Is this the worst season ever for Newcastle fans?
As someone who has followed Newcastle United since the early 70s and has witnessed four relegations, numerous cup exits to lower league opposition, and the team struggling in the second tier of English football.
I realise this is a big claim…but there is something uniquely dispiriting about this season.
I have watched forwards who were as ineffective as Joselu and Ayoze Perez in the past, most notably in the 1980 -1981 season when we had a twin ‘strike’ force of Billy Rafferty and Bobby Shinton. However, at least back then we had hope in the shape of a young Chris Waddle who we’d recently signed from Tow Law Town.
Along with many other Newcastle fans, I have also witnessed plenty of early cup exits, but at least in the time before Mike Ashley it wasn’t because the club didn’t want the distraction of a cup run.
I’ve also experienced equally incompetent regimes running our club, when the likes of Long John Westwood and Gordon McKeag were in charge. At least though you felt they genuinely wanted the club to do well and wanted it to challenge for trophies.
I have also seen plenty of other battles against relegation but what makes this one worse, is that after 12 years of Mike Ashley our fans are almost resigned to their fate.
I was there at the lowest point in our recent history when we lost 5-2 away to Oxford United in the old second division to go second bottom in the table but even in those dark days there was hope.
That’s what makes our present position so depressing.
The lack of hope.
The hope that we might finally see the back of Mike Ashley, the hope of finding new owners who’ll realise the potential of our club, the hope of being able to challenge some of the ‘bigger’ premiership teams and the hope of ever seeing us winning a trophy.
I think what we have at the moment is a unique combination of factors that means hope is in short supply.
We have a toxic owner and a premiership in which only the mega rich can challenge and in which even trophies like the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup almost always go to the ‘big six’ and their often ungrateful supporters.
My hope for the new year is that both these things might change.
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