Since I first walked onto the Popular terraces way back in 1969, there has never been a calendar year when I have failed to attend a match at St James Park alongside my fellow Newcastle fans. Even since I gave up my season ticket, I still manage to attend a handful of games each season.
However, because I fell ill last spring, 2017 was destined to be the first time in nearly 50 years that I wasn’t going to do it. That was until Christmas Day, when my daughter presented me with posh Milburn seat tickets for the Brighton game.
This didn’t go down very well with Wifey, who looked unimpressed: ‘Are you sure your heart is up to this?’… ‘Will you be able to cope with the stress and excitement?’.
Well It won’t come as too much of a surprise to you when I say that I managed to get through the 90 minutes without incident. There was a stage when my daughter stated to shake me because I was making grunting noises and she thought I was struggling to breathe. The truth is, I had started to snore .
Actually that’s not true, but to say it wasn’t the most exciting game ever seen at St James Park would be an understatement. However, what struck me about the day was the lack of criticism and anger aimed at the players and management.
When you read those who leave comments after articles on The Mag, our supporters seem to be polarised in their views, one way or the other. It always makes me wonder if they are representative of the 50,000. From what I witnessed on the 30th, I would say they are not.
From my vantage point, which I accept was in the Milburn and is hardly renowned for its seething passion, there was absolutely nothing bad aimed at the pitch, whilst we watched the team play for 0-0 and hope for a lucky break.
Compare this with Fat boy Sam’s last game in charge, a 0-0 cup shocker at Stoke. I remember the dogs abuse that rained down on him for his utterly negative tactics.
So what’s the difference between the two events, ten years apart .
Well, my opinion is that back in January 2008, that team contained the likes of Owen, Viduka, Duff, N’Zogbia & Smith . A bunch of players, who on paper at least, should have been capable of taking a shot at goal. The fact that they didn’t, was seen as the fault of one man and one man only, Sam Allardyce.
This time, I believe that the majority of fans look at the players on the park and think that in the main they are Championship players, playing to their best ability, and that Rafa is playing a style that may just about produce enough results to keep us up
It’s not good and it’s not pretty, and to be truthful, If I had shelled out 600 quid to watch that week in week out, I would find it very difficult to stomach, but like the thousands around me that day, I accepted it.
Newcastle fans getting on the backs of the players is not going to achieve anything. A toxic St James Park will guarantee relegation, just as it did back in 1989. That season, my rubbish support, along with thousands of others, where we screamed abuse each time they went one down, helped to finish them off.
So as I remove some more splinters from my backside from sitting on the fence again, I can see both sides of the argument. Surely this football club is better than playing for a point at home? Of course we are – but in 2018 that is what we are. I don’t like it but I understand it.
I hope to God that we beat Swansea, which in my opinion, will mean that we may only need another 11 points. If those points are achieved by three 1-0 wins and two scoreless draws then so be it.
That can be accepted for this season but it cannot be accepted after that.
It seems that these days, many people feel that we can’t win the Premier League, we can’t qualify for Europe and we can’t compete for a cup
If you then take away entertainment as well, you seriously have to ask yourself….
What’s the point?