Albert Einstein, Mike Ashley and Me – A Newcastle United tale of woe (yes, another one)
It was the 2nd September, that day I’ll always remember…because that’s the day Newcastle United died.
Well that’s how it felt like for me anyway and I hadn’t been listening to the Temptations.
I was working at Wilton on Teesside and news had been filtering through on my mobile all morning, that Toon boss Kevin Keegan and Derek Llambias (who had recently replaced Chris Mort in the boardroom) had been at each others throats after the previous day’s transfer deadline had closed at midnight.
The bombshell news that King Kev had resigned because his position had became untenable broke at about 10am, and I quickly found my gaffer, John Patta from North Shields, and told him I was balling up.
Driving back up the A19 the radio stations were awash with rumours, claims and counter-claims from media pundits and club sources. For personal reasons, I hadn’t had a drink for 12 weeks and counting, but as I got closer to the Tyne Tunnel, I was building up a thirst and was feeling bloody angry.
After parking the car up outside the house, the wife didm’t look surprised to see me…but there was a hint of sadness in her eyes as she realised I was about to break my abstinence.
On entering my local it seemed some of my mates had had the same idea and the mood was summed up when one of the lads said: “Well, we should have seen this coming weeks ago!”
Kevin Keegan it seemed had been being undermined all summer by a combination of Llambias, Dennis Wise and some other nondescripts called Vetere and Jimenez.
It soon emerged that the straw that had finally broken the camel’s back, was when the club decided to shell out £5.6m on an unknown striker called Xisco, that Wise had seen in a video clip, as well as offer a contract to someone called Ignaciò Gonzalez as a favour to an agent.
This really was the first glimpse of the newly formed “Cockney Mafia” at their finest.
I had been overjoyed only eight months earlier at Kevin’s re-appointment, and really thought that he was going to see to unfinished business. But come the end of the last game of the 2007/08 season, after the Messiah had successfully guided us into a comfortable position (we were flirting with relegation at one point), I had stood silently in the Strawberry and listened as Kevin Keegan despondently admitted that aspirations were not what they once were at Newcastle United. That the present regime’s objective and his remit was to just be “the best of the rest”…. basically not giving the so-called bigger clubs a proper run for their money.
Well back to that September day and I was slurping a loopy juice called Weston’s Old Rosie which is famously nearly 8% on draft. Peculiarly, none of the lads seemed to get very drunk no matter how hard we all tried to drown our disappointment.
On arriving home after tea my wife seemed surprised that I wasn’t drunk. She has always known that I held Kevin Keegan in the highest esteem, as the most important individual ever in Newcastle United’s long history. She sympathetically asked how I was feeling and as I started getting my work togs off I told her that I wouldn’t go back to St James Park because I believed that Ashley was a quisling. Sandra knew I had been suspicious of Ashley’s motives since his arrival but took this with a pinch of salt.
Well nearly 13 years on I have been good to my word and I haven’t been back into St James Park to see my team. I did go to watch Brazil and Neymar in the 2012 Olympic tournament as a one-off, and as I looked out over the stadium from the Leazes End with my younger brother, I did have a heavy heart as some of the old memories came flooding back….
Supermac’s hat-trick on the day Wor Graeme was born.
The crowd sucking Keegan’s debut goal over the line.
Micky Quinn’s four goal home debut blast against Leeds.
Ned Kelly’s dramatic late goal against Pompey in 1992.
Tino’s hat-trick against Barcelona with Figo and Rivaldo.
Sad ones too, especially the relegations in 1978 and 1989.
There are many others both good and bad but I don’t regret my decision to stop going one bit. As the years have gone by I have seen many other good lads throw the towel in, simply because the demise of the club seems to be due to a wilful act of neglect from a spiteful owner.
Which brings me around to the present and some of the debates on here regarding meagre transfer funds, free transfers and loans. You see we are no further on than were we were back in 2008, scratching around for second and third best.
To say I have been ashamed at the lack of bottle shown by the majority of our supporters over the years would be an understatement. They have continually flocked, to support and encourage this wretched regime masquerading as Newcastle United. Well good luck to them on that one.
The old definition of insanity by Albert Einstein, of ‘Doing the same thing time and time again but expecting different results’, has never seemed more appropriate than at Newcastle United under Mike Ashley in 2021.
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