`t spent a penny in 10yrs

          • Leazes Ender

            Well he’s downgraded the squad which led to relegation, he has spent money in doing so.

        • Clarko

          Those valuations are not valid, meaning your whole point is not valid.

          • Leazes Ender

            Our squad is only worth 88% of what it was worth four years ago.

          • Clarko

            Again, those valuations are not valid, your point or any point using those valuations is not valid.

          • Leazes Ender

            Are you a mathematics teacher?

          • Clarko

            And there you go again, ignorance, stupidity, whatever you want to label it. The valuations are not valid.

            Do you think Jack Colback (£4.50m) is more valuable than Issac Hayden (£3.60m)?

            Do you think Emmanuel Riviere (£1.35m) is more valuable than Jacob Murphy (£0.90m)?

            Do you think Dwight Gayle (£9.00m) is of equal value to Aleksander Mitrovic (£9.00m)?

            Do you think any of the above transfermarkt valuations are accurate?

          • Leazes Ender

            Have a look at the date of update and use the German site.

          • Clarko

            Is Freddie Woodman worth £0.45m, is Jamaal Lascelles worth £4.50m, is Hayden worth £3.60m, is Jonjo Shelvey worth £9.90m, is Dwight Gayle worth £9.00m, is Jack Colback worth £4.50m, they were all updated on June 28 2017.

            They are not valid.

          • Leazes Ender

            Did you look at the dates to see if they were updated?

          • Clarko

            Read my post, “they were all updated on June 28 2017”.

          • Leazes Ender

            individual players are updated not the whole site.

          • Clarko

            The individual players were all updated on the 28th of June 2017.

            You’re the one using these numbers, updated or not, they are not valid.

          • Brian Standen

            Your banging your head against a brick wall!
            He will always want the last word or resort to insults!

          • Leazes Ender

            You seem not to like the concept of an ongoing independent evaluation….. I’ll have a look.

          • Clarko

            The valuations are not valid, they do not give an accurate depiction of player value.

          • Leazes Ender

            Funny it should fall into line with what the bookies are saying about final position though….. oh…. and the pundits in most of the papers unless I’ve done a good job persuading the lot of them ….. and the two readers polls from the Mag and Chron.

            Yes individual pieces of data are wrong but there’s nothing wrong with the concept of Market Value Development (MDV) as a means of estimation.

            When data is agglomerated it sort of balances out the anomalies. and as you can see from the table this club is an ‘also-ran’…..’cannon-fodder’. We have fallen into a place in the table that is thoroughly expected.

            I must admit to having higher hopes for this as a means of correcting the over-hype of the media, but as I say the journalists use similar databases such as Soccerbase to get information and indeed construct articles, and ultimately ‘mis-selling’ the club as ambitious which of course it isn’t. An updating of an automatic system should be incorporated rather than reliance upon auction fees.

            I think when you say the valuations are not valid it’s not an ungenerous dismissal of literary fact so much as desire to weight an argument in favour of this rotten regime.

            In all cases indefensible either by quantifying the demise of the club….. or witnessing it.

          • Clarko

            All, and I mean all of what you have just posted is irrelevant, not one mention of the transfermarkt valuations. I am not arguing about the “bookies”, the “Chron” or “Soccerbase”, I am arguing that the transfermarkt valuations are inaccurate and therefore any argument you make using their values is invalid, I am not defending the “regime”, I am looking for a honest, unbiased, factual, informed, valid argument which you are incapable of making when using valuations from transfermarkt.

          • Leazes Ender

            I’ve just spelled it out to you, I’m not doing it again….. if you think that United is anything other than a slow motion car crash then it’s only because you are sitting in the passenger seat with your hands over your eyes.

          • Clarko

            Again, ignorance, not addressing your use of inaccurate and “wrong” data in your arguments and instead attacking me and the club you claim to support. Have fun being “wrong”.

          • Leazes Ender

            You sound like kev from Manchester.

            I’ve assessed you…. you’re bonkers.

          • Clarko

            You sound “wrong”.

          • Leazes Ender

            Yes you are Kev from Manchester, thank you for the clue…’being wrong’ as a possessive adjective…. only you!

          • Clarko

            “wrong”

      • magpiefifer

        You are quoting gross spend – why don’t you examine the net spend!!!!?

        • Clarko

          Net spent totals £96.42m over the same period, I would argue that is a significant amount of money.