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A sad day


bowlingcrofty
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After having a fair few hours to reflect on today, it's confirmed a lot of things for me.

 

Before I go on, this isn't a whinge saying how i've fallen out of love with NUFC. I very much love my club, our club, and I always will. But, to quote Sir Bobby, what is a club in any case? The noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city. I feel a lot of these are on the wane for our once great club. 

 

I've been considering over the past few weeks just what is wrong with football. It's hard to put your finger on it.

 

The best way to start I reckon is to think 'what made me like football in the first place?'. As a youngster who was born into a family where football was much of a non event (my dad had never been to a game and, bizarrly, my mum had only been to one game – an away game at Chelsea in the 70s I believe). I, like many kids in the 90s, got into football on the playground. The 'jumpers for goalposts', using 'numbers' to pick teams over school dinner, hoping for the best player in the school to be on your team type of game. Personally I was always the goalkeeper. I don't know why I chose that position, but over a number of years I actually got decent there. Plus, i'm cack outfield.

 

The game grew on me, as you'd expect, because I enjoyed playing it. That got me into watching it. Unfortunately, just as I was really getting used to playing daily over lunchtime my folks upped sticks, I was taken out of John Vianney school and taken down to Kettering. At this age I wasn't that much into NUFC as it's more about the playground, so being a young Geordie lad down south isn't easy and I suppose it could have gone one of two ways when I moved there. It would either be i'd join the ranks of the local glory hunters, being a Man U, Liverpool or Arsenal fan at the time, or I could be the polar opposite and, despite my young age, stick firmly to my roots. At this age it was firmly in the time where we were in the prime of Rob Lee, Beardsley was in the twilight of his career, Sir Les was snapped up, Ginola and Barton came in. I went to a pre season friendly down there, Rushden and Diamonds vs NUFC, pretty sure we won 3-1 but if someone could confirm that it would be nice......

 

I was hooked. I looked at the Newcastle side and even as a schoolboy I could tell we were 'different' to other clubs. We were special. The type of football we played was like having 11 of the 'best kid in the school' playing for us. So fluid, exciting and entertaining. So Keegan. The noise from 36,610 inside SJP was deafening, even as I listened to the 5-0 on the radio. There was a magic about NUFC and, dare I say it, football in general? Euro 96 had the nation all together as one and, a much as you hated them, you had a lot of respect for the other teams around us. So, all in all, the entertainment and the pride of where I was from, who I was, was what made me love football. All summed up by Bobby's quote. Even though I was an 8 year old kid living 200 miles from NE1, I was part of the club. A club that was built on the beliefs that it's sole purpose was to entertain it's adoring fans.

 

Fast forward 18 years and we're unrecognisable. Often at work people tell me how much of a joke NUFC are and I will defend us to the hilt. “Who else would get 52k with no trophies for 50 years”, “i'll think of you when i'm on my eurpean tour', 'youd dream of having players like ben arfa and Cabaye'. It's an assumed duty to be defensive about your club. It's the classic thing of we can slag them off, but if someone else does then we'll defend them. The sad facts are that, save for a couple of magical years under Bobby and riding a crest of a wave under Pardew last year, we've been on the decline since 1996. We've 'expanded' as a club, got a bigger stadium, more globally recognised. But IMO we're 1/10th of the club we were back then. The whole ethos of the club has changed. I genuinely believe when we had Shepherd he wanted the team to do well. Yes, he was a fucking idiot with his comments, decision making and crazy signings, but I think he wanted us to do well. He was just a buffoon who was steadily taking us down.

 

Ashley came in as the big geezer, splashing the cash on a load of big signings, and trying to be the hero by bringing in Keegan. I actually think that could have been a masterstroke. When Keegan came back he brought a buzz that hadn't been here for years, and I think he could have taken us back to being a regular top 6 side, even without the money to spend. Keegan was special, and  honesty feel guilty when some of our younger fans slate him. They don't appreciate what he did for us in the 90s. It's not their fault they don't understand, but sometimes I find myself resenting them. How dare they slate him? The very man who gave us the opportunity to become something special.

 

It was a sad day when he left under such a cloud. My club and my hero at legal loggerheads was hard to take and that took a lot out of me that season, so half an eye was taken off relegation. It almost paled into insignificance for me. Football, for me, is about heroes. It's about your Gazzas, Shearers, Bobby Lee's, Bobby Robsons, and Keegans. Hell, even your Laurent Roberts, Ben Arfas and Nobby Solanos. It's about grafting your arse off all week so that you have the cash to spend on going to be entertained. It's not about winning, if anyone supports NUFC because they want us to win trophies, then you're supporting the wrong team. Winning games is great. Dont be fooled by the media bollocks of “we'd rather lose 4-3 than win 1-0' because we wouldn't. It's bollocks.

 

I suppose that's where I get round to today. If we were given that choice of the 1-0 win i'd be delighted, but I want us to do it in the right way. I don't want to be one nil up against fucking Reading and sub off our only two attacking midfielders and end up with FOUR defensive midfielders on the pitch to 'see it out' (granted we now know Cabaye was injures and we couldnt see it out). Jonas, Bigi, Perch and Anita all on at the same time against one of the worst teams in the past 5 years of the PL. Bobby would shudder. Keegan probably is.

 

I don't want this to turn into a Pardew bashing because his failings are obvious, so don't need to be repeated. Similarly, Ashley's are too. The saddest thing of all for me is the fact that money dominates all in football. It's all about seeing games out now. 2-0 up and clubs shut up shop. If my club ever got to the lofty position of being 2-0 up i'd want us to stick 4, 5, 6 past them. The thought of doing that is simply gone in modern football. Clubs see cups as not worth going for as they're not financially viable. Personally I couldn't give two hoots if the Europa League isn't fiinancially viable. If it takes 16 games against Scandanavian farmers in front of sub 20k crowds in the snow, then so be it.

 

A lot of people say football sold it's soul when Abroamovich came to Chelsea but I don't buy that completely. For decades it's largely been a case of he who has money does well. It's just largely more highlighted now because of the Sky era. The sad thing I think is that because of the complete vastness of his and the Man City  wealth, it means we start a season knowing that the best that 17 out of the 30 clubs can hope for is 4th place. A depressing situation. It eliminates the skill of coaches and management, almost making it worthless. If Allardyce got his dream role at someone like man u, they'd still more than likely end up in the top two. It's sickening seeing people get paid millions to be very average and have very little input into work, when 10k people are being made redundant from blockbuster, comet, hmv, jessops etc.

 

I'm waffing now so getting away from my original point, what is wrong with football? The answer would probably be 'nothing' if Abramovich had bought us, or even if we'd seen out a win against Reading today. But he didn't and we didn't. There are significant issues at our football club both from boardroom level to pitch level, but it' nothing new. What is new to us is we now have a club that's sole purpose isn't to entertain us, it's to be profitable. We may benefit in this window with a couple of panic buys so we don't miss out on the new TV deal, but ultimately it's going to leave us with a constant feeling of a half full club.

 

Keep the faith.

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Brilliant read.

 

Only thing I might disagree with is the Shepherd thing. I don't think he'd last 5 minutes as a Premier League chairman these days. Along with people like Bates, Ridsdale, Ellis & Murray who had relative success with their clubs in the 90s/early 00s, I don't think he'd have a clue now.

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Not sure what your main point is, but it's obviously a heartfelt post.

 

It is sad that the sporting competition of English football is basically obsolete, because so much depends on who spends most. That's modern sport I suppose. Right now every week delivers enough interest to keep me going. Not sure how long it will.

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Guest benge23

You should be happy you ever got to experience the 'glory days', try being raised up supporting the club under this clown!  :whatdidido:

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Great post Crofty, I was at that game at Rushden too, and even though it was a pre season friendly, which I believe we won 4-1 but could be wrong, the positivity amongst us Toon fans was overwhelming. It was the first time that we saw Ginola in a Toon shirt. Hall backed Keegan and Keegan always produced. His sides always brought smiles and gasps of amazement with the sheer brilliance . He would never send out his side to sit on a lead , he would send them out to increase it and more often than not we would.

As I've alluded to in another thread, I've been falling out of love with the game for years now,mainly for the reasons you talk about. The league is to all intents and purpose a 3 horse race at the start of each season, but its been like that for years. Sky and money is mainly to blame, it isn't the game I grew up with in the 70s and 80s , or the game that Keegan enhanced in the 90s.

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I think we've sold the soul of football.  Clubs which by their very inception were local clubs are losing what remnants they had of their local identity.

 

We've got players playing for the club who largely don't give two hoots about whether the club they play for is Newcastle, QPR or Anzhi, as long as the money comes in.

 

We've got clubs being franchised and moved 100 miles up the road to another town.

 

We've got clubs owned and totally controlled by rich chaps from countries half a world away who cannot possibly have any association with the area, the club or the fans.

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I actually enjoyed the year in the Championship.  Real football....real clubs...real grounds.

 

Helped that we won every week and some aspects of it like the officiating were absymal, but I do know what you mean.

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I actually enjoyed the year in the Championship.  Real football....real clubs...real grounds.

 

It was a good year but that was mostly because we did so well. Doubt boro supporters have the same opinion of their continued time in the championship.

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A very good post, makes me a little bit sad to think that things will probably never be as good as they were.

 

Today was a bad day for many reasons but it's also one of the few days I've been ashamed of our fans. Obviously, as a paying customer they have the right to do what they want but right from the word go today it's as though people wanted something to complain about. Jonas was atrocious, yes, but the fucker was being lambasted from the first minute. I was in level 4 of the Leazes today and it was as miserable as it gets, which got a lot worse as the afternoon went on. As a side note, I'm not sure where everyone went on 25 minutes but the ball wasn't even dead and a good few hundred people headed for the concourses. Anyway, there was a father and son combo in front of me, the son was about 8 and trying to watch the match whilst his dad swore like a trooper and had about 16 pisses, once we went 2-1 down the Dad decides to go home, the son put up some resistance but it was no good, his match day was over. Sadly, many other people walked out at this point too - so this is what it has come to, the team goes behind and some of the fans fuck off. If people want to vote with their feet then so be it but surely they must realise how detrimental this can be. The booing of the subs, whilst understandable, probably didn't help either, but surely most people saw Cabaye signal five minutes to Pardew when Jonas was getting treatment?

 

The philosophy of the modern day football fan is so far away from reality it's a real struggle. It's all chat about systems; one in the hole, false 9, holding midfielders, hanging on to one goal leads; it all makes me sick, everybody thinks they're wiser than everyone else but in reality nobody has a fucking clue, because the only thing that matters is scoring more than the opposition, something we seem to have lost sight of.

 

When you were a kid or a student it was easy enough to be apathetic about the team if things weren't going well, there were few troubles between 1 game and the next. But now, as the opening poster alludes to, you spend a week grafting for the privelege of supporting these fuckers and you get half arsed performances, fucking terrible punditry on any televised games and you spend a week talking about systems and diving. Bring back the 90s.

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There are significant issues at our football club both from boardroom level to pitch level, but it' nothing new. What is new to us is we now have a club that's sole purpose isn't to entertain us, it's to be profitable. We may benefit in this window with a couple of panic buys so we don't miss out on the new TV deal, but ultimately it's going to leave us with a constant feeling of a half full club.

 

Rest is a bit melodramatic to me but this rings true with me a lot. To me we're moving very slowly to being a totally soulless club (fans aside), we're not the only one either.

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Not sure if it's just getting older/changing priorities but i definitely give less of a shit these days - a performance and result like today used to ruin my whole weekend but now I manage to shrug it off pretty quickly and just think about other stuff.

 

Think the Keegan days were probably a once in a lifetime kind of thing, so very glad I got to enjoy it when I was young and in my match-going prime!

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Not sure if it's just getting older/changing priorities but i definitely give less of a shit these days - a performance and result like today used to ruin my whole weekend but now I manage to shrug it off pretty quickly and just think about other stuff.

 

Think the Keegan days were probably a once in a lifetime kind of thing, so very glad I got to enjoy it when I was young and in my match-going prime!

 

Very Much this- if I wasnt for this place and the streams- I would have given it up by now.

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To be honest I feel we regained a lot of lost faith, certainly with me under Hughton.. we built a young-ish and hungry squad of player who were certainly not top drawer but played their hearts our and gave their all for this club.

 

I think we have lost that drive and passion from the players for the club. I don't particularly blame the players completely for that. Many new players just don't understand what it is to play for this club and certainly not what it was.

 

Money is what is wrong with football and is the case in every walk of life. Throw money at any situation and people will fight to get it.

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Fantastic post.

 

I feel the emergence of the "big four",killed it off for clubs like ours.

 

The revenue from Champions League was just too big,and those big four rapidily took off in terms of finance that they could spend on players,and the kind of players they could attract.

 

 

 

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Fantastic post.

 

I feel the emergence of the "big four",killed it off for clubs like ours.

 

The revenue from Champions League was just too big,and those big four rapidily took off in terms of finance that they could spend on players,and the kind of players they could attract.

 

Fact is, had Keegan not resigned, we would almost certainly been one of the big 4.

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Fantastic post.

 

I feel the emergence of the "big four",killed it off for clubs like ours.

 

The revenue from Champions League was just too big,and those big four rapidily took off in terms of finance that they could spend on players,and the kind of players they could attract.

 

Fact is, had Keegan not resigned, we would almost certainly been one of the big 4.

he resigned because we didn't have the money for him to carry on the way he wanted.
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Fantastic post.

 

I feel the emergence of the "big four",killed it off for clubs like ours.

 

The revenue from Champions League was just too big,and those big four rapidily took off in terms of finance that they could spend on players,and the kind of players they could attract.

 

Fact is, had Keegan not resigned, we would almost certainly been one of the big 4.

 

Wow. Depression from one just one line. Thanks for that :(

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