Newcastle United play Augsburg this afternoon.

I had no interest in going to the only home friendly of pre-season but when you have kids, it does complicate things.

It is all very well having made your mind up based on decades of attending, and especially these last 11 years of Mike Ashley, but for the young and innocent, they have a different mindset.

So on Friday I asked them if they wanted to go to the game today.

It was the last possible opportunity as the tickets double in price to £20 and £10 for kids if you buy on matchday.

I was resigned to the fact that I would have to sit through it.

However, for the first time pretty much ever, the bairns just looked at me.

They have never turned down the chance of going to any match, even the odd reserve one when they are held at St James Park.

However, they have both (aged seven and nine) asked if we can go down the coast instead.

So instead of watching that rubbish at St James Park today, it will be a trip down Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.

Rather than a pointless totally uninspiring friendly, it will be crazy golf, on the beach with the dog, a dodge in the amusements, ice cream, and maybe the odd cheeky pint or two in the sun. Result!

I am of course sick of Mike Ashley and last thing I wanted to do was to give him £20 extra cash or more today.

However, when you are seven and nine, you aren’t basing your choices on how the club is being run. So if they had wanted to go, I’d have had no choice.

Instead, kids look at it very simply. Do I want it?

The answer for today was a resounding no.

When I asked them why (don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to change their mind), they said they hadn’t even heard of the other team (Augsburg) or any of their players, and as for Newcastle, they correctly pointed out that we’d be pretty much watching our Championship team from two years ago.

They both like Kenedy and are pleased he is still here (on loan or bought, it doesn’t matter either way at that age) but they saw him last season and will see him next Saturday when we face Spurs (we are season ticket holders).

They are still up for going to the matches when they kick off properly but even the enthusiasm for that is nowhere near what it was, even when we were in the Championship.

The kids are totally left cold by cheap bargain signings such as Schar and Ki, plus Muto as well really, after all, a striker costing less than £10m who couldn’t get a game for Japan in the World Cup, isn’t going to excite any kid. They hadn’t even heard of Muto or the other two, despite playing on FIFA pretty much every chance they get.

Our season tickets have gone up as much as 20% compared to last season and yet I struggle to think of any positive to pass onto the kids.

I have no answers myself as to why we are a week away from the new season and haven’t bought a new centre-forward, but are £27m up on transfers, so when the kids ask why we haven’t signed one…what do you say?

Before my kids were born I took my kid brother, nephews and nieces etc to friendlies against the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus in pre-seasons. Mike Ashley won’t even allow us now to have a bit of interest before the season kicks off, rather than spending a few quid paying a decent club to visit and get the kids (and parents) into SJP (and getting that money back and more), instead we have mediocre clubs getting travel expenses and with players my kids have never heard of.

Good luck to anybody going today, as at the same time I’ll be walking along Longsands and Whitley Bay beaches, then sitting with a pint in my hand in the sunshine, not giving a thought to Newcastle United.

That hollow misery can wait until next Saturday, unless of course something positive happens in the meantime…

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  • Toon River

    I haven’t been to a pre season game since we used to play gateshead in the nineties. The last none competitive game I went to was Rob Lees testimonial against Bilbao in 2001. I’ll be there against Spurs though when it kicks off for real :)

  • Sherburn Taxis

    Save yourself a fortune in new shirts with ‘Rondon 9’ on the back

  • Sherburn Taxis

    You’ve just saved a fortune on new Shirts with “Rondon 9” emblazoned and if that isn’t inspiring enough I don’t know what is.

  • Mxpx

    Interesting as when I was that age the Internet existed but was still dialup and news wasn’t really shared through it in the same way and I had no idea who ANY of our signings were unless I’d seen them on football italia on channel 4 or they were from the Premier league so I was excited about each and every player we signed having seen ginola asprilla and shearer all coming through the door then came tommason andreas Anderson and stephane guivarch and I knew these were not like the others once I saw them but they were still exciting until I saw them play at that age but had no idea why they were not like the others although retrospectively thanks for dismantling the entertainers Kenny (I enjoyed watching ketsbia though) but I remember loving watching us in the uefa Cup (now europa league) against teams I’d never heard of previously though maybe that ignorance really was bliss in not knowing the extra information the Internet gives us really made things more exciting

    • Ram Kishore

      Yeah, the extra information on the internet has just made not excited about the new signings. even before seeing them play..They are written off..

  • phildene

    So you think by not paying for today’s friendly you’re doing good, whilst still paying hundreds £’s for a season ticket???? Wake up man and smell the coffee! That logic doesn’t work!

  • BanJones

    You should have forced your kids to go, Mike needs more of your money and he tastes lovely.

  • Ken

    the last pre season game i attended was against Juventus, we`ve also played the like`s of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Sporting, under Ashley we play teams where you struggle to name one of their players, ironically they still beat us

  • Mrkgw

    Some good points. Have to say that I hadn’t heard of Muto either, and clearly its a cynical ploy by the regime to tap into the aisian support which as we all know, will create another pot of gold for the despised owner. He has reduced our club to a shambles and shadow of its once great self. Even our support is at the end of its tether. ASHLEY OUT!

    • Martin Rooney

      Listening to Rafa he said he’d known of him for a long time and that he’d been watching him all of last season, I fffffink he’ll do well for us.

      So not an Ashley buy but definitely Rafa’s
      Let’s hope it works for him, Rafa that is

      • Mrkgw

        Agreed. Good to know that Rafa was actually in favour of this.

  • ghostrider


    • Ben Jones

      I’ve a feeling I know why the children of the author are pessimistic about the absolute plight of supporting a top 10 premier league team

      • ghostrider

        Me too.

      • Chuck D

        Ha top ten!

        This is a team that’s likely to spend most of the season fighting relegation as per last season.

        The majority of us dont accept Ashley’s ambition of purely surviving in the league.

    • KK

      Yes you loser, your everywhere, GHOSTRIDER is Ashley’s mouth piece. Don’t trust him

      • BanJones


  • Viru leckworth

    Not going to this friendly will show a point, trouble is most pre season supporters will. I have never felt so down at the start of any season. And I have been going to matches for over sixty years.

  • Toon

    Wow, my hero! Not going to a pre season friendly but renewing a season ticket despite contributing to a website which attacks the club daily, typical Mag

    • Ben Jones

      Are you describing yourself as an atypical mag or are you distancing yourself entirely from being a mag at all?

      • Ken

        we are all born with a certain amount of inherent stupidity,
        you hit the jackpot, you`re a special king of stupid

  • Ben Jones

    I couldn’t care less about your kids to be fair (while I wish them no harm and all the success in their future) they’re simply not old enough to understand the full complexities of the club and situation. Let’s be fair here if their dad is always harping on about the bad man and what the club could be and what the club was, add in a few sucking the lifes and lack of ambitions in there and what you end up with is despondent kids, they’re feeding off your energy

    • Scott Robinson

      If Harry Kane was playing up front then his kids would be there at 10.00am, wake up. Josy who and no other strikers on the bench? Recall how many kids were there to see even Owen sign. If Ashley was a football man then he would know how to get it right, but he is a t I t. You and ghostrider are ‘special’ fans…of Mr Ashley, do you go public with your thoughts? Like to see you in the pubs spouting Ashley tripe. You’d soon hear what the majority think, rather than a handful on here.

      • Ben Jones

        They’re all just repeating what they heard someone else say, non of them have any original thoughts or can elaborate on theirs once probed(oh er)

        • Vincent Gigante

          Do you think ashley should have provided more funds to strengthen the first team and squad?

          • Ben Jones

            More funds than? The window hasn’t closed yet, but given the refusal of rafa to sign a new contract I can understand withholding the full warchest, if that’s what’s happening, so ideally yes but under circumstances i can understand no

          • Vincent Gigante

            More funds than? Sorry I’m not asking for a comparison. What I’m asking is simply do you think ashley should have invested in the football team? As you continually suggest that the money or now as you have hilariously named ‘warchest’ is being held back are you, as I asked the other day saying ashley is daft enough to take this risk and enter this season without the provision of an obviously needed goalscorer?

          • Ben Jones

            Gayle out Rondon in, it’s happening as we type.

            Sorry Vincent when someone says ‘more’ there has to be at least a rough guide as to what the number is that more constitutes an increase on, it’s like me asking should I drink more alcohol without you knowing how many I’ve already drank

          • Vincent Gigante

            How about every penny generated? Why not use that as a yardstick

          • Ben Jones

            Ok. I think it’s covered in my previous replies

          • Vincent Gigante

            It’s not and you know it isn’t as all you have done is skirt around each question.
            As you have brought up your previous posts where is the 50m net spend? What’s in the warchest?
            And finally but most importantly do you think that ashley is daft enough to engage in a Mexican standoff with Rafa and potential buyers ?

          • Ben Jones

            What 50m net spend? I’ve no idea the contents of the warchest but I’d be very surprised if it was empty,

            If rafa doesn’t sign his contract and Ashley is gone before its up it ceases to be his problem, if Ashley is withholding cash because rafa isn’t signing and Ashley is still here at the end of the season he’s in a better financial position to match Rafa’s ambitions, should he wish

          • Vincent Gigante

            3 days ago you said you expected a 50m net spend.

          • Ben Jones

            Yes I did, that is what I estimated we would spend this window prior to entering it (although I find the whole idea of net spend tiresome),

            If Ashley is withholding funds because rafa is refusing……..etc

          • Vincent Gigante

            So you imply that ashley is holding a gun to Rafa’s head – sign here or you get no money to spend on the squad.
            Who wins in this situation?

          • Ben Jones

            He has had money to spend though Vincent, if you had some old memorabilia in the loft that you didn’t want and you sold it for real cash pounds, when you spend them cash pounds you’re spending money, regardless of whether it’s earnings/pension or memorabilia sales money, assuming you’re spending that money on something you want you have sold something you didn’t want and now have something you do, you’ve improved your situation.

            No gun, just a reasonable request to commit to the clubs future and get the backing that commitment deserves

          • Vincent Gigante

            Thanks for the insightful analogy on the use of money.
            We needed more players added to the squad and all fatty has allowed is to replace outgoing players. They might be better, they might need 3 minutes, matches or months to bed in.
            Do you think ashley is committed to the club? I personally think this whole charade is going to mount into the biggest insult to the fans of Newcastle United imaginable.

          • Ben Jones

            We need a few more bodies absolutely, the window hasn’t closed yet

            I think he’s committed to the earliest exit he can with a price as close to what he wants as he can get

          • Chuck D

            Straight loan swap, you buzzing with that

            So that leaves us with short on numbers still and not one decent striker.

          • Ben Jones

            If it’s what rafa wants for his team then we all must be happy

            Yeah few more signings still needed

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    No-one should be bothered about going to the match until the destroyer of our club is gone.

  • Ben Jones

    I couldn’t care less about your kids to be fair (while I wish them no harm and all the success in their future) they’re simply not old enough to understand the full complexities of the club and situation. Let’s be fair here if their dad is always harping on about the bad man and what the club could be and what the club was, add in a few sucking the lifes and lack of ambitions in there and what you end up with is despondent kids, they’re feeding off your energy

    Plus ice-cream, what kid doesn’t get excited about amusements beach and ice-cream?

    Do you want to go to the match?(said with sad face) or beach amusements and ice-cream?(said with smiles and full of energy)

    Manipulate coot

  • Bowlsey

    Great article and I hope that you and your kids get to enjoy the game against Spurs next week, whatever the result. It’s extremely difficult to feel excited going into this new season I know. After we finished 10th last season I actually started to feel positive and actually believed for a few exciting days that Ashley might finally back Rafa…Yes, I know. I’m a f*****g idiot.

    Oh and it’s unrelated but I wish people on here would just do what I and many others have already done and just block the trolls! Stop talking to them!

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    There were twenty one thousand true fans at the match. It was a great atmosphere with roads closed off round the ground with a disco and bouncy castles for all to enjoy. Was a good game and the fans who turned up had a great day out.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Also your kids would not know what the new signings were like so it was your decision not their’s a rubbish article.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      You’re kids hate you Monkseaton, they always ask, why’s dad always licking the windows

  • Jonas

    I’m not sure that the theme of the piece is any indication but to be fair when I was a kid I was excited about every game – pre-season friendlies in the (previous) dark days at Dunfermline and Morton and would have been along like a shot for a home gfriendly.
    Now I wouldn’t go to SJP unless I was paid a lot of money whilst that mofo owns it.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      Was at Dunfermline we went clubbing after the game and slept in a transit till the morning. For Morton we went by bus but parked in Glasgow and got the train in and back and had a night out. Yesterday was great day as always.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        You slept with a man in Dunfermline, kinky.