Supporting Newcastle has never been easy emotionally, and I’m pretty sure that is a well known fact.
Soaring high on a win and then facing a fiasco in the next match – it’s not something uncommon we face as supporters. But think you have it hard? Wait till you try supporting Newcastle in the Far East, where Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal fans dominate the scene.
I remember the year of our relegation, that painful and dismal result against Aston Villa which condemned us as Championship fodder. There was an air of resignation around the place about our relegation, even if the certainty was far from confirmed. The players we had were overpaid and not pulling in the same direction as the club – and boy did we pay the price.
It was almost embarrassing to step into a pub here with your Black and White jersey on. You’d get whistles and cheers of derision as the ‘Reds’ (Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal) would drown you out. Even more so if our Magpies were away from home against their teams. I won’t deny it, but I was utterly ashamed to pull on the Black and White – and the ironic thing was, so too were some of our players.
Fast forward to 2011/2012, where Newcastle have not exactly been spared the fiascos in the interim. The £35m from Andy Carroll’s sale, Joey Barton’s tweeting fetish, Nolan’s high profile bust up over his contract, Jose Enrique’s insistence not to commit himself – these were all scenarios which threatened to destroy the dressing room.
Kudos to Chris Hughton, he was absolutely fantastic in the Championship and I was sad to see him go. And like a lot of Geordie fans, I was absolutely livid when it was announced that Alan Par-who was going to take over from him. But I’ve always given credit where credit is due and I must say that Alan Pardew has done pretty well with the amount of resources he has been afforded.
He’s not been afforded the chance to sign a World Class striker? Fine. Stick Leon Best in there and get the best out of what he’s got. He’s not been allowed to keep Barton and Nolan due to their disagreements with the Ashley regime? Fine. Scout out an unknown Frenchman from Lille and stick him in there with Tiote for a great mix of steel and style.
Some of you are going to point to Carroll’s sale as evidence that he’s not really managing the affairs of the players well, but in my honest opinion that decision was made at levels far too high for him to have had a hand in.
And it’s not just Pardew who’s doing well, it’s the players as well. I’m not one to go all ballistic and tell you that we’re gunning for Europe this season because as the season progresses, injuries will show up our squad depth. But the first 7 games of the season have gone well and have pushed us 15 points closer to the 40-point mark, which was always going to be the first priority for this season. Discounting a complete capitulation in the next 10 games, I would go as far as to say that we’re safe from relegation for this season and we should be looking at the places between 7th-10th in the league.
I’m optimistic, but only cautiously so. Given all that has happened to us in the past decade, I think we all have a right to be. But for once, we’re looking at a squad which doesn’t have huge egos (bar Benny) and with less potential to erupt in conflict. For once, we’re looking at a manager who’s actually able to work with what he’s been given. For once, we’re seeing the players on the field give their all and defend with great aplomb.
And for once, I’m not so ashamed to go into a pub here being embarrassed about the Black and White.
I hope it stays this way, because Newcastle has been my life long passion and we do deserve some good times after all the bad ones we’ve had.
Thanks to JoeleyF for sending this in. Do you feel less worried about supporting Newcastle now? Do you like that fact that we are no longer being viewed dimly by other fans? I was never embarrassed about wearing my Toon top, but I was prepared for a ribbing everytime I went to the pub with one on! Not now though.