By Philip Burn
Mr. Webster defines apathy as the feeling of “not having much emotion or interest.” Synonyms include indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern, impassivity, etc. Need I continue?
I have always considered myself as fanatical and committed a supporter as the next proud Geordie. Living in exile in Dallas, Texas (it’s a hard life but someone’s got to do it!), I have gone to great lengths over the years to make sure that I get to see the lads play.
Today, US TV coverage of the Premier League is excellent but there was a time that my only chance of Newcastle news and commentary was via the patchy reception of the BBC World Service on my short wave radio.
The second half of this season has stretched my support like never before. I feel like I should send an apology and ‘get out free card’ to all of my American friends that I have indoctrinated to the ways of Newcastle United. Wouldn’t it be great to be a Liverpool supporter right now? Crap, I’d even take being a Southampton supporter!
Of course, we all agree that there is simply no option to which team we support. Unlike American sports, where ‘franchises’ are bought and sold like cheap shirts in Sports Direct, there is no question of our allegiance to Newcastle. We were born black and white and will die black and white. But does life have to be so hard!? I feel guilty for my apathetic attitude right now but it’s getting harder to watch the circus that is my beloved Newcastle United and listen to the spouting of the garrulous, inept Pardon’t.
Pardon’t is really working his ticket. Hopefully, before long he’ll be buying his ticket back to whatever stone he crawled from under. The drivel he comes out with in his interviews is nothing short of scandalous. I work in Communications and I know that Newcastle United has a PR Department.
Why don’t they write him some talking points on interview days and instruct him to stop telling bare-faced lies? “We had 10 pros out today” – no you didn’t. “A win will settle the fan’s frustrations” – it wouldn’t be a bad start but with only 13 points from a possible 48 you’ll forgive us for not being too optimistic. “It’s the media’s fault” – nope, wrong again. “Stoke are a very, very good side” – no, they’re a team of Neanderthal long-ball merchants!
His tactical decisions have been typically baffling in recent weeks. Today’s 3-5-2 was horrific! Shola and Gosling? Really? Taylor’s positioning is weak at the best of times but to throw him into an untried three man back-line is nuts. How Mbiwa and Ben Arfa cannot get into that team is simply beyond me.
It’s plain to see that change is desperately needed at the club. Change in the boardroom, change in the dugout, change on the training ground and pitch, and perhaps most difficult of all, change of our expectations as supporters. I hate that a mid-table finish is considered success but I’m afraid right now it’s a fact. The season is ending with whimper. Is it too much to ask for a bit of honest hard work, passion and commitment?
I think I need a timely reminder from Sir Bobby; “What is a club in any case? It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.”
That’s more like it. Roll on next weekend!
Keep on, keeping on. Howay the lads!