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Opinion

Listening to BBC Newcastle was like visiting another Newcastle United universe

2 days ago
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BBC Newcastle have a phone-in every night through the week, I think it is on 5pm-7pm.

It has fans of Newcastle United and Sunderland ringing in, as well as a presenter and a couple of guests in the studio.

It appears to be John Anderson and Marco Gabbiadini who are the regular guests, giving their verdict on what is happening at the two clubs and what callers have to say.

I must admit, I rarely listen to it.

However, the odd time I find myself driving at that time and do tune in, I find myself feeling like I have just entered a parallel universe when it comes to the patter about Newcastle United.

There is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ opinion but it is intriguing to find out just how differently other Newcastle fans form their opinions and what they rely on to do so.

On BBC Newcastle on Wednesday, whilst I was listening there was a lot of talk about what was in last night’s Chronicle.

At one time this was a newspaper that had numerous editions printed in Newcastle city centre and going on sale throughout an afternoon, it was how we all found out what was happening at Newcastle United.

These days, it is all written the day before, printed overnight elsewhere and goes on sale the next morning. If you are picking up a Chronicle on your way home from work these days, what you are reading is already at least one day old.

Needless to say, this appears to indicate the age profile of people who make up most of those ringing in and I would guess listening to it. I have passed 50 but it made me feel youthful listening last night.

When callers do mention online and social media, they make it sound a bit like VAR, as though it is something very very new and not sure what it is all about.

As I say, there is no such thing as a wrong opinion, it is just something you disagree with, but as I was driving along I veered between laughing out load and wanting to bang my head off the steering wheel.

There was a lot of discussion about the fanbase in general and the protests/boycott in particular.

The people I heard, appeared to have very confused ideas about this. A total lack of understanding that whether you go to the match or not, 99% of fans are all sick of Mike Ashley. If people are still going it isn’t because they disagree with the boycott and protests, it is just that they aren’t convinced that they will have any impact, at a loss as to what can be done to help get rid of Ashley.

One bloke rambled on and on about how he had been following Newcastle for decades and he remembers protests against the likes of Lord Westwood and Gordon McKeag – but none of them did any good and nothing changed. I was puzzled as to how he didn’t realise/recall that protests and boycotts were key to the McKeag era ending and John Hall taking over. Nobody in the studio pointed this out either, when I was listening at least. A lot more difficult now of course to pressure a billionaire, even if his fortunes are seemingly dwindling these days…

Another classic was somebody who thought you should just go and support the team, that football fans never like the owners and it was all pointless complaining about it, just get on with helping the players. It was the perfect punchline to what he had been saying, when without any realisation that this would make it all seem a bit hollow, he happened to mention that he hadn’t gone to games since 2009!

I know that social media especially can be ridiculous if you take notice of the extremes, a lot of the time for any number of people things are always terrible or brilliant with nothing in between.

However, I was struck last night by the callers I heard and the guests in the studio, for both Sunderland and Newcastle, just how positive everything is seen to be in general. It wasn’t even glass half full rather than half empty, a positive spin put on pretty much everything.

The Sunderland fans I know and from what I read online, they are sick of Jack Ross and think he is hopeless, lucky to even get draws with Oxford and Ipswich in their first two matches, seeing little chance of going up. Yet last night the mackem opinion I heard was how actually last season had been a success for Jack Ross (Sunderland’s worst league finish in their entire history!) and that you have to give him at least another year, needless to say I was cheering along with that!

What I took from last night’s listening, is wondering what my opinions might be if all I had to rely on was the paper version of the Chronicle and listening to this Radio Newcastle phone-in?

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