Newcastle United – love them or hate them at the minute, they are your team.
The inconvenient truth is that you can’t just change your team, unless of course you are one of those sad characters who initially picked to support a club because they were successful.
Which obviously then rules out Newcastle United.
Unless of course you are around 80 years old and have finally had enough…
For many of us as well, it is very hard to stay away from the games still, no matter how disgracefully Mike Ashley starves the manager and squad of funds, and however terrible the football is.
Going to the match is our social life as well, in most cases, we head into the city centre to meet friends and family, talk rubbish and throw the drink down, then go and watch the game, before many of us repeat the pre-match process after the final whistle.
You can’t take seriously anybody who shouts and screams too loudly that you shouldn’t go to the games.
By all means people can try and convince you that if enough of us stay away from games it would/could help force Mike Ashley out – but abusing people who are still going, isn’t the actions of a decent Newcastle fan.
Stopping going to the matches isn’t as simple as some loudmouths make out, you might take children or other family members and of course it may well be the only time you ever still meet up with your circle of mates.
When you are up against a multi-billionaire there are no guarantees. Demanding people change their whole social life indefinitely in the hope of something that might never happen, isn’t the real world.
Plus of course, I always get the feeling that most of those who go way over the top in terms of abusing those who are still going to matches, tend to be people who probably rarely went themselves anyway and/or aren’t in a position to go now through living away etc.
The point is, we all have our own particular breaking point and whilst I fully support all the protests and will be outside the St James Park branch of Sports Direct at 2.15pm this afternoon, the reality is that Newcastle fans will make their own individual decision to stop going, whenever that may be.
For some of us it would take the grim reaper to finally drag us away but for many thousands, the decision could be very close.
I think today against Leicester could be when the fuse is very likely lit.
Already in the bottom three, we face a dangerous Leicester team who score a lot of goals and have a lot of pace.
Against that you have a demoralised Newcastle team, no wins yet, lacking pace and confidence, plus missing Rondon, Fernandez, Lejeune and Dummett.
Whenever we play any game, there will be some part of me who thinks Newcastle can win, and that is no different today.
However, the last two visits have seen Leicester score three goals both times and win the two games.
Their last eight Premier League matches have seen them score 18 goals, scoring in every game, including scoring three against Arsenal, four at Tottenham, three in their last game against Huddersfield, and even two in their last away game at Bournemouth when losing 4-2.
The problem as I see it today, is that I can’t see Leicester failing to score goals, but I don’t see Newcastle having what it takes to take advantage of Leicester’s defensive vulnerabilities (conceded 10 in six this season, whilst only three PL clubs conceded more than the 60 Leicester let in last season).
The belief is that Newcastle are a counter-attacking team but I don’t really buy it now. You need pace to counter-attack and Joselu & Perez have zero pace, the same with Shelvey and Diame in the middle, Ritchie isn’t quick, whilst Kenedy hasn’t looked fit yet.
Last season you had Gayle but he is elsewhere, so basically you have Yedlin and then Muto, if he ever gets a game.
Opposition teams can push up high and commit players forward, knowing Newcastle don’t have the pace or quality to hurt them.
So far Newcastle have only scored four goals and in over nine hours of PL football, only one of those was via somebody’s boot, Yedlin (with his pace…) at Man City.
I struggle to even think of many chances we have had where keepers have had difficult shots to save, we really struggle to play through teams and create chances. The other three goals have been from crosses and that looks to be our best (only?) bet most of the time.
If we can get the first goal today then just maybe the confidence can grow and Lascelles can hold the defence together despite the missing players.
However, if Leicester score first, especially early on, I could see them very possibly getting three or four.
This isn’t doom and gloom, just reality. They have far better attacking players than Newcastle and that goes for the midfield as well overall, they have spent money and strengthened repeatedly, Mike Ashley has refused to allow it repeatedly.
With Man Utd away next, defeat to Leicester would almost certainly leave us facing Brighton at home on 20 October quite likely bottom of the table and more than likely a gap already building between NUFC and safety.
Today is such an important result, even a gutsy draw would help hold things together for the time being, whilst a heavy defeat could really be a game-changer for so many people, ensuring resentment against Mike Ashley goes through the roof.
I can never want Newcastle United to lose but some small part of me thinks why not just crash and burn as soon as possible, as that will surely be the only chance we have of ever getting rid of Ashley.