A good week for Newcastle United as we welcomed three new signings into the club (Matz Sels, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie) as the players returned to training and Rafa gave interesting updates to the support regards re-building of the squad and some information about behind-the-scenes stuff involving the medical staff which I’m delighted to hear about having been alarmed at what gen has come this way about the paucity of the club’s infrastructure.
As ever there was a sting in the tail with United as we lost Andros Townsend who joined Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace almost at the exact moment Hatem Ben Arfa saw his move to PSG from Nice completed. You won’t need me to remind you Alan Pardew sent HBA out on loan to Hull on loan. I’ve previously been reluctant to slate Pardew for HBA’s failure to flourish at United (believing the player must burden most of the responsibility) but one season in Nice and there he is getting a move to one of Europe’s richest clubs. I genuinely hope Andros has a good career, he owed us nothing but his performances were 100% for us and he’s clearly a lad with talent. Pardew won’t nurture his talent and this is the man who preferred Marlon Harewood to Carlos Tevez after all, whilst failing at West Ham. His mediocre record in management hasn’t prevented him from setting down a marker for the England job and letting on about the temperature of his blood at the thought of Alan Shearer becoming England manager, given our former No.9 hasn’t done the hard yards of club management. Shearer won’t respond to this insufferable gobshite but if he was going to do so he might ask Pardew about his experience of international tournaments and where he keeps his international caps. Bah!
Also in the news this week was Fabricio Coloccini who appears to have finally sorted himself a move to his boyhood club San Lorenzo back home in Argentina. I really think this is for the best and all things considered whilst I have had several occasions to doubt Colo’s commitment over his eight years I’ll generally have a positive view of a man who was never cut out to be captain but who at times was a magnificent defender for us. I think the club is as guilty as letting him down as he has been of the club on occasion but I’ve wondered how the treatment of his friend Jonas has soured his view of United?
Anyway, with Andros gone and Colo more or less out of the door it falls to Rafa to build us a team for the future and with the immediate task of getting us back into the Premier League where our club belongs and where it should be stretching every sinew to compete. The three players in-coming look to be decent acquisitions but it’s likely to be the start of more comings and goings over the coming weeks. Frankly, I’ll not be heartbroken at the departures of any player who leaves the club even though I believe some to have talent and something to offer the team. If they want out, let’s make sure we get good money for them and reinvest it in players who want to be part of what Rafa is rebuilding at United.
There was some good news off the park last week as well. The move of like-minded people to The Corner and lower tiers of the Gallowgate End has resulted in the formation of a new fans’ group with the sole intention of providing colour and atmosphere to go with the increased volume we expect to come from that section of St James’ Park. GALLOWGATE FLAGS is a group made up exclusively of supporters who are part of The Corner etc and who want to take practical steps to improve the atmosphere at games and get greater participation in the stands to support Rafa and the team.
One of the leading lights of GALLOWGATE FLAGS is Alex Hurst whose name some of you might recognise from penning material for true faith for a number of years and also as the Master of Ceremonies of the true faith PODCAST. In his proper job Alex is Chief Executive of one of a long established and prestigious businesses – Phoenix Taxis and Coaches based in Blyth, Northumberland. Alex has played a key role in establishing GALLOWGATE FLAGS and it is Alex who has met with club officials in this last week and in my opinion, played a blinder in getting United on board, gaining their support and even soliciting the backing of Rafa Benitez who believes this is what the club should be encouraging. We are in Alex’s debt for the work he’s put in.
So far, the club has been great and we should all be encouraged at how things might develop. This is a great opportunity for all of us to make a difference, to come together and give the support to Rafa and the team to help us get promoted next season and even give us a season to remember.
Clearly the purchase of flags and banners will cost money and that can’t fall on a handful of people to fund. That’s why a place for donations to be made to GALLOWGATE FLAGS for all fans to contribute to the purchase of those flags that will adorn The Gallowgate Corner and lower tier next season and hopefully over time as funds allow elsewhere in the Gallowgate End. These are very early days but donations are coming in and as I type this the total donated stands at just over £1800 after only a few days which is great.
You can make a donation to GALLOWGATE FLAGS below if you like.
A tenner seems to be the standard donation but if you are able please donate more and if you can’t weigh in for a tenner, give what you can, if you can.
true faith has donated £100 and we’ve only been able to do that because of the sales of our merchandise which keeps everything we do here absolutely FREE.
But buying new flags isn’t the be all and end all.
There must be dozens of good quality Newcastle United related flags out there which currently aren’t doing anything but sit in sheds, lofts, garages and the people behind GALLOWGATE FLAGS want to put that right. Several flags have already been donated and there are some emotional stories behind them which make their display all the more satisfying.
true faith has donated two of our large flags to GALLOWGATE FLAGS whilst Dan Gordon has also put his excellent Sir Bobby Robson “what is a club” flag to the group and others have been in touch to make stuff available too.
So far, so good!
There were one or two of the naysayers on social media making ill-informed accusations about the integrity of those running GALLOWGATE FLAGS and I’ll be honest, I’ve little patience for anonymous supposed United fans who appear to take a delight in taking a piss up the leg of any of their fellow supporter and make all kinds of disgraceful accusations without a shred of evidence to justify. Still, hopefully we are over that, Alex is in the process of developing a set of FAQ with responses which will hopefully head-off the bollocks that goes on in the world of social media.
Anyway, back to the positives.
It’s to be hoped that when GALLOWGATE FLAGS takes up its position at the Huddersfield game for the first time it will be inside a packed St James’ Park and with a great display of noise and colour to mark the start of our campaign to get back into the Premier League.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
The new issue (TF126) of true faith, the 2016 is now available to download now and plenty of you already have. This issue, our Summer Special is more than 136 pages of excellent fanzine writing that centres upon Newcastle United as you would expect but includes lots of other material about the world game that we all love. This issue is rammed with nostalgia, history, opinions of United but also what has happened last season and what we might reasonably anticipate with Senor Benitez. It is superbly designed as well as written and it has all of the bells and whistles of the digital age without losing the traditional fanzine age.
true faith is Newcastle United’s longest running and most widely read fanzine. true faith has been providing the alternative view on life at Newcastle United since 1999 in both hard-copy and online and is the UK’s most widely read, independent, fans’-led publication.
Have we also told you it is absolutely FREE? Well, it’s FREE.
The fanzine works brilliantly on any device be that your desk-top, lap-top, smart-phone, i-pad or i-phone. For what it’s worth, we recommend it on a tablet. But whatever you read it, just read it.
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GALLOWGATE FLAGS – GREAT NEWS!