Over the last few days, as the transfer window close approached, I remained silently confident that everything would be ok, I truly believed that nobody at Newcastle United would be stupid enough to risk our position; nobody would be stupid enough to believe that what we have right now is enough; nobody would be stupid enough to calculate the risk, and determine that remaining stagnant was an acceptable position.
Deep down, my belief was founded upon hope. Hope that finally, the powers that be had turned the corner, seen the potential, acknowledged our precarious position and agreed that change was needed now. The purse strings would be opened (I didn’t expect record breaking marquee signings, just improvements) and a flow of PL standard players, or at least established top division professionals from around the continents would walk through the door, lift a NUFC shirt above their heads and state their eagerness to don the ‘Famous Black and White Shirt’ on the hallowed turf of St James Park.
Hope. I hoped. As Henry Rollins once said:
“Hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated.”
Henry Rollins. A very run of the mill American actor/musician/comedian. Not exactly a fountain of wisdom, but, those words completely capture my feelings right now.
I have written articles here, commented on threads and spent hours talking to friends/colleagues/anyone stupid enough to strike up an NUFC related conversation on how, in some way, Mike Ashley has been harshly treated at times (Not all the time, there are a lot of things he has done that deserves a lynch mob at his door, never mind harshly written words) and that maybe, now is the time to let bygones be bygones.
To the countless individuals that I have debated with on here regarding giving Mike Ashley some slack, all I can do is apologise for wasting your time. I was still hoping. I am now defeated.
I went to bed early last night (Thursday). I had a splitting headache, most likely caused by the constant staring at my phone, searching through networks, forums, live tickers etc, waiting for some kind of miracle to happen. Waiting for a breaking news story of a new signing to walk through the door. I would have been happy with literally anyone.
It is saying something when you get a bit excited about the likes of Matt Targett (Southampton’s third choice left-back). Nothing materialised, the window closed, and today I woke up to the realisation of nine months of utter pain at the hands of the 19 other clubs plying their trade in the PL, that are much stronger than us now.
My hope has gone. No longer do I believe that maybe Ashley will turn a corner. This was quite literally his best chance to prove to the great fans of NUFC that he had some modicum of appreciation, affection, aspiration for the club and us in general. He failed.
He had his chance, he had a small bit of rope left, that he only clawed back by managing to recruit, and keep Rafa Benitez, but now, not only has the rope slipped out of his fingers, it is wrapped firmly round his neck, frayed and under so much strain that it isn’t long before the rope will beyond the point of repair and break entirely.
I admit defeat. I admit defeat to all of you that have consistently berated him. You were right, I was wrong. I admit defeat to myself. I hoped, I no longer hope. I know that my hopes will never materialise whilst he is at the club. I am converted.
Now that I am here though, what should I do?
Should I give up entirely, turn my attentions elsewhere and focus on another sport for a while?
Rugby is ok I suppose.
Can’t stand Cricket so that’s out.
Golf? Not for me.
I do like my combat sports. Boxing and UFC are great but can I really sate my sporting desires through that avenue? Will it give me enough? Can I immerse myself in it to the point of addiction like I have with football all my life? The simplest answer is no, I can’t.
No matter what happens, I cannot turn my back from football. I am just too addicted. As crazy as it may sound, throughout my entire life it truly has been the one and only constant. Women have come and gone, houses, cars, friends, jobs, they have all played a part at times, and then disappeared into the background of my existence. NUFC has never been absent.
So, I can’t leave football behind, and I can’t leave NUFC behind. I have to seek inspiration from somewhere, otherwise I will go mad.
Step forward Santosh Kalwar, a Nepalese poet famed for his writings based upon the past, present and future:
“Never stop just because you feel defeated. The journey to the other side is attainable only after great suffering.”
We have suffered in the past at the hands of Mike Ashley, we are suffering now, and undoubtedly, there is more suffering on the horizon. I am not going to give up though. Reflecting on Kalwar’s words, I now realise that in the space of 12 hours, I have managed to get myself back into the hope cycle. The hopes have changed, the intensity of them remain the same.
I now hope that Mike Ashley does the right thing and moves on from his ownership of this great club, sooner rather than later. I hope he leaves and takes his minions with him. I hope Rafa, despite having his legs completely cut from underneath him, decides to see him out and stay with his own hope that he will be able to construct the vision that he believes can become reality at Newcastle United under a proper owner, an owner that understands what is required to make a football club a success and wants to achieve greatness.
NUFC will continue to feed my addiction. I will support the players, manager, coaches (including Beardsley), and all others associated with the club. I can’t not. But Mike Ashley, for what little it’s worth, you no longer have my support. You will no longer receive any of my hard-earned money, or any kind of appreciation for anything that you have ever done during your tenure.
I continue to hope…
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])