Now is the time to say goodbye
After the anguish of recent weeks with Newcastle United, I’m harking back to the last home game of the season just finished.
Thinking about that day: the team, the fans (home and visitors) and indeed the city before and after the game, all collectively upped their game to make it a proper match day experience.
This allowed me a suitable sign off as my final game and finally let me walk away from Newcastle United. Looking back I’d been waiting years for this cut-off moment but its taken these last two weeks to finally see it!
In truth, it’s been a pathetic ongoing attempt at severing links with this lot. I fell out of love with them under Pardew, somehow I kept drifting back, but now I’m finally cured. That game against Liverpool gave me that little bit of closure, a reminder of how good it used to feel to be part of “the match.” A final memory I can look back on, and not crave another, because I know I don’t want to be part of what it has finally become this summer.
I gave up my season ticket because of Pardew, I really was ashamed to be associated with anything to do with him. I could go along and watch poor football because after all that is what we do. The football itself used to be only part of the day and sometimes perversely the bad games added to the day.
I found myself having a rant about Pardew late one night in the Strawberry, his behaviour at Hull City with the headbutt, the pushing of the linesman at a home game, and the foul-mouthed rant at Pellegrini. Coupled with his ongoing Ashley toadyism.
Five pints in the Strawberry one Friday night I announced to the lads that I’d had enough. I reasoned that bad football I could live with, but through Ashley and Pardew we no longer had any class, and I didn’t want to be part of it. I added that as a Sunday League referee I couldn’t bear the thought of us setting such a terrible example of how club officials should behave (nod to Sir Bobby, bless him, maybe just as well he wasn’t here to see it!).
My pals laughed and put it down to a change in my beer but my season ticket never got renewed. It felt good at the time but I couldn’t quite give up the drug and I drifted back for an intermittent fix now and again. These fixes never worked for me, always looked forward to the day, went along with expectation, but never really got that buzz back. On occasion some of these visits were corporate box invitations, always with good people but on reflection they always felt strangely hollow afterwards. I now reason, that what I had been waiting for was a proper sign off.
That Newcastle v Liverpool day was tremendous, the noise and the passion, the post-match inquest, the condemning of all things Scouse, the sore head the next morning and the sore throat that lasted until the Wednesday. I thought, you know it’s in my blood, it’s got me, I’m going back!
Conversations were hatched with nephew season ticket holders, we could go together, it will be great! Then new owners were on the horizon, Rafa’s staying! I bet I can’t even get a ticket now?
Oh dear, then reality struck, you all know the rest! Spent the last two weeks trying to work it out, it finally dawned last night.
The hand I was looking at wasn’t enticing me back, it was indeed waving goodbye. I’m done, its over, I’m out, I’m going to be the old so and so telling the young uns it’s not like what it used to be and that experience of St James Park against Liverpool was my leaving do, I just didn’t know it then.
Don’t bother calling again as I’m busy that day. Dare say I will be free but only once Ashley’s gone – not before.
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