From Twitter feeds, Wikipedia pages, up to the minute news feeds, football blogs, newspapers, to the word of the guy standing on the corner of the street, it seems that is not hard to keep up to date with all things Newcastle United.
As football fans, our appetite for information regarding our team is a craving that is very hard to sate. Like junkies, we all log onto our internet devices and look for the latest news headline or player signing. And while offline as we go about our day to day lives, a small feeling of desperation slowly grows within us as our internet devices sit idly by.
“What if I miss some breaking news?”
This preoccupation we seem to have with information regarding our club is something that has led me to write this article.
After reading a few posts over the past weeks, in which some posters have stated that our current plight is the worst they can long remember, I started thinking that surely that can’t be right? We have had tough times in the past so what has changed over the years to make someone who is a passionate supporter, suddenly lose all faith and wonder why they bother.
This quandary sat with me for a few days (as you know I am a slow thinker) and eventually I believe that I may have an answer to the problem.
It has to be Information Overload!
It seems that we have become so preoccupied with everything that is happening off the park that it has begun to pollute the thing that is most important of all, the game of football. What has happened to the days of simply turning up to a game, watching the lads play and then dissecting the result with your mates over a couple of beers?
Now days, we know players wages, club debt, buy out clauses, player transfers, players girlfriends, who is happy, who isn’t, who is fit, who is injured, players religious beliefs, how much money we will spend on players, how much we won’t spend, what players are worth, who says the right things, who says the wrong things etc. etc. Take Hatem Ben Arfa for example. A few months back it was reported that he was seen in a gym wearing another team’s shirt. Now this certainly caused a stir on the internet and many fans reacted angrily to this news.
This story turned out to be false but it does make you wonder that as fans should we be worrying about this type of thing. Do we need to know this information, in what way does it help us as a supporter. Twenty years ago, I knew nothing of this type of thing and I relied on the games being shown on TV and imported footballing newspapers for information. Was it enough to satisfy my need as a supporter, probably not but I took the games for what they were and simply loved watching them. I had no preconceived ideas about our players and owners motivations, when watching the game; it was eleven vs. eleven and nothing more than that.
Have we all become our own worst enemies with all the information that we consume regarding our team. A certain amount of ignorance would certainly be bliss and lower the frustration levels. I am not for one moment say that there are not valid issues off the park with our owners and the direction of the club. They are important and need to be discussed but I really believe that we would all enjoy our football a little more if we limited the use of internet devices for football matters.
This is easier said than done and I really do count myself as one of the fans that spends too much time on line looking for news updates on our players and club. We know that most of what we read is bullsh*t but we read it anyway, maybe there is no hope for us after all…
This article may seem a little hypocritical as I am writing this for a football blog which exists on the very platform that I have been deriding. What I am talking about is balance, learning to filter the noise and rubbish that we are being served up and not letting the small stuff cloud our love for the game.
I think the following statement should be used as a reminder to us all for when the off field noise exceeds that on the field of play.
“What is a club in any case?
Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it.
It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.
It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.
It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”
-Sir Bobby Robson
What are your thoughts? I am with Sir Bobby on this one and I am going to try and limit the amount of nonsense that is polluting my enjoyment of football and Newcastle United.
Aussie Magpie Fan