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From jogging up Barrack Road to buying a cabbage

10 months ago

As is the policy with many of the published articles, I’ll start with my Newcastle United CV.

It goes back to when I was 12 years old, spending days going to St James Park on non-match days to see the players arrive in their cars for training and joining them as they jogged up Barrack Road to the training ground on Hunters Moor.

I never seemed to be out of breath as I kept up with them, encouraging the likes of Pop Robson, Wyn Davies or Bobby Moncur to join me in a bit of chit chat, stars of the Fairs Cup winning era.

Happy days – can you imagine any Premier League player nowadays tolerating such mixing with the underclass?

Here we are, 53 years later and there have been a few ups and downs along the way, mainly the latter, but I haven’t missed much. It’s been the hope that’s kept my group attending, although it has become more of a chore the past couple of years.

The only positive before lockdown was that, like many others, attending the match gave us an opportunity to have (pre and post match) quality time with our own children in Toon, mainly revolving around beer and chat.

The arrival of Steve Bruce, the pseudo Geordie, now morphing into Joe Kinnear, was completely underwhelming. No one I know was remotely convinced that he was the right man for the job – the job mainly being just to give us a bit of hope; we aren’t expecting to win the league etc.

I’ve watched all of the matches on TV and have been absolutely astounded by the lack of a plan, tactics or ability to change a game from the touchline by him. Can you imagine the toxic atmosphere within the ground if it wasn’t for lockdown?

His management has resulted in either the sharp decline or ostracising of numerous half decent players and in every respect, the team is worse than when he took over.

It’s been shocking and the only positive of lockdown is that we’ve been unable to attend to watch such garbage.

The lockdown has been of huge benefit to Bruce however, with no crowd being in attendance to loudly vent their feelings.

It’s difficult to voice your feeling except via the keyboard but I’m amazed that there hasn’t been some concerted effort by Newcastle United supporters, who seem to have given up in relation to Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.

Aston Villa had won only one of their last nine Championship games when a supporter snapped and threw a cabbage at Bruce on the touchline at Villa Park in October 2018. Won only one of their last nine games?? Sound familiar?? Bruce left Villa two days later.

Bruce described the incident as ‘’unsavoury’’ and that it had left a bitter taste in his mouth. A bit like the football I’ve been watching since he took over really.

Starting last night’s Aston Villa match with Andy Carroll up front but no one with the ability to put a cross in, whilst four wingers sit on the bench. Then bringing two wingers on but taking Carroll off??

Perhaps we need a figure to guide us in our protesting, like the messiah Brian in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and it’s been good to see a protest flag appearing outside St James Park only minutes after the final whistle of the last two games.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to buy a cabbage and will consider what to do with it in the next couple of days. I initially went to Sainsbury’s but their cabbages were about the size of a small apple so I made a special non-essential journey to the fruit and vegetable shop on Stanhope Street, where I purchased a huge cabbage, strangely about the size of Steve Bruce’s head.

You may see it put into place next to the latest protest flag outside the ground, it may appear on a long stick outside the training ground on Monday as the players arrive for training, or I may end up just eating numerous cabbage based dishes for the next fortnight.

Suggestions welcome…


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