This is a post that’s been a long time in the making. It’s a poem about one of the greatest loves of my life, Newcastle United. And if that seems like a bit of a pathetic sentence, then you should probably stop reading. But the football team that I support have been a constant in my life for well over 40 years now and let’s face it, around the globe there are plenty of us that fall in love with their chosen sports team. The club is something that I blog about sporadically as I like to write about lots of different things, but I couldn’t resist this one.
The poem itself was written in June 2019, when I’d finally allowed myself to think that Mr. Ashley, the owner of my football club, was actually leaving. For those who don’t know, Ashley has owned the club for 14 years and it’s been an incredible low point in our history; lacking in investment, lacking in ambition, lacking in hope and a time where balancing the books has been deemed way more important than success or even excitement and hope on the field.
When I wrote the poem a Saudi Arabian investment group seemed on the verge of buying the club, meaning that hopes and dreams could return. And then, to cut a long story short, it didn’t happen.
Fast forward 18 months or so from when the news of our takeover first broke and following high profile legal action, and almost at the drop of a hat, the club has been sold. So, here’s my poem.
Farewell Mike Ashley When you first pitched up you were greeted optimistically. A sportswear billionaire set to change the Toon fiscally. But then, a reason to doubt your intelligence when you sloppily disregarded your due diligence. But, your black and white shirt in the away end provided a distraction, the drinks are on Mike, no need for (Sports) Direct action. Then you brought back King Kev, a masterstroke, yet the way that you treated was nowt short of a joke. Wise and Jiminez, your plan to bring the good times back, followed by Gonzalez and Xisco; two straws to break the camel's back. Keegan gone and relegation drawing near, your answer? Joe f***ing Kinnear. A sleeping giant in an idiot's grip, you were seemingly determined to sink this ship. But you didn't reckon with Kinnear's heart which inadvertently gave us a brand new start, Shearer tempted, a legend returning but his hands were tied, the ship still burning. Relegation and Shearer left waiting for your call, but you chose to ignore the greatest scorer of them all Against the odds Hughton took us straight back up, but still the chequebook remained shut. In time you brought in Pardew and a Director of Football... Kinnear again though; pissed and capable of f*** all Years passed and we made it to the Europa League but with little investment we fell away, fatigued. As Pardew stuttered you committed the cardinal sin out with SJP, the Sports Direct Arena in, terrible and sinking with Pardew's palava as he blamed the grass, the science, the fans, then left us with Carver. Still there was time for you to behave like a wanker by blanking poor Jonas, stricken with cancer, and oh the sweet irony when he came to the rescue, yet still you got rid like a cockney Ceausescu. And then more alarm bells as you gave us MaClaren, a hair island, no idea and his tactics board barren. Even Benitez couldn't save us from our fate, another reason for more Geordie hate. But Rafa rebelled, he was made for these fans, but your silence said you had other plans, but the tide was turning, a truth became clear, we were nothing but right not to want you here, we didn't want Charnley and we didn't want Bruce whatever you did there would be no truce. Transfer windows where nothing was spent anyone could see it was time that you went. Protest groups, boycotts, banners and the Trust gave hope now finally, deal done, get out of our club you fat dope.
The future looks incredibly bright for Newcastle United and it’s been a bit of a ridiculous few days. I’ve watched the celebrations in the city from afar, just wishing I could be part of it. Making do with social media footage and various reports on the telly has had to be enough, but it’s still been amazing to watch. Then you read the media reports and the quotes from Amanda Staveley and others involved in this new dawn and it’s been as bewildering as it’s been exciting.
There are other, darker issues to address with this takeover but for now I’m happy to just wallow in what it could mean from a footballing point of view and try to forget the last 14 years of penny pinching and constant disappointment under Mike Ashley. As someone who first sat in the East Stand aged 6 and has been in love with the club ever since, I’d resigned myself to the fact that we probably wouldn’t win anything in my lifetime. As someone who walked away from attending games 13 years ago as I realised what Ashley represented, that feeling was utterly miserable. But it’s time to look to the future, because the future’s bright; the future’s black and white.
I hope you enjoyed the poem. Feel free to leave a comment.