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Opinion

A week in Scarborough and I didn’t see a single Newcastle United shirt

2 months ago
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I am just coming up to my first anniversary.

Almost exactly a year ago (6 August 2020) I had my first ever article published on The Mag.

Indeed, it was the first thing I’d ever written (since schooldays) and certainly the first thing I had ever written and had published about Newcastle United.

This is my second, that is if it successfully gets through the editorial process at The Mag.

At this rate, I might get around to writing a book if I live to be around 200 or so…

For those with long memories, my second article for The Mag is very similar to the first I had published back in August 2020.

Back then, I had just come back from a week in Scarborough with the family.

This time, I have also just come back from a week at Scarborough, not entirely of our own choosing this time as the Government shambles in the handling of the virus played a major part in our family holiday abroad ending up cancelled.

Still, as they say, if you get the weather in this country, why go abroad?

That is what I have been telling myself anyway but fair play, the weather has been a scorcher this past week in sunny Scarborough.

We are regular visitors to Scarborough but usually for only a few days and usually outside the summer holidays, tending to come down in the half-terms when school is out, sometimes Easter. We do love it and would very much recommend it.

Anyway, with the restrictions last year we came for a week in late July / early August, this year a week or so earlier.

Last year I wrote on The Mag that one of the things that always keeps me amused, is checking out the people wearing football shirts of the various clubs.

With Scarborough’s location and from past experience speaking to people when I’m there, I would think the main areas it draws its visitors from are Yorkshire (obviously!), the north east, Lancashire, then spreading out and people from far and wide around the UK plus the odd ones from abroad, naturally not so many of the latter this year.

For top spot, it is always a big contest between Liverpool and Man Utd with usually whichever team is doing best on the pitch at that particular time, edging it. After a relatively unsuccessful year for the pair (only top four…) there was no real stand out winner, so a draw I would give it.

These past 16 years of trips to Scarborough, no surprise that this time Leeds are the big climbers. After seemingly largely abandoned by shirt wearers during their years in the wilderness, Bielsa is working wonders on the pitch and obviously also when it comes to sales of official club merchandise!

Man City and Chelsea also growing to an extent in numbers as they picked up the big trophies, though still a million miles away from touching the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool.

Arsenal I saw, Sheffield United edging Sheffield Wednesday after relegations for the pair.

Then moving into the north east, Middlesbrough a clear regional winner though not massive numbers, then a few Hartlepool and Sunderland…

Last year I reported not a single Newcastle United shirt seen and I wondered this time with what looks a bit better shirt (in the photos anyway), this new kid on the block Castore instead of rubbish Puma, maybe less hatred due to Mike Ashley taking legal moves against the Premier League to try and force the sale of the club (and he receiving hundreds of millions of pounds…), whether things would have changed. Sales of the new Newcastle United shirt showing fans returning to official club merchandise?

Drum roll…not a single Newcastle United shirt seen this past week.

As I reported last year, in the past I would say that in previous years, a trip to Scarborough would mean seeing the Newcastle United shirt more than any other, apart from the Man Utd and Liverpool ones.

What maybe is even more worrying, is that it is not just the official Newcastle United shirt, I didn’t see anybody at all wearing retro NUFC kit either.

It just all feels like as people are seeing their Newcastle United shirts fade (a bit like memories of better times!), they aren’t bothering replacing stuff. Whilst for kids, where once the launch of the new Newcastle United shirt, especially the home one, was a massive occasion (for big kids as well!!), with midnight launches at St James Park, thousands turning up to be amongst the first to wear it, now they just don’t appear that bothered.

Before I came away on holiday to Scarborough, around Newcastle and Gateshead where I live and work, I didn’t see a single new Newcastle United shirt either. I see people posting pictures on social media having bought the kit but maybe a lot of these are ex-pats living elsewhere in the country, even abroad, who don’t feel the Ashley hate quite so much as those of us more local do?

It really does feel like this football club is like one of those sad situations where Whales are washed up on a beach, can’t be moved in many cases, sprayed with water to be kept alive so long as possible, before the almost inevitable happens.

We saw a magnificent 3,000+ Newcastle fans head to Doncaster on Friday night and that will never change. Geordies and away matches, a match made in heaven.

However, turning up at St James Park and paying Mike Ashley your cash, buying official merchandise knowing in whatever way he will be getting his cut, what’s the point?

I will leave you now and if this one has been published, keep an eye out for my excellent next article on The Mag, reporting live from Scarborough in July / August 2022.

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