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Opinion

Why would being in the Championship be worse than this?

3 months ago
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Newcastle United fans have such an irrational fear of the Championship.

At least most of them appear to.

Which is all rather strange…because to have been around as an adult to have had a negative Championship experience with NUFC you would have to be cracking on 50 now.

All three of 1992/93, 2009/10 and 2016/17 saw Newcastle promoted as champions, winning loads of games and scoring goals for fun.

Even 1991/92 had an eventual magnificent conclusion, King Kev packing away his golf clubs to come and save us, games such as Portsmouth at home (David Kelly), Derby away (what an atmosphere as defiant in defeat, with three players sent off and Terry Mac from the bench), before THAT day at Leicester in the final game.

Matches all now in NUFC folklore as favourite ever matches for many.

So most of our fans (the under 50s) haven’t really had proper bad (adult) nightmares of being in the second tier, which makes me pose the question…

Why would being in the Championship be worse than this?

By ‘THIS’ of course, I mean scraping along trying to survive in the Premier League every season.

The media (and indeed many of the Newcastle fans) keep asking and answering the question, can Steve Bruce keep NUFC up?

Who cares?

Yes, I hear some of you saying well that is all Rafa Benitez had us doing, season-long scraps with relegation to survive into the next season.

However, that was a means to an end, neither Rafa Benitez or the Newcastle fans saw that survival as a success in itself. It was only a success if it then led on to proper investment in the team and the quality manager being allowed to build on those austerity seasons, as well as of course adding  better quality players to go alongside some astute signings such as Dubravka and Schar, as well as the others in our small group of better quality players.

That Mike Ashley model of scraping Premier League survival on the lowest possible spend, is something none of us were anticipating we had to sign up for once again.

The same with the refusal of Mike Ashley to allow proper investment in the infrastructure – No new state of the art training complex that was promised by Ashley in 2013, no expansion of St James Park, no proper investment in the Academy and so on.

Yes we all want to see Newcastle United compete in the Premier League but that isn’t what we have got. The likes of Leicester, Wolves, West Ham and Everton are all (as well as most others in their own way) trying to compete but not Ashley  and Bruce’s NUFC.

What do you enjoy about the here and now?

The most negative football we have ever seen, trying to defend for 90 minutes and score with the one or two shots on target per game we might have.

Even playing defensive football at home against the likes of Watford and Brighton in the hope of getting a lucky win.

Ticket prices going up every season making Newcastle one of the most expensive to watch outside the successful teams/clubs, this at a time when vast majority of PL clubs are freezing ticket prices or even reducing the in some cases.

Sitting there in a stadium that now has a terrible atmosphere most of the time.

Even away games, you only get 3,000 tickets at most and even then Newcastle refused to try and sell the full allocations for Norwich and Leicester.

So going through all of this just to try and do the same again next season.

I don’t think so.

Yet this is what Mike Ashley is selling to us now. In forcing out Rafa Benitez and refusing the manager’s requests to allow him to grow the team and the club, the owner makes it clear we can expect nothing better.

So in these circumstances, I honestly think we would be better off in the Championship.

Best of all of course is that if we went down and didn’t come straight back up, that is probably the only thing that would/could push Mike Ashley into at last genuinely putting the club up for sale, rather that pretending he is trying to.

Aside from that though, we would surely see lower prices for home matches.

There would of course be eight more games to go to as well, important when you have an owner who has no intention of competing in the cups.

Best of all though, for me, is that for many of the away games, Newcastle  would get far more than 3,000 tickets, in some cases loads more.

Plus many more Championship clubs are in the north compared to in the Premier League.

You would see competitive matches every week, all teams pretty much have a go and  try to win games, so more wins and more goals as well.

Also the bonus of knowing Mike Ashley will be sick as a dog that the worldwide TV exposure of his tat shops is minimal, compared to the Premier League.

You also would see the end of, or at least vastly diluted, media telling fans that they are deluded and should be grateful to have Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce etc etc.

You never know, we might even get a play-off trip to Wembley, the only way we will ever visit there again so long as Ashley remains.

So I say, don’t be afraid of the Championship, embrace and welcome it.

Whilst Mike Ashley owns Newcastle United I honestly  think we would have more fun in the Championship.

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