The two words (cliche and prejudice) have different connotations. If I say that someone is talking in cliches, it sounds like they’re being lazy, and saying something because they’ve heard it said by other people before. It gives the impression that what they are saying may be a bit silly but isn’t particularly bad or malicious.

If, however, I say that they are expressing a prejudice – that sounds much worse, doesn’t it. I’m saying that they are expressing a view that they probably haven’t thought about and wouldn’t be able to justify. And nowadays, we generally frown on people spouting prejudices. There is a general agreement that they can be pretty toxic; and as a result we have all sorts of laws preventing people expressing various forms of prejudice in public.

So far so good. But the line between the two isn’t altogether clear. Nasty prejudices often feed on, and have their roots in, much more innocent-sounding cliches. A few examples:

“Most male hairdressers are gay.”

“Jews are good with money.”

“Black people have natural rhythm.”

Those are all cliches.

If you had stood at the Monument holding a placard with one of those slogans on it in 1975, most people passing by would either have thought nothing of it, or they might have thought ‘that’s probably right’.

By 1990 most people passing by would have thought you were a nutter.

By 2015 you would probably be in the back of a police car before you could say Jack Robinson.

Times change, and we are much more sensitive and aware nowadays of the dangers of cliches like those, in feeding nasty prejudices – especially where the cliches relate to race or ethnicity or sexuality. Whether some of us are too sensitive is another issue – but when I think back to the way the world was when I was a youngster in the 70s and 80s, and the sort of things you would see and hear back then, the world seems a much kinder place nowadays.

But what on earth has all of this got to do with Newcastle United?

NUFC is almost always at the centre of my attention – but for most people it isn’t. Most people know not-very-much about Newcastle, or about Newcastle United. That’s fair enough – there are parts of the country I don’t know too much about. But our club has been in the news this last week or two. The team is doing well and now there is all of the takeover malarkey – which means that people who probably know not-very-much about us, or about our club, are being given a platform to express a view.

And in those circumstances what do they do? They talk in cliches.

Most of us are well used to those cliches by now. They are annoying – but we’re used to them.

I am 50 years old. I support a team which has for many years now been one of the biggest few dozen clubs (in terms of financial turnover) in the world. And yet (almost uniquely among such clubs) I have never seen my club win anything. I would quite like to see my club having a pop, or at least punching its weight occasionally – but for that I, apparently, am ‘deluded’. I’m told that I think NUFC has a ‘God-given right to be in the top 4 every year’. I have ‘delusions of grandeur’ and will never be happy until we are winning the league by 20 points each season with Messi and Ronaldo playing up front.

Except now I’m told that I won’t even be happy with that. You see, now it seems that we won’t accept anyone who was born south of Scotch Corner.

Step forward Simon Jordan! In the kingdom of cliches you, my friend, are royalty.

According to Mr Jordan, you see, Geordies dislike Cockneys. We won’t accept anyone from down South having anything to do with our club. There’s no point in a Southerner even trying to help us – we just won’t have it!

Malcolm Macdonald, Sir Les Ferdinand, Robert Lee, Warren Barton, Chris Hughton – God, I hated them. Coming up here with their bleedin Pearly King sequin jackets, cockles and mussels, pie and mash, merchant banker, champagne socialist, knees up mother brown nonsense. It makes me mad!!!

It’s all nonsense of course. It’s probably wrong to place too much blame on Mr Jordan’s shoulders. He’s clearly just a fool who got asked to express an opinion on a subject of which he knew next to nothing. If there is blame to be placed it is on the people who broadcast his drivel.

So, to go back to the beginning

Most male hairdressers are gay.”

“Jews are good with money.”

“Black people have natural rhythm.”

“Geordies hate Southerners.”

When does a lazy cliche become a thoroughly unpleasant prejudice?

If I were to stand at the Monument holding a placard with one of the first three cliches on it, I’d probably get had-up. But the last one – yeah, that’s ok apparently.

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  • Paul Patterson

    On the subject of THAT Simon Jordan interview I’ve said before, Somebody needed to be there to challenge him.
    If you go on YouTube and watch the first videos that pop up when you type him in, he makes a point about Dennis Wise and despite saying he’s friends with him, he also states that what Wise knows about scouting players is nowt. The rest of the rubbish he spouts is simply for effect and should be disregarded.

  • Jimblag23

    I have a prejudice against Simon Jordan’s continued existence.
    And it’s not cliched to say his hair is sh!t.

  • TheFatController

    I remember when we finished 6th under keegan, didn’t qualify for Europe, then English clubs in September following had a shocking week in Europe and on football focus he was asked what he thought were the reasons.

    His reply: ‘well firstly, I’m not in a position to judge them as we didn’t even qualify for Europe.’ He then gave an answer based upon his experience as a manager of an English club, as a former top player internationally and having played abroad (successfully)

    So, the problem we have today is that no-one qualifies their opinions, nor as you rightly suggest has their credibility /accuracy questioned.

    Sadly digital media means we have too many media outlets, filling too much empty space, leading to unqualified ‘experts’ being given a platform to spout opinions, not evidence-based facts, as if they have expert knowledge.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    When people here the chant against Mike Ashley calling him a fat Cockney B******
    what sort of impression does this send out to Southerners . You are giving them all the ammunition they need to think we are still in the dark ages of the 1970’s.

    • steve pearce

      Ho Tosser Boy – crawl back up that Fat Stinking Bag Of Southern Pus’s rear entrance and stop commenting will you?

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Going car spotting again tonight are we.The Cockney Mafia banner caused offence to some southerners and it kicked off at Hull which resulted in my mate getting a three year banning order so yes it did cause offence.

        • Guest 2

          Can’t have anyone disparaging your idol can we? Pretty sure you thought Jimenez, Wise, Llambias, Kinnear, Pardew were all top blokes, along with Ashley.
          That’s why your so called support for this club is a complete sham. You’d have kissed Hitler’s hoop if he was the owner.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Pardew was not as bad as everyone makes out was the Premiership manager of the year and of all four divisions.
            When we played Metalist Kharkiv which was three hundred miles past Kiev he kindly said to put any meals on the clubs account as we were in the same hotel so yes got a lot of time for him. The way the fans treated him at the end made me ashamed to be a supporter of our club.

          • Guest 2

            The nonsense you spout is why we get labeled with being deluded.
            He had one good season, his first, as is his form everywhere.
            Seems a free dinner is all it takes to buy your respect.

  • Wor Monga

    Why give Jordan the time of day?…he’s a nobody, but because he was once attached to a ‘minor’ London club he get’s to air his views in the media, and nobody really takes any notice…except for us lot up here, that is…

    …He’s friends with our own ‘pet hates’…of Wise, and Pardew, and probably gets hammered with Ashley every now and again, and they might even have a larf together about the ‘revolting’ fans of this club…which supplies him with all the ammunition he needs to get the publicity that he craves…

    …which only happens for him when he sees his otherwise instantly forgettable utterances regurgitated ad infinitum, for days on end in articles like this one…and with that publicity the sure certainty of yet more appearances on the lucrative football talking heads circuit!!!

    • Paul Patterson

      YouTube him and the first interview that comes up he even says Dennis Wise is the last person he’d have at a club scouting . .

  • steve pearce

    You can write anything you like and I won’t complain Travis, as I don’t want all my fingers shot off by a complete nutter with a Mohawk haircut.

    Are you talkin’ to me?

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    It’s not just people like Jordan who are doing it but a plethora of individuals who seem to know what is going on at Newcastle.
    For me it started years ago just after the Keegan Boom time where messrs Gray and Keys started the constant Geordie Bashing through Sky Sports coverage.
    Where they were full of adulation when Newcastle were first promoted because they were playing an exciting brand of football at a time where it had become boring and sterile in England.
    After we let that 15 point lead slip when we should have went on to win the league Newcastle have been synonymous with failure ever since !

    It was a classic case of Built Up Then Knocked Down by the media who had once hailed Newcastle as “Everyone’s Second Team” to now, “Those Geordies Have Delusions Of Grandeur” !
    Those cheerleading the new narrative were Gray & Keys who were in their hey-day and most hung on their every word.

    Since those days there has been a free for all and “Newcastle Fans Are Deluded” is now part of the vernacular and an accepted meme.
    Personally I think a lot of people think that because there are full houses at every home game that fans turn up with some crazy idea that this season will be the one that they break the spell of not winning a trophy since 1969.
    When in reality it is just a case of their delusion only stretches to supporting their club no matter how bad they are, And that is where a lot of people mix the distinction up imo.

    What I would like to see though is ex-players step forward to stick up for the fans which they don’t do enough imo.
    People like Robert Lee and Les Ferdinand could do more to dispel another of those myths that says : “All Southerners Are Not Welcome.”
    Instead what do we get ?, Prats like Kieron Dyer who still push the deluded mantra as recently as a few days ago.
    A man who’s only real contribution to Newcastle was fighting Lee Bowyer in the Centre Circle and irrigating the flora of The Bigg Market at the weekend !

    • Paul Patterson

      The same Kieron Dyer than thought we weren’t ambitious enough and wanted to join his mate Ferdinand at Leeds United . .

    • steve pearce

      Yes and now the world is waking up to a Newcastle United who are better organised then they have ever been, play with the passion and desire that they have lacked since the days of “The Entertainers” and have the best manager in their history. Pundits are now even lauding us as to still exhibit such blind prejudice will expose then for the morons that they are. For when the dark shadow is lifted from St James’s Park we will hold our heads up in the light and sing “We are The Geordies!” and let no one dampen our spirit!

  • HappyToons

    “Most male hairdressers are gay.”
    “Jews are good with money.”
    “Black people have natural rhythm.”
    “Geordies hate Southerners.”

    It depends of course who you know as most male hairdressers are well known to be effeminate and gay in at least my own area. Most male barbers are straight. (Most doesn’t mean ‘all’).

    Jews as a people are good with money as they are religious almost to a majority and follow the Old Testament, including tithing 10% of their income; from being a child they are trained to be so. So yes they are generally good with money.

    I have never seen a Black person who can’t dance, so whether it is ‘natural’ is another thing. I have rarely seen a white man who can dance like a Black man. A black man in a yellow flared suit looks cool; I have never seen a white man the same. Shola in a yellow suit? Shearer in a yellow suit? Who’ll win the dance off?

    Geordies hate Cockneys in general, but not all Cockneys- just the big mouths. Are there plenty of big mouth Cockneys or is that just our own stereotype? Hands up in any pub on match day and you’ll still get that majority answer. Hate as defined ‘intense dislike’ rather than an urge to kill. Hands up if you hate Southerners e.g. people from Southampton…there won’t be many hands! Why the difference and based on what????

    The word ‘prejudice’ means a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Many of us have had real experience of living in London and realise their own prejudice is deep rooted against Northerners and Newcastle, when never having even visited our fair city!

    All 4 of the above are based on my personal and actual experience.

    The real problem in 2017 is that we live in PC WORLD and even if you have an opinion based on evidence and fact, but it isn’t 21st Century vogue, then you are labelled an intolerant bigot; but don’t let evidence get in the way.

    I believe Homosexuality and Transgenderism is wrong based on scientific evidence and a host of Psychiatric studies including the fact there is no gay gene (something first advocated by two separate Gay men and repeated ad nausea even today by all and sundry from the BBC to the media to the PC man in the pub as FACT). Such was taken as fact by NARTH in 1998 but they have now changed that belief with further scientific studies disproving the Gay Gene Myth and those unscientific ‘gay’ studies …so many Psychiatrists don’t accept the Gay Gene? So why is it repeated and believed as though it is a crime punishable by instant death if you don’t? Brainwashing? Like indoctrinating 5 year olds at school to accept transgenderism as normal? So no, I don’t wave the RAINBOW flag at all.

    “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles. …”

    So there you go, balanced and proper scientific study, without prejudice! I don’t hate Gays, or people with a different religion or colour of skin, or even Cockneys. Yet I will be seen as Homophobic (hate?) simply because I think it is wrong. Racist simply because Black guys are generally more cooler than white. Fatist because I think there is little excuse for obesity at all. Maybe there is a good reason why Cockneys in general are disliked, or is Simon Jordan just a stereotype like that other Millwall columnist? Both are real examples of a typical Cockney football brain.

    A the the England under 21 tournament the Black guys sat at separate tables from the white. The black guys wearing the cool gear and always listening to the best music and with the best rhythm. The media tried to make something of it but there was nothing racist at all.

    Now whether in the Strawberry or Shearer’s Bar…have a hands up who hates Cockneys when we play Chelsea or WHU!!!

    Have a hands up if you believe that the Gay Gene is a scientific fact?

    I am a very naughty boy for not being PC? Or do I research before following the PC crowd? Make your own mind up or ‘google’ it!!!

    • steve pearce

      Shurrrup man!

      First of all I haven’t the slightest clue what you are blathering on about and secondly if you are homophobic racist pile of shyte then at least have the courage to admit it. People who experience real prejudice as part of their daily lives tend to be stronger, more honourable and sometimes more tolerant. I have had gay friends and black friends, two of whom were amongst the hardest men in Newcastle. I’d have liked to have seen you spout this babble at them as you’d have seen your own head leaving your body.

      • steve

        I think he was quite clear with his homophobia there, didn’t read anything racist though.

        • steve pearce

          Hmm – sometimes the two walk together….

      • Guest 2

        Try telling a black man (or woman) they have no rhythm and can’t dance!

    • Mark Spark


      • X,WHY,Y MAN.

        Exactly !

        • Mark Spark

          And how did he type that much of anything and not have it held for moderation?well done on that.
          cant say i agree with the little bit I read though

          • X,WHY,Y MAN.

            I think sometimes people use the P.C thing as a shield to put forward bigoted views in the name of free speech.
            Not that people shouldn’t be entitled to free speech because what it does do is “Out” bigots who would normally go underground, So free speech is imperative.

    • X,WHY,Y MAN.

      P.C is one thing and being able to speak your mind but the above, Where is all that coming from ?

  • steve pearce

    Well if I told you the answer it would be a cliche and you’d think I was prejudiced…

  • Brian Standen

    Great article!

  • Rich Lawson

    Difficult,yes in my experience with a lot of gay friends, many male hairdressers were gay, I enjoyed their company ,they were good companions. When I was a punk in the mid 70’s I was barred from Julies and the only nite club in town I could get in to dressed the way I was,The Cassablanca, and I didn’t care about their sexuality,they were accepting of me in their club because I was different. I worked for a Jewish owned company for 23 years and they were careful with their money,but no more than a gentile owned firm. Surely some black people have 2 left feet,who cares ? I don’t like Southeners because I think they look down on us with ’bout being educated. Am I predjudiced ? Yes posibbly but despite my opinions I have no problem accepting people on face value and just going with their reaction to me,as it should be.