Thru Black and White Eyes

THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – A Winter of Discontent – 5/Oct/15

by • October 5, 2015 • TBAWEComments (17)5664

Circumstances meant that I couldn’t get to a keyboard for much time following this season’s disintegration in Manchester, which is probably just as well as regular readers of this old toffee have probably reached their limits when it comes to reading another rant from me. Like last season, I walked out way before the final whistle. Unlike last season it was when the sixth goal went in (as opposed to the fifth) when I went slunk in resigned fashion past the Blue-Moon Burger Van en-route to Manchester’s enviable light-railway system and back into the town centre and some agreeable company. For the avoidance of doubt this was not to attend a fringe meeting of the Young Conservatives. Just thought I’d clear that up.

TRUE15 LUKE 1977 Voucher (1)

Leaving matches early is no longer a taboo for me and looking at the hundreds hitting the coach park as we contemplated the football genius that imagined Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran could provide any kind of resistance to anyone in any kind of Premier League football match, I’m not alone. The stoicism that was once our signature as a travelling support is crumbling. Though, to be fair we had almost a full allocation at £44 a throw which is a bigger turnout than last season when we had our arses tanned x five by the nouveau-riche arrivestes in M11. I really get the impression that our support is now at a point where our defiance is almost as limp as the team we support. It’s hardly surprising and I don’t think any group of supporters anywhere in the world or at any time in the modern era could retain any sense of optimism or enthusiasm given the diet of thin gruel we’ve been fed on for so long.

One argument I’ve heard repeated a few times by those who believe the current era we are experiencing isn’t as bad as Yoan-GOUFFRAN-104281what we’ve had before and the implication is supporters should to use the modern idiom, “man-up”. I’ve followed United since the early 70s and I can pin-point two eras when we were really on a low. One of those was in the late 1970s/Early 80s and the other in the late 1980s/Early 90s. Don’t get me wrong seeing United sell Macdonald in the 70s and then Waddle-Gascoigne-Beardsley in the 80s led to a mass gnashing of teeth but this is worse.

Here’s why. In the period from 1974 to 1984, Newcastle United had two runs to Cup Finals in 74 and 76 and although we lost both, the days and games are still talked of fondly by those of a certain vintage. I’d also suggest the 82/83 and 83/84 seasons aka the Keegan Years were amongst the two most enjoyable seasons I’ve ever had following the club even though both were spent in the Second Division (old money). Likewise the period between 1988 and 1998 bore witness to the best football some of us have ever and will ever witness from a team wearing Newcastle United shirts. Sandwiched between both those periods were the McGarry years (Shinto, Rafferty, Clarke et al) and the period following the Play-Off SF defeat which led to a bleak couple of seasons prior to the sunshine of KK’s return in 1992.

That’s why this is worse. The unremitting gloom of the Ashley era has tested many beyond breaking point.  Remember it is eight long years since that unbearable Tory gobshite John Hall sold us out to Ashley. He’ll still be counting his pieces of silver now.

There have been very, very few ups to sustain us beyond a very brief but enjoyable tour of the Championship, tanning the Mackems 5-1 and a few decent trips to Europe. There are a few Mags in their mid-to-late 20s whose devotion to United is as committed as any of any other generation I’ve known, but I worry about what is sustaining them through this long, endless winter of Mike Ashley. Where are the Cup runs, the days out in Europe, the bravura displays and wins that make it all worthwhile and give us the emotional blanket to keep us warm in our supporting lives? The things to talk about in years to come when today’s young Mags become tomorrow’s old farts (hello there)?

We are not deluded to believe Newcastle United deserves more than what Ashley and the people he has appointed to keep it ticking over are providing. Let’s start from that point. Let us never ever forget that or concede that point. Ever.

The other points have been made by The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas this last week. This is, in terms of results, the worst calendar year in the history of Newcastle United Football Club. It is as things stand the worst start we have had in the Premier League era. As McClaren’s request to judge him after ten games stretches now to twelve, the season is starting to develop a feeling of desperation about it. It is not a season which has come out of the blue or is the coincidence of a lot of random factors which might convince us we are experiencing some rank bad luck. The context for this season is another of entirely predictably dreadful results on the back of previous seasons when we have looked closer to the trap-door than the mythical land of top eight finishes and cup runs, an increasingly clueless Steve McClaren talks about.

So, who is to blame? It is inescapable. It has to be Mike Ashley. He has appointed every single person to a position of authority (ha) at United, he has set the budget, he has plotted the course and he signs the cheques. It is easy to imagine (and I’ve heard some articulate the argument) that Ashley is engaged in some form of spite against us because we had the audacity to challenge his running of the club and maybe called in some horrid names. But I think it’s worse than that. I don’t think he even gives a fuck really. All of his actions suggest he is supremely indifferent. I regularly hear about a complete lack of communication between him and anyone at the club. You read in the post-Man City humping Steve McClaren say quite clearly he does not speak to Ashley. Imagine that, the owner of a football club having no relationship with the man who picks the players and stands at the side of the pitch in the full glare of football’s microscopic attention. Oh, I beg your pardon, Ashley sent McClaren a text.

You can look elsewhere beyond Ashley and point to the grotesque inadequacies of Lee Charnley as someone to steer the club to anywhere out of the bottom quartile of the Premier League. You can set a harsh spotlight on Graeme Carr’s increasingly frequent flops in the transfer market. A squad of has-beens and never-will-bes is all the work of Northampton Town’s ex-manager. A first team populated by poor characters with the losing mentality Alan Shearer speaks of is the culmination of too many bad buys courtesy of Mr Carr, another of United’s executive team who lives in the shadows. Fingers will point at a manager who was sacked by Forest, Derby, Wolfsburg and most memorably by England with only a Dutch title with Twente providing him with any credibility whatsoever. How does the sack at Derby in the Championship prepare you for Newcastle United in the Premier League?

As for McClaren, he may be supping deep from the poisoned chalice of Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United and is attempting to get a tune from a selection of players completely disconnected from our just and righteous cause and pursuing the narrow agenda of self-interest they were tempted here to pursue. The formations change, the tactics are amended but the same rotten results continue. The big question is, how long will it be tolerated before Ashley sees the PL millions disappearing down a massive Lee Charnley shaped toilet and act to completely over-rule the football board he entrusted to run the club for him? Personally, I can’t see McClaren surviving the next two PL games without gaining 4 points. There, I’ve said it.


Congratulations to the Football Supporters Federation for organizing and leading an excellent Twenty’s Plenty series of FSF20 copyprotests that had an impact at every single Premier League ground in the country so far as I’m aware. A big well-done to everyone who supported the protest at our game with Man City on Saturday. It was good to have a natter with members of Man City’s 1894 Group and I think special mention must be made for members of the Everton Supporters Group, Blue Union and their Scouse brothers and sisters Spirit of Shankly who turned out to give support outside the Etihad. Fair play to them. I’m a fine one to talk as I turned up late as a result of traffic problems but it was a little disappointing to see so few of our own who thought about giving the boozer a swerve to support a really worthy cause for an hour. Good on those who did turn out and they deserve full credit.  However, it’s disappointing after reading so many plaintive calls for supporters action via this site and across social media that when the call goes out to support a worthy cause, the numbers we turn-out often give cause for disappointment.

We’ve had a good response to the news we are now going to be offering our true faith fanzine completely FREE of chargeAdvert1
in its digital format. We’ve done reasonably well as a subscription digital fanzine since we brought the curtain down on the hard-copy format the season before last and in all honesty, it makes no business or financial sense to now do it for FREE. But we really do want to grow the readership and offer our writers the biggest possible audience we can. That’s what we’ve always done and what we’ll always do. We’ve had a few suggestions that readers can make donations to help pay the fanzine’s costs and obviously that would be fantastic if readers did tip up that way. We’ll look at how we can offer that facility. The main thing we do need though to help us meet some costs and build what we do online is a regular advertising revenue. So, if you fancy some advertising for your business or whatever, just drop us a line on and we’ll have a natter about it. Our prices start as little as £25 per month or £200 per season. Obviously, the more you pay, the more you get.

If you want to write for true faith or contribute in other ways – graphics, cartoons etc again just get in touch –

Mercifully, there is no Newcastle United this weekend but there is plenty football and we’ll be doing our bit to promote the Football Supporters Federation’s Non-League Day. For our own part we’ll be making the journey to North Shields for their Northern League game with Dunston and we’d really encourage you to get along to The Morgue for the game. You won’t be disappointed I’m sure. But wherever you go, make sure you go and spend a few bob.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

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17 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – A Winter of Discontent – 5/Oct/15

  1. Stephen says:

    Bournemouth away has already got the look of Southend on New Years Day, 0-4.

  2. Mikey says:

    Yeah your right Michael, I sense this season is the worst , it all seems to be capitulating too easily, and where have we all heard the cry ( the season starts now @ McLaren) before….No the season started in August Schtevie , judge you on 10, 12 games….why , your the manager

  3. Paul smith says:

    As mad as it seems I thought the positive signs shown in the first 40 minutes gave a tiny glimpse of what might lie ahead. I love Mitrovic, he could very easily be a complete and utter legend. I’ve seen touches and movement by wilnjaldum that make me think he could be unbelievable. I like Mbabu and I like mbemba. I think this injury might be a godsend to Jack Colback who I’m convinced though no world beater is a solid enough midfield player. I like Janmaat. I think a first team like this….Krul, Janmaat, Mbemba, ( new centre half signed in January ), Mbabu, Colback, winjaldum, Sissoko, Wilshere, ( well you got to have a bit of artistic licence ) (Perez and Mitrovic would give most teams a game especially at home. I don’t like McClaren but there has to be a reason nobody does a good job here hasn’t there. I think let’s give this lot a chance to see if the tiny green shoots turn into anything other than weeds, I think they might yet you know.

  4. Vin1892 says:

    Time to start another five year plan I think. The first team, under 21’s and under 18’s only have 1 win between them in about 20 league games. The cancer at the club is deep routed now and the only hope we have is a right good clear out. Ashley, Charnley, Carr, Moncur, Simpson, McClaren, Bearsdley, Watson and that bitch Taylor and let’s start again from scratch, whatever league we may be in. I haven’t mentioned Cathro because he can’t be judged among the absolute dross at the club. All of the others have failed miserably over a number of years.

  5. Lee says:

    This is without a doubt the worst calendar year I can ever remember and the lowest I have ever felt about the club I love dearly. The actions or lack of action in some cases by Mike Ashley have left us in a very precarious position with our premier league status and the millions that provides at risk. The owner has to be held accountable as it’s the lack of investment in the team over the past 8 years and quite frankly appalling appointments to senior positions within the club that have left us in this position. Do the players themselves care? It doesn’t look like it from what I’ve seen so far and for the past 12 months. The capitulation time after time when we concede is disgraceful and unprofessional. Some of them even think they are of Champions league quality; don’t make me laugh (Sissoko) when you can’t even put in a performance against a championship reserve side. It looks to me like they are resigned to the fact we are going to be relegated, safe in the knowledge that they will simply move on without a second thought that they are part of the reason we are where we are. If we are going to go down, I’d rather it was with players who might actually fight for their position, show they care and will give 100% when they pull on the shirt, not shirk a challenge or just watch as Aguero strolls past them into the box.

  6. allan says:

    I dont think clear out is answer we need commitment from players and a manager that can motivate all at St james ( Players Training staff Fans )

  7. Mike says:

    I remember the 06/07 season as the fist time I thought the club lacked ambition. We had a 20 year old loaned from Man Utd leading our line and I couldn’t help think that we were trying to compete with that lot just 4 years before that.

    The last few seasons since finishing 5th have felt exactly the same. going through the motions and can’t seem to see a way up. hoping for a flicertain of hope match by match in a season of boredom, home draws and away losses.

  8. Rob says:

    Bang on about Charnley, he is way out of his league. The only reason someone with his lack of track record would get given that job is because the owner trusts him to carry out his wishes to the letter with no backwash, its not unique to the toon, have seen it many times over the years in various businesses and it never ends well, but yes it is Ashleys call and his responsibility.

    I perhaps take a different view of things being exiled for over 20 years, Ashley is bad for the club. no doubt about it, I’m not disputing it but what about Gordon Mckeag?, sold our best players, never spent the money received, was hated by the fans who demanded signings, in 88/89 he relented and we spent big (for us) on the wrong players and went down, it has a familiar ring to it doesn’t it?.
    In fact take out maybe 10 seasons out of the last 60 and we have been mediocrity personified, also rans, a football irrelevance. The only reason we have rated a mention is our fan base and our history up to 1955, Ashley is just the latest instalment, look down the road, it is exactly the same for them too, it goes deeper than just one man.
    With regards to the 70s and 80s I wonder how much of that feeling is just down to the fact that football was a different (and better) animal completely, I stopped going altogether quite a while ago, while the skill level is up along with the price, everything else has diminished. The atmosphere, banter, being able to relate to the players, often local lads only earning a couple of times what you were on has all gone. How many OAPs do you see at games nowadays?, the smell of woodbine smoke wafting up the terraces, the ten step surge down the gallowgate at the end of the Blaydon races, some nutter spending the whole game facing the wrong way leading song after song. For some reason losing all of this has coincided with us gaining 250000 extra fans, I scratch my head. Win the next 3 games, which regardless of our current form ARE winnable games and we will finish lower mid table as usual, lose them and we are down.
    One last thing, if you want Ashley gone, stop giving your money to Newcastle Utd, season tickets, shirts, mugs, DVDs, don’t buy em, if you do you are giving fat Mike the big thumbs up.

  9. Peter Shearer says:

    However bad other people have been for the club,Ashley tops the lot of them. There is simply nothing that I would not accept to get rid of him. However far we have to fall to rid ourselves of him-it is a price worth paying. All the time that we do nothing in my eyes is a betrayal of all our club stands for.There is a massive call being made of our fanbase to revolt against this regime and so far there are only a few willing to take up the fight.If we give it our all and fail, so be it, but at the moment we have only protested at the margins. That was still enough to force the man’s hand so imagine the effect if we could unite our fans. But still too many complain but refuse to act.

    • Peter says:

      Ashley has ripped the soul out of the club and for many has made supporting it pointless… How on earth have we managed to get to this desperate position?

  10. joe hawkins says:

    I started going to games at 10 years old in 1983 onwards and saw the highs with Keegan and promotion back to the First Division then the slump with Gazza, Waddle, Beardsley being sold etc
    The ridiculous signing of Dave Beasant because he saved a penalty along with two four foot strikers in John Robertson and John Hendrie with Andy Thorn making up the foursome that were supposedly going to kick us on.
    They were more like “The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse” and there was a huge drop after that eventually succumbing to relegation in front of a crowd of 14,500 against West Ham who joined in with the “Sack The Board” chants !

    There are a lot of similarities with that time in 88 where these players were built up to take us to the next level along with the latest recruits who will probably go on to take there place in the long line of infamy which exists at this club.
    The only difference now being Michael Wallace Ashley has a hell of a lot more money at his disposal than Mckeag and Co ever had which makes it all the more sickening imo !

    Ashley will go down in history as probably the worst owner Newcastle United will ever have and you can just see a history book of Newcastle United come out when we are old and grey which will read like the who’s who of crime !
    The problem is there could be still more pain and suffering on the horizon unless this classless, Clueless moronic oaf realizes he has tried and failed and it is now time to put the club genuinely up for sale and non of this “Hegelian Dialectic” bullshit that involved “Orville Keith Harris” and the utterly phantom sales of the past.

    If Ashley is a fan like he says he is then he should do the decent thing and pass the club on to someone who wants to do something with it and not Barry Moat ffs !

  11. jackson says:

    4 points from the next two games. We won’t be beating Norwich, let’s just get that out there. And we all know what’ll happen with the Sunderland game. Sorry to be negative. I can see one point; two points at best coming out of these two games. And very possibly no points at all. Chelsea was the kind of dishonest ‘statement performance’ we’ve seen all too often during this interminable malaise. Look! We were good players all along! Our recruitment policy is so flawed it’s like some kind of weird joke.

  12. I wish another “Tory gobshite” would arrive and have the same effect as the last one.

  13. Dave says:

    I started going in the early 1960’s (peanuts, a tanner a bag, the more you eat, the more you …..sha la la la, la, you get the drift) & had the ultimate pleasure of watching the ’69 Fairs Cup Final first leg at a packed SJP as a 14 year old (what an experience) & was at both of the Wembley cup finals in 74 & 76 which although were defeats the memories will live with me forever. I had a season ticket in the Paddock end for years until moving away from Gods country to work abroad in 1981 & apart from the odd family wedding or funeral (more common) & foreign work commitments I sadly don’t get home or to games as much as I’d like so am now an armchair internet/ MOTD/twitter/live stream/fan. Perhaps being away for so long I’m not authorised or qualified to make comments or opinions on matters nufc, however reading the above comments & posts saddens me so much as all I want is nothing but success for my beloved NUFC but it also makes me realise that until the cancerous tumour (Ashley) is removed from the host (NUFC) then we are sadly treading water to oblivion. If anyone has the answer, I’m all ears. See you all in the Championship.

  14. Chris Ord says:

    I went to the game on Saturday and it was absolutely shocking the way our team let a good first half performance turn into an absolute horror show. I think Pellegrini and his players had us sussed out from the first half, defensive weakness, one of the biggest problems in our team. I don’t think I’d seen our away section empty so rapidly before as Man City ran riot in minutes, it was like no one wanted to stay and make their feelings known and just wanted to see no more of that shambles of a performance and I couldn’t blame them. Our team just isn’t good enough really and something needs to change before it’s too late, McClaren needs to do something, 5 points adrift of safety with West Brom, Chelsea (Surprisingly) and Bournemouth just above on 8 and regardless of what teams in the bottom half of the league do we need to pick up and if we don’t and these teams get further and further away then we’re finished.