Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

That’s how politicians feel, isn’t it?

Knowing what to think, how to think, when to think it and no matter what choice you make, for many, you are 100% wrong.

Newcastle United is my football club. It’s my father, his father and his father. One step down and across the family tree is an uncle who lives across The Town Moor and can hear St James’ Park when it swings, which has not happened very late. Uncle Bill used to go every week, so happened Mike Ashley. The joy and hope gradually suffocated natural enthusiasm. He keeps his season ticket, even though it has been a well-considered decision every year.

And what now. What now?

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(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Source: AFP


There is no equation to calculate the level of anxiety, apathy, utter contempt Newcastle fans had for Mike Ashley, who bathed in the financial lubricant of the Premier League for 14 years.

Yohan Kebabs, JFK (Kinnaer, not Kennedy), Dennis Wise, Nacho Gonzalez, Wonga, Sports Direct Park, Shearers bar, blanking Shearer, Rafa goes, Hughton fired, Pardew’s header, Jonas Gutierrez’s cancer and two relegations. And it’s just shimmering the surface beneath which lies a cave full of heartless stories that sucked the soul out of a football club in a city full of hearts that beat hard as Newcastle United win.

It is illogical, given the matches and joy the rest of life can bring, but in every city in the world there are examples that football is life. Newcastle is an extreme example.

Winning the balance championship kept a man happy. He wanted to sell for a decade? Only in theory. Did he save the club? Therein lies the misunderstanding under which Ashley operated. What if the club went stalled? It could be anchored 100 points or sent to the National League North for derby days against the Blyth Spartans and there would still be a club and people to support it, long after we all went into disintegration to dust. Thank God the man is away from our club.

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Should Mike Ashley still be the owner, a third relegation was more likely than not. Steve Bruce may have been fired, but the replacement would inherit the same problems. Change driver, but if the car is a piece s ***, the car is a piece s ***.

Newcastle made a lie of any modern statistic last season. Expected goals and the like? Bruce-ball danced around them, Allan Saint-Maximin’s unpredictability, Callum Wilson’s worthy-of-a-bigger club prowess and Joe Willock who borrowed key factors in an increase in the late season that snatched 12th position.

This renewal of the Premier League has fewer bad teams, of which Newcastle is definitely one.

And within 24 hours, there was a shift between two Arab states that compromised on television rights, everything changed. Everything about Newcastle turned. About the inevitability, about the club, about the city, about resting anticipation. Suddenly, by some distance, the richest club in the world, in what is somehow the richest league in the world.

66 years ago a domestic trophy, and look over to the last club this happened for; Manchester By.

Even after days of reading about management opportunities or watching the mock FIFA video of a team of Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe and more importantly, Kante, or hearing the story that there are 13,000 agents in the world and 10,000 of them would have been in contact with the club now, the possibilities are unimaginable.

However, the catch is far from insignificant.

Some have dressed in Thawbs and celebrated in front of Sir Bobby Robson’s statue. Some have gotten wildly drunk, # cans and all that.

Some, like me, had a deep thought, with some #cans of course, because 14 years of frustration is worth having some #cans for.

All; you, me, the neighbor, Australia to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, have a past. And now when it comes to football, their shadow is mine. A CIA report on the murder of a journalist is a factor. Lots of advice from all angles also online. And yet I keep coming back to a question. How is it my fault?

(Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)Source: AFP


Protesting against this takeover is like protesting against a sunrise.

Private ownership in a league known worldwide, its obscene wealth multiplied by the season will attract those with the biggest checkbooks. These meetings in the early 90s about changing the way England’s top division functioned stand as football equivalents with geologists digging through sand to find oil in the 1930s.

This transaction in Newcastle United, decided by so few, affects many. From my perspective, soaked in cognitive bias, there is plenty of hope.

Hope the owners treat the town right. They will plow in millions to bring in a new manager and new players, but the most telling deals will be those that will bring world-class football. The right CEO, the right football director, the right recruiting people, listening to the right agents, representing the right players to rebuild a club, not just setting up a team. It took Manchester City three seasons to win a title after the takeover. I would take a time frame three times if it meant an air of sustainability rose above all else.

The interruption between local football on Tyneside and what happens inside the strangely shaped stadium every other weekend is gaping. Do it well. Start treating everyone in the club properly, after the last guy took pensions from the canteen staff away to pay player bonuses. These are the stories that bounce around in a city that is talked about in pubs and bridge clubs, far from a headline.

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Investing in football comes with a focus. The shadow that is now my shadow? It is rightly more exposed than it was last week.

Investment in Newcastle is different from Saudi Arabia, which invests in Facebook and Uber and Boeing. I would like to think that fans of a football club who are not known to withhold their emotions would react differently to Mark Zuckerberg if the CIA were to start filing reports again.

From watching your team run around aimlessly to the Wolves to an increased interest in geopolitics and CIA reports.

Far out, it’s been a week.

As flabby as it may sound, I just want to see my team play good football, and no matter where it leads, so be it.

It could take us to Wembley Way and an explosion of joy for decades along the way, just as Manchester City beat Stoke to win the 2011 FA Cup final.

My dad turned 82 last Friday and woke up to this news. His brother, Uncle Bill, is a few years older than him. My son is 16, and a number ten with black and white stripes hangs from his bedroom wall.

The deep thought of the last few days leads to an opportunity: We all four sit at a cup final, the oldest two telling stories of how much their father loved Jackie Milburn and why Newcastle, whatever the situation, want to be a part of us.


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