Two very different games produced the same result – wins and another six points in the bag and we go into the international break in a good place. Huddersfield are the early season pace-setters with Norwich only currently two points behind them. We are currently on 22 points and 3 points off the top but if anyone wants evidence of how competitive this division is just look over our shoulder and see Brighton, Bristol, Brentford, Reading and Sheff Wed in 9th position all within five points of us. Any team that can put a string of wins together can push into the promotion and play-off spots. If you fancy becoming a little complacent on the back of a couple of wins, arrogant about how brilliant we are after a 6-0 win or a bit sniffy about some of the stature of our rival clubs, I’d advise you to go to the chemists and get a reality check on the NHS.
This is going to be one long, hard slog of a season and if you are of a view you want to be entertained or you don’t think 1-0 away at Rotherham is “good enough” then I seriously worry about how you are going to cope this season. I am speaking very much to a minority here because anyone I speak to who has the remotest idea about football, footballers, this division etc understands completely what a real, hard and unforgiving division we are in and what is required. To coin an expression first turned by Alan Durban, the then-Stoke manager, if you want entertainment, go to the circus.
That’s not to say the 4-3 win over Norwich wasn’t high on entertainment value if that is the right word. We all went through every emotion over the 96 minutes but it is testimony to the spirit and resilience Rafa is building within our team that the players should keep at it right until the death. That is the mark of a team that can achieve things whilst winning 1-0 away at Norwich without truly going through the gears against a side that unquestionably raised their game against us shows more of the solid core and professionalism our celebrated manager is developing at Newcastle United FC.
Moments like the mass celebration between players, fans, manager and staff at the end of the Norwich game forms bonds between us and are important to building a strength between the stands and our representatives on the pitch. Wednesday night’s exertions will hopefully generate belief and confidence that will go way beyond a few days feel-good.
What I do find bewildering however is a minority of supporters who continue to whinge and cry-arse on at the match, not to mention leave before the end in the huff. That is not going to get us anywhere this season and some people need to take a look in the mirror and decide if they are supporters or customers. I must confess to loving the digital age and the possibilities of social media in fan expression but it does have its negatives too. I went back through some twitter feed after the Wednesday epic and frankly it was embarrassing how some so-called fans were turning on players and even the manager when things weren’t going our way. As used to be said in days gone-by – these aren’t the people you’d like in the trenches beside you to be honest but what is even more hysterical are those in this new era of commentariat who haven’t been at the game, even saw it on TV mouthing off about the performances of individual players, the manager and tactics. Is this the football equivalent of post-fact politics where without recourse to any evidence whatsoever people can mouth off without challenge or embarrassment about things they can have absolutely zip knowledge. Maybe this is the reality TV generation we have nowadays, the sense of unqualified entitlement when expressions about wanting it so much seems to mean everything as opposed to having talent, wisdom etc.
That of course is not to say supporters shouldn’t express opinions on players, tactics, line-ups and all the rest of it but I think we have to do it from the most cursory of knowledge-base and that is usually having been at the match. It’s part of the fun of being a football supporter – the debates with friends but I’ve always been of the opinion I’d listen more intently to a Sunderland supporter who goes to games than a Mag who doesn’t.
Anyway, we are probably talking too much about the divs than we should. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s a sign that after so long, Newcastle United is starting to resemble a football club again. That might be folly to believe that as a follower of a football club owned by Mike Ashley but things do feel a lot better now. Winning football matches changes a lot.
Deep in the true faith bunker we are now putting the finishing touches on the next issue of the fanzine. It should be out this week, which will be a handy opportunity as there is no distraction of any Newcastle United this weekend up and coming. The latest issue is of course still online and so are some previous issues but TF126 is the most widely read fanzine we have ever published and by association is Newcastle United’s biggest ever ‘zine. Ironically, despite relegation all of our numbers are on the increase – website traffic, The Special’s subscribers, Podcast listeners and the fanzine’s downloads. We are quite content to leave our good friends at nufc.com to covering the day to day goings on at United in the most minute and accurate of detail and we’ll stick to what we think we do best – evidence-based opinion from people who in the main go to see Newcastle United and others play football matches. If we were ever forced by circumstance to go down a road where we had to adopt the click-bait, cut and paste practices of some media outlets and even some previously respected fanzines, we’d just chuck it in all completely. true faith is not, never has been and never will be a business. Its happy being a fanzine run by people who pay to see Newcastle United play and we aren’t really interested in anything else least of all building a living on the back of it.
Anyway, enough of all that palaver, we’re in a strong position. We know Huddersfield and Norwich will be looking over their shoulders at Newcastle United coming up on the rails. Let’s stick together, let’s get our club to back where it belongs and achieve part one in the Rafalution – promotion.
Have a great week.
Keep On, Keepin’ On …
We are in the last knockings of getting the next issue of true faith all ready for you and we reckon we’ll have it sorted for you this weekend, which is handy as there is an international break and no Newcastle United FC. This issue however is still available for you – its 136 pages of the best fanzine writing you will get your eyes on. No click-bait or ad-generating phoney rubbish, just good, honest to goodness fanzine writing in the traditional sense but presented in a modern, digital format. Just click on the image below and it is all yours. true faith is Newcastle United’s longest-running and most popular fanzine, edited and designed and written by people who go to the match. We commend it to you for your reading pleasure.