Friday, January 18, 2008

Newcastle United Circus

Newcastle's Last Successful Captain (on left).

Throughout this week the nation has been bored witless by the nonsense that is Newcastle United FC. As a dedicated football fan myself I have always been appalled at the constant hype around this under-achieving outfit. Then, this morning, I realised how the club mirrors the new Britain. Here are the similarities:

In the early '90s 20,000 was a good attendance at a game. The crowd (population) has now swelled to 50,000 per game. But they all claim to have been loyal fans for decades and decades.

They won a couple of FA cups in the 1950s and a Fairs Cup (UEFA Cup, now defunct) in the 1960s. That doesn't make them a successful club in 2008 any more than we can claim to have an empire, which we lost in the same era in which they were last successful.

The good thing is the only way Newcastle United get into Europe these days is on a booze cruise.

Their owner claims to be an ordinary man but he, and the club, rip off the mug supporters on a daily basis but the mugs are happy to keep stumping up and making rich men even richer while the club becomes ever more a laughing stock. Bit like our government.

When anything of import happens, like siging a new player or manager, or even sacking one, the fans turn up and turn their stadium into a vulgar, makeshift shrine and there is a mawkish public display of emotion.

The most worrying thing though is that Kevin Keegan is now being hailed as the second coming of the Messiah. Please don't tell me that Tony Blair is sniffing around safe Labour seats for the next election! After all, Blair did claim to have regularly sat in the Gallowgate End at Newcastle in the 1960s, except that it was then a standing terrace.

But to sum it up in one word-SPIN.

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