So, here we all are again facing a crisis. The familiar frustration and disappointment is now tinged with something altogether more dangerous – apathy and resignation. It’s nothing now to hear of lifelong fans sacking it off and Newcastle United at home to Bournemouth this season was a new low.
Let’s get it out straightaway – we have some players with really bad attitudes at our club but they are led by a man who had FAILURE stamped on his forehead and a CV of the last decade that says the same thing. This is a man who has turned us down three times and only latterly took the job after being sacked from a Championship club for the second time. To any sentient judge, he looked like a piss-poor appointment and whereas I wasn’t expecting much from him, he has delivered way below even my expectations. Frankly, the club might have been better served keeping its money and appointing Carver because McClaren has had no discernible impact upon any area of the team’s performances.
McClaren has had 28 PL games and we are now second bottom. Our defending is worse than at any time I can recall and our forward play is inert. We don’t have any discernible playing style but that applies particularly away from home and not one single player is a better option for us now following McClaren having coached them since July last year. In fact in my opinion the likes of Perez and Wiljandum are regressing.
So many times this season the team has looked disinterested, de-motivated and on several occasions clueless and just not trying. Throughout the team there are players who are stealing a living from Newcastle United FC. Bournemouth was the worst performance of the season but not by much – there is a whole horror show of games which makes you speculate on the professional integrity of our players.
Should he go? Am I serious? He should never have been appointed but there were opportunities to bin him in December and after the Chelsea debacle when Tufty took his team of fannies to Spain for reasons best known to himself. Those opportunities weren’t taken but with ten games left of the season and United looking increasingly dead in the water, I am now of the opinion it may already be too late.
I also have grave reservations about any new appointee who would accept working within the model the club is now labouring under as per Pardew and now McClaren. Should the next man come in to lie on the same bed of nails his predecessor has chosen to roll onto then he is accepting he will fail. The position offered to the likes of Moyes and Benitez with the same structure as we now know guarantees failure. The only people who will accept such an abysmal offer are those so desperate to get back into the game so as to suspend their own powers of reasoning. Those with reputations intact, potential opportunities etc. will walk away from the club with barely a second glance. They would be insane not to.
The problem for United is the man who is allegedly running the show is hideously out of his depth and when he does put McClaren out of his misery will likely be inviting his own dismissal given the man sacked by England, Wolfsburg, Twente, Forest and Derby was so keenly pursued by Charnley. Our Tea-boy Managing Director has invested so much of himself in McClaren that he can have no credibility with his boss to make a second choice. McClaren has to go and should be replaced by a professionally selected, competent Chief Executive working with a manager and a Chief Scout. There is no room for Charnley in a professionally run United.
But it might all be immaterial now. The dye might already set. We look holed below the waterline.
Jesus, I’m sick of writing this stuff. This believe it or not isn’t why I set this fanzine up seventeen years ago. It was done to have a bit of fun, provide a platform for supporters to have their say on the club we all love in a way that didn’t exist at that time. I wanted to develop a space where those of us who would never ever describe ourselves as the “Toon Army” could relay our experiences, opinions, have a laugh and add to the culture of our support. I always wanted true faith to be intelligent without being pseudo-intellectual or elitist and to always attempt to be friendly. That’s still the intention and that’s why we won’t do click-bait, chop up the most banal pieces of news on social media to drive hits for advertising revenue. That’s just not us and nor will it ever be. I’d rather not bother.
So, how did we get to 2016 and the idea of Newcastle United to have become so divisive, painful and above all so ball-achingly tedious?
The answer of course is Mike Ashley. His stewardship of our club has been abysmal and variously venal, cynical, dishonest and incompetent. He has staffed the club from top to bottom with yes-men, has-beens, dead-beats and quislings. There is no love for Newcastle United amongst the snake-oil salesmen occupying positions of authority on Barrack Road. There is no ambition, belief or imagination and that has seeped into the foundation stones at St James’ Park. This blood-sucker is indifferent to the city, its region, its club and the constituency from which it draws its unfathomably staunch and stoic support.
Newcastle United is a fantastic and very special football club and please God never forget that. It is a club of maddeningly untapped potential and has the capacity to be one of the greatest in the land as it has been in the sepia-tinged pages of its wonderful history. Ours is the club of the Tyne, Northumberland, Durham and is at the centre of a wonderful city which is in our blood. Ashley doesn’t believe this and neither does Charnley and neither did Llambias or Mort before him. The club is run in its artless way by second-raters at every level. They are there to do the bidding of Ashley. They do not work for the greater advancement of our beloved Newcastle United.
The Bournemouth display was an insult to us, those of us in the stands who have paid good, hard earned money to pay for tickets and who give up our valuable leisure time to support Newcastle United. But more than that, it was a disgrace to the history of our club – to the great players and teams who have pulled on Black & White shirts – it was an insult to Veitch, McCracken, Gallacher, Seymour, Milburn, Mitchell, Harvey, Brennan, Scoular, Davies, Macdonald, Keegan, Lee and as we saw from the Match of the Day studios an Alan Shearer barely able to contain his rage at what he and we know – Newcastle United is absolutely rotten from top to bottom. Shearer is one of the club’s greatest ever servants, he is also a son of the city, he has integrity, he is one of us and he is a Newcastle United supporter. His honesty is shared by the likes of Robert Lee, a player who came to understand the ebb and flow of our football club and who is frequently to be found up here as he was on Friday night providing a withering assessment of those running the club.
Latterly, McClaren has spoken of deep problems at United. What’s the difference between a problem and a deep problem? A problem might be not having a left-back worthy of the description on the club’s books, no competent strikers and so on. What’s a deep problem Steve? What is it you are talking about?
Why do we make so many signings that fail to thrive? How are they scouted? Why do we fish from so narrow a stretch of river Why have we signed players like Saviet and Doumbia who are being passed over for selection in favour of players we’ve attempted to move on from the club as recently as January? Have we signed players who are worse than what we already have?
What is wrong with Tiote? Cisse? Coloccinni?
Why do we have so many injuries?
Why has United made such an arse of the new academy development? Why is United selling the lease on land that will prevent any future development of SJP for such a relatively small sum of money? What is really the deal with our merchandise sales? Why does the club behave in such a churlish and uncommunicative way with supporters?
In short, what is there to hide?
What can be done?
Are we all beyond anger and caring?
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
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