With a flurry of beeps and vibrations the conversations this week have been going something like this...
Tickets on sale on Monday u goin?
Yup - I'll have 2
I'm on hols
I'm not botherin - no point
How much? Its on the tv
£41!!! Jeez... Nah, I'm not goin
I'm on hols as well!!!
So for our "Season Opener" (© Sky TV, the inventors of football) half the people I know aren't going, due to holidays, the price of the ticket or general apathy. Admittedly, the opposition don't help, its Manure again. A humiliation twice last season with an aggregate score of 11 conceded and one scored, doesn't instill confidence does it?
The exchanges above brought to mind a series of articles in The Guardian a few years ago that have stuck in my mind. They were called "Football, the game that ate itself" The general hypothesis was that corporate greed was destroying the sport and it would all implode in on itself. That was written in 2004 and was perhaps a little early. However, I wonder if this season will see the start of the decline? As the economic situation worsens one of the first things that can be sacrificed is the £70-80 needed to fund a trip to an away ground. Not that falling attendances will cause football to implode, as we all know, fans at the game are a mere inconvenience to the TV scheduler and corporate advertisers on who's money The Premiership is built.
Still, I'll be going... Why? Firstly, I can walk there from my house, and secondly there might just be the chance that I can say "I was there the first time Newcastle beat Manure since the invention of the electronic scoreboard". It won't happen of course, but blind optimism is a pre-requisite of any Newcastle United fan.
So another season of mediocrity beckons - Toon on the Telly last night. Sultana Sports treated us to Hertha Berlin V Newcastle in the Majorca Cup. For a start, the Majorca Cup sounds like a 18-30 vomiting contest and I'm sure that Hertha Berlin was some war time code name for a Mata Hari. However, I settled on the sofa last night to watch 'the lads' entertain me.
It was woeful. Newcastle lost.
In fact, it was so bad I went and washed up halfway through the second half.
Roll on August 17th