Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Tuesday May 26 2009
Newcastle United were relegated from the English Premier League following a 16-year stint in the top-flight. A sad day for all Geordies, but a welcome one for most people outside of the fanbase.
Spurs fans, and Sunderland supporters in general would take the opportunity to take pot shots at the club, no doubt. But the Toon Army can only shy away and say, 'Sticks and stones'.
It is not a time to ask for sympathy or to sulk in the after-taste of a moment each and every Geordie will want to forget for as long as they live. That own goal from Damien Duff. That horrific performance against Aston Villa. The entire season of mediocrity, and the seven managers who came in after Sir Bobby Robson.
What a U-turn for a once proud club... one can only sigh and wonder what went wrong. Everyone knows that mistakes have been made. Its no secret, nor a fact unknown to even the rest of the world. Mistakes have been made. The fans are now paying the price.
On the day of the relegation, personally speaking, a little part of me died. The very thought of not seeing the name of Newcastle United under the Premier League header made me shiver. But then, a flashback of the entire season ran through my mind, and I realised that it would have been injustice to the teams who survived to have been relegated by our mediocre accounts.
Newcastle United are not a big club anymore. No they are not. No matter how much Geordies scream it, write it on blogs, or tattoo it on their sleeves - the fact remains, Newcastle United are not a big club. Big clubs do not struggle each year to stay in the Premier League. Big clubs do not get relegated due to poor players. Big clubs simply are not run in the dinner-theatre sort of way Newcastle United have been run.
Newcastle United were a big club. In the days of Kevin Keegan, when the club was challenging for honours, during the wonderful reign of Sir Bobby Robson when the club played Champions League football, and even a short stint by Glenn Roeder - yes, the club was big back then. Not anymore, sadly.
Having a giant stadium and local fan following does not make a club big. It has to do with success, stability, and prestige. None of the three remains at the Toon.
All the nostalgia, and the delusional cries of 'We are a big club! We are a big club!' will undoubtedly die down now. The incentive of supporting the club are no longer there. Overseas fans will not be able to catch any of the matches on the television, and neither will they be able to follow the developments as closely as they used to, and this no doubt will discourage some to stick with the team. Afterall, the apparent 'big club' is no longer even in the same division as the other 'big clubs' in England, so what's the point?
True fans will stick around no matter what. Whether the club is big, or small, it really does not matter. Newcastle United is the team they support and that is enough motivation.
With the 'big club' delusion accompanies the end of a 16-year stint in the English Premier League. The positives? There are many.
The club can finally be built from the ground-up. No more high-earning no-impact players who only stay at the club to collect their next paycheck. No more mult-million pound disaster purchases. No more foreign 'talent scouting'. No more riding on reputation or nostalgia about the past. Destiny is what you make of it, and Newcastle United are now classed as a Championship club, and they must fight to come back up to the Premier League. Using their reputation as 'Newcastle United - A big club' will not suffice.
To this day, my heart aches ever so slightly, but reality must be faced. I urge all Geordies everywhere to support the team, have faith in the club, and yourselves. A new rock-bottom has been hit - ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong after this?
I know of the bullying, the faces, and the snickers being aimed at the fans by the rest of the League, but Newcastle United is a prime example of how a once grand club can fall into oblivion. It can happen to anyone in the Premier League, and if those fans can't understand that, they may know little about football, and their opinions can bounce off you irrespective of what they say.
Keep the faith Toon Army. The club will be back again. Patience is a virtue we must all adhere to. It is hard to swallow - like trying to gulp in a brick. One year, Shearer says. Smart purchases, and a winning mentality can get the team back to the Premier League. The summer is exciting that way. Forget the past six years. 2010-2011 is the season Newcastle United comes back to the Premier League. Like Kevin Keegan, Shearer aspires to give everyone a run-for-their-money then. Bring on the Championship!
Date:Tuesday May 26 2009
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