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Opinion

Beating England with the Newcastle stick

1 year ago
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Once every four (two if you count the Euros) years, England fans get the special treatment which is usually reserved especially for Newcastle supporters. You know the script.

The lazy press or a clueless phone-in host uses the phrase “best fans in the world.”

Next thing you know, it escalates to “they’re not a big club – when was the last time they won anything – who do they think they are – arrogant Geordies.”

Cue response from the thickest fan they can find, often stood on Barack Road wearing full kit with a bedspread banner “whey wa the loylist supportas the worrld has ever haad man!” and we’re all tarred with the same (daft as a) brush.

Most of us are honest enough to know this “best fans in the world” guff is nonsense, we have a big following considering our lack of success, and we grew up in a region with a love of football above other more elitist sports and pastimes. We see a big fan base, a big stadium, and we hope.

We hope. That’s it.

Every club have their core of wonderful supporters.

I’ve got a mate who is hardcore Doncaster Rovers, I took the 300 mile trip with him back to Gateshead Stadium a few years back for a weekend pre-season tournament. Two days of suffering watching Donnie Rovers, Gateshead, Bedlington Terriers and I believe the second string eleven from Felling Social Club Women’s Domino Team. On the pitch it was atrocious, but the fans were great and made their own entertainment, as happens at every club at every level.

Back to England.

Due to the lack of hope going into this tournament, the usual “arrogant” label given to England fans was on the back burner, but after a couple of good performances and glimmers of hope, the cliched comments are starting to seep out again.

Take a Q&A article by Martin Samuel in today’s Mail (top journalist, tripe paper)…

“So many people badly want the media and supporters alike to get carried away and start saying we’re going to win the World Cup that when this doesn’t happen they imagine it anyway, even when this requires a crowbar and WD40. Dave H, London.”

Samuel responds “I know, Dave. This site is lousy with people claiming to have read arrogance and over-confidence that is simply not there. If anything, it’s the opposite. ‘You lot always think you’re going to win the World Cup.’ Opposite. ‘You lot always talk up your chances.’ Opposite. You win one game and you think you’re – oh, bore off, it’s the opposite. Twerps like our friend from Australia project their chip on the shoulder insecurities into even the mildest positivity. England 6 Panama 1 doesn’t mean England are going to win the World Cup, but it was encouraging and a decent performance and any team here would be happy with it. And yes, we all know we haven’t played a contender yet – because you’d have to be a fool not to appreciate that. So we’re cautious, but happy. It’s gone well, so far.”

Sounds Familiar?

Compare this with a Q&A article following Martin Samuel main article regarding Staverley’s mooted take over, published January 25th.

There are TEN comments raised that Samuel answers…

[FOUR] comments around the asking price being too high/the offer too low

[ONE] comments that Ashley doesn’t know the football business

[ONE] comment paints Ashley as the villain, and say the southern media don’t have a clue about Newcastle as all we want is a chance to progress

[ONE] says Samuel is a southern journalist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about

[ONE] ask Samuel to see it from our point of view, underinvestment leading to relegation, all we want is our team to progress

[TWO] question whether Samuel is on Ashley’s payroll

Despite the fact that Samuel chose the comments that formed his article, there is NOT ONE SINGLE MENTION that we somehow believe we are superior to other fans, yet he finds the time to say….

Samuel “Every club, like every family, thinks it is special; meaning no club is.”

So why make that point if it’s not from a perceived opinion that perpetuates a myth. Nobody said we were special. He couldn’t even find an idiot on his message board that said we were special (and God knows we’ve got a few of them on here!).

When it’s England it’s “people claiming to have read arrogance and over-confidence that is simply not there. If anything, it’s the opposite” when it’s Newcastle, Samuel does exactly that, reads an arrogance and over-confidence that isn’t there.

The press and fans of other clubs beat us with this exact same stick year in and year out, but don’t like it themselves when the World Cup rolls around.

We’re not the “best fans in the world”, we just support our club and hope one day we’ll have something to celebrate.
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