What is Newcastle United?
We used to believe it was the fans, but the atmosphere is gone, and fans argue amongst themselves more than they support the club.
What is supporting the club?
It used to be simple. It used to be buying your ticket, cheering on the team and hoping for wins, goals, performances and progress. These days that very support seems to be done in apathy and without hope, and is arguably self-destructive to the club by validating the actions of the owner.
Whether you still view Newcastle United as you always have, whether the club still invokes the same passion in you that it always has and whether you still attend matches or have chosen not to, there is one thing that cannot be argued. The fight has gone out of the dog and has been replaced by the tedium and routine of a marriage on its last legs.
Some outside of the support, other fans and the media, view the club as a soap opera, some view it as a car crash. Whichever you believe to be true, the one thing it most certainly is not these days, is a competitive football club in any sense, other than for the financial benefit of the owner. The argument that he doesn’t take money out is no longer true, the promise to invest “every penny generated” is a proven lie and the profit generated through the summer is the key factor in why we currently find the club propping up the Premier League table.
I was unfortunate enough to find an available stream of the Brighton game last weekend, and what I saw was the final nail in the coffin of any hope I had of comfortably escaping relegation this season. In my opinion the team tried, they worked and ran and tackled as hard as I would expect them to do, but the futility comes from the realisation that they are simply not good enough.
The arguments of team selection, tactics and formations really hold no water when you realise just how poor the team is.
As fans I feel that we are sometimes too close to our own team to really see the deficiencies in what is on the field, but what I saw last Saturday was a team who would not be competitive in the Championship, never mind the Premier League.
Now, where this argument usually goes with those who like to use the team as a stick to beat the manager with, is that Rafa is responsible for signing many of the players out there, this is true. However, what that argument fails to appreciate is that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the majority of the players brought in for the sums of money which they cost, but what is missing is that sprinkling of genuine quality that would tie the hard working pros together and actually make a viable football team.
We have a team of unspectacular grafters, that is not good enough for the Premier League, but if you take the hard work of what we have and added two or three players of genuine quality then we would be good enough.
To use a clothing analogy, you can make a nice outfit with pants, socks and trousers from Primark, if you add in a Ralph Lauren shirt and some Trickers boots.
Unfortunately, what we have is a team comprising of a full Lonsdale tracksuit, at a party where everyone else is wearing anything from Topman to Louis Vuitton. So it’s no surprise that we don’t look the part.