The takeover was greeted with jubilation across most of the Magpie faithful, but for certain Geordie expats the news carried an extra dimension of importance. I, and many other exiles, have spent the last 18 months (some much longer) pondering some serious ethical questions in relation to NUFC:

It is right? Is it fair? Could I live with myself?

The question can take many forms, but here is my version:

Can I convince my soon to be born son to support Newcastle United FC, while living in the shadow of Old Trafford?

I have tried to play this question cool in the last 7 months after I found out my wife and I were expecting a baby. We live in Eccles which is about as red as it gets in Salford (think Elswick with more bucket hats, parkas and rain). The question of my unborn son’s football allegiance is one of the most asked by people when they hear our news. I have tried to be objective, coy and logical in my responses:

From the sickening: “It will be hard when all his mates are wearing Man United tops.” to the less believable: “I will let him make his own mind up”.

All the while I have been waking up in cold sweats at the thought of him clad in a Man United Ronaldo #7 shirt running around the house shouting “SUI!”.

From memory and from speaking with my Dad, the only thing that annoyed him about the Keegan era was going on holiday and seeing swaths of Grandad collar Brown Ale tops adorned by Geordies come latelies. I know with the potential the club now promises there will be an influx of fans from all over (not least from the banks of the Wear). I know this will annoy a certain type of Mag, and to be honest I get that.

But for exiles with partners or children, bringing them into the Toon fold can take on elevated importance. For lots of Geordies their experience with SJP is through their Mam or Dad taking them as kids. The relationship with the club becomes intertwined with family life. When you move away from Newcastle the connection with NUFC starts to take on extra significance. Supporting the lads can become one for the most important and visible links you have to home.

In honesty my coyness at answering the question in the last 7 months has primarily been one of secret concern. My wife laughs it off as if to say the kid has no chance but to support Newcastle, and this is probably true. But would my enthusiasm be enough? How much longer could that infectiousness to support the lads continue given the 14 plus years of apathy, neglect, and joylessness. Those at Wolves away will testify that it may have not been the lowest moment supporting the team, but there was a widespread sense of “So what?”, even after Hendrick’s contender for goal of the season. It felt like the rot had set in deeper than before.

The takeover has injected a renewed sense of passion into the fan base, almost like someone has kicked awake the hibernating sense of occasion watching the lads used to bring. This feeling has a nostalgic hue to it, but not nostalgia in the same way as watching the Howay 5-0 video every week. This feeling is more one that reminds you what Newcastle has been and what Newcastle could be. At Palace away my overriding feeling was that humour had returned to the stands, people having a laugh chatting to strangers.

The reality for lots of kids and partners of Geordies living outside of the mainland is they tend not to have a choice about matters. The enthusiasm for NUFC is aggressive and I am sure everyone knows plenty of second-generation migrant Geordies who never had much hope other than supporting the Mags. I know indoctrinated Brummies, brain washed Cockneys and resigned partners of Geordies for whom black and white life was no more of choice as it was for me or you.

But I am not going to lie, the takeover might make my life easier in the years to come when I make my case for the Mags and let the little Manc I have spawned make his choice:

The black and white stripes of Newcastle United FC or whatever colour our away strip is that season.

LUKE RODGERS