Disco Posted January 23, 2009 Share Posted January 23, 2009 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/columnists/article5568992.ece Dear Joe Kinnear, let me put it in black and white . . . Mishandled messiah: Keegan Gabby Logan This is really tough for me. First of all it's not about you, it's me. I've changed. Well, you've changed, too, but I think we've grown in different directions and I'm finding this relationship really hard. I'm sure some of this is practical; we are so far away from each other and since I've had my own family I find it really tough seeing you. When I was young and free I'd jump on a plane or train just to spend a couple of hours with you but I can't do that any more. Back then, as soon as I arrived at the ground I knew the hassle of the journey was worth it, you always looked great and every visiting fan wished their ground was just as magnificent and so brilliantly located. Before a player had even set foot on the pitch I knew I was home. Whichever way I approached the ground it was a spine-tingling moment; St James' Park sitting high and proud, yards away from the shops and pubs, the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life. I remember flying up one Sunday morning. Manchester United were the visiting team later that grey, wet afternoon and we hit their net not once or twice but five times. When I got back to Gatwick and remembered my car was at Heathrow, it didn't matter. I always imagined that when I had children they would wear black and white and they would know all about Keegan, Ginola, Cole, Ketsbaia, Albert, Beardsley, Ferdinand and, of course, Shearer. But how can I do that to them? They live in London, where there are five Premier League clubs to choose from - two within 15 minutes of us - and dozens of other sides to support. Related Links Charmed by Beckham . . . stood up by Ginola I'm a Celebrity Loser...Get Me Out of Here! Dancefloor's Eddie the Eagle is a quitter Just because you're not as attractive as you used to be, I don't want you to think this is about deserting a sinking ship. I'm getting older, too. After all, I first saw you in 1993 and we haven't won anything since then anyway, in spite of two successive FA Cup Finals. In fact, I rather loved that relegation scare in 1998. It was much more exciting than mid-table mediocrity, if not quite as glorious as Champions League football. Those brilliant nights in Europe with Sir Bobby at the helm will stay with me for ever. I was sad at the way you handled that great man. I don't think you've treated your friends very well. You seem to have chewed a few up and spat them out a bit quickly. That's the way the game is, you'll say. But look at the clubs we used to spar with - they're still at the top and they've stuck by their managers. Have we learnt nothing? When you invited the messiah to make a second coming last year (third if you include his playing days), I hoped it was a move of genius, not the madness it turned into. Nobody came out of that well; Keegan is tainted by it and you look foolish. We wouldn't be the first club in the world to make an emotional appointment, but once at the helm that man needed very careful handling and it might just have worked. Instead it was all very clumsy, no class. But we are doing “no class” quite well, aren't we? The latest training-ground spat between Carroll and N'Zogbia was described by a spokesman as a “routine bust-up”. Oh dear. Don't panic, I'm not having an affair. There really isn't anyone else involved, but I have to admit I do look at other clubs a lot and sometimes I go and watch them and then inevitably I end up cheering for them and having small feelings for them. But when I leave after 90 minutes I don't want to see them again, I don't rush out and spend money on them. I love watching Giggs and Rooney and Ronaldo but I'm not a Red. I find Arsenal on form electrifying, but I'm not a Gunner. I admire Martin O'Neill and what he's doing at Aston Villa but I am not a Claret and Blue. I do feel guilty when I see “we”, I don't feel like I am part of the “we” any more. I knew things had changed when I didn't see you at all last season, not live, anyway. I work weekends and I just couldn't get up to see you. I'll watch you on TV, of course, but we don't get on the telly as much these days, do we? The neutrals used to love us; we were full of flair and excitement. They really don't care about us too much now. Occasionally they have pity and sometimes there's malice towards us, like we got what we had coming. I'll defend us until the end when those people come along, although it's hard in weeks such as this when our players are fighting with each other and our manager faces disciplinary charges. But how could those critics ever understand what it's like to belong to you if they haven't lived under your roof, been part of your family? Maybe it's because I was adopted, or fostered. I was never a blood relative. If you cut me open I'm not black and white, I'll admit that. I was a nomad before you: Leeds United, Coventry City, Tottenham Hotspur, Vancouver Whitecaps and Bradford City, I'd been with them all for a season or two, but when I turned 20 it was time to settle down, get my own place, and I came across you by accident. I remember the first night I saw you; it was a balmy August evening, and there aren't too many of those in Newcastle. Beardsley was coming back from injury, Everton were the visiting team, we were just starting to gel as a team under KK. I'd never really had my own club, all those listed above had been forced upon me through family connections. I came back for more a week later and soon I was coming all the time. I was hooked. Then I had a boyfriend who was black and white inside, had been in the Gallowgate End as a boy. He told me tales of being pushed to the front at half-time and finding his shoes peed on as grown men full of pre-match pints did what they had to do when they couldn't be bothered to face the queue for the toilets. He helped me to fill the gaps in knowledge, made me feel I'd been in the Gallowgate End in those days, too. You'll always be in my heart. I'll always look out for you and if I ever moved to within 50 miles I'd buy a season ticket in a heartbeat. But I am finding it very hard to love you in the same way. Maybe it's a midlife crisis. I should buy a Harley-Davidson and race up the A1 to see you. I should, but I can't, so we'll have to go on as we are. Cringeworthy read that. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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