Recently a fellow United supporter wrote upon a blog or website “ it’s the hope I can’t stand – and don’t just all of us know exactly what he means. Sadly we have never truly been a well run club – well not since the Edwardian era anyway.

A new season is almost upon us and as I pen this there is little of cheer emanating from St James Park – or is there?

At this point NUFC have not signed anyone other than another unknown French teenager – a future world beater? – Who knows!! What most Mags supporters want to see is a rapid influx of two or three quality new faces but it is unlikely to happen. Why? AP tells us we cannot operate in the market like other Premiership clubs but sadly offers no tangible explanation. I just don’t want to see a frenzied dash days before we kick off with no time for players to settle in. Last January’s buys should prove now to be astute; regrettably for last season they were six months too late. We do however need more defensive cover and striking options as an urgent priority. I strongly suspect that when a new player or two arrives it won’t be who we think but like Cisse, Sissoko etc it will take us by surprise and the fee will never be announced. However, if they are good purchases;, do we really care? Also if we are honest, most of us get swayed to some degree by the negative media hype that follows Newcastle around like a black cloud. Additionally as everyone repeatedly witnesses we regularly shoot ourselves in the foot and never use a BB gun but prefer a Blunderbuss. Add to this scenario the incoming stream of players arriving at the Stadium of Plight and frenzy of sleepless nights engulfs most of us with black & white eyes.

Sometimes though we have to take a step back and evaluate things as they really are and see the positives which are many. We have a super stadium and the best fan base anywhere and perhaps the most knowledgeable (at least it was 2/3 decades ago) these days a degree of unrealism and impatience has crept in. Losing a twelve point lead once didn’t help!!. Incidentally, I include myself in the above statement. The trouble is that our lack of success over many decades coupled with some dreadful managerial decisions and woeful PR has us all anticipating the worst yet again and overreacting to the slightest negative or questionable move made within Gallowgate’s confines.

I think the only way to look at the oncoming season is through positive eyes even if a little rose tinted. Unlike supporters of Watford, St Mirren, Fulham, Bristol City, Wrexham and a hundred or so other clubs within the UK, our fan base is fanatical. I know because I’m part of it, I may have left the NE at 13 years old but at nearly 62 now, our club( and I see it as part of me)is often the last thing on my mind before sleep and occupies many of my first thoughts before my morning coffee. Just like most of my close pals, contemporaries and fellow Mags, I’m a quite rational human being, happily married, and now retired after a successful professional career throughout the UK and overseas and with myriad interests and hobbies. So why does NUFC dominate my life and has nearly always done so, and theirs too. Virtually every day, my pals from Somerset, Mid- Durham, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, London, the Home Counties and Australia are on the blower discussing NUFC –is it just because they grew up in Gosforth, Walker, Jarrow, Corbridge and Whitley Bay like me or is it something deeper. When the final whistle blows at most grounds the crowd heads home for tea and crumpets and by a couple of hours later the game is forgotten. For most NUFC supporters it’s very different isn’t it?

We are the best and most loyal supporters anywhere but have to accept the realism of the moment, our club is financially secure, we have a decent hard working manager who handles himself well; he has a terrific backroom comprised off knowledgeable talented local ex professionals, a very good skilful squad (if a little light), an owner none of us understands but has undoubted strengths and fiscal nous, plus a new Director of Football who despite his early gaffs clearly likes our fans if not all of them like him yet – and he is a known quantity. Also I’ve never seen or heard an ex player or current he has worked with, speak ill of him. Uncle Joe would not have been my choice as D of F but our first wanted selection, Sir Bobby ,is no longer with us so we need to give a fighting chance to what we have got. Additionally it is my firm belief that we would never have been relegated some years ago if he had been at the helm – and no Joe wasn’t my choice of manager either but then neither were Glenn Roeder, Souness, Allardyce, Lee, McGarry or Charlie Mitten!

I truly believe and you may call me deluded that we could have a very good forthcoming season and even an outside chance of lifting a cup, if we do eventually get two or three over the line to supplement what we currently hold, steer clear of major injuries and reinstall the mood of a couple of seasons ago.

We really all must be positive and hope that the club will finally see that bringing its fan base on board and communicating properly with them can only bring better outcomes and success, oh and money too. That should do the trick! I’m an ex National Industry Public Relations Officer and I honestly believe that half the trouble surrounding our club is communication – if we had someone to communicate a little better with us or Mike Ashley gave a 5 min ‘one off’ slot on Sky Sports to explain his thinking we would all sleep a little easier. Our club has almost unlimited potential both on and off the field- we just need the top tier to truly ‘get it’ like the rest of us.

I now reside in Southern Scotland and can’t wait for our first few friendly fixtures up here – I guess I’ll never learn.

Howay the Lads

Neil Johnson MBA – Galloway Magpie Group

‘Old Chapel House’, New Luce, Galloway.

No Responses

  1. Paulogeordio

    Great post, Neil. Although I am only 60, I am beginning to think that something I used to say in my youth, when we were getting knocked out of cups or when I was walking away from Wembley again that " I am going to die before I see Newcastle win anything meaningful" is coming to pass. Despite this I can't wait foe August and the new season.

  2. Phil Anslow

    Well said Neil,I don't know of any Newcastle supporter who doesn't give100% !! even if they can't get to the match they are listening to the radio or sky soccer Saturday ( always assuming you can afford it ) or trolling down to the local and telling the missus of course it's an important game pet!!! I have to get down early to get a descent seat!!!
    Look,we don't expect miracles,honestly we don't!! What we expect is a descent squad,descent tactics and players that will give 100%. Now,is that too much to ask?

  3. shabillatoon

    Hi Neil – I wrote the article you are referring to. To be fair I didnt come up with the title. What I was referring to is the lack of signings and the lack of communication you aluded to from the club. I totally agree about not being able to switch off from football – life would be so much easier! i cant see why everyone else is strengthen and we can even make a decent bid for somone we are very likley to sign for a reasonable amount! I'm 28 and a season ticket holder so maybe i'm a little more impatient thann yourself, but it would be nice to look forward to seeing some new faces at SJP – sooner rather than later!

  4. ruddymarveauxlous

    Neil, while your optimism is to be admired, I sadly think it is misplaced. While we have an owner with no ambition, a director of football as deluded as Kinnear and a manager who is tactically stuck in the dark ages, coupled with the fact that we've signed no one of note, that all points to a very bad season indeed.

    I hope I am wrong though, but I cannot see it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.