No one likes us. We don't care. We are Newcastle

By Lee Ryder on Oct 15, 07 01:25 PM

I'm lucky enough to have lived and followed Newcastle United around the world at a time when everybody loved us.

I was privileged enough to be able to speak to the one and only Peter Beardsley this week and I asked him to reminisce the Entertainers period when the nation took us to their hearts.

He acknowledged it was a great time to be a player but for fans it has to be the best era to have been supporting the team.

One big buzz was being the nation's second team at a time when even Manchester United fans' eyes were glazed with a begrudged respect as we threatened to run away with the title.

Suddenly kids all around the country dumped their Man United and Liverpool tops and pulled on black and white ones instead.

Now we're about as popular as a booze ban in the Bigg Market and there's plenty of evidence to support it.

Once upon time in bars all around the world suddenly everybody wanted a bit of Geordie action, the Asics shirts went up on the wall, those paintings of Kevin Keegan and the rest of the lads were going like hot cakes and singing the Philippe Albert song was a second nature for the Toon Army.

Ohh, what fond and treasured memories back in the halcyon days of the early to mid-1990s.

Fast forward to 2007 and there couldn't be a starker contrast.

Buy any paper outside of Tyneside and it will be packed with Newcastle United news all right!

But don't expect it to be of a positive nature.

Down south, where the lager isn't very strong and expensive, nobody smiles and they think that Michael Owen belongs to the FA, they've tried everything in the book to upset the apple cart in Toonland.

Because just as it was easy to put the happy go lucky Geordies on a pedestal back in the Keegan era, it's just as easy to reverse the action and throw us to the dogs nowadays.

Lowdown, Newcastle United are and always will be an easy target for Press men outside the North East.


Because we're unique.

We fail in spectacular fashion.

We turn up in droves to watch our team even when they are terrible.

We buy the shirts no matter how much they cost to make (even when we are told how much they cost to make).

Win or lose we're first at the bar and we don't go home and hide when our team gets beat and we out sing home sides even when we are getting thumped.

I know I sound like a moaner but we're even the butt of the jokes on the Ladbrokes advert for god's sake!

We've being attracting over 50,000 at home for the last six years and apart from two top four finishes under Sir Bobby Robson, we've been pretty dire.

But we're still here now and the Champions League seems a long way away.

And we are an even easier target than ever before with Michael Owen club v country argument going on which all stems from Owen not playing for one of the top four.

Plus we have signed Joey Barton, who had the cheek to confess he wanted to get fit for his club before his country before being crucified for it the next day.

Oh and before we go any further Big Sam probably plays a long ball game because the length of passes have increased from 12.4 metres (average length last season) to 17.9 metres this time around.

Or maybe I'm just being paranoid!


James said:

Nah, it's not paranoia - they really are all out to get us. It's just jealousy you see?

Paul Patterson said:

I always remember what Kevin Keegan said at Alan Shearer’s unveiling:- “You’ve got to give these fans what they want� and under Kevin Keegan, the team did just that.
Looking back now, it didn’t matter that we didn’t win anything, it just looks bloody awful the way we have slipped so far back into the shadows.

In part I question the true ambition of the board over the decade, remember, Kevin Keegan was asked by the board to raise £6m to help pay off the remaining debt from the Alan Shearer deal, by selling Les Ferdinand, something which Kevin flatly refused to sanction, Keegan has highlighted this as a small reason why relations were strained in his latter days as manager here.

Low and behold, in comes Kenny Dalglish and at the end of the season, Les Ferdinand was sold for £6m and we go out and sign a load of old fogies (Rush, Barnes, Pearce, Ketsbaia) and expect to mount a serious title challenge.

Now the board are blameless in the Alan Shearer injury that couldn’t have been predicted, but the 1997/98 season wouldn’t have been anywhere near the failure it was if Les Ferdinand was up front with a Tomasson or Asprilla.

Incidentally what did the board do half way through the season, Sell Asprilla for another £6m and bugger all prospects of any further attacking football. We may as well have not bought Alan Shearer.

This isn’t the actions of a board that have consistently stated “We’ve always backed our managers�

Once again in 2004, we had just qualified for the champions league for the second time and were in need of at least two defenders and maybe a striker, what did we get, Lee Bowyer on a free.

This isn’t the actions of a board that have consistently stated “We’ve always backed our managers�

What about, in 2004, when Sir Bobby Robson was given a one year contract ONLY, this gave him no job security and consequently hung him out to dry.

This isn’t the actions of a board that have consistently stated “We’ve always backed our managers�

Lets hope the new regime gets it right.


jackie w said:

The southern rags are all the same and i believe it stems from some deep rooted jealousy towards everything black and white. " jealous of what you will probably say ? " We are a one club city and have the most passionate fans anywhere outside of south America, as you have already described all our good points Lee i wont list them , but this winds the rest of the country up, they look at the Geordie hoards laughing , waving shoes and singing till they are hoarse standing in the freezing cold ,raining with no shirts on and getting thumped 3-0 and they dont think we are stupid they actually think they must be missing out on something.
Truth is they are, we are the proudest fans in the country and as much as we would love to win something , who really cares as long as your there and playing good football ,when we land in there towns and cities we let them know who we are and what we are about , its there problem they dont get it. The press have and always will, knock us down and due to the fact we read anything at all to do with Newcastle they write any old crap to sell the rags knowing we will buy it. So lets make a stand and instead of feeling hard done by lets hit them back and on the back page of your chronicle tommorrow " BOYCOT THE SUN " would do the trick .Probably wont happen but i for one have kicked it into touch .
Jackie W

Paul Patterson said:

On the subject or The Sun Boycott (something I wholeheartedly support- but would push further to all national papers) it's about time that we as fans, but more importantly as a club, build a (Now famously used term) Seige Mentality.

Manchester United had it, Chelsea had it and now someone else needs to acquire it.

A "Them against us" strategy, if someone writes something, it's quickly denounces in local publications such as Match-day programmes, Journal, Chronicle, local T.V, etc, a club for the fans, where fans are treat as such, we (The Fans) get the information, NOT the national media, yes honour the Sky contract and do the press confrences, but only give out the information necessary.

Provide a seperate conference for local journalist groups, print on the matchday, the information the fans need to hear.

Will it annoy the london based press? You bet your life it will, will it make us hated amongst every media outlet that isn't based in Newcastle? probably. Will that be a bad thing, Definetely Not.

Whats the price to pay for all this you ask? well we might have to start telling players to stop writing for National Newspapers for a start,- once again, not a bad thing.

If Sam Allardyce can build a side that entertains, (Not sure yet) then we can then move on to the Man Utd attitude, where "We say goes" at the end of the day.

The NATIONAL media need Newcastle United, far more than Newcastle United need the National media, were not talking about breach of contract here, talking to sky is part of the contract after matches for the managers, but prattling on to the Sun and The Times (Owen has a column there)is certainly not any business of Newcastle United.

This should stop.


Peter Harper said:

Some people talk out of their ----.News sells newspapers and Newcastle are not newsworthy. Sky wants attractive football-that's why we are hardly on tv.Remember when we used to be called "The Entertainers"-days sadly long gone. Freddie Shepherd followed in a long line of chairmen and directors who were only interested in their size of the salary, dividends and fringe benefits and systematically dragged Newcastle to the depths of despair.50,000 unwavering supporters ensure, regardless of position, the money keeps rolling in.The only exception to this over the last 50 years was Sir John Hall but his enthusiasm didn't last very long.Shepherd chose Gullit,Daglish,Roeder,Allardyce (yes Allardyce)what a cv you've got Freddie!!!Of course I omitted Sir Bobby-only appointed because Freddie had nowhere else to go, so it doesn't count as a plus.It absolutely sickens me, given the fact we have the most marvellous supporters, we always,as a company, seem to be run by the "London Spiv" type character, a term once attributed to Sir Alan Sugar.I hope Mike Ashley is different but as they say "where there's smoke there's fire"
I am unashamed to admit I would crawl to Kevin Keegan and bring him back.Keegan loved Newcastle and we loved him.The messiah could still be our saviour.I will finish with the immortal words of Wolfie Smith from the Tooting Popular Front-"COME THE REVOLUTION BROTHER"

David Richardson said:

I hate to admit it but I am old enough to remember watching the 1955 cup final in Jesmond on my uncle's TV. Now geriatric and living a lazy life of wine and garlic in the south France I look back fondly to my days of Len White, "open the days here comes Gordon" Hughes, the Mighty Wynn, etc. Not to forget every cup final I went to to to see Newcastle lose. But, as a former Fleet Street journalist, I must defend our breed. They do not attack United because they are daft notherners. No, Newcastle United has brought every bit of bad publicity on itself from the days of the Seymour/McKeag battles to the present regime.
Oh for Keegan and the excitement

jackie w said:

Newcastle are not news worthy ? Writes Peter Harper . Outside the big four we have had more column inches than any other team in the country . On and off the field we are always in the press , last week we filled the back pages all week with the club v country issues involving Sam , Barton and Owen . Like i previously said we clamour to read all things black and white ( good and bad ) so to say we are not news worthy is ( to quote yourself ) talking out of your ....Jackie

Snapper said:

I have followed NUFC since 1949 and the Keegan/Hall era was undoubtedly the golden era. Silky skills of Beardsley and Ginola, the bludgening threat of Ferdinand and then add Shearer, the authority and style of Prince Albert, would have made Queen Vic herself smile with pride, the audacity of Tino and the Englishness of Rob Lee and Beresford. of course the southern press tried to pull us down vilifying our defense, although the facts do not bear them out. A golden age sadly not likely to be repeated, such gay abandon is for the text books and Roy of the Rovers.

Pierre De Letter said:

I think Jackie W should extend his reading beyond The Chronicle and the Journal as he may then get a clearer picture of Newcastle's newsworthiness.I would also remind the same person when Newcastle were dubbed the entertainers the newspapers and television couldn't get enough.Today,sadly,the opposite is the norm.I would suggest a new set of counting beads for Jackie.

jackie w said:

Give me another team who have had more coverage front and back pages outside the top four this year pierre.

Frenchy said:

Peter Harper, do you actually know how sky works out the number of times a team is shown during a season?? It goes from the position they finished the previous season, for example Man U will be on the most this season with newly promoted Derby county on the least as they came through the play offs...... in future please get your facts right, cheers


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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