Following in a long established tradition for this blog (well, here and here anyway - if that counts as traditional); I've been sitting in front of my log fire, sipping some mulled wine whilst composing a list of small requests for St Nicholas to consider if I've been suitably well behaved this year in order for him to grant me some favours.
Actually, I've been battling the other lunatics on the ice bound M6 and shopping at Tesco's at midnight to avoid the madness that is shopping over the festive season - but that's nowhere near as attractive an image... Reality bites.
So what would I like St Nicholas to bring the Toon for Christmas? Well, in 2009 I've seen the team relegated, a fire sale of the best players (and some rubbish ones), the worst PR machine since.....well, ever, and host of woeful and abject displays by 11 money-motivated journeymen footballers. Last year I was ludicrous enough to ask for 3 points from the Boxing Day fixture at Wigan (that didn't work) and the year before I asked that Charlie Zog stopped being played at left back (well, that one sort of worked, but selling him to Wigan wasn't what I had in mind). So, I need to think carefully about my requests for this year.
All sorts of things have flittered through my mind including:
- Continuing being 10 points clear of the rest of the Championship at the end of the season? Nah - that won't happen
- Not selling the best players during the January transfer window? Nah, Taylor, Enrique and Coco are all on the shopping lists of Premiership clubs
- For Shearer to be given some role in the club that obviously means so much to him - Nah, he's too champagne for a club with more sober tastes at the moment
So, really my list for Santa consists of just one request...
Please can you find a new owner for the team? I'm sure that there must be one somewhere at the back of your sleigh? I'm not asking for much, just a billionaire who understands that football is a business and not a plaything, someone who knows the value of customer relations and someone who has the wit to see that a five year plan will take five years to come to fruition.
I suspect that this request to Father Christmas will fall on deaf ears like my previous ones - but I can hope. Merry Christmas Mr Ashley - oh, and get out of our club.