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Opinion

Newcastle United Lockdown Diaries – Steve Hickey

2 weeks ago
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Welcome to our brand new feature, the latest NUFC fan / writer with their Newcastle United Lockdown Diaries.

Here at The Mag we thought it would be good to have an in depth look at these strange times, as we hopefully start coming out of the worst of it now etc.

We are asking regular / irregular contributors to give readers an insight into their own personal experience and thoughts, both about Newcastle United and how the pandemic has affected them personally.

Asking fans to share whatever and how much they would like to, in terms of how the virus impact has made them see NUFC now and so on.

Next up for the Newcastle United Lockdown Diaries, we have NUFC fan Steve Hickey.

So what does a retired 66 year old disillusioned Newcastle fan from Klondyke Cramlington get up to during a world pandemic? One of the strangest times I’ve ever seen. Not much I’m afraid!

Fortunately my family, friends and I have stayed fit and well. That’s not counting the stress that the aborted Saudi takeover generated for us.

I first started supporting the lads when I was old enough to go to the toilet myself. You see, I lived off Stanhope Street 1/2 a mile from the ground. Our toilet was outside in the yard and I used to sit there listening to the roars. After 90 minutes it was a bit cool in the winter! I could tell the result though, from the roars or groans.

I started going with my older brother Bob, six months later. I was plonked on the Popular End wall and used to sit there watching, not only the players but the crowd. Bizarre chants such as Ooh it’s a corner and Oochywahwahoooh, soon got my attention. Then there was United, United and so on for 10 minutes.

So what does the virus and Newcastle United have in common? Answer, they are both very bad for you but you can’t seem to get them out of your system. Furthermore, like the takeover, I can’t see an end to the virus.

On the potential Newcastle United takeover, I see five possibilities:

1) the go ahead that goes smoothly

2) the consortium changing tack

3) someone else involved and doing business

4) Mike Ashley assuming control

5) same old same old.

Number 4 then gradually slipping back to 5 is my view.

If all goes wrong I can see Mike Ashley reverting to type, his kind caring stance, no one wants to buy us so I’ll do the honourable thing and make loads of dosh along the way! This may prevent small crowds which I think would happen without a (false) reinvention.

The pandemic has given people other things to do and going to football matches is all about habit. If Steve Bruce is still in charge and the club doesn’t get taken over, I can see a real slump in interest and crowds will suffer.

Football will never be the same again and neither will life. At least we all now know what the self-proclaimed big six think of themselves. They don’t want gate crashers to their party either.

One good thing these days is that everyone sees Mike Ashley for what he really is and his lack of ambition, that couldn’t be said a couple of years ago. I really do think he now wants out but only for the right money.

This will impact on generations, my sons and grandsons don’t go anymore and at times we even try to avoid television sets when Newcastle are on. They really are an awful watch. Leicester away being the only decent game on the front foot, since the lockdown in March 2020.

I have an admission here, one of my grandsons is a goalkeeper on Sunderland’s books at under 10. I still speak to him but only when I have to. He used to go to the match but doesn’t miss it now. I suggest that this will apply to a generation.

What will I remember the pandemic for? Inadequate leadership, spiteful rivals and mismanagement. This can also be applied to our football club as well as the politics.

I will always think of the aborted takeover when I look back at lockdown and that creeping disappointment brought about by the press, Premier League and its top six teams. It seemed everywhere you turned someone was taking a pop at us.

I also remember for this disappointment the failure of the consortium to change direction and use a person rather than the PIF of SA. Do the Saudis really want us? We will see.

So that’s it, the not so exciting but totally satisfied life of a Newcastle fan, who won’t return until Mike Ashley is long gone.

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