One of the best things about a Sunday is the luxury of the Sunday papers... that hour or so of uninterrupted time, absorbing the news of the week and planning future events based on film/theatre/holiday/book reviews. I love that time, either on a Sunday morning with a steaming hot coffee or in the afternoon, usually with the rain slamming against the window pane, with TV sport on as background accompaniment. Despite being happy to read the rest of the weeks news on line, Sunday's are the paper day
I usually read The Observer, and have a ritual. Sports pages first, followed by the review, the finance pages, the main news part and then usually catch up on the magazine later in the week (the TV guide and Travel sections usually jettisoned into the recycling untouched). A few years ago, The Observer created monthly magazines, based on cookery, music, women and sport. They tend to be high quality, lengthy features which make entertaining reading supplemented with some really excellent photography (for example the photo of the mackem manager by Murdo Macleod has been used to scare countless children). Needless to say I devour the Sport Monthly when it arrives.
So, with the rain lashing on the window frames this afternoon I've been reading the Observer Sport Monthly, and as soon as I saw the title of the article I just knew Newcastle United would feature "top ten: Most tormented fans" Sure enough, proudly at No 4,
"At least Chicago Cubs fans have a good excuse for their history of near-misses. At St James' Park, there is no cursed goat to help explain 81 years without the League title. Scapegoats abound, though. In the Premier League era, Newcastle's appetite for self-destruction has turned the 'massive club' into a laughing stock. How much blame lies with the self-professed 'best fans in the world', who can't stop scratching at old wounds, is difficult to assess. And with the Big Four seemingly impregnable, the wait for a title will go on and on."
Difficult to argue with any of that.... Sadly.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day that Ashley sold up... It didn't happen. Unsurprisingly the club is proving a difficult item to shift - the alleged buyers from the US haven't committed as yet, and JFK is with us for at least another month. So, football finance is affected by the current economic crisis (and why should it be any different to any other areas of the economy?). I'd always thought that when JFK arrived it was for longer than the usual definition of "interim". I'd be willing to bet he and Ashley will still be there at the end of the season.
That said, JFK is managing to make Newcastle a more cohesive team - a draw against Chelsea yesterday, more than many expected and even more surprising was the clean sheet. The siege mentality that he's developed might not be long term. but two wins, two losses and four draws is mid table form. Just a shame that the team had sunk so low in the first place.
Anyway, off to torment myself a little more, trying to work out how Newcastle can draw against Manure and Chelsea and lose against mackems and Fulham... I think that way madness lies - as some bloke from Stratford once said.