Returning to (this new) normal with Newcastle United
Newcastle United fans are now looking forward to going back to normal.
Well, at least the first step towards heading back to what we would count as normal.
The (new) normal we will be experiencing with Newcastle United will be from in front of our TV sets rather than behind the goal in the Leazes or Gallowgate ends.
Naturally, many fans are understandably going down the route of football without fans is nothing, and of course that is true.
However, having matches at St James Park without supporters through the turnstiles is not a choice thing, it is simply a case of making the best of what is a very difficult situation.
It is a case of giving us some kind of football whilst at the same time trying to avoid a complete meltdown on Premier League (and for those in the lower leagues’) finances and the kind of legal problems they are experiencing in France, after the government forced the early conclusion of 2019/20 league football.
It is a simple fact that those clubs / leagues below the Premier League, rely on the trickle down of cash from the revenues that the top tier pulls in. Yes, we all know the sharing of the money in football should be more equal but regardless of that, if the money going into the Premier League is cut due to even higher compensation being paid to broadcasters, sponsors etc if the season was cut short, it would mean even less cash trickling down.
For those who think football clubs wouldn’t / won’t go bust, the sad reality is that they are businesses and a fair few clubs have gone to the wall previously, Bury one of the most recent examples. There isn’t and wouldn’t be a magic safety net to suddenly solve any financial problems, look at how difficult the fight was for Marcus Rashford to get the government to find £120m to feed free school meals kids throughout the summer. There most definitely wouldn’t be a magic pot of public money provided to save countless football clubs.
Watching football on TV with no fans in the stadium is a strange experience but it is still football, just not as we (usually) know it.
To put into perspective the length of time Newcastle fans have gone without football, even with this return of games behind closed doors, it is 106 days between that 1-0 win at Southampton and today’s (Sunday’s) match at home to Sheffield United.
That compares to the gaps in between seasons of recent summers with no games of 91 days in summer 2019, 90 in 2018, 98 in 2017, 98 in 2016, 82 in 2015, 77 in 2015 and 97 days in summer 2014.
If the 2019/20 season hadn’t restarted then you could / would have been looking at maybe close to 200 days without Premier League football, whilst if people were / are insisting on no football until full crowds allowed and a credible vaccine widely available…how many football clubs would still be around when that time comes?
So enjoy today’s match against Sheffield United and the ones that follow, get what you can from them, talk about them before, during and after the final whistle.
It isn’t the full on experience of heading into St James Park with pub(s) before and after…but it is where we are at.
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