There’s no mistaking it, there is a mood of pessimism descending all over Tyneside following the disintegration at Man City and the appalling news Tim Krul’s injury sustained in action for Holland means he’ll miss the rest of the season and of course this neatly coincides with the injury to his understudy, Darlow. I look at Elliott with the same emotion of clocking a puppy that has just shit on the living room carpet. Being bottom of the table with no win in eight games means that the depression isn’t irrational and the derby visit to the SoS looming ever closer is enough to send a feeling of dread throughout our ranks. It’s understandable but it’s critical we all stop feeling sorry for ourselves and go along to the game on Sunday ready to give whoever is pulling on our colours 100% support from the first moment to the last otherwise, we are simply going along to SJP to almost rubber-neck at the football equivalent of a road traffic accident.
Now, please don’t misinterpret the point I’m making. There is a football club we all support that is rotten from the top to the bottom and to its very core. There are very few people at Newcastle United who are there on merit and too many whose main purpose in life is to kow-tow to Ashley, do his bidding and hope nobody notices them. I could go on about an incompetent football board (I know, I laugh as well) and a leaderless team with a Head Coach who is looking every inch the busted flush many of us feared. He is doing nothing to challenge the view he looks like a manager who has been sacked at two Championship clubs within the last 5 years.
But enough of all of that! It is desperate we beat Norwich on Sunday because if we don’t the word RELEGATION is going to be on the lips of everyone coming out of SJP at the FT whistle. There are those who claim not to be arsed about the prospect of relegation and imagine it will herald the end of Ashley’s reign at United and it will lead to the re-birth of the club under some new ownership arrangement. That is absolute folly. If Newcastle United goes down this season, there is every chance we’ll stay down for a very long while and I’ll point at Wolves, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton, Blackburn as clubs who have failed to bounce back after long stays in the Premier League. We don’t have the characters we had in 2009 and the club could go into an extended meltdown were we to lose our Premier League status and the riches about to come on-stream with new TV deals, that our club needs to be a beneficiary of for the short, medium and long term, Ashley or not.
So, what this means is Norwich is almost shit or bust. If we fail to beat The Canaries and prepare for the trip to Wearside with no sense of belief, confidence or positivity then we’re looking down the barrel of an Allardyce shaped sixth successive derby defeat, the consequences of which I think could tear the club apart this season and for a long time after.
You might be right, but I’ve seen these moments before and we aren’t a football institution that bounces back very well from these body-blows.
Think of it, we go to Sunderland looking for a first win in ten and if we weren’t too get it and God forbid, lose the game, then McClaren will quite simply become a lightening rod for the latent discontent there is at our club and I wouldn’t see him, phony, car salesman smiles or not, being able to stand and survive in that technical area at SJP with the ill-will of the B&W congregation bearing down on him. That might be grossly unfair as it appears increasingly obvious it is nigh on impossible to succeed at United with the club’s dysfunctional management structure and lack of direction and drive from the top. As much as we’ve done our best to ignore it and wish for an extended losing run to happen, Alan Pardew is doing a good job at Crystal Palace and hinting at what he might possibly have been able to achieve at United were he not the reluctant recipient of players like Riviere, Mbwia, Anita, Cabella, De Jong et al courtesy of our now tarnished super-scout Graeme Carr. Don’t get me wrong, Pardew isn’t a great manager but he was made to be much worse than he obviously could have been by Graeme Carr’s scouting, Lee Charnley’s ineptitude and Mike Ashley’s lack of ambition.
That is why, the biggest chance to awake from this torpor is to beat Norwich and take the relief that will sweep all around us to Sunderland and give the enemy a good game.
Let’s not be found wanting on Sunday.
So then Allardyce has joined the Mackems and immediately began re-writing history. Allardyce was not hounded out of United. It didn’t happen like that. He received very good support from us despite buying a succession of abysmal, past-it players who he put on huge money (Smith, Barton, Viduka, Cacapa, Geremi, Rozenhal et al) and delivered some of the most turgid football seen by anyone inside SJP in their lifetimes. That was quite some achievement given what we’ve witnessed on Barrack Road for longer than many of us care to mention. And now he’s down the road with some of their more cerebral fans (and there are some) rocking back and forth at what they have in store. I almost feel sorry for them, even if they stay up or not. Sam Allardyce is the Anti-Christ of football. His teams cheat, feign injury, waste time and ruin every game they play in. That’s why when he’s been in the employ of clubs like United and West Ham with fans who aspire to something more uplifting, he is vilified for his spirit crushing brand of anti-football. There is other stuff as well but I’m not in the mood for dealings with M’Learn’d friends. It will be interesting to see how the Mackems take to him.
If, as expected, Kevin Nolan joins Allardyce down the road then he will be dead to me.
I’m no Rugby fan. The game itself bores me to tears and I just don’t get its ascetic. That doesn’t mean, I’m about to say it’s a rubbish game. It clearly isn’t. I’ve never been able to appreciate the music of Bob Dylan, it’s not my thing but I recognise his genius. Rugby is a game enjoyed by millions. Some of those millions passed through Newcastle and St James’ Park for the Rugby World Cup and there is no question it was brilliant for the city directly as all of those visitors packed out hotels, pubs, restaurants etc. But what was more striking was how visitors spoke in glowing terms about our city but most importantly of the hospitality they received from the natives. So, every one of you who smiled at a stranger, gave directions, had a kind word and all the rest of it, you did the city and the region proud.
What was also brilliant was St James’ Park – packed out with punters urging the players on, the whole place buzzing and a palpable sense of excitement that came through the TV screens. Remember when it was like that for Newcastle United Football Club?
But most strikinggly, St James’ Park looked absolutely magnificent without that S***** D***** shite plastered all over it as well didn’t it?
We’ve had a great response to the news we are now going to offer the fanzine completely FREE of charge to all readers and downloadable from the website and starting from our next issue. We are working on that issue now (TF122) and I have to say (though I obviously would, wouldn’t I?) that it is looking a belter. You’ll love it.
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The next issue (TF122) will be made available for download from this website but it will be made earlier to anyone who has signed up for our match-day newsletter The Special. So, if you haven’t signed up yet, do so by clicking here.
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That’s enough from me.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
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