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The most important business facing Newcastle United fans is the business of change

4 months ago
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It is persistently thrown at Newcastle United fans that they go from one extreme to another, that the reaction of fans to ‘one off’ defeats is over the top, and that the fanbase is polarising – or for want of a better word – bipolar.

Arrogantly or ignorantly all I seem to read is those urging fans to come together in the short-term for the greater good. “Get behind the team”… “Less bickering with each other” … etc.

The rhetoric is only going to get worse with recent low-key remarks on how the takeover of the club is ‘still-on’ and laughable suggestions that Mike Ashley is fighting for us. It will probably go all the way through until February, around the end of the transfer window as a matter of fact. Like it does every year, like f.cking clockwork.

‘John Fogerty – Someday Never Comes, 1972.’

I don’t see any positive change happening at Newcastle United.

It’s Groundhog Day, every bloody day. Absolutely nobody, and I really mean this, absolutely nobody with any position of influence or power is relentlessly pursuing to make Newcastle United a better football club. Government, the club itself, NUST and those hallowed journalists that people cling on to their every word on social media, have done nothing thus far.

Someone please tell me, in the past 10 years, what has got better at the club? Has the club progressed in any way shape or form? I imagine the answer is no, and if so, why not? It has been over 13 years now of Mike Ashley. Why has nobody done anything? Why has not one part of supporting Newcastle United got better in 13 years…

Today Newcastle United remains in a dire position. It is functioning. However, no part of the football club is functioning like it should and those responsible for this: the club, journalists, NUST and previous fans forums (to a far far lesser extent than the first two) ask fans to trust them – as well as pay for memberships, click on their articles and buy their merchandise.

Fans have given blind faith to these respective parties and I don’t quite know why – without a shred of proof that they know what they are doing.

As mentioned, it has been over 13 years of nothing getting better – yet nothing, and nobody, is proposing any sort of change. Not one person elected to the new NUST proposed any new ideas on the running of the football club and how the club can get better. The club remains the same as has done, meanwhile journalists continue to churn out what can only be described as utter sh.t, and in the case of Luke Edwards – written with the simple motive of antagonising fans and keeping his friends in the game happy.

Nobody is pursuing any sort of radical course of change in direction – or arguing that fans can get behind new ideas that can take the club forward in a positive, meaningful way. These people are asking us fans to support them whilst they do the exact same things they’ve always done.

Yet clearly people are willing to do it… in their thousands.

I haven’t written for The Mag in ages, nor do I spend much time on social media anymore. I haven’t watched a Newcastle game this season (or most of last) – and only if I am having a lazy morning do I watch the highlights on YouTube.

The biggest trouble I have in turning into the thousands mentioned above is that I just can’t get over the question of how did we get here in the first place? We have wilfully ignored the problems because we were told that there was too much at stake to rock the boat, or things were happening behind the scenes, that we should bide our time, that we should bring these issues up through the right channels of fans forums, supporters liaison officer and supporters trust.

Just not today – not right now – but some day.

Thanks John Fogerty.

Focusing your attention on the standard of football played by Steve Bruce’s team is missing the point completely.

We knew things were going seriously wrong with the club when Kinnear, Pardew, Carver, McClaren etc. were appointed as manager. So, it comes with no surprise how Bruce got the job. My personal opinion is that we spend too much time worrying about Bruce and his tactics/style of play – it’s a symptom and microcosm of the real issue at hand.

Giving the job to Bruce, as it was with Kinnear, Pardew, Carver, McClaren (and even Hughton – although he did a good job) was a dereliction of duty to this enormous football club. Bruce should have been sacked last season – he would have been in any other PL job. It’s funny, ask yourself, why is he never linked with any other job in football if he is doing a good job at a ‘big’ club like Newcastle? Funny that.

Of course, Benitez, one of the top managers in world football, had somewhat of a free reign compared to previous managers. He brought in his own Spanish coaching team and for a while it seemed like he had total control over the football operations by picking his own players. Sure, there were one or two like Lazaar and Jesus Gamez but the core signings handpicked by Benitez in his first window as manager are miraculously still the same core group of players picking up seemingly enough points every week to keep Steve Bruce in his job.

By the start of the second season in the premier league, Benitez was losing control over all of those things. The signing of Joelinton was being pushed on him, the club refused to sign Rondon on a permanent deal against the wishes of a manager who was really starting to build something. Benitez was sick of it – so why weren’t we or the media sick of it?

Bruce is a stop gap – like all Newcastle managers before him. In fact, with the exception of Kevin Keegan, every Newcastle manager hired under Mike Ashley has been a stop-gap that has gone on to get the job full-time. Stats wise Bruce ranks alongside McClaren, Kinnear and Gullit as the worst managers in the PL era.

We all know this though. However, at every critical stage, from the sacking of Kevin Keegan – all the way through the decade, to Steve Bruce today – there have been an innumerable number of questions and sagas which have arisen and have been shouted down by the club and the media. Through changing the name of the stadium, to discriminating against a cancer-stricken player, to refusing to meet with fans, fake takeovers, to there still being no sign of a supporter liaison officer.

It is always the same whenever you question the club or its leadership, or the way the media portrays these events. “This is not the time” … “We do not tolerate people saying mean things” … “Here’s a link to an article we wrote 6 years ago.”

Or of course a variation of “Well, we are still a Premier League club, and quick look at Sunderland, look how bad you could have had it – so things aren’t going that badly are they?”

Yet all of these issues are FAR GREATER than the attention that is giving to them when viewed in isolation. The ‘successes’ of Newcastle United: staying in the Premier League, reaching the QF of the cup by beating lower league teams, beating Burnley, are in spite of the horrific leadership at board level, and the painfully embarrassing management in the dugout.

Yet we aren’t allowed, or won’t question that leadership because right now, things aren’t going THAT badly if you look at the league table.

The main question I have for everyone, in pursuing something better for Newcastle United is “if not now, then when?”

Honestly c’mon, if you are not asking questions when things are going ‘ok’ – then you are just waiting for a time when it’s too late to change course and the damage is already done.

It’s really time for NUST to step up and be proactive for once – rather than reactive. Where is the communication with the club? Where are the answers to the fans’ questions? Where is the positive change? Where is the club’s supporter liaison officer? Where is the money the club have harnessed over the past 13 years? Where is the takeover? Where is the improvement in stadium facilities, the training ground, the academy? Where is the board? What are the club’s ambitions? Why was Steve Bruce given the job? Why did Benitez leave? Why has it taken so long for fans to be refunded? What happened to the fans forum? Where is the local media? Why have Newcastle been left behind their previous rivals (Everton, Spurs etc)? Why is Mike Ashley still here if he doesn’t want to be here and won’t invest? What happened to Strawberry Place?

How much more damage are we supposed to see inflicted before we finally do what has to be done here and start looking at the situation overall rather than isolated incidents every couple of months?

The issues which haunt Newcastle Untied have been the SAME issues for almost a decade!

Whenever some tried to raise them, I’ll name the likes of The Mag and The Magpie Group, they were called negative, doom and gloom merchants or in some cases Mackems! (Note: Mackems are fans of that club that has drifted off into oblivion because of almost the same issues I have named above in regard to Newcastle United).

Now that the club isn’t exactly teetering on impending relegation, or about to blow up financially it is the same sh.t again. Transfer rumours, takeover talk, and dear god, so many nostalgia pieces in the Chronicle.

They’ll say we tried asking these questions when the weather was fair, but now we have to wait for some distant day when all is well again before we ask then again?

THE PROBLEMS AT NEWCASTLE UNITED ARE NOT GOING AWAY UNTIL THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM DO.

It is as simple as that.

All this “get behind the team” that people say, will accomplish nothing, except to delay the reckoning that is long overdue.

When Newcastle isn’t doing complete and utter sh.te on the pitch it’s easy to pretend that things aren’t that bad, although it obviously is.

If those with power and influence don’t act now, if we don’t unify for the purpose of changing the way our club works and moving on the people who have dismantled it over the past 13 years, we are inviting even bigger problems to come in the near future.

The people who hired Bruce, will inevitably hire his replacement – that alone should send a shiver down your spine.

Newcastle may not be the worst run business compared to a select few but it is the worst run football club.

So please Mark Douglas and Lee Ryder, pack it in with the nostalgia pieces and transfer rumours. Please NUST,  actually do something. Please podcasters, spend less time talking about yourself and your mates – use your platform for Newcastle United.

Do not get distracted by pleas for unity – the most important business facing Newcastle United fans is the business of change. Without change, we are just waiting for another crisis as this one gets progressively worse.

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanComyn

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