Well, 2014 has started in less than the grand style with our third defeat on the spin and the season more or less over following a desperately disappointing home defeat to a very poor Cardiff team in the Third Round of the FA Cup. Alan Pardew’s record in Cup competitions at United is absolutely desperate following defeats to Stevenage, Brighton x 2 and now Cardiff. Just like those defeats at Brighton and Stevenage United played with a complete lack of leadership, strategy and motivation. We were tactically inept and the team were playing as if we were having a gentle practice match rather than participating in a Cup competition that is woven into the soul of Newcastle United.
Speaking to one grizzled Mag of many years standing after this game, the claim was made that this was possibly the closest we might have ever come to witnessing Newcastle United throwing a football match. I might not go that far but given the shit that has come out of the mouth of the manager this week and the performance of his team, it is understandable such bitter cynicism takes hold in some of the hardest of the hard-core support. After all, this gut-wrenching defeat came only a couple of months after one of United’s suits (John Irving, Finance Director) told the Fans Forum (sic) that the Cup competitions were not a priority for our club. This week we heard Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert trash the oldest and best domestic competition in the world but unlike Wenger and Mourinho who were quick to state how much they value the FA Cup, our own manager’s weasel words give succour to Lambert and we’ve heard absolute shite from him about the players, the crowd, the officials and which way the fucking wind was blowing. Words which will be treated with contempt by many supporters! The manager is hard man to respect.
We now go back to where we have been so often when it comes to Newcastle United and that is questioning what the football club is all about these days. What purpose does it serve? We follow a club that does not prioritise the Cups, that does not fund any kind of assault upon the Champions League or the Premier League title and which has a manager who it would seem seeks to avoid another campaign in the Europa League like the plague.
So what exactly, is the point of Newcastle United? Tread water? Stay on the PL gravy train and square Ashley off with his loan? Finish in the top ten? Be still my beating heart!
There remains a gut-wrenching lack of ambition at Newcastle United under Mike Ashley and Saturday afternoon was as clear an example of that as you are likely to see. Out the FA Cup in the Third Round again? Mission Accomplished Mr Pardew?
Not that salvation will come soon in the Premier League! This next Saturday we welcome Champions-elect Man City to St James’ Park. I’ve little doubt City will view a trip to Tyneside with relish given we have been rolling over and giving them the points for years now. I’m well aware of the disparity between the clubs in terms of investment and I don’t imagine we could ever match what they have but I do want to see United standing up and being counted because another defeat with a trip to West Ham the following week with Sunderland due at SJP is starting to look ominous for us. That might be being unduly negative but frankly I’m fucking foaming after that shite versus Cardiff and probably not thinking straight.
Speaking of the Sunderland game, like many of you reading this, I am appalled by the decision to turn the travel arrangements into a “bubble” trip for Sunderland fans with tickets for the game at St James’ Park on 1/Feb/14. On every possible level, it is wrong-headed, unjust and impractical. As I’ve said elsewhere, it ill befits this fanzine to stick up for Sunderland fans but on this occasion they will not have a more dedicated advocate for their rights than true faith. And I think I better now go for a lie down. We hope to have some news for you soon on what can be done but we really hope all Newcastle United supporters see the big picture on this one and put our tribal rivalries and distaste for them to one side and get behind their rights as ordinary football supporters.
Jesus Christ, Steven Taylor gets on my nerves with all of his bollocks.
Rumour has it the Fans Forum (sic) will meet on Monday night (6/Jan/14) following the club cancelling the previously scheduled meeting. How anyone can present themselves to this meeting given the banning of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust just escapes me. I’m prepared to accept the Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association has a purpose in speaking to the club given their specific interest but the rest? Nah, those rocking up to St James’ Park make me wonder what it is they think they can achieve in an environment where if anyone says or does anything some club suit perceives as wrong they are then arbitrarily banned, subject to no right of appeal is just beyond me. The club, to my knowledge, has yet to respond to correspondence from the NUST and the Football Supporters Federation. Having banned the only members based, correctly constituted Newcastle United supporters organisation, with links to Supporters Direct and the FSF those at the club have ensured the Fans Forum is little more than a talking shop for the naïve and opportunistic. Some people might get a hard-on from being patronised by Ashley’s placemen and women but they really need to take a good long, hard look at themselves.
This fanzine and others has posed a number of questions, of which I have no doubt the club is well aware but I have absolutely no reason to have any confidence in the Fans Forum to provide the kind of detailed answers we should have.
Quite frankly, the Fans Forum should be boycotted until the Newcastle United Supporters Trust is reinstated and a whole new set of standing orders is agreed to establish a level of equality between the club and supporters. It is a joke in its current format.
So, that’s a shit start to 2014. Three defeats in a week and out of the FA Cup!
Is there anything to look forward to?