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Opinion

The Newcastle fans who just missed out: My Generation

4 years ago
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Hindsight is a funny thing in football…arguably a necessity for Newcastle fans.

Accusations of ‘delusion’ on our part from the mainstream media are in fact, very real memories of times not so long ago.

You know the feeling that I’m talking about – the goosebumps you get when you remember the audacity of Albert’s chip, giving up – only to be in utter ecstasy in Rotterdam, and a time where you could watch Newcastle United greatest ever number 9 score some of the greatest goals in Premier League history.

I just missed out on all of that.

I’m 20 years old, and as a result, the stories of those days are just that; stories.

I missed Keegan, I missed Sir Bobby, I can barely remember Shearer, and as a Newcastle United fan that hurts. Although I can vaguely remember some UEFA cup jaunts (vs. Heerenveen) and that cup win (Intertoto), my formative years – the years that I will remember and hold dearest for the rest of my life – have been the years under Mike Ashley. That is a fact even hindsight can’t help.

However, things have changed. Admittedly, they haven’t changed as drastically as we had all hoped over Christmas, but they have changed nonetheless. Rafael Benitez is a beacon, not only for the football club as a whole but for a generation of fans who only know reassuring stories of past success. These are usually delivered by the boatload in the pub after struggling against a team who not so long ago were in League One.

I can’t compare Rafa to the success of the late 90s and early 2000s. I can only compare him to what I know and have grown up with: 6 in a row, relegation, chronic lack of investment, relegation, annual asset stripping, humiliation, Kinnear, humiliation, Kinnear, and despairing seasons containing dangerously few flashes of the joy which remind us why we love this club. In layman’s terms, it’s talking away everything good about being a Newcastle United fan and living the bad.

After recent results, I can’t help but look forward with poorly suppressed excitement.

For the first time in my memory and despite Mike Ashley, we seem to resemble not just a football team, but a club. Not the club of old – but as much of a club as I’ve ever witnessed.

Although its true that I don’t have the safety blanket of memories of years gone by if we end up ‘doing a Newcastle’, I do have an unadulterated and absolute belief that this is the best period to be a fan of Newcastle United in my (knowing) lifetime.

The decisions made in the next few seasons by the board and the sheer importance of Rafael Benitez, is nothing short of unprecedented for me and for a generation of Newcastle fans who – just like the entertainers – just missed out.
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