There is this strange notion now regarding football fans, that being against modern football means that you are desperate for a return of the days of football hooliganism. That you want to go back to the stone age, turning up to the game on a horse and cart to a tiny run-down stadium like they do in Sunderland every other Saturday. It’s not that though.

It wasn’t so long ago that I would be sat on holiday with my parents at the end of June, putting 50p into a computer and clicking refresh on the BBC website every minute, waiting for the fixtures to come out. Sadly, it is not like that anymore…because the fixture list doesn’t mean anything.

Events in 2018 seem to have gone to a level we thought they couldn’t be reached in terms of football fans being taken advantage of.

Firstly, the Everton game. This is a game that has been moved to a Monday night, at such a late date, for the simple reason that Sky can make money. It would be stupid of me to be against having football matches on the tele because it is obviously good for everyone. However, announcing a game change only three weeks before the scheduled fixture is a joke.

Personally, I have had to get my ticket refunded by the club as the fixture change really has made it impossible to get to the game. The only possible way we could afford to get to the game was to get the train to Liverpool, then stay in a cheap hotel in Manchester after the game, and then get the train back to Newcastle the next day. About £131. That was the cheapest possible way to get to the game. Excluding food and drink.

Where is the support from the clubs? Non-existent because nobody cares about the fans. I am not sure that Newcastle even have a Supporters Liaison Officer at the moment.

Then we come to the rearranged Spurs game. Now, I fully accept that due to cup competitions that some fixtures have to be rearranged, but it feels like the FA, Sky and PL have gone the extra mile to make it as difficult as possible for NUFC fans. Newcastle fans have been given one-month notice to plan a trip to London… this isn’t forgetting that they were FORCED into making plans for the original Spurs game in case it did go ahead. That is hundreds of pounds on tickets, trains, hotels etc.

When you take into account that NUFC face Watford on the Saturday and Spurs on the Wednesday, that is money not even worth thinking about in the space of only 5 days. Where is the justice?

Sadly, this is just typical of football in 2018 – football fans have almost become desensitised to being p….. on.

I never like bringing politics into football that much, but with this past week marking the 5th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s death, it’s a poignant reminder that the disdain, and lack of empathy for football fans that she transcended into the 80s hasn’t gone away at all. In truth, the source of the disdain has merely changed from the government to the PL and Sky.

Even 10 years ago, it wasn’t unusual to have the fans on Sky Sports. Now, it doesn’t happen at all, ever. Because fans aren’t needed to make the news go around. The news doesn’t have to be true, or reliable, for it go around.

I recently watched a TV report on YouTube from 1990s. It was an hour long and featured the battle between McKeag and Hall for control over Newcastle… it featured a group of Newcastle fans all sitting in a pub giving their opinion to the local TV. Can you believe it? Fans being allowed onto TV to give their opinions as if they weren’t uneducated animals or something…

There is a lot of talk with Sky and the PL about whether the bubble could burst, and well in my opinion, it doesn’t really seem to matter, because football fans aren’t in the bubble anyway.

This slowly brings me to my second point regarding the media, which was instigated by John Richardson at the Mirror, whose comments recently about an opinion piece (red HERE) by a fan on The Mag, go to show just how out of touch most football writers are with the average fan… at least Newcastle fans anyway.

I do exempt a few from this including the two main guys at the Chronicle (Douglas and Ryder), as well as Caulkin and Hardy. I know the Chronicle get a lot of stick by many but at the very least, these guys do their best to put across the ‘true’ story.

Funnily enough, I actually like John Richardson, but journalists like him, like the guys at Sky Sports, who incredibly have the cheek to complain about fans complaining about them, goes to show they have no idea what is going on, on the ground.

The reason some fans are sick of those stories being recycled on social media is that they have been proven time and time again that they are baseless. Fruitless. Micky Mouse stories.

So John, while I am in no doubt that the sources in your story may be reliable, and you may have written your story in the best of interests, but some of us simply don’t care. We don’t care what most journalists have to say about Newcastle Untied because it almost never turns out to be true. Maybe one day we will care again when one of your stories actually happens, when apparent ‘takeover talks’ lead to a takeover, or ‘transfer talks’ lead to a signing etc.

You represent an industry that has done nothing but undermine Newcastle United and its fans for at least the last 20 years, so with all due respect, please don’t act surprised when we get a little sick of that industry’s stories.

I know that there is a decent majority of NUFC fans who would argue that the media ‘have it in’ for us. Is there some covert vendetta that the media/journalists has against Newcastle United?

I would argue no: instead I think we see an industry of ‘professionals’, who have worked in the industry surrounded by the same people for a long time – largely free from the pressures of football fans – who can make up their own stories and pursue cases that fit the agenda of their given organisation. No longer are they representative of football fans.

It only takes one Sunday morning of watching Sunday Supplement to come to the conclusion that football journalists are now their own class – completely detached from the realities of the average football fan today (unless of course you support Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, City or Liverpool).

At the very least though, like any work of life, when you get it wrong you expect people to own up to their mistakes. Yet there does seem to be a different rule for Newcastle fans.

The levels of hypocrisy within the media are staggering. Has anyone come out an said “oh yeah, turns out the Newcastle fans were right about Pardew?” after the national media castigated us for not wanting him to be our manager.

It turns out we were right about Rafa too, after areas of the media mocked us for getting behind our team/manager.

Wouldn’t you know, it turns out we were right about Mike Ashley too, after we were branded ungrateful for the decent financial position we are allegedly in.

All of this I can actually get over, but what I can’t get over is that the same rule isn’t applied to Arsenal fans, who want to hound out Arsene Wenger, who has won them almost every trophy going and they still sit 6th in the league and look like they can win the EL.

Nor is the same rule applied to Chelsea fans who want rid of Conte despite winning the league last season.

Nor was the same rule applied to Crystal Palace or West Brom fans who wanted rid of Alan Pardew.

Even then, when people do talk about our club, we are subjected to opinions from Dennis Wise, Jermaine Jenas, Craig Bellamy… even Paul Merson, who are given a free platform to slag off our own club!! And you wonder why we complain!?

I recently got asked to start writing for an online football blog – they said I would be required to write opinion articles about the big teams and stories;

I replied “I’m really sorry but I just don’t really have an interest in the so-called big teams” to which the editor responded with a single word email of “wow”.

It sums up the attitude amongst a lot of the media, who seem blissfully unaware that there are another 1,000+ football teams out there.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise though. It was only a Friday night ago that I clicked onto the Sky Sports app after watching an incredible game in the championship involving Cardiff and Wolves, only to be greeted by a list of stories featuring Chelsea/Arsenal/City/Man U. News on the two top teams in the Championship was halfway down the page.

There is undoubtedly a solution, but sadly, a key part of the problem lies in our own apathy. For us, for football fans, there is something we want just that tiny bit more than to stand up to the media and make an emphatic point. That something is that we just want our football team do well, and most importantly, we want to be a part of it when it finally happens.

The media, the FA and TV companies have us caught hook, line and sinker, because the majority of us British football fans, especially in Newcastle, are craving success so much that we are willing to cling on to whatever club, company or institution that tells us they are going to take us there.

For the media, the FA, the PL, Sky and the government, it almost appears that being ‘out of touch’ is the new ‘in touch’.

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  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Everton and Newcastle had no say in the change of fixture even though they were against the change and were subject to contractual obligations. I heard Everton had a go at trying to block the change but were powerless. Remember going to a game at Anfield before the loyalty system and Hall and Shephed gave most of the tickets to corporate supporters and the rest went to ballot. Hitch hiked down overnight with John the Chap and got in the Kop hours before kick off. The club do care now as we have a loyalty system but powerless over sky as we sign contracts.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Ryder & the truth should never be in the same sentence,
    EVER

    • Wor Lass

      Have you seen the subtitle on this? Micky Mouse stories – sue him!

  • Patrick Church

    possibly one of the best articles I’ve read on any football site – a true fan’s appreciation well written with a level, yet passionate head – excellent mate !

  • Martin Rooney

    Thatcher disdain and lack of…..what an Rsss football in the 80’s was spoilt by thugs causing absolute mayhem.

    • Leazes.

      Thatcher was the biggest thug!

      • Jezza

        Too true. She was the first Tory leader to use the police as her personal bully boys against the working classes, not to enforce the law as they are supposedly there for but to enforce party political policy. It is a tactic successive Tory governments have continued to use to this day.

        • Leazes.

          Yes I know and moving the police outside of their own area’s was crucial to her ‘Harrying of the North’.

          • East Durham Mag

            I thought it was William the Conqueror

          • Leazes.

            its an analogy. Thats why its in inverted commas.

          • East Durham Mag

            I did realise that just couldn’t resist sorry lol.

          • Jezza

            Not to mention putting squaddies in police uniforms to dish out thuggery and brutality to North East miners.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            What about the miners stopping people from going to work?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Utter, utter rubbish, I loved football in the 80’s but I hated the hooliganism that went with it. The culmination was Heysel and Thatcher’s response (ID cards etc) was not the answer, there were plenty folk who went to Newcastle games who caused trouble, we should blame them rather than Thatcher.

  • Leazes.

    Aah yes……I mean no…..I wouldn’t argue that the media ‘have it in’ for us….. or have a vendetta for that matter, I think its all about distance, you see when the FA rearranged the Everton game they say to themselves Newcastle’s in the North and so is Everton….no problem Jose…. they don’t realise that Newcastle is just 30 miles less to travel than Liverpool from London….or 30 miles and five hours more if there is a snowdrift on the Pennines in January.

    The Government is the same when dishing out finance….. ‘whaddya mean we don’t give you transport infrastructure….whats the bleedin H2 link to Manchester then….guvnor?’…. (that’s how the civil servants talk)

    Distance yes, partisanship yes…. the BBC backroom for MOTD was Arsenal throughout with a splattering of Spuds and others, and when they read the back pages of the Newspapers…. its their back pages, which are different to our backpages they have a sense of themselves!

    Our press…. well let’s go back to the Master Alan Oliver who made up stuff and apologised for ninety percent of what he’s bleeding written!…. then you have the Sports editor Mark Douglas who’s a thoroughly decent bloke I’m sure…. but he’s a Blackburn fan, and I don’t care how long he’s been here either, but who is at least is better than Liverpool fan Ryder (yes he is!)…. who has absolutely no empathy with United whatsoever….. its all about distances, because if United isn’t in your blood then its a thousand miles!

    We no longer have our own media, the Chronicle is distant, its owned by MGN in Salford where it is composed, put together….what we used to call ‘Typeset’…. computers changed everything…..no more ‘printers pies’….. printed on an industrial estate on Teesside. Local Television News is now formatted and stuff pieced into place often from other regions (have you spotted the ruse) passing stuff off as local interest on quiet days.

    There’s no voice for the North generally and least of all for our footy clubs who are there to provide London and Manchester with some laughs. How about MOTD totally ignoring the Gallowgate flags protest? At the same time that they’re hard up for news we get blanked out!

    Distance….yes….empathy no, the London Media are insular….. totally!

  • molend

    ‘Football fans are sick of those stories being recycled time and time again proved to be baseless, fruitless, Micky Mouse stories’. At the risk of being serious for a moment, I would suggest that you substitute ‘readers’ for ‘football fans’. The media in general think we’re mushrooms: they keep us in the dark and feed us on manure. Well, we’re not.

  • pedrodelgardo

    You’ve just got to be picky about who you read and question everything, How would he or she know that? usually being the first one. Journalism used to be a respected profession.

  • Martin Gardner

    Spot on kidda

  • Damon Horner

    You call out other fans and Arsenal probably lead the way but Leicester we’re embarrassing. Won the league managed by Ranieri, the ultimate romance, media loved it, fans crave it for their club, they then justify his sacking by pouring the praise of the title win onto Shakespeare to then see him sacked less than a year later with Ranieri guiding unfancied Nantes to a respectable league position.

  • Damon Horner

    Sadly though journalism’s catered for the masses. Faceless fans in far away countries who feel no connection with other fans or stadium atmospheres want to know of the clubs already living success, they have no time for Cardiff and the like.

  • paul mclaughlan

    Do as I do (in fact I’m sick of pointing this out) and don’t read the national press. I don’t read any newspapers full stop. Full of lies and deceit.

  • Peter

    The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express print lies on a daily basis…

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      So do the Mirror, Guardian and Morning Star

  • Down Under Mag

    Football is all about money, it is the factor that drives the sport more than ever before. The rich clubs backed by billionairre owners buying up every talent they can lay their hands on just in case someone else might discover the next Messi, Agents and players engineering moves every odd year to further line their pockets, TV deals going through the roof and the fans coughing up more for the “priveledge” to watch, players doing nothing (not even international duty) without financial compensation and yes, the media are also in for their pound of flesh by trying to sell papers on the back of largely over-dramatised if not completely falisief information.

    As if this wasn’t enough to turn fans off, football is now suffering from over-exposure, a game on every night and a couple each day on a weekend…I just think football in general is getting to the point of oversaturation and I think it will only take one massive scandal and the whole bubble could burst (and a lot of clubs facing the very real possibility of financial ruin should the TV money dry up).

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    “a poignant reminder that the disdain, and lack of empathy for football fans that she [Margret Thatcher] transcended into the 80s hasn’t gone away at all.”
    Thatcher simply didn’t get football but like many others, she’s had enough of the weekly violence that accompanied football in the 70’s and 80’s. OK there were reasons why these young men were angry and suppressed, they didn;t have the outlets they have today but most of the outside world had simple had enough of football.