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Sad to say, even my kids weren’t bothered about going to the match today

3 years ago

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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