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Opinion

The 9 phases of separation from Newcastle United

2 weeks ago
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The very fact you are reading this means that you are almost certainly a Newcastle United fan.

Hopefully you can identify with at least some, if not all, of this.

I am Tyneside born and bred, taken to the games when at an age I didn’t really have a clue what was happening, loved it all the same.

Indoctrinated, brainwashed, taken by my dad and other family members, then going to home matches with my mates and then going to away games with them and so on…

I know this isn’t everybody’s story, some of you indeed may never even have been to Newcastle Upon Tyne before, never mind ventured inside St James Park.

Yes, bizarrely NUFC have massive numbers of fans around the world, many of them who have no connection whatsoever, whether family, geographical or whatever, to Newcastle United, yet also follow our club.

Hopefully everybody will be able to identify with all, or at least some, of what I have to say below, including those who might never have been to a single match.

As somebody once said to me, it doesn’t matter when you start supporting Newcastle United, it only matters when you stop.

Anybody around the UK / World who chose to support Newcastle United say when Kevin Keegan was manager, if you are still doing it nearly three decades later, you have all the respect you want from me.

As for anybody who has chosen to support Newcastle United during these 14 seasons of Mike Ashley rule…I think you have to take a look in the mirror!

Seriously though, all Newcastle United fans are equal, it is just some of us have got (had) it worse than others.

Here are my nine phases of separation from Newcastle United, just how powerfully it has you hooked at any particular time in your life.

As I say this is from my own personal perspective of growing up local to St James Park.

Planning your life around Newcastle United

This is when you have it really bad.

The fixtures come out and your life simply is then fitted in around NUFC.

If you have it particularly bad then it also involves all the pre-season friendlies home and abroad. I know, I have been there.

Going to the away games

This is the second level of loyalty / enjoyment / stupidity.

Getting to every single away match, unless something really is impossible to avoid.

Such as getting the sack if you go to that midweek match at Plymouth.

Going to the home matches

Getting to every single home match, as per away games above.

This isn’t normally that tricky to do, if you live local, especially in the age of vast majority of match going fans having season tickets.

However, if you aren’t with a wife / husband / partner who comes from a normal (Newcastle United / football) background, then having to disappear every other Saturday / Sunday for nine months of the year and coming home mortal drunk at whatever time, might seem a ‘little’ over the top.

Talking about Newcastle United A LOT in between matches

This and the next one aren’t really phases / levels of separation, they more kind of fit in and around them.

However, how much you are talking about NUFC is usually a pretty good guide to how deep you are in, at any particular time.

Thinking about Newcastle United A LOT in between matches

Same as above. The thinking bit can actually be part of an even more serious condition. One where the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and the first thing when you wake up, is Newcastle United.

Watching every NUFC game on TV (including streams)  if can’t / won’t go

Less travelling, less expensive, less time consuming…but still it is ruling your life to an extent.

Especially as per above, if you are in a relationship with somebody from a strange (non-football) family.

Watching on TV if happen to be on normal channels

Another step / level down, you will almost certainly have made sure you have the channels (Sky / BT), though may kid yourself that you got satellite / cable TV in because it has loads of kids channels or endless series of Desperate Housewives and Towie for the missus.

Making sure find out the score

You are starting to successfully detach yourself but it is still on your mind.

You probably still regularly watch them on TV but not religiously so BUT you do have to know how they got on once the final whistle has gone.

Only finding out the score by chance

A bit like the last one but a lot more casual, you are dangling by a thread.

You are still interested but only if it happens by chance. At somebody’s house and the match is on the TV, or they invite you over. You might try and watch MOTD if you remember, or if you are on your phone / tablet you might remember to check out the score.

Mike Ashley might have done his very best but he hasn’t pushed me into either of these last two categories.

Though I have seen some of my mates hit (Newcastle United) rock bottom.

I have ended up in the grouping of ‘Watching every NUFC game on TV (including streams)  if can’t / won’t go’ and occasionally then falling into ‘Watching on TV if happen to be on normal channels’, which was the case for much of last season with the added curse of Steve Bruce on top of the ongoing Mike Ashley one.

You can’t help the way that you feel and whilst in many ways it is very liberating to not having Newcastle United rule your life, I do still dream of getting back to a stage where the idea of purposefully missing a home match would feel ridiculous and passing up an away trip would be ten times worse than that!

Once a Newcastle United fan, always a Newcastle United fan.

However, as to the level it has hold of you, that is quite another thing.

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