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Reverse Of The Entertainers

I was just a bairn when Keegan`s 'Entertainers` finished 3rd in their first season in the Premiership but I remember it like it was yesterday.

Partly because my dad still has, and watches, the VHS but more so because it was then that the national Newcastle United obsession began. You couldn`t escape us in the papers as we stamped a unique passion on the Premiership that saw us branded "everyone`s favourite 2nd team". But as that unique passion grew, Newcastle United became more like a soap opera than a football club and with hindsight it`s quite obvious now why were branded the entertainers - because we were more engaging than an episode of Coronation Street.

We had the typical heroes like Keegan and Shearer who would endear themselves to their loyal audience before leaving in a storyline that wouldn`t have been out of place in the twilight zone, we had villains like Souness, Wise and Ashley that we loved to hate, the sad passing of a lovable character that brought tears to your eyes and how can we forget the daft antics of zany characters Terry McDermott and Gazza! But now things seem different, it`s almost as if the final episode has aired with us lifting the Championship trophy and we`re waving goodbye to a Black and White future solely determined by BARB-style ratings to increase ad sales revenue.

This time last year we were being linked with buy-outs from Indian media moguls, Arabian oil tycoons and even Osama Bin Laden`s son! There was a time that if a player was available Newcastle would be linked with him, Remember Ronaldinho? or Wayne Rooney? or Sven when he was still the England boss?

I used to kid myself each time and think we`d be in with a chance of signing these stars but the truth was we just sold papers - plain and simple. In fact we sold so many papers that if there was no-one to link us to they`d release pictures of our owner drinking a pint in a 2˝ minutes - surely that`s news the whole world needs to see!? In the end the hype never really had time to die down as there was always another rumour around the corner.

But now, for the first season in a hell of a long time, the rumours have all dried up and even though we`re linked with players, Man City and Chelsea are the back page headline grabbers and we`re just a little paragraph in the 'other news` section alongside Anne Keothavong being knocked out of the umpteenth qualifying round at Wimbledon.

It`s great! Newcastle has finally made it as a team people don`t care about. We`ve come a long way from being "the Entertainers" but I think it`s a positive thing when we`re quietly linked to Kris Boyd and J-Lloyd Samuel, it means that we`re finally doing something right.

For far too long we`ve been constantly branded as impatient and deluded supporters by the press but now it seems that finally the pressure from the media is off and we can just let the manager and the players get on with the tough job of keeping us in the top flight.

For the first time since the summer of 2001 I`m going into the pre-season without any expectation and it feels really, really good. Return of the entertainers? No thank you. I`d be delighted with just the reverse!

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Morty Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday June 30 2010

Time: 8:00AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
What a great article Morty and I think I have to agree, entertainment is one thing but sustaining and balance are words that have eluded us for too many years... Howay the lads, and did anyone else have a goosebump reading that?
Report Abuse
30/06/2010 08:46:00

Good article. And while its true we wanted to get away from being the soap opera club I fear that we may have gone too far the other way. Not usually a pessimist but I really worry about this season. I'd like to think we're not headline grabbing because Ashley has it all in hand but the fact is the squad needs strengthening and I'm not convinced we'll add any real quality that we need. Time will tell of course but if things start to go wrong this season I'm sure we'll be back on the back pages!! However I share your sentiment Morty that being away from the headlines (at least for the time being) is a refreshing change and one I hope sticks.
Report Abuse
30/06/2010 09:10:00

Cracking Article and very true. What worries me is we're always only one Andy Carroll nightclub slap away from being all over the back pages for the wrong reasons.
Report Abuse
30/06/2010 09:23:00

Cheers lads - appreciate the comments! I wrote that yesterday and was dreading reading the paper this morning incase Carroll had been up to his old tricks and I looked like a right tit! ;)
Report Abuse
30/06/2010 09:53:00

Spot on Morty, great craic. Good to see more of them seem to be getting read and acknowledged. Suppose it's about time I dug out my article-writing satchel...
Report Abuse
30/06/2010 11:36:00


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