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Opinion

This is Newcastle United and after the drama, now we have the football

2 months ago
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Exactly 91 days after that 4-0 Newcastle United trouncing of Fulham on a sunny day by the Thames, we have a new season kicking off.

Back on 12 May we saw some inspired pre-match organisation from Newcastle fans, an armada cruising up the Thames to Craven Cottage before kick-off.

Today there is another pre-match cruise but it is a boycott Arsenal one up the Tyne, before landing back on the quayside to match up to St James Park, via Sports Direct, to protest.

An exhausting summer.

Some would say the worst of all summers in terms of stress and at so many times hating the fact you love Newcastle United.

However, for anybody of an age you will have seen a number of similarly doing your head in summers that matched this one.

Having said that, back in the day there was no internet and social media was talking to your mates in the pub about the back page of the Chronicle.

Amazing to think that with all the routes to information/misinformation we have today, at one time there was only one newspaper where you found out pretty much everything that happened at Newcastle United.

It is also very very difficult to imagine a time when there were no transfer windows as we know them today, instead there was just a couple of months each year towards the end of the season when you couldn’t buy players, as the major issues of relegation, promotion and winning trophies were decided.

Today everything is packaged and presented to the demands of the media. The football season is so intense with matches on most days of the week and when there is no football, they are usually the most media intense days, weeks and months as the transfer window takes over so many people’s lives.

We have gone from a time when you had 11 players who played pretty much every week unless there was an injury, with one sub on match days, to a first team squad of 25 plus under 21 players, with seven on the bench on a match day.

Despite so many changes in the wider game, so many Newcastle fans are still feeling this is like Groundhog Day. No matter what happens over days, months and even years, we somehow eventually seem to arrive back at the same point under Mike Ashley.

Almost as though the club’s owner in reality wants nothing to change and the club to drift along each season without anything too dramatic happening, either good or bad.

As we are prone to do, we often look backwards when looking forwards.

Today is the start of the 13th Premier League season under Mike Ashley and in that time we have seen one top seven finish, to this day many of us still find it difficult to explain how that actually all came together and happened. Certainly a stunned Mike Ashley made absolutely sure there was no chance of it being repeated, refusing to allow any net spend in summer 2012 and only Vurnon Anita arriving, Mike Ashley almost getting NUFC relegated that season with safety only reached when winning the final away game of the season.

In contrast, eight of Newcastle’s first 13 seasons in the Premier League saw a top seven finish, some of them far higher than seventh.

Now the talk ahead of the season is whether Newcastle United have enough to stay up. We are better than this, or at least we should be.

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