THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – This Week – 1/Jul/2017

by • July 1, 2017 • TBAWEComments (14)1349

There’s no question, the rumbles are getting louder and the concern amongst supporters is increasing. Is Ashley about to shaft Rafa Benitez and us in the worst possible move of the largely tortured ten years of his unwanted ownership of our football club? If so, and he were to push Rafa out of the club,it would be, by some distance the most spectacular betrayal in the history of Newcastle United. It would represent a real nadir at St James’ Park.

I realise there are some reading this who don’t believe a word in the media … that’s not without reason … there are also some who believe early July is far too early to start panicking about how the re-building of our squad for a testing season in the Premier League is or isn’t progressing but they are wrong. It is time to become quietly concerned.

Rafa Benitez has abandoned a family holiday to work on transfer business. Even with modern methods of communication, Rafa has decided he needs to be on the ground, working hard to bring the players in we’ll need if we aren’t going to be crucified this coming season. So far, only the modest deal of Christian Atsu has been completed following his loan from Chelsea. Others have left the club. Numbers are down. Other Premier League clubs already in a much stronger position than us are signing players.

Rafa has let it be known he wanted business done before players returned for pre-season training. That return is now imminent and only Atsu has been incoming. Benitez is a professional. We know he will want to be drilling the majority of his squad including new players.

This fanzine has had it on very good authority all is not well. I’m not making that up. I’m not searching for clicks for this fanzine to drive advertising etc. We don’t need to and nor do we have any of that type. We’ve no interest in being sensationalist or of misleading anyone. We are supporters like you and we want to go into this new season in a positive frame of mind. We want to maintain the momentum of last season and the good vibe Rafa has generated at United. But that is draining away by the day.

Charnley isn’t completing the deals he shoulld but he is merely an instrument of Mike Ashley. As ever, all of this goes back to the man who has been found to be a proven liar.

In my opinion, this coming week is massive for the club. Transfers have to be completed. The squad needs to be substantially strengthened and we don’t need to be distracted by wholly speculative stories about additional investment in the club. We need to see the start of real recruitment this week.

Promises have been made to the manager and consequently to the supporters. Should they be broken, I’d expect there to be unrest like never before. If there isn’t, frankly, there’s something wrong with us and we deserve no better than to suck up the shit put in front of us.

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People don’t like the mix of politics and sport. Some people believe sport is a pure pursuit of athleticism, entertainment and a distraction from the trials of real life. I wish that were the case but it isn’t. I’ve seen a supporter this last week be really successful in raising funds to purchase a rainbow flag with the club crest featured within it, that is most commonly associated with Gay Pride and other campaigns for the rights of the LGBT community. Some supporters have responded by funding the flag and it has gone way beyond its target. Happily, it has correctly sought and been given the support of Gallowgate Flags but it does not have the support of every-one!

Some of the comments I’ve read via social media defy belief and are the worst examples of ignorance and bigotry. Its shameful. I wasn’t expecting it to be that bad if I’m honest. They are made by people who have a very fragile sense of their own identity. I’m guessing they are so hostile to this flag because they fear “the bantz”, the piss-taking of other ignoramuses and the mortal terror of some beered up divs in the away end calling them a “puff”. It’s almost like they are still troubled by their journey through puberty into adulthood. As if being called a “fairy” by some West Ham geezer or some such will have them with their heads in their hands, their much prized Geordie machismo in pieces as everyone moves on and leaves them trapped in their own troubled, uncertain, emasculated world.

Do they care that much? Really?

There are others who in more civil ways question why the flag should be in SJP on match-day. What has it got to do with football is the common refrain?

Well, it’s quite simple really. In every walk of life, being gay is becoming less of a big deal than it ever has been at any point in history. It’s not so unusual to have colleagues in our work-places who are out as gay. We have family members who are gay and they occupy all of the professions and services we need to get by in daily life. We have never been as enlightened as we are now, though I do not underestimate the challenges of being LGBT for one moment.

It is also becoming slowly but steadily true of sport but in football it is simply not the case. Football, the biggest and most popular game in the world remains a hostile environment for gay men and women. I’d suggest the response via social media to this flag shows it is as potentially hostile for supporters as it is for players, coaches and managers.

If this flag expresses any kind of positivity to the LGBT community, demonstrates solidarity and welcome, then it is worthwhile in my humble opinion. I have some news for the knuckle-dragging fraternity of social media – there are people in the stands who are gay and lesbian. They have always been there. They are Mags just like you and I. Their love for Newcastle United and the game of football the same as yours and mine.  They are likely staying under the radar, potentially afraid of being abused, insulted and worse.

It was gratifying to see Newcastle United FC respond so positively to the rainbow flag. There is a huge benefit to United in being in a leading position, through its supporters, with something so symbolically progressive as this – just as it is with its anti-racism work. This flag and the supporter’s identification with it, will raise the club’s profile for all of the right reasons. Hell, it may even make great business sense in an age when corporate brands are so careful to align themselves to the right partners (not that is the primary motivation) … there really is no future in bigotry.

I could go on about how intrinsic politics is to football, how people like Mike Ashley being able to run Newcastle United to his whim is painfully political and how it doesn’t have to be that way as the German Bundesliga model demonstrates so amply, how Hillsborough was and is political, how advances in the lot of football supporters (safe-standing and ticket prices etc) can only be achieved by politics.

But those of you who get it, get it and those that don’t, well … I guess, we’ll just have to keep trying with them.

If you like, you can donate to the Rainbow Flag here

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Great to see Gallowgate Flags offering advice to anyone who wants to purchase their own flag. If you’ve missed that, just click here

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So then, this coming week should see some business get started in the transfer market. AFC Bournemouth now have a record buy greater than Newcastle United FC (regardless of what anyone thinks about value for money etc.), we’ve missed out on targets … that has to stop. Business has to be completed. Promises have to be kept because the alternative is too grim to contemplate. The clock is ticking.

Keep On, Keepin’ On …

 

MICHAEL MARTIN – Follow Michael on@tfMichael1892

 

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14 Responses to THRU BLACK & WHITE EYES – This Week – 1/Jul/2017

  1. mikey says:

    Well said Michael

  2. Ivan Malley says:

    You could also argue that the club has potentially mis-sold season tickets on the premise that Rafa was staying and would have the full backing, including transfers, of the club.

    I know I only renewed mine on the basis Rafa would be in charge.

  3. Dave says:

    Ashley surely can’t be that cold, calculated, cynical & utterly fucking stupid to screw this one up, can he?

    If he does my guess is we’ll dramatically implode and I’m done.

  4. Chris Nappin says:

    Look back at the volume of transfers last summer, it was incredible. Think how much the squad needed reshaping – it happened and it was a success. Obviously something is stopping him from doing that now, despite the need for him to do so being of similar magnitude. It’ll be a complete joke if we waste the first 3 games by not signing anyone until 31st August, including a 6-pointer against Huddersfield.

    Carr leaving points to unrest, he wouldn’t have left if there wasn’t a problem. Imagine how frustrating it must be to have to voice everything through Charnley, wait for him to speak to Ashley and then hear back through Charnley. Would you trust Charnley to convey the same urgency or irritation that you felt yourself? Particularly when he’s been eating Ashley’s arse like it’s a free sample at Costco. It could all be so easily avoided, that’s what’s so fucking annoying.

    In terms of the LGBT flag, there clearly is an undertone of discomfort with the issue in football in general, and it’s probably the last major social arena where there is still a significant problem. For that reason I think it’s a good thing, and will gain us a lot more in credit than it will cost us from the retardedness of the nacker elements of away fans. Just think, the ones that do try and rip on us will look like complete bell-ends. I do think the most salient point against it though is the limited success it will likely achieve, and why stop with just this issue and not, say, the environment or whatever. Although it may achieve something, it could become a bit like changing your profile picture on Facebook to a lion to show how committed you are in the fight against animal cruelty. Something does need to happen with the culture in football though so why not start here and have us lead the way. If it embarrasses some of our own nacker faction then that’s a good thing as well in terms of our own amusement.

  5. David Hanlon says:

    Well said on all counts. I think the Rainbow flag is wonderful and is indicative of progressive viewpoints being to the fore. Long may this continue. As for Mr Ashley, well time will tell, but we all know what he is really like. And that is deeply worrying.

  6. oliver simpson says:

    Nothing is free of politics, especially sports that often has and does influence how many view life and customs of society or how they treat other people etc. The FA has long proven how unwilling they are to move with the times and reform attitudes and structures in football. Moves like this are needed because for so long this is a topic that many sweep under the rug and ignore how many LGBT players, coaches, staff etc. are discriminated against, force to supress, hide or deal with teasing or stereotypes from players in the locker room, by fans who use slurs against them etc.

    Many young people look up to sports people for inspiration and often guidance on how to live their lives and what they witness, hear and see can impact how they approach topics like this when they are adults. So it’s vital that they understand the importance of treating not just LGBT issues with grace and nuance understanding. But also other issues that have and are still affecting football like racial representation, diversity and the importance of responsible living, use of material goods and being part of your community and setting a good example for the generation that follows them.

  7. If the Ashley plan is to annoy Rafa to the point of him quitting, and the press reports are true that Rafa would have to pay 5 million pounds to walk away (!) then I would be amazed that Rafa had fallen in to such a trap. Whatever happens in the next few weeks, I agree that if Rafa has been stitched up and there are still 50,000 people willing to continue supporting Ashley, then many of us can finally accept that we really do deserve all that happens to us. The only thing we can all be sure of is that Ashley is not being motivated by what is best for Newcastle United.

  8. Andy bee says:

    Ok Michael so you say fall out is happening ‘from good source’ but you share nowt. Probably for legal reason? Ok so that gives us fuck all but worry.
    Peter – I hate Ashley as much as you but for christs sake get a grip and perspective, Rafa may still have this all sorted.
    Perpetual shit slinging and worrying won’t help let’s give the gaffer a chance and hope Ashley backs him. If it all comes apart then is the time to rebel!

    • Rich S says:

      Andy – I think the article provides the right level of undertones of concern. We aren’t at ‘shit and fan’ stage yet but we are clearly getting close to it. There’s been plenty of talk around why transfer activity has been slow, namely the window not officially being open till July 1st and how the books will look based on expenditure in a new tax year. If these are indeed true then you would have to expect business to be done this week. Pre season starts and Rafa is certainly not the kind of manager who is happy to be mucking on with the biggest chunk of transfer business halfway into pre season. From the outside looking in, it appears to be a club completely resolute in not wanting to spend the prices required in a hugely over inflated market and to do things on the cheap. This unfortunately runs true on the track record of our ownership. As Michael said- I’m very much quietly concerned.

  9. I thought I had suggested waiting to see Andy, but I hope you and others will indeed rebel if time proves Ashley to be what many of us have always claimed him to be. In my experience people worry about things that they care about. The reports were from the Daily Mirror -not me! Myself, I think I have both a grip and perspective.

  10. Andy bee says:

    Jesus man you sound like you want the club to fail………
    Again- I don’t trust the fat c8nt but I remain optimistic. I always will , it’s my club that I was brought up to FOLLOW and SUPPORT.

  11. Peter Ward says:

    Within the next four weeks all will become clear – one way or the other. Personally I don’t think Ashley cares much about the club. As far as he’s concerned NUFC is just a distraction and I suspect he regrets buying us, which was on a whim as he’d just moved from obscurity to being a billionaire overnight.4
    Remember nobody knew much about him previously and he’d been pretty secretive. Since then his reputation such as it was has been shredded due to the way Sports Direct treated it’s workers. I don’t recall a worse case and the only reason he is still there is because he owns a majority of the shares. That’s a story in itself. In any other public company of this size he’d have been ousted by now. Would he worry if Benitez departed? You’d have to ask him but I do know the following week he’d have a hundred applications from out of work managers . I honestly think he doesn’t give a toss about the fans or anything else to do with the club. Look at his history in the ten years he’s owned the club which beggars belief.