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Opinion

‘Dad, why should I support Newcastle United’ – The question every parent dreads

2 months ago
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Supporting Newcastle United was easy for me.

Born and bred on Tyneside, I was taken by my dad and other older relations.

Eventually I got to the point where I wanted to go with my mates and around the age of 13 going on 14 I was allowed to.

That then graduates to Newcastle United away matches where the real fun starts, especially back in the day…

Once you get to that stage you are well past the point of no return.

However, life as an ex-pat Newcastle United fan can be a different experience when it comes to the brainwashing necessary, to ensure the next generation of permanently let down supporters follow you into the faith.

It pretty much completely is down to you. If you did / do nothing and let nature simply take its course, there will only be one outcome. At least whilst Mike Ashley remains in control.

Living just outside London, you have to do the buying shirts, visits back home to Tyneside when possible, getting tickets to away matches in the south and so on. That is simply to give yourself a chance.

With my eldest two, it went unbelievably smoothly looking back.

They had the promotion season of 2009/10 where NUFC scored plenty of goals and we got to a decent number of away matches, that then flowed into the first season up and we actually did ok (although the ‘Carroll – 9’ shirts we got them for Christmas 2010 proved not to be the greatest choice of presents ever bought…) – both in terms of goals / entertainment and results, followed of course by that shock fifth place season where my kids loved Ba, Ben Arfa, Cisse and Cabaye, as somehow ended up fifth.

Finishing above the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, life was an awful lot easier as the only two Newcastle fans in their school. I will never forget them going into school the morning after we’d been at Stamford Bridge for that Cisse double.

Looking back, 2012/13 was a bit of a write off after Ashley refused any attempt to build on the fifth place finish and then had to desperately buy in January 2013 to prevent relegation. However, incredibly, massive luck struck again in 2013/14 as Loic Remy came in on loan and things sparked again with NUFC right up in the top six and in contention as we got to Christmas 2013, only for the second half of the season collapse as Mike Ashley sold Cabaye for £20m and refused to allow any investment in that window.

That has been about it really since then BUT for my oldest two, they were already hooked / brainwashed, no matter how things would go downhill it had got into their veins. The very worst fix of all, Newcastle United.

I should have known I wouldn’t have it so easy with my youngest, a real mind of his own that one.

I was sitting here this (Wednesday) morning minding my own business watching the Olympics, when he comes up to me and asked THAT question…’Dad, why should I support Newcastle United?’

I knew I should have pretended that I was asleep…

With lockdown, working from home, schools off, all games on TV, we watched a lot of football this past year or so.

Saw loads of great games but hand on heart, very very rarely did they include Newcastle United. Looking back, I do feel a bit guilty as I kind of insisted on us all watching every NUFC match when increasingly I could tell that all three of them had far better and more interesting things to do. Sometimes one or more of them disappearing to go to the toilet or some other lame excuse, then ‘forgetting’ to come back and watch whatever Newcastle United match until the bitter end.

Coming back to the question, I didn’t know what to say. What can you say that makes even any minimal sense, to try and convince anybody to support Newcastle United in its current form?

‘Just you wait until arbitration in 2022, that should be some hearing!’

All my kids hate Mike Ashley, they have also come to understand and share my loathing for Steve Bruce, the football is absolutely terrible and not a single signing to give even any fleeting hope of better.

At my youngest’s school, they have all the obvious London clubs supported, as well as Man Utd and Liverpool of course, Man City also now, even Leicester are represented, whilst after only one season Bielsa’s Leeds have the odd fanatic – no doubt helped by the fact every game was on TV and they (Leeds) were the total opposite of the boring rubbish Bruce served up.

I am hoping that getting tickets to a few games down in London and a trip up to Tyneside sooner rather than later, can help save the situation. The thrill of going to matches as a kid, overriding the ambition-free rubbish he will be watching on the pitch, finding himself in amongst a mass of all singing all dancing Geordies out for a good time at away games.

That is pretty much the only selling point I can think of, the only saving grace for our club, a fanbase that is second to none BUT one that is under severe threat in the future if this Ashley death grip on the club continues.

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