No More Heroes?
I feel sorry for the younger Newcastle United fans, no really I do. When I was boy, we still weren’t winning the league, but, like most teams back in the day, we had players, who could be our heroes, who excited us when we went to watch them (well, sometimes anyway) and who, crucially, hung about for a few seasons, so that you could grow up with them. Like many of my age group, my great boyhood hero was Malcom MacDonald, who was at Newcastle United as I grew from a nine year-old with an interest in the club into a regular attender of home games, champing at the bit, waiting for an opportunity go to my first away game.
But now, who is there for younger fans to look up. to idolise? No sooner does a new signing look as though he might be half decent, then he is sold at a profit. Young fans, those who can actually afford to get in, are being denied exactly what I had with Supermac, Jinky Jim Smith and all; that hero I could identify with. It’s a major part of the football experience when you are young and we seem to have a situation now, where a whole generation are being denied it. The nearest to heroes I have seen this season in Northeast football have been the players of Blyth Spartans. Just what effect that will have on their long term support for the club remains to be seen….
What is happening in football has also been happening in politics for a long time now. I first got interested in politics, because there were men and women who made it interesting, who had principles and, on the whole, stuck to them. But in the main parties, where are they now? Most especially, where are the inspirational figures in the Labour Party? Where are the successors to Aneurin Bevan or Tony Benn? Where are the figures who you would gladly turn out on a cold wet night to hear speak in your local town hall? Now, I realise that the whole idea of turning out to hear a political speaker might seem an old-fashioned idea in this day and age, but I hope you know what I mean….
Fortunately there are some people with interesting ideas and who can inspire us, instead of just coming up with the usual tired and worn out clichés about the need for austerity – for us of course NOT them – and if that fails, blaming everything on immigrants. There are people who will stand up and say NO to austerity
Some of these are to speak, quite possibly on one of those cold, wet nights, in Newcastle very soon. They include North East Green Party regional organiser Shirley Ford. New Economics Foundation senior economist James Meadway and NUT General Secretary Christine Blower. I know Shirley well and am sure she will have a lot of interesting things to say, whilst I was very impressed with Christine Blower when she spoke at the Durham Miners Gala on 12th July last year. All three are among the panel for The People’s Question Time Newcastle
From The people’s Assembly: “People’s Question Time comes to the North East
5 February – 7pm – Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle – Tickets £4 / £3 concessions
The People’s Assembly are putting on a nationwide series of ‘People’s Question’ Times – an anti-austerity alternative to the BBC’s Question Time. They are each a chance to hear and question a range of prominent perspectives on the big political topics of the day.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower, Senior Economist James Meadway and North East Green Party regional organiser Shirley Ford will be on panel at the Newcastle stop of the People’s Question Time tour, with other panellists to be announced soon – please visit Eventbrite.com page to book your seats (£4 / £3 unwaged).”
Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places for heroes, looking at the high turnover of players at St James’ Park and the usual suspects amongst the major political parties. Perhaps there are still heroes around, but now can be found at Croft Park or amongst the growing number of campaigners, who refuse to accept the inevitability of austerity policies, which hit the poorest the hardest.
© Peter Sagar January 2015
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