Saturday, 14 August 2010
A week later than last year the merry-go round is about to start again. About a month ago my phone started its text chirrup with messages like "Wolves away - I'll go if you'll drive" and "How much for the Manure tickets?!? I'm not going" as plans start to be made, familiar grounds revisited, friendships that have been on hold for the summer re initiated.
All the fun of the fair starting again as NUFC join the "elite" clubs in the "top flight". Obviously, there are some advantages to being back in the Premiership, not least of which is the wadge of money that the club will receive from the TV, which probably help to keep the club afloat. There are also some disadvantages to this elevated status, not least of which is the price of the tickets - away tickets now routinely cost over £40, so the cost of a few away games increases as the likelihood of seeing Newcastle win away decreases (not that this puts me off, which probably says more about my psyche than anything else). The other disadvantage is that the press as turned its attention to the club and Newcastle become the comedy club of the Premiership again.
Some of the recent 'news' has been quite fair. The club seem to have managed to sign a player on a free from another Premiership club who have made a mess of his contract negotiations, have managed not to sack any players/managers/club officials over the summer and therefore have stayed quite quiet for the start of the season, with a notable exception - Sol Campbell. I have mixed feelings about Campbell joining the Toon. He's not a player that would have been on the top of my list for defensive cover for the season. I, and many, others remember Ian Rush turning up in a Black and White shirt for a season, which was a signing of Kenny Dalglish's mate and an unmitigated disaster. Campbell is Hughton's friend, has moved to the North East and there is a feeling that he's turning up just for the money. That said, he was a decent defender and no doubt some of the other players could learn from him.
Still, none of that comes into play when the press get hold of a photo, which shows that he may not be in peak physical condition. Apparently, this has whipped up the fury on the message boards and therefore none of the of the fans want him to play.... Now call me old fashioned, but I really want to reserve judgement on players until I've actually seen him pull on the club shirt and kick a ball in anger (actually, remembering Pancrate last season I'd like to give him 3 or 4 games). But, then again why let a few facts get in the way of poking the laughing stick at Newcastle United again.
To slightly misquote Leeds finest band...
We are the Angry Mob
We read the papers every day
We like who they like
Hate who they hate
Were all so easily swayed
I have a solution to this... Don't read the papers, don't buy 'em and ignore the nonsense that permeates through other media sources.... And they wonder why the newspaper industry is on its knees?
Actually, the real reason that the newspaper is on its knees is the change from physical to digital, so we are going through a time of change as business models are disrupted. One of the consequences of this is that I'm unable to link to a snippet that I found genuinely funny last week. The Sunday Times last week published a review of all the Premiership teams and suggested what type of cartoon characters they would be (I read it in the Pub before I get accused of hypocrisy). I can't recall many of them, but Newcastle's was Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat - because it causes chaos wherever it goes for the general amusement of others... Sums up perfectly the view of Newcastle from the rest of the Premiership. Why can't I link to this article? Cos the Sunday Times online has become pay per view... I hope that isn't the future...
Anyway, as it stands today Newcastle are mid table (before a ball has been kicked, due to an alphabetical accident) I'll settle for this next May. Bring on the fun.
Howay the lads