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Never thought I would see the day but feel sorry for local newspapers covering Newcastle United

2 years ago

We all know that newspapers are having a tough time of it, especially local ones.

The sales of papers have been nosediving for some years and it is only getting worse, for the vast majority of people under a certain age, the idea of going into a newsagents (the ones that haven’t closed) to buy one is just a bizarre concept.

As for the local newspapers, I only ever see one if I go around to see my 90 year old granny, or if I go to a takeaway, where for some reason they still seem keen on having one left out. Even though when I do go in, people waiting are all just looking at their phones.

When I say local of course, I am really meaning The Chronicle, as that has been the staple diet down the decades.

At one time it was essential.

You only ever found out first about any new NUFC signing through the Chronicle.

Whilst there was nothing better than The Pink after the match, sellers coming around the pubs and seeing how everybody had got on and what it said about our match.

I just googled it and apparently it is now 14 years since the last Pink was published! I couldn’t believe it.

I almost feel glad that The Pink never lasted long enough to have to cover this tortuous reign of Mike Ashley.

As for The Chronicle, I have no idea how long it must have left as a paper newspaper. It can’t be long surely.

It doesn’t even come out on an evening anymore and from what I understand it is printed somewhere else overnight and then sold alongside The Journal every morning. Not sure how that makes sense either, bringing out two competing newspapers for the same market.

Soon sadly it will be part of history, another part of my childhood and early adulthood gone. A tipping point arriving soon where there won’t be enough of their ageing readership that remains.

For the vast majority of you reading this, if you still read The Chronicle it will be online. Where it has to compete with a multitude of other online websites, including The Mag.

Looking at The Chronicle I can only feel sympathy for the job they have to do.

I know we all say that there is always something happening at Newcastle United, it is a never ending soap opera, and so on…

However, with my job I am often working over in the north west and staying over, so I get to see their local newspapers. I don’t often read them but obviously I see them in shops and so on and takeaways…

I do business in both Manchester and Liverpool and their local papers are owned by the same company that owns The Chronicle. The Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo are also owned by Reach, which used to be called Trinity Mirror.

The odd time I do look at these local papers in the north west, you appreciate what journalists are up against up here.

The Manchester Evening News covers the favourites for the Premier League and another club fighting for a Champions League spot. Both clubs are competing in the Champions League and are still in the FA Cup, whilst one of them won the League Cup.

For the Liverpool Echo, they have one of the two clubs that can win the Premier League and another who is hoping to be best of the rest and qualify in seventh for the Europa League. One of the clubs is still in the Champions League.

Across the four club in Manchester and Liverpool, they have a multitude of star players.

I looked across the last three years of transfers and I make it roughly they have spent:

£545m Man City

£420m Man Utd

£390m Liverpool

£340m Everton

I then look at the poor sods up here covering Newcastle United and our friends down the road.

The Chronicle have a basket case NUFC and a club that has gone through a double trapdoor into League One.

In these past three years, Newcastle United have spent no more than £150m

I often wonder what it would have been like with online and social media etc if it had been around in the Kevin Keegan era, or even properly around for the Sir Bobby NUFC team.

It hit home for me today (Tuesday 5 March) when I saw The Chronicle running their hundredth ‘exclusive’ on Peter Kenyon not buying/buying Newcastle United. I don’t know anybody who took that seriously at the time, never mind months later after nothing happened.

In the absence though of having clubs competing for trophies and Champions League football, what are they supposed to do? Go big on the Mackems trying to get into the Checkatrade final tonight?!!!

No wonder we had a never ending coverage of Miguel Almiron signing. Yes it was a big story but it was draining and done to death.

All four north west clubs have numerous signings that cost a lot more than Almiron did.

The overkill up here is maybe best summed up by Antonio Barreca.

Rafa’s fifth choice left-back loan signing in January after Ashley blocked him buying one yet again.

The Italian was never going to be good enough (couldn’t get a game for Torino or Monaco) yet his loan signing was covered day after day with big exclusives. I swear it probably got more coverage up here than happens in the north west when the likes of Man City or Liverpool buy somebody for thirty or forty million.

Mike Ashley has condemned us to a life where we read more about him than about our actual players.

The current squad all seem to have decent attitude but until something drastic changes, they are still just a relegation battling side.

I just hope that the newspaper paper version of The Chronicle is still around to cover when Mike Ashley finally leaves.

When we can get back to reading about the players and the hopes and dreams of the club and the fans, rater than how we might get rid of an owner who has strangled any ambition.


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