These are the strangest of times, for society, for your families, for the people you don’t know, and for football fans. To say this year has been unprecedented would be an understatement. People across the world are left to guess as to what happens next, awaiting any update from those in power. Is there a chance of a brighter future? What are those in power actually doing? Do we just accept the ‘New Normal’ and move on?
These are all questions being asked by one specific group on two fronts. This group are Newcastle United fans, we need answers from our government to see when a modicum of life can return, but we also need answers from the club to see what happens next.
During lockdown we were giving a slight bright light in the form of a Takeover. That just like the Covid-19 lockdown would drag out and just end in disappointment. It seemed like a worthy distraction from life in general during the past few months, but it just took over, shaped our every move, and would like the club has done for the past decade or so, just end in disappointment.
We demanded answers, so we fought for them. We had petitions started, we contacted MP’s and brought them into our fight, the Trust even got some time with the Premier League and Richard Masters. Answers were given, were they the answers we wanted….No! It all seemed like the Premier League were reading from a pre-prepared statement. No theres no corruption, no no outside influence had any say on the takeover, no we didn’t get very far in a test that says in our own guidelines should take 4 weeks, but after 17 we were still sitting on our hands.
Im not sure what we expected, the league weren’t about to shoot themselves in the foot and say, “yeah Liverpool, Spurs and beIN had more say than they should!” It just wasn’t going to happen. But as much as the Premier League seem to be enemy number 1 within the Geordie Nation, at least they have communicated something! The proposed new owners of the club have actually communicated with fans since this whole saga came to an end. So we are left wanting answers from one group, the one that should have our interests at the forefront of their minds, and that is the club. Yet they seem to have reverted to type, and it is complete radio silence from the halls of power within St James’ Park.
The club feels like a rudderless ship, no direction, no goals (both figuratively and literally) and doesn’t seem to want to call out for help. This summer should have been a turning point in the clubs history, yet we seem to be sinking further to the abyss.
We have heard from manager Steve Bruce once, the hierarchy have released one statement saying they are still ‘committed’ to the deal, and new signing Jeff Hendrick was thrust in from of the camera’s to try and be the connection between fans and club. I fully understand in the current circumstances, access to the club is limited, but there are plenty of avenues for the club to talk to fans that aren’t local journalists, or the seemingly preferred vehicle that is Sky Sports News.
The silence is deafening, and it is starting to draw divisions between fans again. In a summer when some fans seem to be giving up on the game, the club seem intent on making sure the fans fall out of love with them first. You get the feeling Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are hiding behind the former’s commitment to the deal that has fallen through, and will keep fans guessing until there is news either way.
Where is the commitment to the fans? Where is the duty of care? Yes these things have been lacking throughout Mike Ashley’s tenure, but for the first summer in ages fans can’t blame Ashley for the downfall of a takeover. We can however blame him for the lack of direction the club seem to be in.
We are seeing other clubs preparing for the upcoming season, by improving, not because they have more money (Leeds, Aston Villa, Southampton) but because they have owners that buy into the club, and understand football. At least their fans have some sort of optimism going into a season that starts a week on Saturday. Newcastle fans are left guessing, asking “what happens now?”
All the anger has been pointed towards the Premier League, and Qatar, but at this moment in time is that anger misplaced? Where fans were united fighting towards a common goal, there seems to be signs of defeat within the Toon Army’s ranks. The negativity is creeping in like an avalanche, there are divisions being drawn again, yet one man hides away, and hopes he doesn’t have to do anything!
They say it gets worse before it gets better, and as a Newcastle fan, it doesn’t seem like it could get worse at this moment in time, next may could be different.
We need to stop asking the consortium for answers, we may not get them! The Premier league have shown their hand and have given us all the answers they are willing to give! Now is the time for the club to step up and let us know….Where do we go from here?