Have the fans of Newcastle United given up?
Newcastle United hasn’t always been the easiest football club to support down the years.
I think I’m right in thinking that there have been six relegations in total in Newcastle United’s entire 127 year history.
In my 40+ years following the team/club I have seen four of those relegation seasons at close hand, including two of them that Mike Ashley has managed in his first 10 Premier League seasons in charge.
I can’t say that I enjoyed any of those four relegation seasons but on the other hand, they never made me ever think about now going to the matches anymore.
It’s not like any of us sign up to follow Newcastle United based on winning trophies.
If you have done, then I have some slightly depressing news for you…
Like the rest of you I have daydreamed from time to time about what it would be like if we ever did win something.
However, I can honestly say that simply the thought/acceptance that silverware will never be seen at St James Park, would never stop me following the team home and away, whenever I am able to.
Going to the matches has always been about having a laugh, drinking with friends and family before and after games, with the occasional eras of better football and irregular glimpses of the possibility of maybe winning something.
The enthusiasm of Newcastle fans has always been infectious. The media and fans of other clubs like to call us deluded, making out that Newcastle supporters see themselves as having some kind of divine right to win things, all very bizarre for them to say such things when NUFC never win anything. What they don’t get, or don’t want to get, is that the reality is that we just have this massive enthusiasm and when there are signs of something potentially building towards having a better team/club, we flock to the colours and embrace it totally.
Easily the two best eras in my time supporting our stupid club were under Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson, great attacking football, competing at the top of the table and coming so close, as well as brilliant European adventures on the back of those KK/Sir Bobby league campaigns.
So many great memories. Not of winning trophies of course but of watching some brilliant players and most importantly so many magnificent days (and nights!) in the company of other Newcastle fans, home and away, in England and on the continent.
However, I have a feeling that Mike Ashley has finally, whether on purpose or not, dealt what could be a fatal wound to Newcastle United, when it comes to the supporters feeling any identity with the football club.
At best I have the feeling that NUFC will be on life support until he sells up.
I have been to all the games home and away this season and whilst I have still enjoyed it up to a point, mainly due to the people I go with, I think overall, a line has been crossed under this disgusting Mike Ashley regime.
At home games you have thousands and thousands of empty seats, the atmosphere is atrocious and it is just grim.
Away games are better than the homes but not by much this season, we have always gone away mainly for the actual trip away rather than the actual match but now at the games, it is all a bit soulless. Newcastle fans going through the motions.
Tickets are very easy to get now for the away games and yes we enjoyed the goal and final whistle at Tottenham, also enjoyed Willems’ goal at Anfield…but the atmosphere in the away section was really poor overall against Liverpool. Bearing in mind I have seen so many worse performances than was the case on Saturday. It was still pretty rubbish really but we have got used to such a low expectation under Mike Ashley, that any positive tends to be grasped extra tightly.
It just feels to me like this season, matchdays are something that happen in between the entire weeks we spend endlessly debating how bad things are now, in terms of supporting Newcastle United.
It has become a really joyless experience.
Endless discussions amongst Newcastle fans but there is never an end result because just how do you persuade a billionaire to sell the club, when he gets so much financial benefit from owning it, as part of his overall business empire.
Mike Ashley may well have sucked out any remaining real pleasure, passion, enthusiasm, that most of us have for Newcastle United.
I don’t think there is any turning back now under this tyrant.
If he stays as owner, the number of empty seats will grow at St James Park year after year, away tickets will get ever easier to come by, the sales of official replica shirts will somehow get even lower than they are now, the game is up.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]