From the outside, everything just looks like we're going through a sticky patch but those of us who have supported the club all their lives know differently.
Firstly, you have the fans, who have stuck with the club from the minute it was formed back in 1892, some glory days were had but they are mainly a story that our grandfather's heard, the FA Cup victories more recent but again, those that witnessed them are either in the knackers yard or prone to have forgotten the occasion, it was such a long time ago.
The last major trophy won, some forty three and a bit years ago.
Since then, we've been relegated three times, promoted a similar number and had a taste of what a proper rollercoaster feels like without our feet actually leaving the ground. Some cup finals and a brief flirtation as to impersonating a really top side providing the climbs before the inevitable falls.
The scenarios may have changed but the loyalty stays the same, we don't take ourselves for granted or want praise, we just do what feels natural and follow our club through thick and thin.
To then have your loyalty patronised at times or be told how to react to what we have witnessed with our own eyes and ears not only causes great anger, it also creates an impossible tension.
The natural reaction to being told to 'stick with the club' or 'we need you more than ever' etc etc is to fight back or have a downright mutiny but it's not right when the thing you want to fight against is actually the equivalent of a person possessed by a spirit. The shell is the same, the very thing that you have worshiped all your life but the soul has gone, replaced by an evil that doesn't do the normal things it should. Completely alien to everything around it.
This is best described by the time that Mike Ashley has spent at the club.
To the Southern press or any outsiders, it looks like he can do no wrong but he's killing us. The passion is dwindling, the loyalty is there but it's more robotic and done because it's been a way of life for most with no other real alternative.
A boycott is the equivalent of breathing oxygen and someone expecting you to hold your breath. It is possible for a short period but before long, you just have to give in.
The regime (as we call them) are a massive cancer that shouldn't be here. We have Ashley who doesn't speak, Dekka (Llambias), who doesn't speak either and Pardew, who does nowt but.
However, all the words that leave his mouth just patronise or contradict the ones before them. The hardest part is believing that he isn't working to some cunning script to seduce the gullible fan with the odd comment thrown in his pressers to win a bet set down by Dekka or Mike as if they've been daring him to say it.
The gameplan or lack of one is the most bemusing thing.
We have a bloke (Ashley) who spent a fair wedge on buying us, only to have forgotten to do a proper due diligence, he then had some strange plan to be one of us but then stabbed us in the back over the treatment of Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer and eventually Chris Hughton. Many more decisions angered us.
All the while, we've had costs cut, players sold in preparation for cheaper models but the policy remains the same. 'pretend we're skint'
The club is the third best supported in England. We get a fair corporate wedge. We get good sponsorship money (allegedly), we're on TV just as much, if not more than three quarters of the rest of the league plus the various prize monies we've received and then we're told by Pardew that we can't compete with the likes of West Ham, Stoke or others for transfers. Sometimes more than twice in a day.
Also, the lack of ambition ties in with their policy of moving players on because they know an 'unhappy' player is easier to shift as it's win-win for them. The Demba Ba scenario epitomises that with this season's main theme of upsetting as many players as they can, working to a tee.
The performance of many is not just bad luck but due to the reasons mentioned above with the likes of Coloccini, Cabaye, Ba and some others highly critical of certain things, the proof in the pudding.
Transfer windows are another joke because many a time we're 'linked' with players whose clubs then release a statement saying that we've not bid which contradicts the whole saga as the regime just want us to believe that they are trying.
The whole set up is an utter shambles which is set up to maximise income for as little a spend as possible with their real ambition to finish anywhere between 8th and 17th in the Premier League.
We cocked up last year by finishing 'too high' because this gave the fans too much of the carrot and we expected a bit more.
Just an extra two or three signings could have been the difference in competing for Champions League football and if an extra defensive signing was made last January then we could have been in this season's already but we know the ambition isn't to get there as it costs too much money to risk at the chance of not getting the money back and for that reason, the set up isn't designed to work for a football club.
Football is a game of ambition. it's a game of passion, dedication, loyalty and wanting the best result. All things that aren't associated with these in charge of us.
Which makes me wonder.....
What did we do to deserve this???
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