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NEWCASTLE UNITED FANZINE - the alternative view - 20

17/18 SEASON

Many Happy Returns

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E-MAIL: WEBSITE: EDITOR: Alex Hurst DEPUTY EDITOR: Norman Riley FOUNDED BY: Michael Martin PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Flynn, Colin Ferguson & Carl Haynes COPYRIGHT: All items(c) true faith. Not to be reproduced without the prior permission of true faith. STATEMENT: This is NOT an official product of Newcastle United FC. NOTICE: All views expressed are the views of the author and do not always represent the views of true faith. CONTRIBUTIONS: All contributions to true

Editorial...................................................... pg4

Feyenoord away.................................... pg32

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year................................... pg6

Sketch for winter................................. pg36

Takeover.................................................. pg12

A fan from across the pond.............. pg40

articles, photos etc.

Newcastle United The Community Football Club......... pg14

Postcards From The Edge................... pg46


Channel 4 Dispatches Trouble on the train............................. pg16

60 Second Season............................... pg48

Bill Shankly - Nature’s fire BBC....... pg18 A-Z............................................................ pg20

encouraged and considered for publication - letters,

L.J. & M. Martin.

Cocteau Twins, Bob Ferris and Picking Your Nose........................ pg52

Women’s hour....................................... pg24

As It Was When It Was...................... pg54

Dementia, football and me............... pg30

The End................................................... pg62

faith are welcomed,

NEXT ISSUE: TF 136. OUT: 12/JAN/18 . SUBMISSIONS FOR NEXT ISSUE: 05/JAN/18 . © true faith. tf 3


Welcome to tf 135. United find themselves where may expected at the start of the season. Not   in the relegation zone but we;; and truly ‘in the mix’.  Since Mikel Merino popped up and send Tyneside him happy in the 88th minute against Palace it’s been grim.  No one is hiding from that.   All of the games we’ve had on ‘this run’ we’ve had a chance in bar the disastrous Watford home game. We aren’t a good side, but then neither are any of the sides around us in the table. Every side bar Swansea has received significant investment in the last two years and Rafa Benitez has worked tf 4

miracles on a transfer trading profit of £44 million. This fanzine is scheduled before two absolutely massive home games for us.   Leicester this weekend and Everton to follow.   Everton are actually level on points in the league with us at the time of writing but no doubt Sam Allardyce will be lauded for ‘beating the drop’ after taking over a side four points clear of the relegation zone. Back to United though and we find ourselves in need of points to keep the cushion we’ve earned for ourselves.  The support is been resilient and resolute.  There were no major tantrums after Bournemouth or Watford

tf 135 December 2017

despite the gutting nature (for different reasons) of those results. The players, manager and fanbase will be tested over this next five weeks.  We need to stick together. The potential sale of Newcastle United rumbles on.   It seems no closer to a resolution.   true faith’s stance on it hasn’t changed.   Mike Ashley must sell the football club to the only interested bidder.   Failure to do so would be catestrophic and ultimately be the end of many thousands of people’s faith in the club.   Mike Ashley has been presented with an opportunity to get out and claw most, if not all of his money back.   Failure to take that opportunity due to


There were no major tantrums after Bournemouth or Watford despite the gutting nature (for different reasons) of those results.

greed, hubris or anything else - will mean the end of Newcastle United for another generation. I cannot see Rafa Benitez hanging around to work with a man who has allegedly lied to him on several occasions.   To waste the opportunity of allowing a world class manager to work with a reasonable Premier League budget, with new ambitious owners would be a betrayal of the region, the city and the fanbase.  A betrayal that could never be forgiven. Back to the football and your favourite third choice striker has been getting angry social media people hot under the collar as the manager continues to snub Aleksander Mitrovic.   I was at West Brom and was baffled to see on twitter that he ‘changed the game’ when coming on.   He did okay.   The bar has been set so low for him that merely not getting sent off and passing to colleagues is lauded.   I want Mitrovic to get his chance in the side and take it.   Let’s not forget though, he’s had chances before and squandered them.  The weather is bad, the results have dipped and there’s uncertainty surrounding a struggling

Whatever happens this month, lets stick behind the lads. They deserve and need our support.

club. Despite this every away end is sold out (despite us being on telly non-stop) and getting tickets for home games for some fans is an ordeal, due to lack of availability.   This is a poundshop football team competing in John Lewis and doing okay.   Thousands still flock to see it.   There is potential in this club which hopefully Amanda Stavely and her backers recognise.   Whatever happens this month, lets stick

behind the lads. They deserve and need our support.  The manager is back to almost pleading for fans to stick with players.   Some of the abuse Joselu received at West Brom was staggering from fans that sing about themselves as the ‘loyalist football supporters’.   It’s a vocal minority but how these people can’t reign in their unhinged emotions and just not scream abuse at a   player in Black and White, is beyond me. ‘The problem is we are in

the Premier League’ said the manager after being asked what his side’s problem is. Quite. At true faith we’ve a mega busy December with the usual match previews and reports, podcasts and video blog.   Please subscribe to the new tf YouTube Channel if you can.  Three wins over Christmas and New Year would be magic.  6 would be enough.  Anything less and we can all start to panic.  We’ve got the lads grafting and the manager to keep us up.   Keep the faith. Alex Hurst Editor FOLLOW @tfalex1892

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merry christmas and a happy new year LIAM REAY

“Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to see Newcastle win away.” I vividly remember singing this as I walked out of Elland Road on December 22nd 2001 as United sat top of the Premier League after an unbelievable 4-3 win against Leeds. Nobby Solano had scored a last-minute winner in front of a packed away end. Even a mate nearly starting a fight outside the ground and our bus crashing on the way home couldn’t dampen my spirits. It was, and still is, my favourite ever away day. When I think about Christmas, I think about that game. However, when I try to evoke more Newcastle memories over the Festive period, I struggle. In fact, I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. Was the Leeds game so good that everything else becomes easily forgettable or are we just usually hopeless over Christmas? I decided to look back through the last 15 years to see how we usually fare over Christmas and New Year.

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2001/02 League position Christmas Day: 1st


United followed up the win at Leeds with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Boro on Boxing Day. The mood around the place was electric before the game against Chelsea at St James’ Park 3 days later. Unfortunately by this time fatigue had begun to set in, especially with players such as Dyer and Bellamy who relied so much on their pace. We went down 2-1 and were beaten 3-1 away at Man Utd early in the New Year. League position after Christmas and New Year fixtures: 4th 2002/03. League position Christmas Day: 4th


A Uriah Rennie inspired 4-3

defeat on Boxing Day at Bolton got things off to a bad start. We turned things around with a fantastic 2-1 win at home to Spurs on the 29th, a result which was tainted by bad injuries to Speed, Dyer and Solano. A New Year’s Day home game against Liverpool ended with another 3 points for United thanks to a goal from Laurent Robert. League position after Christmas and New Year fixtures: 4th 2003/04. League position Christmas Day: 5th


The long trip to Leicester on Boxing Day ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a last minute equaliser from Darren Ambrose. This game also included the shocking but funny incident of Laurent Robert almost decapitating Olivier

Bernard. Blackburn came to St James’ 2 days later and took all 3 points thanks to a goal which should have been disallowed. League position after Christmas and New Year fixtures: 7th 2004/05. League position Christmas Day: 13th


No Alan Shearer and an injury to Kluivert during the 2-2 draw at Blackburn on Boxing Day had everyone fearing the worst as Arsenal came to St James’ Park on the 29th. The game wasn’t the hammering many thought it would be and the lads were applauded off after a battling display in a narrow 1-0 defeat. Shola was again tasked with playing as a lone forward when Birmingham City arrived on New Year’s Day. United won the game 2-1

The long trip to Leicester on Boxing Day ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a last minute equaliser from Darren Ambrose. This game also included the shocking but funny incident of Laurent Robert almost decapitating Olivier Bernard

Bolton away 2002

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but injuries, fatigue and Graeme Souness beginning to fall out with most of the players would set the tone for the remainder of the season. League position after Christmas and New Year fixtures: 13th 2005-06 League position Christmas Day: 10th


A 2-0 Boxing Day defeat to Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool and a New Year’s Eve defeat by the same score line away to Spurs made this a Christmas to forget for NUFC. Not only were the performances dreadful but Lee Bowyer received a straight red card at Anfield and club record signing Michael Owen broke his foot at White Hart Lane. United faced Boro at home on January 2nd and only a last minute equaliser from Lee Clark prevented it from being 3 defeats from 3 over Christmas. League position after Christmas and New Year fixtures: 11th 2006-07 League position Christmas Day: 11th


Another Boxing Day trip to Bolton and another defeat. A patched up side which included Pavel Srnicek in goal and a debut for David Edgar were beaten 2-1. Three days later United capitulated away at Everton, going down 3-0, again with a patched up side. Steven Taylor was at this point the only fit centre half at the tf 8

Bolton away again 2006

club.We did manage to raise our game when Man Utd came to St James’ in the New Year, a screamer from James Milner and a first ever senior goal for David Edgar gave us a deserved 2-2 draw.

replay showed was at least 2 yards offside. A decent performance against Man City at home on January 2nd wasn’t enough to stop United from losing 2-0 as the failure to score when on top proved costly.

League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 13th

League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 11th

2007-08 League position Christmas day: 9th

2008-09 League position Christmas day: 12th


Mike Ashley was in the away end as United suffered yet another Boxing Day defeat. This time at the hands of Wigan and Ryan Taylor. “We’re shit and we’re sick of it” was the chant from the away end as Sam Allardyce’s position was coming under increasing threat. Next was another long away trip, this time to Chelsea and a 2-1 defeat thanks to a late goal which the TV


Another Boxing Day away game. Another defeat to Wigan. Another goal for Ryan Taylor. 2 days later came one of the biggest hidings United had received at home in a long time. A 5-1 defeat, which could have been 10, to Rafa Benitez’s title chasing Liverpool. Steven Gerrard was applauded off by some Newcastle fans. Shay Given decided he couldn’t take

any more and we all realised relegation was a very real possibility. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 13th 2009-10 League position Christmas day: (Championship)

on 1st

A busy few months and a hectic December had started to catch up with Chris Hughton’s promotion chasers. A 2-2 draw away at Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day and an unlucky goalless draw with Derby at St James’ 2 days later meant it was 4 points dropped. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 1st 2010-11 League position Christmas day: 9th


After 9 consecutive Boxing Day away games United faced Man City at home. A 3-1 defeat left everyone with the same old feeling. This was followed up with a tired looking 2-0 defeat at Spurs but finally an away win at Wigan cheered everyone up at the turn of the year. Shola with the only goal in a 1-0 win.

2-0 win away at Bolton. A 3-1 defeat away to Liverpool just before New Year was followed up with the performance of the season early in January as we outplayed Man Utd at St James’ Park. An outstanding free kick at The Gallowgate End from Yohan Cabaye was the highlight of a brilliant 3-0 win. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 7th 2012-13 League position Christmas day: 14th


Probably the worst Festive period in recent history for Newcastle fans. 3 games, 3 defeats and 13 goals conceded as Alan Pardew’s managerial deficiencies started to show. Even taking into consideration fatigue, a 4-3 defeat away at Man Utd, 7-3 away at Arsenal and a 2-1 home loss to Everton was appalling. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 15th

2013-14 League position Christmas day: 6th


What started as a dull Boxing Day game against Stoke at St James’ turned into a classic. The visitors had 2 men sent off just before half time and from then on were taken apart. Mark Hughes went mental on the touchline and Ben Arfa tore what was left of the Stoke team to pieces. It ended 5-1 and everyone went home happy for a change. Typically, we then went on to lose our next two games, 1-0 at home to Arsenal and 1-0 away to West Brom, as we seemed to have used all of our luck up in the Stoke game. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 8th 2014-15 League position Christmas day: 9th


Christmas arrived with United in the middle of a goalkeeping injury crisis. Jak Alnwick continued in goal

Mark Hughes went mental on the touchline and Ben Arfa tore what was left of the Stoke team to pieces. It ended 5-1 and everyone went home happy for a change

Still Bolton away 2011§

League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 10th 2011-12 League position Christmas day: 7th


After a decade of Boxing Day defeats, Hatem Ben Arfa inspired United to a

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as United went down 3-1 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Everton were beaten at St James’ Park 2 days later in what turned out to be Alan Pardew’s final match in charge. John Carver famously telling reporters he was in the middle of a pie when Pardew asked him to do the press conference, as he headed for London to sign his contract at Palace. A disappointing 3-3 draw at home to Burnley on New Year’s Day marked the official start of Carver’s disastrous tenure. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 10th 2015-16 League position on Christmas day: 17th Steve McClaren’s side were in deep trouble going into the Christmas period. A 1-0 defeat to Everton on Boxing Day, thanks to a 93rd minute winner from Tom Cleverley preceded 1-0 away defeats at both West Brom and Arsenal. The performances weren’t too bad and McClaren bemoaned the lack of a goal scorer in his squad having been overruled in the summer and handed Serbian lunatic Alexander Mitrovic instead of the proven goal scorer he wanted. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 18th tf 10

Burnley home 2015

2016-17 League position on Christmas day: 1st (Championship) Sheffield Wednesday won 1-0 at St James’ on Boxing Day and were allowed to kick us off the park by referee Paul Tierney. We got back on track 4 days later with a 3-1 home win over Forest. A night enjoyed by everyone with this game coming 4 weeks after a shocking display of cheating had robbed us of 3 points at The City Ground. The New Year started with a shock defeat away to Blackburn. United had all of the play, including 25 shots, but just couldn’t break the home side down and were hit with a sucker punch late in the second half after Jack Colback gave away a cheap free kick on the edge of the box. League position after Christmas and New Year Fixtures: 2nd It’s quite clear that our record over the Festive period is pretty appalling. Not once in the last 15 years has our league position after the New Year game been higher than it was on Christmas

Day. In fact, you have to go back 21 seasons to find the last time this happened. Kevin Keegan was manager and Alan Shearer was only halfway through his first season at the club. The idea of a winter break in England has always been a contentious issue. Traditionalists see games over Christmas as a crucial part of the football calendar in England. Others, however, see the fixture pileup as a hindrance, especially for teams competing in Europe and for the National side during a World Cup or European Championships year. While players around Europe are enjoying Christmas and recharging their batteries for up to a month, players in England are playing through fatigue and injuries and not allowing their bodies time to recover. From our point of view, a winter break would probably be for the best. Our record is terrible and we tend to end up in a rut we struggle to get out of. I think the message here is don’t rely on Newcastle to make your Christmas a happy one. Eat loads of food and get pissed instead.

It’s quite clear that our record over the Festive period is pretty appalling. Not once in the last 15 years has our league position after the New Year game been higher than it was on Christmas Day.

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“Takeover.” It’s basically the only topic of conversation on Tyneside at present. To be perfectly honest, I’m guessing for anyone of a black & white persuasion, it’s taking up at least 50% of your brain time.  I’m sagely telling my closer pals, and indeed anyone who will listen,not to bother reading what red top journos or pontificating tweeters  (suddenly all knowledgeable  about big business deals) have to say. Yet, I find myself forlornly (& addictively) checking ‘News Now’ NUFC every couple of hours for the merest whiff of progress.  Ashley’s austere world of merely existing could be reaching it’s nadir & there is definitely a ‘Berlin Wall coming down’ vibe going around in NE1 and the surrounding hinterlands. If Mike was reading this, no doubt he’d make the point that most East Berliners felt somewhat let down by what came their way after the euphoria had died down. My question is, would he have a point?  Let’s have a look at what we know. If we’re being honest,

it’s not very much is it? A pretty 40 something business lady called Amanda, (who, we’re told, once dated serial womaniser - Prince Andrew) apparently wants to buy Newcastle United.  She has many links in the Middle East, and was very influential in Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of Man City. I said ‘apparently’ above because whether she wants to buy it for herself, or is merely fronting a bid for various groups hoping to join in a consortium is, at this juncture, unclear.  If it is a consortium, what will be her role? A mere broker or will she have her hand on the tiller, going forward? While we’re at it, who are these mysterious consortia lurking in the background? We are presuming they’re either Saudi Arabian or Dubai based. Then again, that info is from the press, whom I get

Nick Clark follow @Clark5Nick tf 12

the feeling know very little of actual fact.  If they are indeed from that particular neck of the woods, how do we feel about mega wealthy folk from an authoritarian theocracy in Saudi or business persons from Dubai, a place whose many critics believe to be built through modern day slavery, getting their mitts on our lovely football club?  I mentioned Sheikh Mansour above. When you think of your club being taken over. It is a trillionaire like him who gets your blood pumping. One of the richest people on the planet buying the best players and making your club into football’s version of the Harlem  Globetrotters. Wonderful!  However, for every one of him there are a plethora of foreign nutcases buying into English football. The Venkys, Dr Xia & of course, Bond villain lookalike Vincent Tan, just a few examples.  Not to

mention good old Ellis, down Wessington Way, marra. Did Blackburn, Villa, Cardiff or the silly mackem fans worry about what they were actually getting before being bought? Well, I’m guessing the vast majority were just happy the present incumbents were being moved on and a brave new world awaited.  I started writing this piece about 10 days ago, and am sitting here finishing it the morning after the 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns. I think it’s fair to say that the euphoria about the takeover has now become a feeling of uncertainty as some press outlets announce an eleventh hour second bidder. This is 99% sure to be Ashley spin. And not unexpected behaviour from the portly Kent.  From my point of view, whilst we don’t know a great deal about the personalities behind the purported takeover of United, you would like

to think that someone of Ms Staveley’s background including Middle East backers would be as good as gets, from a monetary aspect. I’m tired of Ashley’s  grey world. I’m fed up of his lack of investment. I’m sick of seeing his gaudy free advertising all over our wonderful stadium. Like many of you out there, I absolutely yearn for a new direction. From top to bottom the club requires it. I acknowledge that there are pitfalls & pratfalls to be had from new ownership but I totally embrace the opportunity for change. 

So how did this player become the assured, dominant, consistent defender we see in the Newcastle United side today?

Whatever uncertainty new ownership may bring with it, the very thought more of the same under the current regime makes my blood run cold.  “Be careful what you wish for!”, the doubting Thomas’s will say. I think I speak for the vast majority when I answer, “We’ve had more than enough of ‘careful’.” tf 13

There’s no end of speculation going at present regarding the sale of Newcastle United .We seem to have a ‘willing’ seller and a ‘willing’ buyer and whilst the whole process is obviously complicated there seems a possibility that in the near future we could have a new owner. I don’t think it’s controversial to suggest that the great majority of our supporters will be glad to see the back of the current owner, who I think it’s fair to suggest has used our club more for the promotion of his sports retail business than for the benefit of NUFC itself.

NUST FOLLOW @nufctrust

to the day was the belief that regardless of who actually owned football clubs (in the strict legal sense) they should be community owned focused representing the areas in which they were based. Presuming a new owner does takeover, whilst many will be relieved to see the back of Mr Ashley there will be the interesting question about what does any new owner envisage for the future of Newcastle United. In 2015 NUST undertook a piece of work entitled ‘Whose Club is it?’ which looked at what we believed a future Newcastle United would look like. At part of tf 14

this work we organised a Conference which co-incidentally took place shortly after Rafa took over- where supporter’s organisations from England and Scotland attended to discuss the topic of fan engagement and the different forms it took at their own clubs. Attendees included supporters from ‘fan owned’ clubs to those with ‘a formal seat on the Board’ .A common theme

We released our ‘Community Ownership Statement’ to coincide with the Conference which focused on what we believed any new owner should be aiming towards; • a club that will work with supporters on fans issues and will recognize their value as the long term custodians of the club, • a club that will work with our MPs, the city council

and local businesses to play its part in regenerating our area rather than simply bill boarding a national sports retailer, • a club that will work with local football clubs and schools to develop local talent and keep that talent in the North East, • a club that says we can compete, we will compete, we don’t reward mediocrity, we strive for excellence and to be the best we can be in everything we do. I mentioned earlier that all of this was against the backdrop of Rafa’s appointment because there’s no doubt that there has been a ‘step change’ in many areas, both on and off the field, since his appointment. Despite relegation in 2016, the reaction of supporters showed at our final game of the season against Spurs how highly we, the supporters, rated him. We know from sources close to Rafa that he was taken aback by the response of fans at that game, which contributed, in no short measure to him deciding to stay and manage us in the Championship. For that,

we will always be eternally grateful. He galvanised our support and gave back a feeling of pride to both supporters and the City itself. Instead of struggling like many relegated teams, he led the club to immediate promotion as Champions. Rafa sees Newcastle United as a long term ‘project’, he ‘gets’ the club and its supporters. He knows exactly what Newcastle United means to its supporters and what a successful club would mean for the city and the wider region. He’s invited fanzines and fan groups in to talk to him about what’s important to fans, he’s reorganising the way the Academy works with a view to bringing through more of our own talent, the club are now more actively involved with local politicians and businesses and from our own perspective Newcastle United Supporters Trust has been invited back to the Fans Forum, Initiatives such as NUFC Fans Foodbank, Gallowgate Flags and Wor Hyem have shown the positive inter-action between the club and a fan base that was becoming increasingly alienated .The club should be praised for

their new approach. Closer association and promotion of the Newcastle United Women’s Football Club and adoption of the minimum wage for all staff would further cement club ties with their community. The Newcastle United Foundation who previously appeared to many to be detached from the Club are coming on leaps and bounds supporting many initiatives and programmes in our area….and wider. Their plans for the future seem to be very positive. From our perspective, we would hope that any new owner sees the positive aspect of meaningful fan engagement, recognising the great benefits that fans can play, and how Newcastle United integrated into the heart of our local community can be of mutual benefit for all concerned.

Initiatives such as NUFC Fans Foodbank, Gallowgate Flags and Wor Hyem have shown the positive interaction between the club and a fan base that was becoming increasingly alienated .The club should be praised for their new approach

Newcastle United remains, in our view, perhaps the greatest untapped football club in Europe. The possibilities are endless. We hope any new owner seizes this opportunity to work with the supporters to take the club to its full potential tf 15

Channel 4 Dispatches - TROUBLE ON THE TRAIN Monday 6/Nov/2017 Football has changed a lot since I clicked through onto the West Stand Paddock at SJP for the first time in 1971 to see Supermac make his United debut in a brilliant 3-2 win over Liverpool. My old man always avoided taking me into the Leazes or Gallowgate Ends because it was “rough” so it was the West Stand Paddock amongst the pipe-smoke and old gadgies. I think my old man favoured the Popular Side terrace with his mates when he didn’t take me. Social attitudes have changed. Terrible behaviour hasn’t. I watched this programme with resignation because all of it just seemed so familiar. Beery, lairy, ignorant men old enough to know better largely passively aggressive using their numbers and the vulnerability of others to swagger around and adopt some kind of lamentable strength. Although the programme fixed on Sheffield Wednesday , Leeds, Man tf 16

City, Fulham and Chelsea fans I don’t think we can say Newcastle United doesn’t have supporters who don’t behave like this. Let’s be honest, we know we do, we’ve all witnessed it and it isn’t restricted to travel on trains. Obviously the programme focused on the racist language of some of the fans and responses to it. Although one Sheff Wed fan (old enough to be a Grand-dad) did not receive a banning order

Michael Martin follow @tfMichael1892

from the courts, the club imposed a life-time ban from Wednesday games. The sight of an elderly orthodox Jewish man leaving a carriage full of arseholes singing about the Holocaust (in which I’ll guess the Jewish man might have had relatives) was obnoxious and makes you wonder about the mentality of these people. A depressing reminder that there are some proper wankers who follow football!


E R E H P U N IG S H C T A M Y R E V E EMAILED TO YOU nique pieces u es d u cl in l ia ec Sp The the day n o es m ga ed it n U to tailored ide the perfect they are played and prov match-day read.

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There some figures in sport who transcend rivalries and come to be loved and respected across traditional divides and I don’t think I’m being overly controversial by saying Bill Shankly is one of them. Shankly died some 35 years ago but his legacy at Liverpool FC and the wider game is still chewed over and this documentary is a timely reference point for the man, the club he created and where the game is now in 2017. I’d have loved to have had a figure like Shankly at Newcastle United. He was everything a leader should be. Sure, I think we’ve had elements of Shankly in the likes of Keegan (in particular and more later), Harvey and SBR. But we’ve never had all of those ingredients together and tf 18

for any extended period of time. The simple truth is, Shankly wouldn’t have worked at United because there were people running the club who lacked his belief and leadership. They were small-minded, provincial and lacking in vision. It took several elements

Michael Martin follow @tfMichael1892

beyond Shankly’s own drive, determination, ethics and leadership to turn Liverpool in the “bastion of invincibility” he spoke about. He just couldn’t have done it at Newcastle United because the people running the club couldn’t recognise a good thing when they see it.

Liverpool weren’t as great a club as Newcastle United when Shankly moved there from Huddersfield. By the time the Reds won the FAC in the 60s for the first time, we’d already won it 6 times and competed in 12 finals. Everything in the great Liverpool behemoth in 2017 begun when Shankly moved to Merseyside in 1959. Much of this programme focused on people who follow Liverpool, who are emotionally connected to the great Anfield club and that was a great trick for the documentary makers to pull, given Shankly’s connection to the supporters or Kopites. Again and again the theme turned to Shankly’s humble origins in the pre WW2 coalfields of Ayrshire in the West of Scotland. Pardon the pun, but it is a rich seam of study to attempt to assess what it was in the

early life and grounding in those coalfield communities which sprung not only Shankly but his contemporaries Stein and Busby to similar greatness and which was clearly part of the DNA of Paisley and Robson. There’s a great book in there for the right writer. The interviews with Shankly’s ex-players were instructive. To say they revered him is perhaps an understatement but none moreso than KK who wasn’t the only one to get a bit misty-eyed discussing Shankly. I did smile at KK reminiscing at Shankly telling him to “drop hand-grenades” on his debut and recalled exactly the same form of words KK used whilst United manager to Gavin Peacock, who broadly speaking played in the same position he did. Phil Thompson spoke of something of the bond between Shankly and

Keegan, perhaps as a result in their similar coal-mining family backgrounds KK’s of course in DurhamYorkshire and Shankly’s in Ayrshire. Of course Liverpool supporters revere him and the coach-party to his birthplace of Glenbuck, which still looked a little coal-scarred had something of the religious pilgrimage about it. My view on what made Shankly great beyond the football achievements? His generosity of spirit, his belief in the value of people, his everyday socialism and his complete lack of selfishness! A truly great man and a really enjoyable documentary. Have a look at Bill Shankly Nature’s Fire (warning contains scenes of Newcastle United getting humped in the 1974 FA Cup Final).

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A - Arsenal. We’re at the Emirates on the 16th of this month. Their home form is pretty spectacular. It’ll be one tough match. It’ll be freezing. Let’s just hope, given the time of year, we’re all suitably merry and the Gunners defence tf 20

is dishing out the presents. B - Bouncebackability. 2-0 down away to WBA and the side fought back to get a merited point. The strength of character after the previous 4 consecutive defeats came through and it will serve the side well as the season progresses.


C - Chris Coleman. A somewhat surprise appointment at our beloved rivals and definitely a risk on his part given that after his failings at club level he has built-up a decent reputation for his exploits with Wales. Best of luck Chris (?!)

D Dishonesty the best policy? We’ve got a squad of honest professionals who rarely (if ever) try to win free-kicks or have a go at the ref for decisions that go against or haven’t gone for the team. Every other team in the PL plays tricks. Are we being a little naïve and/or too nice by not doing so?

We could come out of the other side relatively stress-free for 2018.

E - Everton. The match at St. James’ was always going to be an important one given their position in the league. Now they’ve got the glorious Sam ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce at the helm it’ll hopefully make for a raucous and boisterous atmosphere that’ll contribute to us getting the 3 points.

J - Joselu. Our muchmaligned centre-forward is receiving inordinate amounts of grief over social media at the minute. Aye, he doesn’t score and aye, he wouldn’t have been in Rafa’s top 5 first choices in the summer, but he does what’s asked of him (the dirty work) and it’d be more useful to see him encouraged as opposed to denigrated.

F - Formations. Rafa went 442 for Bournemouth, Man Utd and Watford. We did create chances in all games in the opening 15 minutes or more but we do seem to look a lot more solid playing the 4411 that we started the season with. Given out personnel, caution would appear to be the best way forward.

K - Keepers. Karl Darlow recalled to the line-up versus WBA and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s kept as place as this goes to print. He was bang on last season, he’s still young for a keeper and it’s now in his hands to prove himself.

G - Games. An absolute load of them this month with the Christmas fixtures included. Our resolve as fans, and that of the squad, must be as strong as it can be.

H - Hat. Two assists for Matt against WBA. Let’s hope he’s got his magic back. I - Injuries. Lascelles, Atsu and Dummett not quite ready for the Chelsea match but it won’t be long before they’re all back. Good.

L - Love. Rafa’s has once again a s k e d the fans to give their unwavering support to the players. It’s a shame he feels like he needs to

ask but if it’s what the man wants from us, if he’s telling us it’ll help the side, then let’s do as he wishes. Love spreads. Mikel. He’s back from his bad back and he’s a bastard brilliant ball player. N - Nolan. Kevin said this, “He’s probably spent a lot more money than his rivals have so for me, with the way they are up there - with the expectancy of the crowd and the town and what goes up there with it he might be trying to kid them a bit and make sure they don’t get on his back too early”. Hi Kev. Thanks for the memories. Now f*** off, ta. O - Opportunity. The Mitro debate rumbles on. Many fans want to see him given a start. There’s a feeling that’ll happen over the course of the next month. It’s down to him to make himself indispensable should the opportunity be forthcoming. P - Physiques. One thing that has been obvious this season so far is just HOW MUCH BIGGER a lot of opposition players are compared to those of NUFC. If Rafa’s given money to spend in the window it would be great to see some real power introduced to the side as we can be a bit easier to knock off the ball at times.

One thing that has been obvious this season so far is just HOW MUCH BIGGER a lot of opposition players are compared to those of NUFC.

tf 21

Q - Qualms. None of those even after 4 consecutive defeats. We’ll be alreet.

Likely. Probably. Mebbes. Nee idea. Nee chance. Who knas?!

R - Rumours. The transfer window is upon us and it’ll be an exercise in frustration no doubt reading rumours of potential signings over the course of the next 6-8 weeks. Any signings we might make are, of course, dependent on you know what.....

U - Ugly. We’ll take our next win any which way it comes. If it’s a last minute own goal after soaking up 89 minutes of pressure it doesn’t matter. 20 points on the board as 2018 commences would be great.

S - Sackings. Bilic, Pulis, Koeman, Shakespeare all gone before Christmas. There’s so much money in the PL club chairman panic very quickly. The next one will happen before the end of December. Who’s your money on? Who will Pulis be managing before the end of February?! Takeover. Will it? Won’t it? Is it? Isn’t it? Will he? Won’t he? Definitely.

Ashley is desperate to get out

There is a champions league clause

keegan is coming back as Director of Football

V - Vocal. Our skipper was out of action for November and oh how we’ve missed him. We’re a quiet side and Lascelles is the biggest voice we have on the pitch. His return can’t come quick enough. W - Wide men. Christian Atsu’s injury has seen Jacob Murphy start a few games and Rolando Aarons has also been back in contention. The potential is there. We need them to realise it.

This lass done the deal for Man City man!!

It’s nothing but a publicity stunt man!!!

X - Xmas. All the best everyone. And let’s hope we all get what we want for it. A new owner of NUFC. Y - Youth. Tom Heardman banged in 4 in one match for the under 23s last week. He’s 22 years old and stands at 1 meter 93. He’s been nowhere near the first-team. If the money isn’t forthcoming during the transfer window, might we see him in the first team squad in the next couple of months? Z - Zero. The amount of wins the club had in November. It was a tough month but we finished it in 12th place, 5 points above the bottom 3. We can still remain pretty zen about it all at the minute.

They want us to be the new Man City

Apparently we are going for Sergio Agüero

Who’s your money on? Who will Pulis be managing before the end of February?! Takeover. Will it? Won’t it? Is it? Isn’t it? Will he? Won’t he? Definitely. Likely. Probably. Mebbes. Nee idea. Nee chance. Who knas?!

We’ve got 500 million to spend in January

The Mackems will never catch us now

Please god let it happen!!!

Accept it and f**k off Fat Boy

It will be complete by Christmas

Rafa will gnash if it doesn’t go through

tf 22



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As a result of the higher profile now enjoyed by the women’s game, the last few years has seen a quiet revolution in the way that girls and young women are participating in the beautiful game. It struck me when I was walking past West Moor Community Centre last Sunday that there were loads of cars disgorging parents and children to play on the all-weather pitch and nearly half were young girls wearing the full kit. This would have been remarkable a few years ago but now it is not unusual as the game has achieved a higher profile through the success of the England Women’s international team. So to understand where Newcastle United Women’s are in their development it is important to examine developments nationally and specifically the progression of the England national team (the Lionesses) and the way in which this has been assisted through the increasing investment in teams in the Women’s Super League.

The recent controversy over the way in which the England Women’s team has been managed only served to raise the profile of the game even further. The appointment of Hope Powell as their first fulltime coach in 1998 led to an improvement in team performances, with qualification for European Championships and World Cups becoming routine. In May 2009 central contracts were brought in and three months later England reached the final of the European Championship where they were beaten 6-2 by reigning champions Germany. After that success, performances tailed off a bit and Powell eventually resigned in 2013 after being knocked out in the group stages of the European Championship. Mark Sampson took over as

manager and succeeded in taking them to third place at the 2015 World Cup. Obviously disappointed at not reaching the final, at least they had the satisfaction of finally beating Germany for the first time on 21 meetings. It was also the best performance by an England senior team since 1966. Sampson, of course, was dismissed earlier this year because of allegations raised by Eni Aluko and references to previous cases which the FA had mishandled since his appointment, all of which he denies. The FA asked barrister Katherine Newton to investigate the procedures implemented and the way in which Sampson managed what has become known as ‘the Aluko Affair’. A leaked draft of the report suggests that the main reason Aluko

was dropped from the squad was that she was seen as a disruptive influence and was unpopular with others in the squad, where she was not seen as a ‘team player’. Of course, the fact that Aluko was alleging that she had been treated differently because of her race made this an incendiary issue and the FA is still dealing with the outcome, not least because of the dismissal of Sampson. All of which has attracted national media headlines.

Sampson, of course, was dismissed earlier this year because of allegations raised by Eni Aluko...

The top tier of the Women’s Super League consists of two divisions, the WSL 1 and the WSL 2. Sunderland currently play in WSL 1. The WSL 2 was introduced in 2014. There are ten teams in WSL 1 and ten in WSL 2. Having previously run as a summer league, from this year it will run from September to tf 25

May. The Champions and Runners-Up qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League. In September 2017 it was announced that live games for the 2017-18 season would be broadcast by BT Sports and online by the BBC. The teams in WSL 1 are: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Bristol City,Chelsea,Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Reading, Sunderland and Yeovil Town. WSL 2 comprises: Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham, London Bees, Milwall Lionesses, Oxford United, Sheffield, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford. Durham are currently second in the table with ten points from five games, one point behind the Belles Last season was truncated to allow the introduction of a winter league. Chelsea won what was called the Spring Series which ran tf 26

from February to May this year. ManC and Chelsea currently dominate the women’s game on the back of substantial investment from their parent clubs. Sunderland were fulltime until the end of last season when they opted to go part-time as part of their general cost-cutting following relegation. Players’ salaries are nowhere near their male counterparts, however. An average wage for a full-time pro would be less than £40k. That’s per annum, not per week. More players are seeking careers overseas, some with more success than others, and this is also influencing the way young women see the sport. There is the possibility of a sporting career for a select few and that possibility may lead to more parents encouraging their daughters to take up the game. Lucy Bronze, from Holy Island, whose parents went to extreme lengths to help her to train and play, is a favourite of

England fans and won the PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award in 2014 but she is currently playing for Olympique Lyonnais Féminin in France. With the demise of fulltime professional teams in the North East there are no options available currently for young women to carve out a paid career unless they are prepared to leave home. However, the raised profile of the women’s game means that some parents will still see this as a potential career for their offspring. The fact that the Mackems are currently sixth in Women’s Super League 1 is a testimony to the dedication of the players and staff who remain following the decision of the club to end the professionalisation of the team. However, the clubs who remain fully professional - ManC, Arsenal, Chelski, Liverpool and Reading - are the top five and look likely to remain so. Both ManC and Chelski are currently progressing in

Sunderland were fulltime until the end of last season when they opted to go part-time as part of their general cost-cutting following relegation

the Women’s Champions League as the effects of increased professionalism feed through into the higher reaches of the game. The recent England team in the game v Khazakstan had six ManC players in the starting eleven which illustrates how much investment in the women’s game by the richer Premiership clubs is influencing the balance of power. This investment is skewing the women’s game even more than the men’s as it is spread across fewer teams. There are concerns about the lack of competitive uncertainty in games between the top and lower sides. However, the ultimate beneficiary may well be the England Women’s team, the Lionesses. England are very unlikely to win a men’s World Cup in the near future but they could win a Women’s World Cup so, much like the men’s game, the FA are unlikely to do anything which might interfere in this investment. The game itself has reached an interesting junction in terms of the way it is played. The feeling in the past has always been that the women’s game would not enjoy mass popularity until it became more physical - more like the men’s game, in fact, with particular reference to the standard of heading and the lack of contests for high balls. The recent Alan Shearer documentary which highlighted the

possible impact of regular heading on the brain may mean that, in the long term, the men’s game actually becomes more like the women’s game rather than vice versa. The reduction in investment in our biggest women’s club, Sunderland AFC Ladies has coincided with an upswing in interest from NUFC in women’s football. Founded in 1989, Newcastle WFC became affiliated with NUFC in 2016. They train at the Academy Training Centre in Benton and are currently in the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division, the third tier of English women’s football. Newcastle United’s women’s team was recently relaunched as part of Newcastle United Foundation,theclub’sofficial registered charity. Almost 700 girls  will  play  football with the Foundation as part of Premier League  Girls, with 170 enrolled on an Advanced Coaching Programme led by former Newcastle United Women’s captain, Lisa Bell. The newly-created Newcastle

United Women will act as a direct route for girls playing in the Foundation’s grassroots programmes to playing in the famous black  and  white stripes. As well as community programmes and  free fun days, NUFC run open trials every year (over 100 girls turned up this year) for the club’s Girls PDC talent pathway which operates at U9’s,  U11’s, U13’s,  U15’s and U17’s. See how NUFC are getting young girls involved in football.

Alder Sweeney Award - Phil Eadon (Newcastle United Women) tf 27

Newcastle United Foundation kindly agreed to set up an interview with the team 1. How would you describe the standard of football played by Newcastle United Women and how does it compare with the Women’s Premier League? Newcastle United Women play in the Women’s Premier League – Northern Tier.

No players are currently paid to play. Our players don’t pay to play either, although we do ask for their support to source player sponsors to help cover costs. It is our vision that in due course we won’t need this support to help raise funds.  4. What is the pathway from Girls’ football to the first team?

The top tier of Women’s Football in the Women’s Super League. Most teams in the WSL are all professional players with roughly 10-16 hours contact time with their groups.

Newcastle United Foundation runs open trials every year for the Girls PDC talent pathway which has U9’s, U11’s, U13’s, U15’s and U17’s. This season Newcastle United Women has four players who have come through that pathway currently playing in the Development team.

2. How do you recruit to the team?

5. Are there any players we should look out for?        

We use our knowledge of Women footballers within the area to directly recruit players who we want to sign for the Club. We also hold trials annually for any players interested in getting involved and these are really popular.

We have a number of young players who we are looking forward to working with and helping them to progress through from the Development into the First team.

3. Are the first team paid or do they pay to play? tf 28

6. Can you go along to watch the first team? If so, how much does it cost?

Absolutely! We would love some more support! First team home games are played at Cochrane Park, Newcastle University, NE7 7JZ. Admission is £3 for adults and £1 children. 7. What are your aspirations and targets for the team over the next three years? We have a 5 year plan which involves on and off the field progress to move through the Leagues and into WSL structure. 8. What are your views on the current state of women’s football nationally and across the region: This is an exciting time to be involved in women’s football nationally, as the FA look to expand the amount of teams playing full time football in WSL. The focus is on increasing participation and I saw that last Sunday in West Moor. I just hope someone is telling them about the dodgy knees and ankles coming their way

More information on how the team are organised visit and FACEBOOK NUWFCOfficial 

tf 29

Dementia, Football and Me ALAN SHEARER, BBC Our former net burster has come a long way as a BBC presenter. In his early days on the MoTD couch I can’t have been the only one who regarded his delivery style as wooden and his opinions one dimensional, safe and beige. I’d guess all of us wanted Alan to do well in his post-United career and I think on the evidence of this programme, he is going to do just that. I’ve heard the responses amongst traditional football fans to claims heading footballs can cause brain problems with the bluff brush offs of health and safety culture gone mad ©. Defensive headers and of course goals scored with headers can be glorious. We’ve revelled in this exploits of a history of centre-forwards going back to Vic Keeble, Wyn Davies, Malcolm Macdonald, Peter Withe, Les Ferdinand, Duncan Ferguson, Andy Carroll and of course Shearer himself. Whether in the long-term heading the ball will fade from the game remains to be seen and Shearer himself concluded this programme with his view that it should not. tf 30

Michael Martin follow @tfMichael1892

However, what the programme did illustrate is there is a case to investigated. Naturally, Gordon Taylor of the PFA once again is completely behind the curve – just as he was with sexual abuse in football and as ever, playing catch-up. Much the same applies to the FA whose dithering and lack of a clear direction struck me as atypical of an organisation that is never really agile enough to deal with the challenges it faces in the modern era. This was an intelligent, thought provoking documentary presented

warmly by Alan Shearer who is turning into an engaging presenter who had an enthusiastic desire to understand the complex medical issues allied to his natural, unsentimental empathy for the people he interviewed – Jeff Astle’s daughter, his former mentor Chris Nichol, Nobby Stiles’ son and the families of Matt Tees, not a widely known player who starred in the lower divisions during his career. The documentary left me unable to draw a firm conclusion on the issue but the issue of children heading the ball is one the

FA and government needs to grasp quickly and firmly, understanding the science that has prompted this in the USA. These kinds of documentaries are exactly why the BBC exists. No-one would seriously expect SKY to compromise their “product” by suggesting the game might have a potential for damaging your health. If you’ve missed the programme here is a link to a piece drafted by Shearer and subsequent links to I-Player.

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It’s unbelievable that Feyenoord away was 15 years ago! It’s even harder to comprehend the rollercoaster we’ve been on since that chilly night in The Netherlands. No Mag there could have predicted how far we have fallen, in pretty much every aspect, since that amazing night.

John MILTOn @ Geordioca

Feyenoord Away 13/11/02. UEFA Champions League. Final Group Match But what a night. No doubt we all (those of us old enough, anyway) remember it like it was yesterday. I’m sure we all remember where we were, who we were with, how we celebrated… It’s nights like that that we all follow a football club. We were put through a whole

tf 32

spectrum of emotions condensed into 2 glorious hours. To this day it was the best day I have ever had as a Mag. Mind, I wasn’t there. wasn’t even here.


I’ve been working and living away from home, off and on, since early

2002. When the lads and their majestic travelling support finally arrived at the De Kuip Stadium, having miraculously given themselves a real outside chance of progressing from the group stage, I was on my first contract on a cruise ship making my way up Alaska’s Inside

Passage (oo-err) on my way to Skagway…

a 2-1 home win over Dynamo Kiev.

That CL campaign is, and always will be, deeply etched into NUFC lore. We broke f***ing records in that campaign. We had to qualify for the competition proper and we twanked some team from Sarajevo over 2 legs to earn our place. What followed over the first 3 group games was a chastening experience, a bloody nose, a kick in the knackas.

To progress we need the already-qualified Juventus to grab a win in Kiev, no easy task, and we need a win in Holland…

You know the score: played 3, won 0, drew 0, lost 3. Goals for: 0, goals against: 5. No team in the history of the competition had lost their first 3 matches and still qualified from their group. The fightback started with the glorious boot of unlikely match winner, Andy Griffin, the beautiful bastard. 1-0 v Juve at SJP followed by

Remember 2002? Crappy internet. No internet on your phone. No Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter or FB. No minute-by-minute feed by the BBC or The Guardian. Now add into the mix I was on a ship, working in a casino, on an American cruise line when the teams took to the field. Under normal circumstances I’d have had no chance, but, if you too believe in the Footballing Gods you’d know there’s always a chance. By some miracle I had been assigned to share a cabin with a South African likely lad named Dieter. Before I joined the ship he had

somehow wangled himself a VHS (2002, remember?). Crew cabins had ESPN and ESPN were showing the Champions League. The stars were aligning. On the 13th, ESPN showed Kiev v Juventus and then Feyenoord v NUFC, but wor match was kicking off just as my shift started. Not to worry – watch the Juve match, record the lads, fill the fridge with Becks, slap plastic, finish the shift, straight to the cabin to watch the match ‘live’. Golden. Couple of things to negate to ensure my plan went smoothly. Firstly, I had to resist the urge to run to the internet café on my breaks to check on the score. No problem: I ran to the crew bar instead. Secondly, and more trickily, I had to make sure no twat let any slip with any match info.

Remember 2002? Crappy internet. No internet on your phone. No Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter or FB. No minute-by-minute feed by the BBC or The Guardian. Now add into the mix I was on a ship, working in a casino, on an American cruise line when the teams took to the field.

tf 33

There were lots of Brits in the that casino, mainly Mancs and Scousers, who were always on the windup. The bridge officers were all Italians, too, they all seemed to be Juventus as well, and they enjoyed a natter about the beautiful game at any opportunity. The way I saw it, my only option was to threaten strike action. I made it clear to the Taff manager that should anyone shout out the score, real or otherwise, and he’d be a dealer short. Sorted. It seemed like the longest night, but by the time midnight swung around I was only a couple of hours away from watching the match. It was at this time that the young bridge officers rolled into the casino, dressed in their white uniforms and slightly worse from wear due to celebrating Juventus’ progress to the next round. The manager made a beeline to them to make sure they wouldn’t let slip with tf 34

result in Holland. Shortly afterwards he came to my table and offered me an interesting opportunity – the officers wanted to gamble, but they couldn’t play in the casino. But behind the crew bar we kept a spare Blackjack table for crew tournaments. How about being the bank? Of course I said no – I had a match to watch! But he assured me, a couple of hours dealing, we’d make a couple of hundred bucks then call it a night and I could be back in my cabin, feet up, beer in hand and match on. It sounded like easy money so away we went. We closed the casino, made our way to the crew bar, paid off the cleaners to give us some peace and away we went. It was a great plan, except by 4am we were $500 down. Each. I was furious. Mike was having drinks brought down from the passenger nightclub in

order to keep the officers lubricated. 5am, 6am, 7am… eventually the cards turned, we scraped back to evens, then into the black. When we were up a couple of hundred I wanted to call it but the Italians wanted their winnings back. It was 9:30 before I got to my cabin. There was no way I could have watched the match, but a tidy wad of greenbacks in my sky rocket eased the pain. We were $700 dollars up each. I set my alarm for 2 hours before my shift and drifted off to sleep. I woke at 5pm and put the match on, only taking my shower at half time. 2-0 up and through, 2-2 and out, then… BELLAMY!!!!! I made so much racket thumping the bulkheads that a load of Canadian lasses piled into my cabin, “JOHN! What’s wrong???”

I made so much racket thumping the bulkheads that a load of Canadian lasses piled into my cabin, “JOHN! What’s wrong???”


All of our Podcasts are absolutely FREE and recorded by match-going Mags. We all hope you enjoy them all listen on iTunes or Soundcloud.

tf 35

One of the main things getting people excited about a possible takeover is the idea of spending some money in the January transfer window – really backing Rafa for the first time and letting him buy some of his top targets. Who knows whether that’ll actually happen though? A buyout may happen in time, but it might happen too late for this January, or it might all fizzle out and never come to pass at all. In either main scenario, that of having generous owners providing the fulsome funding we need, or alternatively a stingy miser who doesn’t want to be here begrudgingly doing the bare minimum, we need certain aspects of the side improved. Let’s look at how we might do it. In the short term we can get away with the keepers we have. If anything our unenthusing stoppers are in a way an opportunity to get Freddie Woodman into the side. I’ve been hearing about his potential for what seems tf 36

like an age but he is coming up for 21 and we really need to get him playing or risk him stagnating. I don’t get the feeling we’ll throw him in if we haven’t managed to make ourselves safe from the drop. But the

MARK BROPHY Follow @mark_brophy

fact Rafa doesn’t fancy any of our senior keepers means there’s a decent chance Woodman would get a run in the team as soon as we can relax. If we’re splashing out I’d like to see us go for Asmir Begovic,

currently at Bournemouth after signing from Chelsea in the summer. While at Stoke before that he was one of the best keepers in the Premier League and I don’t think Bournemouth would resist a big bid. We need improvement at full back no matter what as I don’t think either of those playing at the moment are good enough. To be fair to Manquillo I don’t think he was ever bought as anything other than cover. In the cheapskate scenario I’d like to see us get a couple of quality loanees in. A move for Luke Shaw of Manchester United has been mentioned in the papers and I could see that happening. Mourinho has been trying to gee him up for a while and both parties might jump at a chance for Shaw to get a change of scenery. Playing every week would help him with his

supposed fitness problems too. On the other flank maybe we could persuade Arsenal to loan us Calum Chambers. He doesn’t play much for them and spent last season out at Boro. Swapping Chambers into the side with Yedlin coming out would give us a more physically imposing back four while not sacrificing any of the pace Yedlin provides. If we were spending big to build a side for the future I’d like to see us go for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon for full back. He’s still 17 but is in his 2nd season as first-choice for them in the Championship. Premier League clubs were sniffing around him in the summer but Fulham held out for big money. Wouldn’t it be great if we could provide them with it? The blow of losing him might be tempered for them by knowing his

highly-rated twin brother is also both a left-back and on their books. I don’t think we’ll make any changes at either centreback or in the centre of midfield. Neither position is a priority this January. Likewise we have a lot of wide midfielders and I don’t think we’ll bring in any more until the summer at the earliest and even then only if we can move out one or more of Ritchie, Atsu, Murphy and Aarons. Our focus will need to be on acquiring a number 10 and a striker. That’s where we most obviously struggle and where a small change could have the most impact. A striker scoring goals and someone creative behind him would completely turn around our season. Unfortunately both are almost impossible to find on a budget. Last year’s Football League Young

A move for Luke Shaw of Manchester United has been mentioned in the papers and I could see that happening. Mourinho has been trying to gee him up for a while and both parties might jump at a chance for Shaw to get a change of scenery

tf 37

Player of the Year was Ollie Watkins, a goalscoring number 10 then at Exeter. He’s since moved up to the Championship with Brentford and handled the step up well. At 21 he’d probably be one for the future but I’m not sure we’d get anything to improve the team for his price right now anyway, and if Dele Alli can step up from League 1 maybe Watkins could succeed in the Premier League too. I don’t know if Ashley would stretch to paying Burnley what they’d want for Chris Wood or even if Rafa would want him but he has goalscoring instincts and a physical presence that would help him play as a lone striker, and that’s how Rafa would like to play

tf 38

at heart. Changing from that recently has led to us losing our defensive solidity. I’m not certain Wood is of the quality required but otherwise we’re scratting around for out of favour loanees from other Premier League clubs and making that work is a real long shot. If we had money to spend it could be just as difficult a choice for the opposite reason, that there are so many players to choose from. Up front I’d love to see Dries Mertens of Napoli here, who has been tearing up Serie A in the last year and a half. Sure things don’t come much more certain than 3 goals every 4 league games in Italy’s top division. He was Rafa’s first signing as Napoli manager so Benitez

will know all about his qualities. Playing behind the striker could be Nabil Fekir, currently captain of Olympique Lyonnais. He’s having an incredible season, a goal a game so far, and can play as 2nd striker as well as attacking midfield. We have of course been burned by players from the French league too many times in recent years but there have been successes. Ben Arfa and Cabaye were obviously of the required standard and there will be many there who would do a fine job for us. Hopefully the next few weeks will be the start of a journey for us, rather than another shuffling step on the hardest of roads. Continuing as we are would be such a gamble.

I’m not certain Wood is of the quality required but otherwise we’re scratting around for out of favour loanees from other Premier League clubs and making that work is a real long shot

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TF got a chance to speak with Allison Carey who is currently studying an MSc in the UK. Allison is a dedicated football fan from the USA and is an accomplished writer on the sport in her home country. If you want to see a little more of what it is she does and writes then give her a follow on Twitter @FindingAllison and her articles are available here

True Faith Interview: A fan from across the pond Tell us a bit about your team in the US. Who you support, why you support them, what their average attendance is, how they’re perceived in the US, are they a club with a political stance? Are they what you’d deem successful? Who’s in charge at the minute? Any well-known previous or current players? Any players there or coming through

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you could see playing in the big European Leagues in the future? Anything about supporting them that makes you feel particularly proud? I support Orlando City Soccer Club which comprises three teams: Orlando City (MLS), Orlando Pride (NWSL), and Orlando City B (USL). MLS is obviously our primary league in the United States.

Orlando City is a relatively new club, having joined the league in 2015 and just completed our third season. We have had success on the business side of MLS, especially when it comes to attendance. Before we moved into our new soccer-specific stadium, we averaged over 30,000 fans a match. Our new stadium, which we opened this year, holds just over 25,000 and

we had no problem filling that stadium this season. Since we joined MLS, our star player was Kaka. However, Kaka just announced his departure from our squad— where he will go from here still isn’t clear. Other famous players that play with our men’s squad are Antonio Nocerino, who played in Serie A for most of his career, and Dom Dwyer, an up-and-coming star on the U.S Soccer stage. Many people think that Cyle Larin, our star striker, could make a move for Europe at some point. He’s had quite a bit of success both in Orlando and with the Canadian Men’s National Team. Our head coach is Jason Kreis—a man who spent much of his MLS career at Real Salt Lake, and had a successful coaching career there as well, bringing his team an MLS Cup. He has been our coach since July 2015. Orlando




women’s side, which plays in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Our squad features some of the best players in the world, including five-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta, U.S Soccer stars Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris, and lots of other talent from around the world. The league itself is only five years old, and we joined last year, recently completing our second season. This year, we made the playoffs, finishing in 3rd overall in the league and going out of the postseason in the semi-finals against the championshipwinning Portland Thorns. We also just announced that our team has been profitable both seasons, a feat for women’s football. We’re still working on the attendance numbers—last year we were at 8,000, which was still the second highest in the league, but obviously not as high as the men. I would say that this year,

the numbers were around the same. Our head coach is Tom Sermanni, who has had a very successful career coaching the Australian women’s national team and the U.S women’s national team. Sermanni is a great guy to work with and got results for our team this season. Then, we have our USL team, Orlando City B. The USL is the second-tier of American soccer, and the partnership between the two sides serves to prepare players to play in MLS, whether that’s young talent learning the ropes of professional football, or MLS players coming back from injury. Attendance for those games tends to be low, but the partnership between the two sides has been quite successful. Anthony Pulis’ son, Tony Pulis, is Orlando City B’s head coach. He has done terrific things with the squad. I am a fan of the organization

Orlando Pride is our women’s side, which plays in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Our squad features some of the best players in the world, including five-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta, U.S Soccer stars Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, and Ashlyn Harris tf 41

because I worked for them for nearly two years as their primary content writer. I had so much fun working for them, and can honestly say they were a great organization to work for. Our ownership is pretty fantastic, and I feel that they have aimed to create a really great community atmosphere on and off the field. I believe that is what I am most proud of in our club. In 2016, Orlando suffered at the hands of a massmurderer when the Pulse nightclub was attacked. Our city banded together, and our team was a massive part of that. Following the shooting, the game against the San Jose Earthquakes actually stopped for a moment of silence in the 49th minute of play to honor the 49 dead. 49 seats were left empty, with rainbow balloons tied to them. We honored their memory in our new stadium, with 49

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rainbow seats. I think Orlando City is a club that honors and cherishes community. For me, that is the most important thing about our club and the reason I am proud to be a supporter. How does the transfer system in the US function? Does it work on similar principles to the NFL and NBA, i.e. a draft system? Is there youth development via academies or do youngsters tend to play their youth football at College/University on scholarships before turning pro? In the United States, there are multiple paths you can take to be successful. We do have youth academies through our MLS clubs, and some of these are starting to produce some really talented players, but they aren’t quite as thoroughly developed as the older academies of Europe. Many of our players

go through the university system, and yes, we have the MLS SuperDraft before the start of every season where teams can draft young players out of university. In terms of transfers, we have transfer windows similar to how it functions in Europe, except we have salary caps, which prevent situations like Neymar’s move to PSG from happening in MLS (and some would say, prevent us from maintaining talent and attracting European stars in their prime). Is football still a minority sport in the US, i.e. has its popularity increased year on year since the inception of the MSL or is it still battling against the US big 3 of baseball, basketball and American Football? Things have improved for MLS, but it is definitely still a struggle. Many Americans who are fans of football watch European or South American football and laugh

Following the shooting, the game against the San Jose Earthquakes actually stopped for a moment of silence in the 49th minute of play to honor the 49 dead. 49 seats were left empty, with rainbow balloons tied to them.

at MLS. Obviously, it makes no sense not to support a home league where you could see that kind of talent in your own backyard. But people aren’t that patient to support its development. Football as a sport has definitely become more popular—you don’t need to look any farther than the attendance numbers for Real Madrid vs. Barcelona or Manchester United vs. Manchester City when they come do their summer tours in the United States. So why don’t as many Americans support MLS? It’s a difficult question to answer, but definitely a gap that we need to fill. What are the demographics of the male and female game? Is the sport viewed as being more popular amongst a certain socio-economic grouping, among certain ethnic groupings?

Overall, I feel that soccer is increasingly drawing upon a more diverse fan-base. For a long time, there were two major groups that were soccer fans. Immigrants were the first—I think this is pretty straight forward, since soccer is such a major sport in other nations. Immigrants might have been more likely to support the game in their country-of-origin, as opposed to the United States, but they would likely still go see local games, especially if international clubs came to visit. Soccer has also been associated with a white-middle class upbringing, and playing it as a child (this is true for both boys and girls). But I think that as MLS grows and expands, hopefully more people are drawn to it, including racial minorities and poorer communities that have seen soccer as a white, elitist sport. In

the women’s game, there is a large LGBT presence because the women’s soccer community has always been a very accepting place. Is the women’s game more or less popular than the men’s game given the huge success that the women’s game has had historically? Are the pay disparities in the male and female games significant? Do fans or players of soccer suffer any prejudices or stereotyping from fans of other US sports? The disparity between the men’s and women’s game in the United States is pretty massive. Despite the success of the U.S Women, there are still large groups of fans that belittle the women as being lesser athletes simply for being female. The U.S women have been involved in a fight for equal pay since

Overall, I feel that soccer is increasingly drawing upon a more diverse fanbase. For a long time, there were two major groups that were soccer fans. Immigrants were the first - I think this is pretty straight forward, since soccer is such a major sport in other nations

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the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and actually have a legal suit going through the U.S court system that claims wage discrimination based on gender. Unfortunately, lots of male supporters and even male players don’t support the initiative, claiming that the U.SWomen don’t bring in enough revenue to justify equal pay. The disparity between MLS and NWSL is much worse. An average salary in the NWSL, depending on the team, might be around $17,000. The average MLS salary is $226,000. The gap probably isn’t as large as it is in other countries, but it is still a major problem. I think that the solution to this problem is simply investment— growing the league, will hopefully increase revenue and thus increase salaries. As a female football fan and writer have you ever been the victim of any sexist behaviour at matches? The problem is nowhere near as pronounced as it was in the UK any longer but it still lingers. Has football tf 44

in the US ever suffered from this issue? As a female sports reporter, I have been fortunate to have encountered very few instances of sexism in the workplace. I find that it usually occurs in conversation—men might assume I know less about sports outside of what is relevant to my job because I am a woman. And often times the women’s team in any organization is seen as secondary to the men’s team. That’s usually reflective of the amount of money they are bringing in, but still not a great culture. I think sexism in sports is a major issue in the U.S, but it’s less of an issue in soccer than it is in other places. For example, it might be more acceptable for me to be a female soccer fan than it would be to be a female NFL fan. I’m a fan of all major sports in the U.S, and can’t say I’ve suffered an overwhelming amount of sexism from any of the fanbases. But many women who came before me have paved the way for that to happen.

What’s your opinion on the English premier League? Is it popular in the US? Who are the most popular teams? Any opinion on NUFC? And, of course, how is out very own DeAndre Yedlin thought of? The Premier League is very popular in the United States. It helps that within the last five years or so, we got access to all of the matches via a TV deal with NBC Sports. Champions League is also quite popular in the States. The most popular teams are Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, from what I have seen. I doubt you would meet a lot of Americans that support Newcastle unless they have some sort of tie to the club or city. But they certainly aren’t hated—I think most Americans are probably indifferent. DeAndre Yedlin is definitely a name that gets thrown around a lot, and U.S Soccer fans are very excited to see him do well!

DeAndre Yedlin is definitely a name that gets thrown around a lot, and U.S Soccer fans are very excited to see him do well!

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Postcards F rom The Edge Paully

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It’s that time of the year again when Chris Rea frantically drives about in a delirious manner at the prospect of catching-up on his Sky + and everyone goes crackers (pun intended) and does three years’ worth of food shopping just because the shops close for one day. ‘T’is the season to be jolly’ and all of that bollocks but the level of jolliness for NUFC fans will be defined via whether or not the takeover prevails. It simply HAS to happen. Ashley wants out and he surely must know that he will never get a better price than what is currently on offer. He also must know that he’ll become even more hated than now (if that is possible) if this falls through. His interest in NUFC as a football club has plummeted from 1% to 0.01% and the sooner that he and his 67,583 advertising hoardings are banished from SJP the better. A lot of fans are panicking due to the lack of news and also due to the current timespan of it. I’m very much in the ‘no news is good news’ camp and negotiating to buy a football club from arguably the most idiotic , obnoxious billio naire in the world (I include the Trumpsta in that statement) was never going to happen quickly. Several ‘expert pundits’ have stated that we should be careful what we wish for as Ashley has apparently

been a good owner and saved us from going into financial oblivion. It never amazes me how stupid and ignorant some of these people are. They constantly spou t ill-in form ed, misleading gobbledygook which is gobbled up by all and sundry. They are paid handsomely to discuss football so do some research please; you utter bellends. An owner with even the minimal of ambitions for NUFC on the field will be an improvement to what we are currently experiencing. We’ve been Sports Direct FC for the last 10 years and we’ve been shamefully used like a dirty slut for Ashley’s greater need. The potential is absolutely massive. We’re selling out home and away to watch what is in the main a Championship side. Imagine how many fans we could attract if we were playing football like Man City and challenging at the upper echelons. Come on Amanda; kick the fat pig in the nuts and send him packing. It seems that our good start to the season has created a base for the extreme minority of deluded fools

Come on Amanda; kick the fat pig in the nuts and send him packing.

in our support to hoy their dummies out. The imbeciles who boo their team off at half-time must get their sexual fulfilment out of it; the dirty perverts. That has to be the reason as there is no logic at all behind it. Do they think that stamping their feet and whinging their tits off will improve the confidence of players that have performed badly ahead of the 2nd half? Surely every fan is aware of the extreme limitations of our squad after yet another wet fart of a transfer window under Ashley. Have some of our fans forgotten that Rafa’s net transfer spend over three windows is MINUS £20 million in which he had to assemble a squad to gain promotion and then a squad to stay in the Premier League. It’s like hiring a world class Motor Racing driver and handing him the keys to a clappedout, yellow reliant robin to roam around in. I’d have snapped whatever dangly bits you possess off if you had offered me 17th place when the window closed. We’re currently having a spell that is wobblier than a pregnant hippopotamus on a bouncy castle but we have been missing

our two best players of the season during it. Lascelles has been a monumental miss. Our defence has gone from looking tougher than Popeye after four tins of spinach to looking more open than a mackem lass after a mouthful of Smirnoff Ice (not the only mouthful of the night that she will get). We have looked a shambles without his leadership and organisational skills and Yedlin in-particular seems completely lost. The other big miss of course has been Merino. We’ve sorely missed his drive, guile and energy in the middle of the park. Magic Micky makes us tick and without doubt will one day end up playing for a club that seriously challenges for major honours (Alreet Amanda?). The continuous patter about how British coaches don’t get a fair crack of the whip is utter tripe. It’s a saying which is usually churned out by the ‘RA RA RA we are 100% British beef and we don’t want any of those Johnny Foreigner types stinking out our league” mob especially Paul Merson and Ian Wright which says it all. How on earth are Premier League owners in November 2017 employing serial

failures David Moyes and Alan ‘smarmy, fat-lips, lying pig’ Pardew? It absolutely beggars belief. Do they want their teams to be relegated? Did Pardew’s credentials of having the worst record in England during 2016 sway the West Brom owners? The one positive is that he won’t be in the Sky Sports studio now offering his wise words of bull-shit. His first comments as their manager were hilarious. Apparently, he is an “attacking manager” who plays “front foot football” and he revels in flair players. How does he not get pulled up for this bollocks? Staggering. I’d pay very good money to watch Ben Arfa smash him in the face with a cricket bat. After their humongous summer outkay, Everton fans were giving it larger than Kevin and Perry whilst the duo were off their nuts on the White Isle. The talk was that they were going to break up the top six yet just three months later, they find themselves in the relegation zone with Hippo Heed about to become their new manager. Glorious. I’d love to see both of these teams go down but I’m not really bothered about who drops as long as we are not one of them. It’s an absolute travesty that SJP has been denied the treat of having the mass aroma of turkey farts swirling around inside of it on Boxing Day thanks to Sky Sports. Bah humbug. Have a great Christmas and all the Fred West to you and yours for 2018. tf 47



SEASON Players: Burns, Nelson, Fairhurst, MacKenzie, Davidson, Weaver, Boyd, Bedford, Allen, Starling, Lang, McInroy, Naylor, Bell, JR Richardson, McMenemy, Mathison, Cape, Hutchison, Ford, Thomson, Feeney, J Richardson, Betton, McBain. Division: A much better campaign this time around, in the top division. After a few years of sniffing around the bottom of the table, we improved under gaffer Andy Cunningham’s tutelage, finishing mid-table at seasons end, despite reaching as high as third

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during the middle of the campaign. United finish 11th with 42 points from 42 games this year, which was an improvement of six points from the year before. Everton won their 4th title in their history, scoring a ridiculous 116 goals in the process. More on that later..

Manager: As previously mentioned, Andy Cunningham took the reins this season and after a poor season last year, partly explained due to the departure of superstar Hughie Gallacher, things got back on track this time around. The solid league campaign would run alongside an excellent

cup campaign, so good in fact that it culminated in a Wembley final... Trainer/Coach: Continuing in the same role from last season, James McPherson Jnr. helped manager Andy Cunningham on the training field. Highest Attendance: Our biggest attendance of the season as usual came in the derby, but sadly the 43,599 went home disappointed, with the mackems taking away a 2-1 victory. All things considered, the biggest crowd we played out in front of 92,298 in then cup final at Wembley. LowestAttendance:A final day dead-rubber match brought our lowest attendance of the campaign, as ninth placed Birmingham beat eleventh placed Newcastle 3-0 at SJP. That was the lowest attendance United played in front of all season. 11,947 was the smallest crowd we played

too on the road, with the Black and Whites coming away with a 3-0 win in Lancashire over Blackburn Rovers. Average Attendance: After two consecutive seasons of the attendance dropping on average, it received a boost this year with Newcastle performing better this campaign and all the controversy surrounding Gallacher’s departure had passed. A jump from 27,118 to 30,367 was a healthy jump of around 3k, making up the 4k drop in attendances last season. If you throw in the four cup games that were played on Tyneside this year, the figure climbs by another 3k, to 33,408. No doubt that the FA Cup was very

lar on Tyneside. Biggest Win: United re-wrote their own record books this season, with the biggest win (up to then..) recorded in early February in this season. Newcastle travelled to Hillsborough to play non-league Southport in an FA Cup 4th round replay, after a game between the pair finished 1-1. No such worries for us this time around, as United slapped 9 (NINE) goals beyond their opponents, and advancing to the next round. A whole host of players got in on the act, with JR Richardson the pick of the bunching, notching himself a hat-trick. Worst Defeat: A season huge extremes met us this year and despite us winning a cup game by nine goals, earlier in the season we lost a league game by seven! Champions elect Everton did the damage on Merseyside at the end of October, running out

8-1 winners in a mental game. Newcastle were in good form and spirits as they travelled to Liverpool, winning the previous three games. However, on a crazy after, Everton showed a glimpse of their championship potential, sticking eight goals past McInroy in the Newcastle net. Something of Interest:

NEWCASTLE UNITED WON THE FA CUP! For the third time in our history, we left Wembley victorious and draped black and white ribbons all over the FA Cup. Newcastle scraped through the early stages, requiring a replay to dispatch of Blackpool, and two replays to get past Southport. We clicked into gear after that,

For the third time in our history, we left Wembley victorious and draped black and white ribbons all over the FA Cup.

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seeing off Leicester (3-1) & Watford (5-0) before beating Chelsea (2-1) in the semi-final down at Huddersfield. That set up a mid-April Wembley date with Arsenal, and despite the side from North London finishing 12 points clear of United in the league, it was the Geordies who lifted the cup, with rapidly improving young Geordie Jack Allen grabbing both of the goals in a 2-1 win to send Tyneside into delirium. Mentioned in Dispatches: This season was a lot more steady for manager Andy Cunningham to handle after last year’s tough campaign given the loss of Hughie Gallacher. A better season in the league saw Newcastle push towards the very top of the league as late as January, but a poor second half of the season led to United tailing off and finishing mid-table. Even that was an upgrade on last year though. The cup run

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was the icing on the cake for manager Cunningham, including a semi-final reunion with Gallacher as United met Chelsea, with the black and whites coming away with a 2-1 win. National Interest: The BBC’s Broadcasting House is opened this year.. Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete in the Olympic Games in California in August of this year, winning 4 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze medals.. The first ever Mars bar is produced in the summer of ’32.. The first Royal Christmas Message is delivered this year, by King George V.. The actor who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street was born in April of this year. Regional Interest: The Odeon on Pilgrim Street opens and is splendid in its art-deco design. It is demolished in 2017 to make way for some more of those student apartments we have nowhere else to

build them in NewcastleGateshead apparently. Ravensworth Castle in Gateshead is demolished. 80% of all men in Jarrow are unemployed. The unemployment figure for the NE region is 28.5% of all men out of work on the back of a slump in demand for steel and coal. Palmer’s Shipyard on the Tyne (Jarrow) launches its last ship, HMS Duchess. After getting the gig for the Tyne Bridge, Dorman Long on the Tees send the sections for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Down Under. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they reckon. Gateshead AFC is born as a skint South Shields FC move to Redheugh Park in the Teams area, close to the south end of the current Redheugh Bridge. Chris Laws. Follow @tflawsy1892

After getting the gig for the Tyne Bridge, Dorman Long on the Tees send the sections for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Down Under. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they reckon.

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Bob Ferris: In the chocolate box of life the top layer’s already gone. And someone’s pinched the orange creme from the bottom. Terry Collier: Bloody hell. Gawd man I feel old. Never the current takeover talks. that is the punchline in the you’re loaded. A treat on a more so than this past I just want it done. I have Likely Lads episode (the par with going to the Royal month. Two things brought no interest in the ins-and- matc h was postponed) Ballet or summat. (Though my age into focus. One was outs and ITKs, or repeating doesn’t happen but I am even the ballet doesn’t move its programme to fit the the sad passing of Rodney phrases about consortiums NOT gerrin’ involved. Bewes from the Likely Lads, or whatever an acceptable Another thing that made tellybox schedules in Qatar.) a childhood staple and first bid is. That’s for people me feel like I was strumming No wonder reports tell us one of the few things on in the south who have teeth Father Time’s lyre was that loads of young fans are And g virtual the telly that still makes like John Inverdale. that recen t more into playin ing watch s like to the me laugh. Bewes’s death Due Diligence sound film about people matches than going ian Guard band from inevitably reminded me a dodgy synth going to watch their team physical one. g writin of at time of the episode ‘No Hiding 1983. So, away. That made me sad, I Both seem as unreal. mon (Com 23 mber Nove Place’ when Bob and Terry Like many things ah must say. Twitt the ing avoid I’m Era) try to win a bet by avoiding in modern life, everything At least with the digital the like ine timel FC #NU the England score during the modern football is version you can make your e things round cours Of e. plagu day before watching it on the regulated - with a weather own unreality, in your own your in s alway are this like gogglebox later. Predictably, eye on profit - by socio- time. All this talk about eral vision, and like periph the act of avoiding mention commercial factors just out loyalty points, too: I spit on crop tes” “upda dy, the come of our sight. The idea of the name “loyalty” points of the match drives them up about it with depressing going to a top level match and grind it into the dust mad throughout the day. regularity. on a whim nowadays seems with my elegantly Thinking about it, this is turned Cuban And hopefully the result nigh on impossible, unless exactly how I feel about

Cocteau Twins, Bob Ferris

and Picking Your Nose


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FOSTER follow @Incendiary Magazine

Then there was the time I waved at Lee Clark waiting for a bus on the Barrack Road whilst I was involved in an amorous embrace with a prospective girlfriend. heel. I strike it with one of my calfskin gloves. Where are we, a supermarket? This kind of suggestive branding ensures we jump through hoops for a form of entertainment that by rights and history wouldn’t exist without us. And I don’t want to pile it on but just wait till Mandy gets in and funds Rafa (argh-stopthinking-about-it-stopstop-smacks-heed). Then, demand will be so high they’ll be checking your dental records and proof you change your undergarments like Queen Victoria did (once a year; whether they need it or not). A frightening prospect, for all concerned. It’s one thing I like about being “of a certain age”; remembering association football as an earthy, messy (admittedly sometimes very unattractive) secret. The rivers of piss splashing your suedes in the lower part of the Corner could be offset by the thought that going to the match was a sort of interzone where, despite all the tribalism and sometimes troglodyte group

behaviour (blah blah), you could savour the whiff of possibility, your own social empowerment. I used to get stick off ‘educated’ friends for going to the match. Imagine saying you think football’s for divs nowadays. Especially in good company. You’d lose your share portfolio and find yourself banned from that weekend at the private sauna in Bedford. The documentary did set me thinking about all the Newcastle United-related things I have done on a whim. Such as wearing a homemade Cocteau Twins t shirt (that basically made me look like I’d puked on myself) when doorstepping and interviewing KK and Terry Mac at the old training ground, (more of that another time). All the while hearing Alan Thompson complain about the ball “bein’ like a blob fulla spunk”. Or the week before, when I wrote my name down as Julie Burchill and wangled my way into the Keegan comeback press conference in 1992. During that day, I ended up talking about NUFC for two hours and being

stood drinx by the great radio commentator George Bailey (after some irritable southern press Oik had questioned my credentials and banished me to a corner, gah). Then there was the time I waved at Lee Clark waiting for a bus on the Barrack Road whilst I was involved in an amorous embrace with a prospective girlfriend (whilst waiting for the same bus). Lee Clark, on the bus? Worse, making thumbs up / “good luck on Saturday” signals to Lee Clark (a total stranger in every other

respect) whilst advancing Cupid’s cause. Or trying to interview the Commercial Director in his office for the Varsity rag around 1990 in a portacabin next to the old carpark, only to see the great Barry Davies walk in and sit down, breezily demand a cup of tea and then pick his nose at length and at some luxury. How ramshackle football clubs were back then. And how close we were to them.. RICHARD FOSTER - Follow @incendiarymagazine

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As It Was, When It Was Leicester City v Newcastle United, 2nd May 1992

Pt 3 of 3

“I took the biggest gamble of my life appointing a man who had never been a manager. Kevin was the last throw of the dice for this club.”

Marc Corby @NUFC_1980_1994

Sir John Hall speaking of his reluctant sanctioning of the dismissal of his friend Ossie Ardiles and replacing him with a total novice in football management – Kevin Keegan. It would all come down to the final game of the 199192 season where Keegan had put Newcastle United in a position where their destiny was in their own hands. Simply put, a win at Leicester meant United were safe from relegation to the 3rd Division for a first time in their history.

forced to retire through injury. Anderson, who hadn’t played for over a year, would say after his game: “I would give all this up tonight if it meant Newcastle, come 20 to 5 on Saturday, were still in the 2nd Division.”

a great following down there and hopefully the team will respond to it,” said ex Mag Chris Waddle, star of the testimonial and rumoured to be leaving Olympique de Marseille for a return to English football.

“No doubt they’ll have





Remarkably, Keegan played a full-strength side a few days earlier in a testimonial for defender John Anderson who was tf 54

Brighton closed the gap by beating Portsmouth 2-1 at home to ensure any 3 of 6 sides could still be relegated. The only thing certain for United was that they couldn’t finish rock bottom but taking only 5 points from the 18 on offer against the 3 sides that could catch Keegan’s side could prove very costly. “I’m always optimistic, I don’t think we’ll go down,” said Keegan the day before the match. “We still need to go there and get a result and I think we’re capable of doing it. I’ve always believed in them, even through the bad times.” “My 1st season with mates unaccompanied by adults was 1977-78 and on the last game of the season we had been relegated and we beat Newcastle 3-0 and relegated you,” Leicester supporter Rob told me of his introduction to following The Foxes. “I was aged 12 and sitting on the wall in Spion Kop,

pen 4 and I remember Newcastle fans in the corner of the old away end invading the pitch but only came as far as the halfway line,” he continued, discussing the days of trouble on the terraces. “It was soon over. I tried to get on the pitch but was pushed back by a police officer probably with his little finger. I knew even at the age of 12, if the opposition fans invade your pitch, you had a duty to join them…” Both sides went down on 22 points with only Leicester’s inferior goal difference keeping Bill McGarry’s men off the bottom of the table. The Foxes would gain promotion, be relegated, and join the top flight once more in the 6 years that it took United to eventually join them in 1984. Crowd trouble re-occurred often when the 2 clubs met, particularly at Filbert Street. On an afternoon of trouble, Goalkeeper Steve Hardwick was hit

by a missile that held the game up in a 0-1 defeat in February 1980 and 6 travelling supporters received fines following disturbances after the match. Worse was to follow in March 1982 when a fragment of a smashed bottle, one of many thrown back and forth on the terraces, flew into a young Leicester supporter’s face which almost cost him an eye. Reports of violence after that night game ensured United’s 0-3 loss became irrelevant. Robs, still standing on the Spion Kop in Leicester’s South Stand recalled potential trouble a few years later, saying, “I think it was around 1986 and I’m in pen 2 near the top looking through the fence at Newcastle supporters arriving. All of a sudden a wave of them entered the away end singing ‘If it wasn’t for the coppers you’d be dead’...mad f**kers these looked like.... no idea of the score....” Newcastle came across

“I’m always optimistic, I don’t think we’ll go down,” said Keegan the day before the match. “We still need to go there and get a result and I think we’re capable of doing it. I’ve always believed in them, even through the bad times.”

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old managers Arthur Cox (Derby) and Jim Smith (Portsmouth) in the previous 2 fixtures and in another twist, Newcastle born Brian Little was in charge of Leicester. Little had earned the job thanks to 3 successful years at Darlington where he steered them from the Conference National to the Third Division in successive seasons. “Well I just hope at the end of 90 minutes that its worked out for both teams,” he’d say leading up to the game. “As a Newcastle person, it would be nice if they were in what will be the First Division next season and as Leicester City manager it would be great if we were in the Premier League.” With Ipswich already promoted as Champions, Leicester had found form at the right time winning 7 of 8 games before a defeat at Charlton a week earlier left them out of tf 56

the automatic promotion places on goal difference to Middlesbrough. The Boro had to travel to Wolves in their final game and if both failed to win, a Derby win over Swindon would see them go up instead. Not that United’s support really cared. David Kelly had left Leicester in November for a £250,000 fee allegedly paid for by his old manager Ardiles. Knowing his ex-teammate’s better than most, the scorer of 11 goals in 25 appearances to date for the Magpies would be damning of his old sides chances leading up to the game: “The pressure really is on them,” he’d say. “If we beat them they have blown a place in the Premier league as I don’t think they will go up in the play-offs.” United’s record at Filbert Street was horrific having won only once in the last 14 visits that included

10 defeats. The Mags however had won 2-0 when the sides met at St James Park earlier in the season and had won 4 of the previous 7 meetings overall, losing only once. The “great following” Waddle predicted would be high in volume but low in numbers. Due to The Foxes chasing promotion to the soon to be formed Premier League, United received only 1800 tickets in the unreserved seats of Filbert Street’s East Stand which, following the disturbances at Derby on Easter Monday, would have newly fitted fences in front of United’s support to limit any potential crowd disorder. But trouble was occurring around the city which Rob anticipated once he stepped foot into his usual watering hole near Filbert Street, ‘The Turnstile,’ a bar later described by one fearless United supporter as “One of the scariest,

The “great following” Waddle predicted would be high in volume but low in numbers. Due to The Foxes chasing promotion to the soon to be formed Premier League, United received only 1800 tickets in the unreserved seats of Filbert Street’s East Stand

edgiest bars I’ve ever been in.” “It’s now the ‘F Bar’ and a no-go for away fans but this particular game, I walked in the side bar and it was full and I heard a load of singing from the back bar,” Rob told me. “The pub was a ‘one way in and one way out’ type and it was a rough old pub on matchdays. On this day they weren’t serving in the back bar but I walked through to be met by a noisy scene of pissed up Leicester on one side and Newcastle on the other. Both lots were about even numbers singing and goading each other.” “As I was looking in, it felt like being on the side-lines of a film set detached from the action. I noticed to my right 3 obvious Geordies, resting against the empty non-serving bar but standing like me on the edge of this scene, so I approached them,” he continued. “Being half Geordie through family, I’d never get involved (in trouble) with Newcastle (supporters) unless forced through circumstances. Anyway, my attempts to engage didn’t get far as only one of them spoke to me which was understandable considering our lads 10 feet away were going to be shortly doing battle! It was clear the pub would soon go up and I later heard it did,” he concluded.

Mag’s arriving by train would be met by a Leicester mob near the leafy New Walk. There would be battles here and at various points on the 1 mile walk to Filbert Street. A final confrontation next to the ground on Burnmoor Street was ended by police before it has a chance to escalate. “A load of Leicester bumped into a late Newcastle train load and had a battle near the museum, not far from the train station. Some of ours say we had a massive mob around the park by the prison and they were even pulling Newcastle fans out of ambulances to attack again,” said Rob. There were reports of trouble inside and outside the ticket office as kick off approached as tickets were like gold dust and

photocopies were being sold for inflated prices. At an obvious risk, Geordies bought one unaware that any missing the rather odd picture of a pint of milk on the reverse invalidated it. As an ‘unfortunate’ ticket tout had his tickets ‘taken’ from him by ticketless Mags, a Police barrier checkpoint near the away end prevented many with fake’s from gaining entry but, alongside those passing the odd £10-£20 note to a turnstile operator, a load gained entry which added a couple of hundred to the official away crowd. A similar amount were still outside unable to get in. Similar to the seating ‘arrangements’ at The Baseball Ground, it was obvious that your ‘seat’ would be shared in a free for all.

Tickets were like gold dust and photocopies were being sold for inflated prices. At an obvious risk, Geordies bought one unaware that any missing the rather odd picture of a pint of milk on the reverse invalidated it.

Yet everything appeared tf 57

harmonious in the ground pre-match especially when Keegan and Little jogged around the pitch in aid of multiple sclerosis and the players came onto the pitch to a ticket tape and blue and white balloon reception. Leicester were there to celebrate, and party. Rather arrogantly, the away end was not only fenced but heavily stewarded too. Evidently confident from the previous week’s victory over Portsmouth, United lined up with the same side and played thoughtful and measured football as they controlled the 1st half. The best chances were a deflected Kevin Brock shot from 25 yards that was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Carl Muggleton and a Gavin Peacock snapshot that clipped the upright. A minute before half time, a Steve Thompson back pass was anticipated by Peacock and his first touch was to clip the ball past Muggleton into the Leicester net. Bedlam in

tf 58

the East Stand as some United supporters jumped over the fence to celebrate our player of the year’s goal on the cinder track. As the half time whistle blew, the United supporters were still celebrating when coins and missiles were thrown into the away end. Defiant Mags repeatedly chanted “It’s just because you’re losing!” in an attempt to gain any upper hand as things turned violent in the corner of the East Stand where those going for a half time piss or pie came within punching distance of home supporters standing in the South Stand. More coins and seats were thrown back and forth and it became clear United had followers in the Double Decker (South Stand Upper Tier) that were now involved with skirmishes. With the attention turning back onto the game as the 2nd Half kicked off, Keegan’s side were inspired and continued to dominate the match.

Brock again came close before Franz Carr, having his finest match for the club, almost added a 2nd via a run and left foot curler that was tipped just around the post. Entering the final minute, as the United supporters were singing “New-cas-tle, New-cas-tle, we’ll support you ever more…,” a long throw resulted in a few wayward headers before a Gary Mills cross was met by a bullet header from centre half Steve Walsh to make it 1-1. Filbert Street erupted and a number of home supporters in the South Stand Kop invaded the pitch in celebration whilst mocking United’s caged in support. Taking a few minutes to clear the pitch, the ball was quickly back with goalkeeper Tommy Wright who, not settling on a draw and unaware of results elsewhere, punted a long, hopeful ball up field. Misjudged by Walsh, to everyone’s amazement he toe-poked the ball past his own keeper before

...a Gary Mills cross was met by a bullet header from centre half Steve Walsh to make it 1-1. Filbert Street erupted and a number of home supporters in the South Stand Kop invaded the pitch in celebration whilst mocking United’s caged in support.

the advancing Peacock could reach it and United regained the lead, 2-1. Thankfully the Leicester supporters lined up on the touch line refrained from stopping the ball crossing the line. As travellers celebrated in disbelief, home supporters once again invaded the pitch but this time with increased numbers. Clearly unhindered by police or stewards, those heading straight towards Mag’s, some of whom were again celebrating on the cinder track, were intent on violence – and they’d not be disappointed. As fighting broke out, players were ushered off the pitch into the safety of the dressing room as ‘Ned’ Kelly took safety in the away end. Kelly would tell Martin Hardy for his ‘Touching Distance’ book, “I saw the Leicester fans and thought, where do I go? I jumped in the stand and sat down with all these Geordies going mental celebrating. They were grabbing me and hugging me and going ‘Yes, get in!’ once they realised it was me.” Rob would tell me, “I went on the pitch to get the game stopped - a lot of Leicester went directly over to Newcastle (supporters) but about 60 seconds later, double that amount were just milling about on the pitch intent on getting the game called off.”

Kelly, now being escorted by a steward across the width of the pitch to the safety of the changing rooms, told Hardy, “Although the fans were scrapping there was no fighting near me. I wasn’t worried about getting hit.” As supporters continued to battle, order, aided by truncheon wielding riot police now making their presence known, was eventually restored and a tannoy announcement informed anyone listening that referee David Elleray had decided the full 90 minutes had elapsed. The Foxes supporters were unsuccessful in getting the game abandoned, United had won 2-1 and were safe from potential disaster. United’s support could now celebrate without any doubt. “It was pandemonium” recalled Keegan. “The fans invaded the pitch and the game was never restarted after our goal,

a situation that I’ve never seen, before or since. The referee must have decided that it was wiser just to let things be.” “Obviously, the ref kept the players off and the score stood which was the correct decision. (It was) always lively when Newcastle came to town, you came out after the match looking for it but we stood our ground and as I knew a few of the faces, I had to do the same,” said Rob. The nearby Welford Road saw running battles between rival supporters and any car full of celebrating Newcastle fans ran the risk of having their vehicle overturned. Some did. As a then 13 year old, your writer was simply relived to get out of the place in one piece. Mondays edition of ‘The Journal’ newspaper described the win as “An afternoon when

Misjudged by Walsh, to everyone’s amazement he toe-poked the ball past his own keeper before the advancing Peacock could reach it and United regained the lead, 2-1. Thankfully the Leicester supporters lined up on the touch line refrained from stopping the ball crossing the line. tf 59

sophisticated Newcastle showed not only character and courage in dealing with the pressure-cooker environment, but also an abundance of class and composure.” Sadly, there were reports that the throwing of coins resulted in a supporter from each club losing the sight of one eye. With more than 120 arrests, alleged trouble makers were identified using stills from close circuit television that were published in both ‘The Evening Chronicle’ and ‘The Leicester Mercur’y newspapers. An undercover police exercise named ‘Operation Hawk’ resulted in a series of dawn raids and subsequent court cases where some rival supporters fought again as the trials proceeded. The majority received both a fine and a ban.

was a quite cynical and transparently deliberate attempt by Leicester fans to prevent the visitors from claiming their just spoils,” they’d say, berating in their verdict of who the troublemakers were. In time, the result has been played down as Keegan’s Men would have survived by a single point in defeat but for once, when it mattered, the team gave a performance worthy of the unbelievable support the club gets, especially in apparent adversity. Keegan would later summarise it as “An incredible match and gutwrenching stuff,” while admitting, “I knew from day one how tough it would be to stay up – by and large the players were just not good enough. Some of

course, got a new lease of life but others just couldn’t cope with the pressure.” ‘Buffer’ Terry McDermott would put the day’s success up there with the very best achievements of his career recalling later, “I remember driving away from Leicester and going past the Geordie people. The fans were all jumping up and down, coming up to my car and bowing down – it was just unbelievable.” “I enjoyed it more that day than winning any European Cup I won,” he added. “I got a lot of pride, because I knew what it meant to so many people up here. We weren’t expected to get out of the trouble we were in with the players we had here so to me, that was like winning the European Cup again.”

“Newcastle United were winners on and off the field,” said ‘The Journal.’ “The mass pitch invasion tf 60

Keegan was seen as the solution to ensure United never dropped into Division 3 and the real possibility of going out of business. Because of the latter potentially occurring, Keegan had refused to sign the initial 3-year contract offer and the agreement was a ‘consultancy based’ fee plus bonus if he ensured relegation was avoided. Having succeeded, all eyes were firmly on him as officially he was no longer manager. A few weeks of uncertainty followed but a change at board level resulting in John Hall gaining a majority control meant Keegan was assured “money for better players” was in place. Once Keegan and the club agreed how to move the club forward and to give the supporters a team to watch in the top flight, King Kev and McDermott signed their new 3-year contracts and the rebuilding began.

had to strengthen. The 66 goals scored may have been the 5th highest in Division 2 but the 84 goals conceded was 2nd only to Darlington’s 90 as the most conceded in the Football League. Rather embarrassingly, The Mag’s had conceded 3 or more goals in 13 of their 46 league games.

For The Record:

Returning in February and charismatic as ever in his first press conference as United manager, Keegan stated Newcastle “Is the greatest club in the country with the greatest fans” and from a personal point of view was “the only job in the world that I would ever have taken, this is the right time for me.” It was the “right time” for supporters who stuck with the Mags too. United took off and for many years, wouldn’t look back, following a remarkable end of season summarised perfectly by ‘The Journal:’

“The best place to start is at the bottom and from there we can build a new empire and once it starts, nobody will be able to stop it,” Keegan predicted after the news was confirmed.

“The relieved citizens of Newcastle can be proud not only of a spirited football team, but also of their supporters who were as passionate as they were peaceful.”

It was blatant where Keegan


The players (subs) who featured against Leicester were: Tommy Wright, Ray Ranson, Kevin Scott, Brian Kilcline, Alan Neilson (Peter Garland); Liam O’Brien, Kevin Brock (Lee Clark), Franz Carr, Kevin Sheedy; David Kelly and Gavin Peacock. Despite apparent interest from Keegan, Chris Waddle would join Sheffield Wednesday within 2 months for a bargain £1million.

With Boro going up, Leicester would beat Cambridge 6-1 over 2 Play-off Semi Final legs before losing 0-1 to Blackburn at Wembley. They’d be defeated 3-4 by Swindon in the following years final before beating Derby 2-1 in 1994’s Twin Towers decider.

tf 61



@tfMich w o ll o F in t r a hael M

I think if I was a footballer, I’d have nothing to do with social media. I can understand why footballers do think its a good idea to be on Twitter etc. Its a good means of communicating with fans and having some lighthearted crack here and there. Unfortunately, the risks presented by the army of attentionseeking fan-trolls who think they are entitled to abuse footballers, insult and humiliate them just makes the whole exercise a pointless one. What any Mag could get from putting a GIF together showing a lumbering monkey in a football shirt unable to kick a ball in anything other than a comical manner and claim it is one of tf 62

our players is beyond me. Hey, he might have got a few LOLs from his mates and nowt else matters to these buffoons who fail to understand their potential for destroying a young footballer’s confidence and shredding any affection he might have for our club. I’d go back to wearing an enormous pair of earphones getting on and off team coaches and I’d feign phone calls – all to avoid having to talk to supporters. I’d not take the risk of being ensnared by some vicious snake out to spit venom in my direction. Hey, they get paid loads of money is the blunt refrain but that says more about their envy and jealousy

than really reflecting what is acceptable and unacceptable between fans and players. Obviously, it might be expected (but is in no way an excuse) that rival supporters might attempt to nail our players. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to Newcastle United supporters spewing some of the most poisonous and insulting rubbish in the direction of our own players. Last year it was Matz Sels who incurred the wrath of the Twitter ghouls because he played badly in a couple of games. This season its Joselu, who has committed the cardinal sin of not being a 30-goal

Last year it was Matz Sels who incurred the wrath of the Twitter ghouls because he played badly in a couple of games. This season its Joselu, who has committed the cardinal sin of not being a 30-goal a season striker ...

a season striker on the back of a sky-scraping £5m move from Stoke City reserves. I’ve not seen much of the head-banging stuff directed towards Rafa but that’s only because I probably don’t have the stomach to go and look for it. I must confess to snorting derision at some of the undiscovered football geniuses that inhabit the Twitter-sphere and who feel they are qualified to proffer advice to Senor Benitez. The main cause celebre of the social media yahoos is the Mitrovich conundrum. The longer he spends unused so greater becomes his legend. Instead of a slow, technically limited striker with little ability in the air and not much in the way of finishing quality, I’m informed by the Toon Twitterati that the Serb is some latter day manifestation of Shearer-Van Basten. They

seem unable to process the plain truth that Rafa watches Mitro in training every day, understands the intricacies of his game and has concluded he’s not actually on fire at all. Further for all of the painful limitations of Joselu, the Spaniard has greater movement, is better in the air and less likely to get himself sentoff and put us a man down. Indeed, in a 4-42, Mitro simply leaves us exposed and overrun in midfield and the truth is that formation isn’t going to work. We need to play one up top in a 4-5-1 and of all of the strikers on our books, Dwight Gayle is head and shoulders the best option we have and I’m not suggesting our honest trier from Palace is anywhere near the quality of striker good enough for our club.

could someone involved in fanzine culture – claim any different? However, abuse and sneering isn’t opinion. Coming from our own supporters towards our own players makes real supporters despair and cringe with embarrassment. I sometimes wonder what they imagine “supporters” to be. We don’t have a great team. We deserve a better team. But the lads who turn out for us are an honest bunch of triers

who give their best for the shirt. Some players should have been moved on in the summer after helping the club deliver promotion but upgrades would not be funded and so we now have a manager utilising every part of his expertise to keep us in the PL. This all rests with Mike Ashley. Say what you like to and about him. He is the cause of all of our unhappiness. Know your enemy. Keep On, Keepin’ On

None of this should serve to say people aren’t entitled to their opinions – how

tf 63

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True faith 135  

This is the brand new issue of true faith, Newcastle United’s longest running and most widely read fanzine. Here is 60+ pages of good, old f...

True faith 135  

This is the brand new issue of true faith, Newcastle United’s longest running and most widely read fanzine. Here is 60+ pages of good, old f...