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Opinion

‘Replying to David the Doughnut and other trolls, I just thought…what’s the point?’

2 months ago
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I’m a passionate bloke.

I’m passionate about my kid and my girlfriend. I’m passionate about writing. I’m passionate about the UK Office being better than the US one.

And I’m passionate about Newcastle United.

It does sting to suddenly be the country’s most hated club. We’ve been a laughing stock for some time but with that now blended with hatred, it’s become a volatile concoction that is difficult to digest.

We all see what the neutrals say about us. It may be on social media, on sports websites, or even in an article via this medium.

I see a lot on Facebook. As I follow both MOTD and Sky Sports, occasionally there’ll be captions about us and I will, despite every fibre of me screaming protest, click on the comments.

There was one I saw a couple of days ago. Will Newcastle Be Relegated? A picture of Eddie Howe was above the caption, along with a Tweet from Mr Shearer stating what a mammoth job our new manager has ahead of him. I saw there were 1k comments and, against all instincts, I clicked to see them.

The first one was some knacker with all the educational punch of a delinquent doughnut. The gist of his post was to ridicule us for applauding Eddie Howe after a 2-0 defeat after all the ‘horrific abuse’ we gave Steve Bruce. This was of course relating to the Arsenal game on Saturday. The next five or six comments were Newcastle fans biting back. Then there were a few more slights against our fanbase. I started typing up my response. Three or four sentences in I stopped. I looked at what I’d written and I thought, ‘what’s the point?’

Yes, I’m passionate about Newcastle United. Yes, I want to defend us. However, me giving David the doughnut on Facebook a dose of reality via informed opinion won’t suddenly make him go, ‘oh, right, I didn’t realise that. I’ll rush and tell all my friends immediately.’

Clearly, it’s a stupid statement. How foolish would our fans have looked if they’d booed Eddie Howe and the players for getting no points from a stadium where we never get any points?

Imagine the headlines, ‘Insatiable Minuscule Club Hounds Out Howe On First Game On Touchline’. It would have been an insane thing for the fans to do. Clapping our manager on his first appearance in front of us was the right thing to do and still they find a way to mock us.

The fact is, many fans hate us. However, most of those fans are of the aptly named keyboard warrior variety. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances that are football fans and not one of them has said to me they hate Newcastle United, or that we should be ashamed for accepting our new ownership.

When I posted a status on the day Ashley sold up (a post that just celebrated his departure and mentioned nothing of Saudi money), a few people that I hadn’t seen for years sent a few memes mocking our new ownership. I replied to one comment asking if his meme was in relation to the PIF takeover and that it was ironic, as he was messaging me on a platform that has investment from that very same entity. He quickly sent a fishing rod emoji and then a comment saying, ‘Nah, jealous of you mate. We’d love a bit of that cash.’ This is the driving force behind all this new feigned hatred. It’s jealously dressed up as morals and disgust.

Another of these comments was asking me if I wouldn’t prefer to build organically, than have lavish riches bestowed upon me. I pointed out that after the years of neglect, large investment is the only way we’re going to get back to even being a semi-decent Premier League side, let alone one challenging for honours.

Some of my friends have happily stated they would find it hilarious if we went down…but I understand that. Being taken over by the richest owners in football and getting relegated is amusing from a neutral perspective. I’m sure we’d all find it an absolute hoot if Chelsea, Liverpool, or one of the Manchesters got relegated.

The fact is that these people that Tweet and comment don’t know the reality of Bruce’s tenure and they don’t know the damage that Mike Ashley’s long, gloomy ownership has had on our club and fanbase. They absorb all of their footballing knowledge from pundits and click bait articles. Their knowledge has no foundation and that makes their arguments flimsy at best.

We are the best informed to comment on our club.

If one of my friends starts mouthing off, I will happily debate them rationally and disprove many of the misconceptions they have about any elements surrounding our football club. Over the last decade I have had countless of these conversations about Mike Ashley alone, in the recent couple of seasons similar has happened about Bruce. By the end of my rantings the friend in question has unequivocally agreed that my frustrations are well founded. Whether that be due to well-made points on my part or sheer boredom on theirs, I’m not sure. Being able to sit down and outline all the facts gives us an advantage.

However, these nobodies that are throwing their weight around online. Why bother? I could have responded to that comment but all it would have done was rile me up and no positive would come of it.

So, my advice is simple.

Firstly, I would ignore these comment sections all together (I’m finally following my own advice on this).

Secondly, if you can’t resist the temptation, then just don’t respond. Take a deep breath and move on.

He who laughs last, laughs longest and I feel regardless of this season, we have lot of chuckles of our own in the years and decades to come.

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin

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