Repeat After Me…

Monday, February 23, 2009 11:21 | Filed in Newcastle United

I do solemly swear that I will not be renewing my season ticket for next season unless Newcastle stay up, prices are cut (or Newcastle go down and prices are cut by 30% plus) and significant investment is made (e.g. £25-30m net spend) in the transfer market.

It’s not about loyalty– I’m not going to suddenly be supporting Manchester United or Arsenal instead, I’ll still support Newcastle — it’s about being taken for a fucking mug, which Newcastle fans have put up with for far too long. I’ll still maybe go and watch them now and again, but I’ll pick and choose the games I want to see, meaning that I won’t be paying for any more games that I could have watched in the pub for free.

Although as there aren’t that many Championship games televised, this may not be much of an issue.

I wouldn’t pay £20 quid to go and see a film if all the other films in that series had been crap — most people would acknowledge that I would be an idiot to do so — so why should I pay more than that to repeatedly watch a poor team play poor football? The quality of football currently served up is as bad as anything served up by Allardyce or Souness, but you’re going to struggle to attract a better manager/coaching staff without serious investment in quality players. And that doesn’t look like happening.

Yesterday’s game against Everton summed up much that is wrong with Newcastle at the moment.

  • We have no real creativity in midfield
  • The club have recently claimed to be pleased about getting certain players to sign new contracts — notably Shola Ameobi and Nicky Butt — who either were never good enough for this level, or are no longer good enough for this level
  • We are toothless up front
  • The club has no ambition, no direction, and no one with any competence running it

Shola is a particular case in point. I can only presume that instead of the club paying him, he ust be paying the club £30,000 a week to keep his place in the team. In the space of one five minute spell he demonstrated he has mastered none of the abilities required to be a striker — or any other sort of footballer.

  1. Shola finds himself with the ball, unmarked, by the corner flag. Does he cross the ball into the box, or tamely roll the ball to the defender six yards away from him? Guess.
  2. A dangerously whipping cross is coming across the Everton box. Does he lunge forward and try to get something on it, or stand still without reacting at all, and instead simply let the ball sail past him? Guess.
  3. Newcastle are on the break, and the ball is played to Shola on the right wing. Does he push the ball forward towards the byline and attempt to get a cross in, or does he spend five minutes controlling the ball, by which time three defenders are on him, the move breaks down and he has to play the ball back to our defence? Guess.
  4. A cross comes in towards Shola standing at the far post (standing, you’ll notice, not jumping). It goes over his head. Does he turn and chase after the ball, attempting to continue the attack, or simply stand there like an idiot and expect the ball to magically change direction and come back to him? Guess.

If you’d answered B, you’d be correct.

Chris Hughton persisted with him for about an hour, despite it being apparent after about 15 minutes he wasn’t up to it. Presumably he didn’t withdraw him earlier because he didn’t want to knock his confidence. Frankly, if you don’t have the balls to withdraw a player who is a liability to your team (I’m not saying he always is, but he certainly was on Sunday), then you’ve no right to be sitting in the dugout.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re starting with Shola, Nicky Butt, Cacapa or Geremi, then the squad is plainly not strong enough.

Admittedly, the club has spent a lot of money on young players and the Academy and Reserve teams are doing well, but this is little consolation when you’re sitting watching the drabbest of nil nil draws involving the first team. Indeed, logic should dictate that if the youth and reserve teams are so good, I should maybe go and watch them instead as it’s no fun watching the first team.

But I’m not giving up on football: I’ll be watching more Blue Square games next season. Hopefully in the Blue Square Premier (what the ‘Football Conference’ is called these days) if Gateshead’s promotion push is successful (we are currently top despite an indifferent start to the season, although teams around us have games in hand).

It’s cheaper, the teams understand that the objective is to try and score goals, and I won’t feel resentful of players earning too much money (Note that I have no objection to top-quality players — Given, Ronaldo, Gerrard etc earning lots of money, it’s the players that are shit but still get paid tons of cash that I object to).

I’d hope Newcastle will buy big in the summer, but there’s no way I’m renewing my season ticket on this basis — after years of being treated like a mushroom by the club (being kept in the dark and supplied with bullshit), I’ll believe it when I see it. And until I see it, they won’t be getting a penny more from me.

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4 Comments to Repeat After Me…

  1. Anonymous says:

    February 23rd, 2009 at 11:53 am

    you can go and see gateshead fc and gateshead thunder for less than it costs to watch nufc – gfc doing well over the winter and thunder looking promising over the summer.
    both of whom fully appreciate the support

  2. JackP says:

    February 24th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    9% cut? Well, that’s maybe one aspect — assuming they stay up — ticked off.

    But unless there is significant investment on the playing front, I still won’t be renewing, because I don’t really see the point in paying out any money to something I won’t enjoy watching…

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