Five decades of Newcastle United worries that have brought me to this
I have just realised that my relationship with Newcastle United now spans five different decades.
I first started going regularly in the late 1970s, where did all that time go?
Since then of course I have enjoyed/endured the full decades of the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and now enter the 2020s.
As a kid in the 1970, looking ahead to 2020 we would no doubt have imagined we’d now have flying cars and loads of us might be living on others planets.
Or even more outrageously, Newcastle United might have won something by now…
Down below, I have tried to cast my mind back to what were the big issues and concerns of each decade for me when supporting Newcastle United.
My very first season of watching every Newcastle United home match was the 1977/78 season.
Newcastle got relegated. I should have heeded the warning.
That season also saw the announcement that they were pulling down the Leazes End. A disaster, far worse for a teenager supporting NUFC than the actual relegation.
The next couple of seasons as the 70s came to a close were all about trying to get promoted and looked only a question of time.
Hopes of promotion faded in the early 80s until summer 1982 saw England captain Kevin Keegan arrive, if you weren’t around then, it is difficult to get across just what a mood changer this was. Far beyond Alan Shearer signing 14 years later.
It took two season but eventually after six years in the second division, NUFC were back in the top tier.
That decade actually saw some decent football and some very good player, with Gazza, Beardsley and Waddle at the forefront. It was all of course wasted and by the end of the decade the club was back in a total mess due to incompetence, lack of vision and business nous, relegated in 1989.
Massive concerns in football in general, with fences at football grounds, shocking facilities and indeed Margaret Thatcher at one point trying to bring in ID cards only for football fans.
It took disasters such as Heysel, Bradford and Hillsborough to eventually bring about stadium improvements that were decades overdue.
A bit like 10 years earlier, the decade opened with NUFC yet again in a total mess and struggling to get out of the second tier.
In 1992 once again Kevin Keegan came back to save us and we quite literally had never had it so good, easily the best time in my lifetime to be supporting Newcastle United, although of course still missing the terraces and especially the Leazes End under the roof.
John Hall backed KK with the money the fans put in and Freddie Fletcher masterminded the commercial side of things.
The ‘concerns’ became finishing runners up rather than Premier League winners twice in a row and how to get to Champions League games.
However, the decade once again ended on a downer as Sir Bobby tried to repair the demolition job Kenny Dalglish had done on the Keegan team.
The decade opened with concerns about bouncing back on the pitch but a magnificent redevelopment saw St James Park now hold 52,000+ instead of 36,000. The work carried out due to a loan secured on future season ticket sales, a first of its kind in the Premier League.
The first half of the decade saw rapid improvement on the pitch and once again we saw football that was a joy to watch.
The concern for many was getting tickets to watch Sir Bobby’s team and especially the European tour. So many great memories, what an adventure as we visited Barcelona, Milan, Feyenoord, Juventus…
Terrible decisions by John Hall and Freddy Shepherd saw them sack Sir Bobby after a few games of the 2004/05 season and replace him wit Graeme Souness, unbelievable. Shocking transfer decisions followed with Owen, Boumsong, Luque and others brought in, Hall and Shepherd were desperate for success to get the possible price for when they sold the club for their biggest NUFC payday of all.
It of course came in 2007 and none of us realised just how concerned we should have been.
We all thought a self-made UK billionaire had arrived to bring us all success, not realising the plan was only for Mike Ashley to reap the benefits.
The end of the 2000s were a whirlwind of emotions as things fell apart under Ashley’s chaotic ownership, only for the unlikely figure of Chris Hughton to turn it around. Instant promotion as champions despite Ashley selling a hosts of players and not giving him any transfer budget to buy players.
So entering the 2010s, Hughton had helped us all to look forward once again.
What can you say?
A decade entirely spent with only one subject on our minds – Mike Ashley.
Nothing else now matters for many people. Simply a case of so fed up under Ashley and staying away. OR gritting your teeth and enduring life under this owner.
The 2011/12 season was an unexplainable very temporary blip. So much came together by pure fluke and individual brilliance from Ba, Ben Arfa, Cisse and Cabaye saw every victory pretty much achieved due to a brilliant goal(s). Needless to say, Mike Ashley quickly ensure this wouldn’t last and refused to allow any net spending in summer 2012, Newcastle almost relegated the next season.
What a club to support when with every passing season it is the owner and not any player/manager who is talked about and when we might see the back of him.
This is no way to be supporting a football club.
I dread to think unless/until Mike Ashley sells up.
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