What do Newcastle Fans want? Let me try and answer for you
It has become an almost daily occurrence now, hearing ‘What do Newcastle fans want’ in the national media.
And I want to try and put that straight once and for all.
This trumped up issue of supposed fan expectation at Newcastle United.
“What do Newcastle fans want”
“They have such unrealistic expectations”
“It’s what you expect from a circus club like Newcastle United”
“They expect Champions League football every year”
And then this beauty from former Sunderland player Michael Gray on Saturday morning…. “Newcastle fans have been complaining they wanted entertaining football, they got it [against Manchester City] and lost”.
Are these people who come out time and again and denigrate the Newcastle United fanbase, really that stupid?
Are they trying to whip up a storm about the Newcastle fans that doesn’t exist?
Do they really not get it?
Why is it really such a crime to these people that a football fanbase might have the desire; the want; I hesitate to use the word ‘expectation’ to be entertained??
Is it so wrong to be proud of the football club that they support? Especially when they pay money for the privilege.
Let’s take ourselves out of our Covid world for a minute and hypothesise that we’re once again able to pay money to watch our favourite team. Each of us ideally would surely like to be entertained and watch a winning team. We go to the match, or we support from our armchairs. We cheer our team on. We shout and bray at our team like it means absolutely everything. Like it all matters. But, on the flip side of the coin, neither is there a good football fan out there that does not understand that football just doesn’t work in a way that guarantees success. Unless you happen to have the luck to support one of the richest, biggest and most successful football clubs, you are just not going to get that every winning feeling every week.
So I struggle to understand why it is that Newcastle fans more than any others, are the target of such blatant misrepresentation and disrespect. Just what is this offensive perception, that Newcastle fans have unrealistic and deluded expectation about where our club should be competing in the game of football?
So, ‘Expectation’ – Let’s look again at what that word really means – ‘A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.’
That something will happen.
I will come back to that but let me move on briefly to the other point that is puzzling media pundits and journalists all over the land.
What do Newcastle fans want?
I would really quite like it if Newcastle United was a forward thinking football club. A football club that wanted to be the best it could possibly be. A club that wanted to compete. A club that wanted to maximise its potential. A club that wanted to grow and develop every aspect of itself, whether it be its academy; whether it be its stadium; whether it be its commercial partnerships; whether it be its global reach; its PR. And yes, I would especially like it if the club was also ambitious to improve its fortunes on the pitch so that one day it is a club that is considered could achieve something tangible.
Let me stress, this is not out of a sense of entitlement. As a Newcastle United supporter, I believe more than anything else that no club, big or small, regardless of wealth or sporting merit in years gone by, is entitled to success. But I do think that all fans are entitled to believe that they can freely dream of competing at the top of the pyramid. Isn’t that the dream of any fan of any football club? And if that is what you want you need, a certain expectation of your club doing things a certain way.
That covers the wants of football fans, and I think that speaks for most, if not all Newcastle fans.
But what do we really expect from our club right now?
Well, I for one expect that next season we are only going to see more of the same as the season we have just had. Which for us means the heady heights of a relegation fight for a minimum of 17th place. A season of wondering what kind of performance we’re going to see from the players? Whether they’re going to be up for the fight? Wondering why we couldn’t for example go down to Norwich City and put in at the very least a decent performance? Wondering where the fight was when we had an open door to a cup semi final? Another season of wondering why we have to go through all of that and then be told by someone speaking into a microphone, that as a Newcastle fan I am deluded and have unrealistic expectations and should stop moaning.
That is what I expect from the 2021/2022 season. Not a season of challenging for Champions League football. I’m not even expecting to be entertained every week. And why should I go into a season expecting these things when I have been conditioned to dampen down my expectations by a football club that shows no more ambition than to stay up every year, collecting Premier League TV money and do the minimum with it.
That is what Newcastle fans have had to put up with for far too long.
What Newcastle fans want, I think, is to put that behind us and start afresh. It’s what we thought we were getting last summer. A fairytale ending if you like and on to bigger and better things. Sadly it wasn’t to be.
Which leads me on to one more point. I want to paraphrase a conversation I had on Friday night.
“I like Allan Saint-Maximin. He’ll get a move to a big club some day”, somebody said to me.
“I don’t think so”, I replied. “Not yet, he signed a new contract recently and seems happy here. If a club does want him, they’ll have to pay big money to get him”.
I struggled to understand why he’d leave the club this pre-season at this point in his career.
“To compete for trophies and to win things”, was the reply.
And there we have it. That hits the nail on the head as to why we’re all in this game in the first place. If you’re a player, if you’re a manager, or if you’re a fan, that is the dream for all of us who have any love for the game of football.
Newcastle United is a club that doesn’t compete for trophies and to win things at this time. It used to be. It was once a great and ambitious football club. But right now, it’s perfectly content to just exist. It doesn’t have to be like that forever for any football club.
What I want and what I expect of Newcastle United, are two different things.
If the recent controversy of the European Super League taught us anything, it should be that no club is entitled to be an elite club, they are entitled to be able to dream and expect that their club should do the same.
What is the point of football otherwise?
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