Newcastle United: Ideas above our station?
Newcastle United fans are often subjected to just this question on an ever more frequent basis. Every time we sack a manager it`s the fans faults. We need to be more patient. Need to give the manager more time. The club won`t be turned around overnight. We have heard it all before and frankly we are sick of it. These comments have resurfaced numerous times over the past couple of years after the sackings in quick succession of Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce. It was particularly galling for me as a fan myself after we sacked Sam Allardyce.
This was a man who came into the club, bought nine new players over the summer, and then proceeded to play some of the most boring, negative football that has ever been witnessed at St James Park. We even went to Reading and after deservedly losing the game 2-1 our own manager came out and as much as admitted that his game plan was to stop Reading playing and try and come away with a point. Now I`m sorry but a team with the quality of players we have should be going to teams like Reading and attacking, especially when you take into consideration that at the heart of Reading`s defence was the lumbering Michael Duberry who would look out of place in some pub sides.
During this period we saw Derby take four points off us, including what has been their only victory in their short lived stay at the top flight. It wasn`t good enough and everybody knew it. So what if the fans boo? It was never directed at the players, always at the manager often to cries of 'You don`t know what you`re doing` which Sam Allardyce clearly didn`t. The man had no excuses, and it was sickening to see the big smile on his face as we scraped a replay with Stoke City in the FA cup. It didn`t seem real. At least in the past few years when we have struggled we have always had a go at teams. This was evident under the Roeder era. Even when we struggled he still filled the team with attacking players knowing that the fans would at least appreciate the fact that the team was at least attempting to win the game. Newcastle have never had the attitude that we should we should start a game from the outset looking for a point and as far as I`m concerned we never should.
It annoyed me after the sacking of Allardyce about the amount of support he received from so called 'experts` in the media. Andy Gray is a case in point. Now I respect Gray for all the work he does at Sky Sports, I think he`s an excellent co-commentator and analyst, but when I saw on his Sky Sports blog that it was the FANS fault and that the 'Toon must get real` to say that I was annoyed would be a huge understatement. I mean how many Newcastle games has Andy Gray seen this season. He can`t possibly make a reasoned judgement about the absolute dross we had been forced to watch week in week out in the short reign of Big Sam. We were going nowhere and the fans knew this.
Whilst I am in rant mode I would also like to try and dispel an argument that has arisen after the sacking of the dour ex Bolton man. It is the myth that Geordies would rather be entertained than win football matches. This quite simply isn`t true. All fans of Newcastle United would quite happily see the team win every game 1-0 if it meant that we ended the season as champions of England, rather than lose every game 4-3 and get relegated. Where Sam got it so wrong, was that he played bland defensive football and lost more matches than he won. It`s that simple. Had he won every game, even playing that brand of football, he would have been lauded on Tyneside.
We have also been subjected to retorts across the country that we have unrealistic expectations of what we want our team to achieve. The fact is we haven`t. We know we won`t win the league. The top four are too strong for anybody else to possibly challenge at this moment in time. But with the resources that we have, and with the money that has been invested over a number of years we should be a team regularly finishing in the top ten of the league, challenging for European places and maybe, just maybe win a cup of some description. When you look at the teams that have challenged for trophies in the last few years, and especially this season, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Cardiff, West Brom and even Barnsley, it surely isn`t completely inconceivable to think that we could at least mount a challenge for a trophy in the coming seasons.
Fans of Newcastle United are no different to fans of any other club. All we want to see is our team doing well and if we aren`t we have every right to vent our frustration at the players or management who are letting us down. We have waited over fifty years for a trophy, and have watched as countless teams around us have enjoyed success that we so crave. Who can blame us for being a little impatient in the seemingly never ending search for Newcastle United success?