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Opinion

That is what has been taken from us by the Mike Ashley regime, something to be proud of

4 weeks ago
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It is time for the match, I am drawn to the TV like a moth to a flame, not in hope, anticipation or any sense of excitement with Newcastle United.

My wife asks why do you watch, it only makes you miserable?

Perhaps it is a form of madness, knowing that inevitably the outcome will be disappointing.

Even winning at West Ham was tinged with pain: only two shots on target. A narrow and undeserved win against Blackburn. Then Brighton.

Putting seven goals past a League Two side with only 10 players was of limited consolation, isn’t that what is expected?

Sunday comes, the brightest spot being Darlow’s strip, a memory of a young Tim Krul in Palermo, and a similar performance apart from yet another defensive lapse that undid his endeavours.

So the very end, our only attempt on target, following a decision that defied logic, was a penalty. Perhaps it compensated for some of the awful decisions of the past.

Then Mike Ashley, sitting in the stands…beaming, gloating, perhaps taunting fans because he can go to the game and we can’t, reminds me of other days, the “loadsamoney” chants during the Miner’s Strike.

Following Newcastle United, through many dark days as well as some better ones, meant taking on the chin hideous maulings.

The FA Cup Final against Liverpool, the year after Sunderland won, stands out.

My girlfriend, now my wife, knitting a scarf for the 1976 League Cup Final against Manchester City.

There was always a sense that there was a resolve, a spirit in the club that pulling together there was a chance to do better, that there was something to be proud of.

That is what has been taken from us by the present Mike Ashley regime.

Anger is a product of shame and alienation.

The years without a domestic trophy, 1927 for the League, 1955 for the FA Cup, were tolerable when there was an attempt at good football, a club that wanted to win and if not, to entertain.

Anger is a product of indifference and neglect.

We may no longer make “marquee” signings but with the exception of Rafa, hiring a succession of managerial time servers: waiting for the big pay off when they are sacked, is galling.

Anger is a product of parsimony and short-term thinking.

Newcastle United is part of me, the state of the club eats away at who I am.

(You can follow the author on Twitter @HutchinsonTony)

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