Why it feels worse than ever to support Newcastle United

They say it’s the hope that kills you. In which case, we should all throw our hands up and rejoice at this current version of Newcastle United. Hope has long since packed its bags and disappeared over the Tyne Bridge, into the sunset. So may we all live forever, presumably.

For me, this is the worst it’s been to support Newcastle United. There will be those who instantly read this and say “It was worse in the 70s and 80s; what about McKeag…etc etc.” Well, I wasn’t alive then so largely I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m sure they’re right. But I can only comment on my own experience.

I don’t even really stake any claim to The Entertainers era, as despite being old enough to pay attention at that point, I come from a family in the South East of England, in which no one else gave a toss about football.

The decision for me to support Newcastle United was mine and mine alone. In the absence of Sky TV (in our house) and a fairly obvious inability to attend matches, it wasn’t until the late 90s, early 2000s that I could invest my time and interest in the club properly. So my lived experience as a dedicated supporter covers approximately the last 23 years and I feel worse now about the club than I ever have done.

Contrary to received wisdom, it’s the absence of hope that is killing me. What is there to look forward to? We’ve got a manager whom no other Premier League club would touch with an excrement-smothered stick. The owner doesn’t invest in anything, from the stadium, to the training ground, to the playing squad. We’re spending nothing in the transfer window, at a time when Brentford, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are all managing to spend significant sums on quality improvements to their squads. Our first team squad is weaker than it was last season – a season in which we could have finished as low as 17th on the final day. And the situation persists interminably, as our supposedly “willing seller” of an owner continues his futile pursuit of a sale to a consortium that will quite simply never be allowed to own the club, whilst demanding a price that deters any other would-be purchasers.

Having said all that, hope could be rekindled SO easily. Bring in a manager with some pedigree, give him some money to spend and freedom to use it how he wishes. It would be so simple. But when we had the perfect manager in place, he was shafted. Now we have a useless patsy in the dugout, but one who won’t be replaced so long as the club can scrape to 17th place each season, and perhaps even if it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, the club rewards its fans with a £65 replica kit, which is nothing more than a poorly-designed reworking of the atrocious 19/20 Puma strip, and the cheapest option for a ticket to the West Ham home match priced at £36. It’s two fingers up to the supporters at every available opportunity from this club. No signings. No investment. No communication. No ambition. No effort. No consideration. No care. No improvement. No hope.

The only semblance of a future lies in a takeover. But that can continues to be kicked down the road, and no other offers will be entertained until it’s resolved. If the arbitration does happen in “early 2022”, which I have my doubts about, it will be TWO YEARS since Amanda Staveley and her consortium signed a deal to buy the club.

If, after all this waiting and legal wrangling, the deal finally falls through, we’re back to square one: a greedy owner seeking a buyer for a hollow shell of a football club, at an immensely inflated valuation. It took a decade or so of the club being “on the market” to find a group with more money than sense who were more than empty talk and actually signed on the dotted line – how long before another one comes along?

All I see is another decade or more of Mike Ashley, and where we had hope before – either through a top-quality manager in Rafa Benitez, or a clever recruitment policy that saw us sign players like Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Sissoko and Ba for bargain prices – none exists now. We’ve got a pub team coach and a scouting network that recommends players like Krafth, Hendrick and Joelinton. The hierarchy at the club cares less than ever. NUFC is in its death throes and no one with the power to revive it can be bothered to fetch the defibrillator.

It may have been worse in the past, but this time it feels terminal. It’s not the hope that kills you; it’s the hope that keeps you going. After 14 years of Mike Ashley, Newcastle United has successfully laid hope to rest.

5 thoughts on “Why it feels worse than ever to support Newcastle United

  1. 10 out of 10 for negativity broadcasting about NUFC.

    Along with transfers we have supposedly missed out on(never bid from the outset), takeover in the know exclusives along with why Lee Charnleys wage matters we have enough Journalists negativity aimed at the club. This just sums up what we don’t need to hear or see.

    We beat Norwichs first team comfortably and they could only raise 6 subs. Our squad is alot bigger than there’s and that is excluding the u18 or u23 players. I’m sure there’s a positive for the fans ???

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  2. Sam – I am old enough to remember life before Sir John Hall & the brilliance of Kevin Keegan & honestly mate, our current plight doesn’t come close!!.

    My first ever game I went to was 86/87 season and we got beat 3-0 by Coventry – Killer Kilcline scored who went on to be Keegans first signing for us when he became manager.
    You could pay on the day back then & my uncle took me and my cousin.
    We were awful, but the atmosphere & the fans were unreal.

    My first ever game was Sunderland at Roker Park coz my dad is a Mackem – but I felt absolutely nothing. Then went to SJP and had to be part of that fanbase!!.

    Anyway, enough of that. I can agree with you that this is the worst spell during the timeframe you reference.

    But I can’t standby your love in for Rafa and insults of Bruce.

    Firstly on Rafa – and I’ll keep it brief. His buying and selling of players was simply awful. I keep hearing how World Class he is – could he not have coached Mbabu to be a better player than Gamez, Mbemba to be better than Hanley, Mitrovic, Toney or Armstrong to be better than Joselu. I think people forget just how many bad players he bought – please look back over it & calculate how much he actually spent in total.

    The football was dull & not fun to watch. Ok there may have been more organisation than under Bruce – but it was some of the most boring football I’ve seen in my time supporting the team (I will get to Bruce, I promise).

    Rafa could not lace KK or Sir Bobby’s boots mate. As arrogant and un likeable as Pardew was – the football was better under him too.

    On to Bruce. He certainly wouldn’t be my first choice – let me make that clear from the start. I wasn’t disappointed to see Rafa leave – but wanted better than Bruce in.
    He had little support from the fans & faced a might challenge replacing Rondon & Perez – the goals in our team. Don’t be fooled that he had anything to do with Rondon – he was being spoken about when Rafa was still there. That was a major mistake by someone at the club – but can’t be put on Bruce.
    Overall I would say recruitment under Bruce has been better than under Rafa – but the football certainly hasn’t. That was an awful watch for the vast majority of last season – until Jones came in.
    Now we look like we have a plan, and a way of playing – and can execute it pretty affectively.

    It’s not brilliant, but it’s where we are. It’s not the clubs ambition – but it’s what we have to achieve until we can move on from Ashley.

    Bruce isn’t great & will likely be one of the first changes of any new owner – he knows that, and he knows he’s getting no kitty. He also knows the fans expect better despite such limitations – he has the most thankless of tasks.

    Let’s be real here – you talk about getting a better manager in – which better manager would want to work through this?. The reality is we’d end up with a Hughes or Pullis.

    I’m not saying we are indebted to Bruce – far from it. But we should expect better whilst appreciating the position he’s in.

    Ultimately mate, we are still a PL club, and as I said earlier, my dad is a Mackem. He has seen his club be ran a lot worse – wasting millions on managers like Di Canio and Poyet they thought would change their fate, whilst actively looking to selling the club – and that didn’t go great either.

    In short mate, it’s the worst spell of your time supporting the club – but it could be so much worse.

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  3. Sharpy17,
    A nice leveller there and stops us from losing all perspective down in the doldrums!

    I have been actively supporting the toon since 2003/4ish…so about 27 or so years.

    I managed to enjoy a bit of the backend of Sir Bobby’s era which is a bonus…saw us against Sporting Lisbon in that quarter final if I remember rightly.

    At that time, I was a Yorkshire lad living in London who supported Newcastle (similar to OP), so it wasn’t easy! All my friends supported the top 4 teams but at least us being relegated was no more than baseless banter from my friends!

    I remember signing Owen. That was fantastic under Shepherd!

    I remember Shearer before he retired…our living legend! Cried watching his testimonial.

    Then when Ashley took over there was some optimism about where we could go. Obviously now we know how that turned out! I remember in those days we were around and abouts the same league position as Spurs…and while they have risen, we have surely fallen.

    Let’s not forget the state of the clubs debts when Shepherd and Co sold us though. Ashley cleared that up.

    The return of Keegan was amazing! Of course, that didn’t last long though.

    The Pardew era wasn’t bad though! 5th place finish with players like Cisse, Ba, Cabaye, Sissoko!

    And then the relegations and complete loss of emphusiasm from Ashley.

    We are where we are now. A sleeping giant who won’t likely get any worse, but won’t get any better either the way things are with the owner.

    He has no passion for Newcastle and no ambition. He is a business man. A ruthless one at that, and will skim the cream from the top but won’t let us crumble either.

    It could be so much better, and so much worse.

    It is depressing, but I try and make the most of it. We are where we are and there is no need to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

    I think its just a waiting game for better times to come. Whilst we are waiting, we just have to make the most of any good results, signings, successes that come our way.

    Howay the toon!

    I am just hoping our loyalty through these rough times will be repaid in future success…imagine how sweet that will be?!

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