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Opinion

Life is full of big decisions

4 weeks ago
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Should I marry that girl?

Should I buy that house?

Should I move out of the area for that job?

You know that they will impact on your life for years and years.

Now it’s fair to say that deciding to watch a bunch of men in shorts, kick a ball around (badly), is not up there in the league table of big decisions.

However, this week it has been a question that’s been on my mind constantly.

I’m an old beggar, who has been following Newcastle United since Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon (We think).

Opening games of the season were an integral part of my life: from Millwall 78, Leeds 83, Leicester 84 and Everton 88, to home games against Leeds 89, Spurs 94 and even the hideous Charlton game in 98!

I remember them like yesterday. In fact the last time I set foot in the ground was first game against Arsenal, a couple of seasons ago.

So I have found myself in a quandary this week. In the words of the lass in the catsuit, from the Meatloaf video, “what’s it going to be boy, yes or no”?

Of course, if I’m going to go, I need a companion, so first I approached my two brothers, but they are in prison this weekend. As staff, not inmates, I hasten to add.

Then I approached my neighbour, who it seems prefers to drive to Birmingham to see the in-laws. I know things are bad, but not that bad, surely?

The next mate, looked at me and said in his best John McEnroe voice, “you cannot be serious”.

Once the next on the list also turned me down, It was time to get the message. Either I’m Billy no mates, or there isn’t the desire to make the trip up the hill out there.

Or is there?

Crowds at St James Park in these early stages of the season are going to tell us a lot.

With well over 10,000 season tickets going unsold, will there be match by match buyers filling the gaps?

Today was always going to be slightly different, as for many people it is a novelty and simply the first chance to see live football in a year and a half.

However, after this opening day novelty, when Newcastle host Southampton in 13 days time and then the home matches beyond that, what kind of crowds will we see?

I think regular crowds of over 45,000 is a turn out that basically tells those of us who no longer go, that we are the minority. There is still many who want to watch Newcastle. The boycott brigade are out of touch with the real world and need to accept the way things are.

However, if crowds regularly fall below that figure (as was beginning to be the trend in the first half of the 2019/20 season before Mike Ashley gave away 10,000 free half season tickets) in the weeks and months ahead, for Premier League fixtures, then that would be a serious message to the owner.

Enough is enough.

Because should our season go the way of last season, then who knows what the attendances at St James Park would be by Xmas.

Would that be a bad thing, would it finally force change? I’m not sure it would but we won’t know till it happens.

I’m not one that wants my side to lose. I would be as happy as anyone if we turn West Ham over three-nowt and I will be listening on the radio, but I have decided with a heavy heart that I won’t be there.

Probably as much to do with cost as anything to be honest.

When a day out at the match is going to cost you around 80 quid, something’s gone seriously wrong.

Unless you are Billy no mates who can’t get anyone to go with him, that is.

I reckon two pints of lager and a packet of crisps listening to Razor and Anderson on the radio will see me 77 quid in pocket.

But it’ not what memories are made from, is it.

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