The game away to Bournemouth had been billed as a “must win” so unlike United on the road we won and to immense relief we moved out of the bottom three. The performance at Bournemouth was pretty ropey with Elliott putting in the best performance of his time at United and that is all the more commendable given its pretty clear he wasn’t 100% fit. He deserves the praise coming his way.
What the explanation for the apparent lack of appetite from the team on the south coast who can really say but on a different day we’d have been taken to the cleaners and we’d now be raking over another embarrassing defeat. It didn’t happen that way and for once we got the bounce of the ball and returned North with the points.
I’m always delighted to see United win football matches but I was particularly pleased for those hardy souls who made the trip to Bournemouth. It was a dreadfully timed trip and as one Mag who made the journey commented to me, they’d been on less time-consuming European aways. It was likely as expensive to get to Bournemouth as it was Bruges.
I may be descending into perma-cynicism with United but when I read tweets from the club and its captain praising fans for travelling that distance I can’t help but snort. Warm words are fine – it might have helped if they had put some subsidised travel on for those who left the house at 4am and didn’t get back until midnight. That’s unlikely to ever happen at Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United however.
Anyway, it’s better to go into the international break with three points to the good regardless as to how they came than not so if McClaren and his team can use that as a springboard then all well and good.
After the break we’ll welcome Leicester City to St James’ Park. Then it’s Crystal Palace away who are both sides who have done very well this season. It says something about the decline in the competitiveness of our club under Mike Ashley that we’ve been overtaken by these clubs (and others) despite being more powerful economically and having a greater stage for players to perform on. Bad management and bad intentions!
For what it’s worth I believe our target this season is to remain in the Premier League. To do that I think it’s reasonable to have a target of 20 points by New Year’s Day and as we are now on 10 pts with games to come against Leicester (h), Palace (a), Liverpool (h), Spurs (a), Villa (h), Everton (h), West Brom (a) and Arsenal (a) I don’t think it’s asking too much to get 10 points from eight games. With 20 points on the board we don’t start the year as a complete basket case and providing the talk in the papers isn’t kite-flying and we do strengthen in January then we could, maybe even possibly have a better second part to the season than the first, would be a welcome change.
Something does have to change at the club in terms of its general direction otherwise January will see yet more season ticket direct debits cancelled and those grey plastic patches growing around St James’ Park.
There are also rumours United are determined to move players out of the club who either aren’t contributing anything and who don’t want to be there. For me, a big chunk of that work should have been completed in the summer but although the club made four significant signings (only three of which are starting regularly) it was obvious it was far from enough. That explains the poor start to the season we’ve had.
But let’s be grateful for small mercies as per Saturday but no-one should kid themselves that if we play as poorly as that against more refined opposition and we’ll be taken to the cleaners.
Best wishes to our former No.9 Andy Cole who it has been widely reported has been ill with kidney disease. Let’s hope the man who gave us so much pleasure 20 years ago makes a full recovery.
Dropped jaw moments from the Fans Forum Part 1 – United have decided against investing in the training ground (as per previous press releases) because they think it would disrupt the team’s preparations for matches. Honestly, who believes this rubbish?
It was great to have Peter Fanning from the Newcastle United Supporters Trust board as a guest on the true faith Podcast this last week talking about models of fan ownership and its growing influence in the game over the last decade. The podcast is still available if you missed it and you can get it by just clicking here.
The podcast lasts about 40 minutes so you don’t have to book a day off work to hear it all.
We are delighted to be able to play host to the NUST and to help the organisation get its message across to supporters without having to leave the house on a dark, cold wet night and visit a poorly attended venue and we’ll look to repeat this kind of thing in the forthcoming weeks and months.
For what it’s worth we had at least four times the numbers listening to this latest podcast than have ever attended any supporters event I’ve known about in the last five or six years.
Of course what we’d like to do is take questions from supporters when we do these podcasts and you are all free to comment on the contents of the podcasts in the comment boxes here once you’ve listened to them. As ever, we do want a bit of an elevated standard of debate and to avoid posturing, abuse and insults that are sadly the feature of so much of what passes as discourse via social media.
I note that Rangers fans have begun a boycott of their own club’s merchandise in response to the refusal of Mike Ashley to renegotiate eye-watering deals made by a certain Derek Llambias when employed by the Ibrox club. No-one can say for certain what the deals Ashley has made for Newcastle United involving his company but its not unreasonable to speculate they might be much the same as he’s done in Govan. Until I know for certain the club isn’t being taken to the cleaners by Ashley my Mag money will stay in my pocket. Just in case.
As has been mentioned elsewhere (a canny bit I must admit I can gan on a bit) we are now offering our fanzine FREE in its digital format to readers. The first we published to be free was issue 122 which we made available last Sunday night. By Thursday true faith (TF122) had been downloaded more times than we imagined it might in the six weeks it will be available until we publish the next one. For what its worthTF122 has been downloaded more than any previous issue was sold as a hard-copy or in its subscription digital format. It has made no business sense to offer the fanzine for free but this has never been a commercial enterprise and all we want is for the thing to cover its cost and provide some wedge tom reinvest to make it better and keep us at the forefront of fanzine culture. That’s where we are now and it’s all thanks to the support we get from you good people.
We will have some nice surprises for you to come in future but as they aren’t all worked out just yet, we’ll keep them under wraps.
Although we have a really wide circle of writers, we are always after more of you to contribute to true faith and get your opinion heard in what is likely now the most widely read fanzine in the country. So, if you have an urge to inform, amuse and entertain your fellow supporters get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you to work. That invitation applies to those of you in foreign climes, at the other end of the country as equally as it does those of us lucky to live in the North East of England.
Whilst writing might not be your thing, you might be handy with a camera, have some great pictures no-one is ever seeing on your phone from the world around United games or be able to help with cartoons, illustrations and graphic design. The door is open for you and you are very welcome to join us.
What we can offer you is a mass readership and audience for your writing, design, photos or anything else.
Anyway, have a great week, dive into this latest issue and
Keep On, Keepin’ On …