It never fails to surprise me exactly how much a victory over Sunderland in their own back yard can lift the mood.
Being a Newcastle fan is rarely sweeter than the week following on from a Mackem slaying. In saying that, even with the euphoria of the weekend I have encountered negative comments on my travels through cyberspace.
I would have expected it from the odd gobby Mackem tailoring their interpretation of the facts to suit their argument, but no. Credit to the vast majority they knew better and have all disappeared into a black hole since, only forced to resurface yesterday morning for work with what I would guess are the worst Monday Morning Blues imaginable.
Instead I encountered negative comments from a Toon fan giving it the same old anti-Ashley rhetoric due a simple comment I made on transfer activity. I was asked by another user of the site for an update on the search for a left-back and striker. I told him what I knew and that was that. The user thanked me and went on his merry way.
The next response I got was: “Sounds as if we should be happy to get one player in now, this is just so pathetic.”
I didn’t have a clue how this person had come to that conclusion from what I had said.
Let me clarify for those that don`t know. I edit a Newcastle rumours site. I do not work for the club and my name is not Derek, Lee, Mike, John or Alan.
Anyway, unwilling to let it affect a mood so good it had prompted my missus to say “If only they could play Sunderland every week” I replied basically telling him to cheer up, enjoy the fact we beat the Mackems and see what the next nine days bring as regards transfers.
The next reply, from a different user, brought with it some positivity. We spoke briefly about the game, the new players and the great result and ended with them stating they think Big Mike has the right idea and they hope we can get the players in by the time the window closes and asked what I thought.
My reply was this: “Personally very happy with new signings and think they`ll improve more and more as the games come. Think after Arsenal and today Pardew deserves a bit of credit, backing and patience from fans. Don’t think anyone knocks MA on the business side of things but as far as the transfers go I’m just giving benefit of the doubt to him until the window shuts and do think we will get the signings in by the 31st. A lot would disagree or be more sceptical, understandable I guess but I’m happy enough once we get the right players in come September.”
Now if the next reply was simply a more sceptical fan than myself I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But what came next was the original doom and gloom monger back again with his always well constructed and thought out arguments.
His reply: “You are so far up Mike Ashley’s arse you`re coming out of his nose.”
Again, how you draw that from what I said is beyond me but unlike the first time round this one got to me a bit.
Rather than paraphrase I`ll copy what I replied. “This hate MA plight is getting a bit old mate, cheer up, we beat the Mackems at the weekend. Look I couldn’t care less about the bloke, don`t think even his nan loves him, but if I`m going to jump on the hate Mike Ashley bandwagon I want proper justification for it and I’m willing to wait until the window shuts before I make that call. I would rather do it my way, be proven wrong and have a real reason to hate him rather than just hate him, be in bad form, give out sh*t every day and be made to look a fool if I`m wrong. Its funny how patience with a situation is seen as being an Ashley lover, and before you come back with the usual “but we`ve been patient for long enough” line, what’s another nine days mate.”
This was followed up by numerous comments from fans, both one liners and opinions at length agreeing with what I had said and giving their own take on the situation. Positivity reigned once more and with the level of responses mirroring my own thoughts I had come to the conclusion that this would be the end of it. Silly me. Stubborn hatred knows no bounds.
Along came the cheery old soul himself once again to completely ignore the fact his opinion was clearly one of the minority and spew yet more bitterness at me. This one wound me up no end. His post was as follows.
“But if I’m going to jump on the hate Mike Ashley bandwagon I want proper justification for it. How about the constant lying to fans (which was proved in court) relegation to the Championship, the treatment of Newcastle legends Keegan and Shearer, need I go on?”
Let me state before my reasoning for this article, I am not this blokes psychologist. I don`t earn money from editing the site, I merely do it out of love for and interest in the club and also the banter with most fans that comes with it. To come back with this argument to a current situation with that, and maybe I`m wrong here, is like me saying “yeah but remember when you said you would give me half your ice pop back in 2008 and you didn’t. I hate you.”
That may be disrespectful or condescending, judge for yourself, but to me this is no more than the words of a hateful bitter person through and through that won’t let go of the past. Its not that I completely disagree with his points. Its just that I spent too long concerned with and arguing these issues at the time to carry them with me three years later.
If I lived my life like that honestly I would crack up. Yes there has been mistakes made. Yes nobody was happy about the situation back then. Yes I will buy you an ice pop next time we`re at the shops. Sorry I had to throw it in.
Look as far as I`m concerned since relegation it gave the opportunity and breathing space for the club to clear out, change things and start again as much as you ever can as a club. Hindight is a wonderful luxury of course but I genuinely think that relegation was one of the best things to happen to the club. We are finally looking like doing things the right way. It is becoming ever clearer that we are not the circus show that the media still portrays us to be and although some would disagree I think the team is stronger, and more so we have some squad depth and options beyond the first eleven, which I cannot remember in my lifetime us ever having.
This whole business falls into my last article about Newcastle Fans United and mainly some of the groups attached. As proud as I was of that piece admittedly it was an outsiders perspective and didn’t mention some of the positive intentions of leading members of the organisation itself. But that was the point – Groups and people like the one in question are what drags organisations like Newcastle Fans United, and furthermore clubs and fans like us, down.
Listening to Steve Wraith on Toon Talk the other night, a caller asked about this said one of the most subtle yet clever things I have heard as regards the anti-Ashley demographic. He didn’t agree nor disagree with them and simply said that in order to make progress, fans need to let go of the anger and become more of a critical friend to the board. I thought it was a really great point and summed up my feelings on it to a tee.
Constant unrelenting expression of anger is poisonous for everyone attached to this club. Board, Team, Fans, Newcastle Fans United and anyone else involved or attached to Newcastle. I think these people need to take a hard look at both themselves and their methods. Love for the club is not in question but when blinded by hate objective reasoning goes out the window. A step back is needed and maybe its time to let go of the past and judge the club on the present. I mean if you cant even let it go for 48 hours and enjoy putting the Mackems in there place it has obviously become an unhealthy obsession.
That said, as things stand I think even Buddhist monks in the isolated mountain regions of Japan know we need a left-back and a striker. I think after the Arsenal match, and definitely the weekends result, the club deserves nine days grace to deliver these two players.
If this does not happen then of course current justification is there to kick off. Until then patience and benefit of the doubt is the order of the day in my humble opinion.
What do other fans think? Get behind the club and board if the two players are delivered? If not what is the smartest means of displaying frustration?