THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Get Real – 11/Nov/14

by • November 11, 2014 • TBAWEComments (9)1452

The win at West Brom lifted us to a very decent eighth at the end of the weekend and therePerez copy is no question there is a change of mood around United and something approaching positivity. Everybody wants the team to win. That’s the whole idea. It’s time that parts of the press wised up to that.

A peculiar narrative appears to have taken hold amongst some hacks and that is that Newcastle United has turned the corner. That Alan Pardew has proven his detractors wrong and that a baying mob has been repelled and a decent man and talented football manager has been vindicated. This narrative extends to Mike Ashley as well. The owner has resisted the siren calls of a febrile support and kept his nerve, showing an admirable faith in the man he appointed and later rewarded with an eight-year contract.  Keith Bishop, the club’s PR consultant appears to be earning his money.

It’s all rubbish of course. Our support did not quickly come to lose patience with Pardew. It was no knee jerk reaction. The team has performed poorly over two seasons. Journalists do well to remember that. Pardew has at times behaved disgracefully on the touch-line and his supine dealings with Ashley has not endeared him to a support that wants to see the club progress, be ambitious and attempt to be the best it possibly can be despite some admittedly formidable odds. We do not accept our alloted place in life is to act as a billboard for Sports Direct.

Therefore, on the back of five very enjoyable wins, four in the PL and one in the League Cup, it would be somewhat premature to start lauding Alan Pardew as the man who has turned it all round. Pardew has bought himself some breathing space. He has provided himself with a platform for a recovery rather than delivered a recovery in itself. In many ways, we have been here before with Pardew. He is capable of producing a run of victories but too often these are followed by a slump which undoes his good work. That may be because the club lacks the squad to maintain the upward swings in performance but equally it might also be because the manager lacks tactical sophistication and cannot change quickly to meet new challenges. The team has developed a new game plan in the last month that is new and which has yet to be analysed by our PL rivals. We will be being scrutinised right now and responses developed in opposing dug-outs. The time to assess what Pardew has done might be in mid-January, rather than after a short burst of great results in October/November. However, if we finish the season in eighth and we have performed well in the Cups, I think that will go down as a satisfactory season. But not before! Pardew, Ashley and the players have a long, long way to go.

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I was talking to another Mag whose long-service has bestowed him with a cynicism befitting the trials and tribulations of Newcastle United. His response to our recent run has been to wonder upon Mike Ashley’s view of matters. Firstly, he can keep his compensation in his bank account as he won’t need to bin Pardew just yet. Secondly, in the likes of Ayoze Perez and Mehdi Abeid, he may just have a couple of nice assets he can start sticking prices on very soon. In the short term, he’ll have no bother selling Chieck Tiote in January and won’t have to contemplate buying a replacement. Dummet’s performances at centre-half as well as Steven Taylor’s good form might mean he’ll be able to resist having to lash out on a central defender. Similarly, if the team has wrapped up a good 25 points by the end of the calendar year, he can keep the club’s money in his wallet and won’t have to go buying players as the target of keeping the club in the PL on the lowest outlay possible will look like being achieved. Pardew just has to avoid getting the club into Europe and everything is going perfectly as Ashley sees it.

Remember, just because the team has won a few games doesn’t mean anything has changed with the direction of the club under Mike Ashley.

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Although it is brilliant to be winning again, I think the best news we’ve had this season wastf115_cover_ipad unquestionably that Jonas has been given the all-clear after receiving cancer treatment and that he may even be resuming his Newcastle United career. That would be marvellous and I’m sure many of you agree with me that it would be be brilliant to see Jonas back to his best and playing for the club. One thing is for certain and that is when he does come back to the club, St James’ Park will absolutely explode when he takes the crowd’s ovation. Brilliant news and we all wish Jonas and his family all of the very, very best.

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I can usually ignore whatever bell-ends say about our club or our support but I’ll be honest I took exception with Craig Bellamy talking shite about Newcastle United and what our support thinks and doesn’t think about our club in the national pecking order. According to Bellamy, we (that’s the entire Newcastle United support by the way) regard our club as being as big as Man Utd and Liverpool. Bellamy has news for us – we aren’t. Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, that’s news to me.

Quite apart from how anyone can come to a conclusion about what so many different people think about one thing, the fact that no-one in the studio thought to pull him on how such an assertion as he made is completely risible says a lot about the lack of intelligence there is in football analysis.

I have supported Newcastle United all of my life. I don’t want a medal. Though counselling might be beneficial. Just about all of my best mates are Newcastle United supporters. I have edited this old toffee for the last fifteen years. I have come across hundreds, possibly thousands of Newcastle United supporters. Never ever in all of that time have I ever heard one Newcastle United supporter claim our club is as big as Manchester United or Liverpool. Not one. Similarly, I have never heard one of my fellow supporters claim United is bigger than Arsenal either.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are bigger than Newcastle United. They have won more honours, they have bigger support and they have a global reach on the back of their great cup winning history that we don’t have. Financially, their position is greater than ours for several different reasons but mainly it’s because they have been consistently successful. No-one can argue with that.

I will not accept that Chelsea or Manchester City as bigger clubs than Newcastle United. They have simply benefitted from financial doping that has allowed them to attract the best players and managers in the world and they have won trophies on the back of that. They have not built their clubs over many years of great coaching, great decision-making and determination which are the ingredients that have made Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal such great clubs. I would never go to a Lottery winner who lived in the same street as me to ask advice about how to manage my finances and I will not accept Chelsea or Man City as anything other than the recipients of outrageous fortune, clubs who have been able to make short-cuts to success. For all of that it is impossible to compete with them.

Where I see Newcastle United is the equal of Tottenham Hotspur and the rivals of Everton and Aston Villa – traditionally prominent clubs with big histories and potential similar to our own.

Newcastle United does not have a global reach like Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal but neither do Spurs, Everton or Villa.

What we are is an exceptionally well-supported club with the potential to grow again. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that were we to experience a small amount of success – a couple of trophies and consolidated in the top six or seven of the PL, together with a change in attitude at the top of the club, Newcastle United could seriously pull in attendances of around 65,000. That’s adding around 15,000 to our current gate. That is not rolling eyed fantasy.

What we are at the moment is an under-performing regional power-house of a football club with a tradition of being exceptionally poorly led over an extended period. For as long as I can recall in all honesty!

My belief is that were we to get to a place where the support was right behind the club and St James’ Park was able to accommodate those extra supporters etc. that could act as a springboard to challenging those clubs further up the food chain to ourselves – Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal.

The on-going teeth grinding frustration of following Newcastle United is the knowledge of our massive potential to grow and to one day challenge for a place alongside those great clubs of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Our history shows us that is where we have been before and we have the potential to go there again.

What that does not mean is that me or any other supporter really believes our club is currently bigger than any of the three big Red clubs or that we can expect to compete financially with Chelsea or Man City. It would be insane to imagine that.

No, Newcastle United supporters believe our club should attempt to compete, to be ambitious, to build the club, to exploit its potential, to try and win the trophies that establish the club’s reputation and history. That’s ambition. Every club should have sensible ambition. Gateshead, our near neighbours, dream of getting back into the Football League. Where would that club be without that aspiration?

So let’s be honest. Craig Bellamy hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about but that will not prevent him from having an unshakeable belief in his own place in football. He was a decent player but I think he would struggle to get into my top 50 players I’ve seen pull on a United jersey in the 40-odd years I’ve been following Newcastle United. I’d guess he wouldn’t make the top 100 at Liverpool but fair play to him he’s probably make the top 20 at Cardiff.

So, Bellamy can sit in a TV studio wearing a bad suit, with his massive new teeth and minty tattoos talking shite, wishing he looked like David Beckham instead of a self-obsessed runt who bottled meeting Alan Shearer in the Anfield Car Park  post-match to front up after sending prick texts mocking Newcastle United for losing an FAC SF. That’s Craig Bellamy – a snide to-rag.

Bellamy has a lot to thank Newcastle United for. He was part of a Coventry City team that had just been relegated with him in it (he later slagged them off after he’d left) when there was no queue for his services. Under Sir Bobby Robson he learnt how to finish his chances and improved as a player. He had some good times at United but he’s too thick and classless to remember that.

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FSFAward

 

 

 

So then, we have once again been short-listed by the Football Supporters Federation for an award. This is the fourth successive year  we have made the cut and naturally, we are delighted to have done so. In recognition of everything we are doing in digital format these days, we are included in the Independent Website category and we would like to think that reflects the work we have done with this here website, the digital fanzine, The Special, the podcasts and the video-blogs. A lot of very good people are involved in what we do and I’m very grateful to them that they have all rallied around our flag.

Obviously, all of that would be pointless if we didn’t have people like you visiting the site, taking out subscriptions to the fanzine, The Special match-day newsletter and listening and watching our podcasts and video-blogs. Thank you.

We are up against some really fierce competition of that there is no doubt. We would like to win obviously but if we are to have any chance at all, we’ll need every single one of you to vote for us.

You can do so by clicking here.

 

Have a great week, its getting cold and dark but The Toon has won a few matches and the glow from that will keep us warm for a while yet.

 

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

 

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9 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – Get Real – 11/Nov/14

  1. Alex says:

    As usual, the pinnacle of sports writing. Thanks.

  2. In a nutshell. Great analysis of where we are, think most will agree. On the Bellamy bit and what we all think of our Glorious club, you’ve nailed it. Would love some hacks to just ask a few of our clan who would no doubt give the same assessment, word for word likely, rather than just regurgitate the same owld shite. Its nowt but a myth that the sky sports generation of other supporters latch on to.

  3. Colin McCabe says:

    Cracking read once again. Agree 100% on the Pardew situation, any other manager in the top 3 divisions would have been sacked with the 2 year record he had. However lets enjoy this run and hopefully we can get another win against the tax dodgers shower of mercenaries!
    As for Bellamy that snidey fucker isnt even worthtalking about.

  4. Melton Parker says:

    Agree with all points made about expectation levels being grounded from almost all NUFC fans. Few would dispute that LFC and MUFC are commercially more recognisable global brands than NUFC but history tells us that we need to be wary about labelling them as ‘bigger’ when what we mean is more successful and therefore attracting the commercial trappings which have come along as a result. Indeed, if NUFC had enjoyed 50% of the success of the aforementioned then, as the late Brian Clough put it, you would need a stadium of 80,000 plus. I know – we’re talking about the here and now and each are merchandising behemoths in their own right. NUFC have never enjoyed a chapter of prolonged (10 plus years) success after the Edwardian era but were on a par with LFC in the early 1970s in terms of trophies won. Both North West clubs also attract a significant and well documented amount of national (plus Irish) support. Similarly, crowds at NUFC were larger than at MUFC for 25 – 30 years after the war. Chronic mis-management has been unable to prevent modern day averages around the 50,000 mark, despite our city having a smaller population than Stockport whilst surrounded by three of the most sparsely populated counties in the UK in what is a low wage region. Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds are all ‘bigger’ than Chelsea if re-set to their natural state. NUFC have an all time attendance aggregate of almost 5.5 million more than Spurs and over 6 million more than Villa. Attendance, of course, do not translate into economic power these days (that’s a different debate) but LFC and MUFC are rightly seen as English football aristocracy but bigger? How? What lead to that? From what year? What if they went through 80 plus years without a league title? A quote to end; “We should be in the Champions League every year with the crowds we get”. Craig Bellamy – NUFC season review DVD 2003-04. Wants to watch his expectation levels, him like.

  5. Alan says:

    In the time I’ve been reading truefaith you’ve never made any attempt to hide your dislike for Bellamy, which is fair enough Mick, we all have folk who get on our tits.
    From a footballing perspective however I reckon you’re allowing your dislike to cloud your judgement. In 2001 he was the main catalyst in transforming our team from also rans to champions league qualifiers. I can recall many, many fantastic performances from the ‘Welsh Gobshite’ (Trademark Mick Martin)
    I too have watched Newcastle for in excess of four decades and while we all have different perspectives as to what qualifies someone to make it into our favourites list I have to say I’m struggling to get near to 50 who made a bigger impact to our cause than Bellamy did before fuckwit Souness manufactured his exit.
    Help me out Mick.

  6. Greeny's Guitar says:

    Might have taken you 15 years Mr Martin but you nailed it today.
    Brilliant piece especially your views on the runt.

  7. Ian Summers says:

    Reacting to Craig Bellamy you are spot on. As for global reach the tourists you see at Old Trafford, Anfield & The Emirates are evidence that any club can gain ground surprisingly quickly. The tourists are transient supporters as shown by those ridiculous half and half scarves. It is all about the ambition to compete with your so called 3 big red clubs as you say. My son and I travelled down to witness Bilbao tear Man U apart (5-1 if I remember?) a few years ago. The Bilbao fans were excellent but as we sat amongst Man U fans I reached the conclusion I never want to follow a club as successful as them. I want to sit amongst Black and Whites not the tourists you find at your “Big Red clubs”. There are so many fans who stopped going during the Ashley era I think your 65000 estimate is a bit pessimistic if we were ever in a position to really compete again. Yet again we may be closer than we thought but yet again I suspect rather than speculate in the January window our club will see it as yet another opportunity to cash in on some players?

  8. Davey says:

    It seems that Patrick Barclay of the London Evening Standard has a different point of view to unhappy Spurs supporters as he does to unhappy Newcastle United fans. On the one hand, the latter should apologise to their manager, on the other, the former group of fans from the capital should be ‘entitled’ to believe they should be better than where they are right now, he even calls one of the Spurs fans who is on the supporters trust as having ‘admirable candour’ when he says Adebayor ‘was still rubbish Funny that, Paddy.

  9. Chris C says:

    I never get the need to discuss which clubs are ‘big’ and which are not, we should just focus on our team and club and look and hope for the best. Of course it’s harder than ever to compete against whichever top few clubs have all the cash at any given time but as Southampton are currently proving in the league, and a few clubs have in recent years in the cups, it is actually still possible to compete if you get things right.

    I also don’t buy the arguments about Citeh and Chelski buying it but somehow Manure or Liverpool didn’t. Of course they did in each of their hey days Liverpool and Manure dominated financially and out muscled everyone whenever they needed to, I actually see it as a positive that Citeh and Chelski have broken that up.

    Arsenal never could which is why they had a few titles but never dominated in the same way.

    Manure are financially doping right now, spending vast sums last summer to buy back into the CL places, let’s hope it fails this season and next because I don’t think they can keep going on buying in at that pace, and right now for the first season in a while you’d argue as consequence there’s possibly two CL places up for grabs.