It starts with your Mam screeching at the bottom of the stairs for you to wake up. Your father is stood in the kitchen making a pre-match breakfast for the both of you. 

The walk into town, the buzz, the excitement and the sea of black and white, you finally feel like you belong somewhere. Walking up the steps and into the church that is St. James’ Park, you clench your father’s hand so tightly as you’re greeted by the Geordie roar.

As you grow up and continue to be brainwashed by your father, you become more hooked on Newcastle United than ever before. Through the years, the match day experience changes, instead of a pint of a soft drink, you turn to having a beer with your father. Reminiscing about your first game with him, just like he did with his own father.

More and more supporters aren’t getting the chance to feel this unique experience. The Geordie roar is fading, the soul sucked out of the church. One by one, supporters vote with their feet, the exodus is gradual but still noticeable.

Twelve years of mismanagement, poor decisions and neglect. Those on the outside say “Newcastle supporters expect too much”. It is not too much to expect their beloved club to improve, to fight, to connect with their own supporters. The very people who without – Football would be nothing.

Not so long ago, walking around Newcastle there would be children running around with their black and white shirts on. Take a look today and those shirts are turning to shades of red or blue. The connection the club has with its supporters is no longer strong. There is a disconnect there with supporters questioning why they should attend, when the club refuses to communicate with them.

Twelve years of being let down, tears in the away end at Villa Park in 2009. A further relegation in 2016, it has been a rapid decline of a fantastic football club. Those regular European nights are now a distant memory. For the younger supporters, many of whom have only known this Newcastle United, not the real United.

The hierarchy do not care about the club, all they see is pound signs. They do not see the young families attending, the sons and daughters going to their first Newcastle game and being swept away in a sea of black and white. They do not see the memories of Keegan leaving on a helicopter, Albert’s chip, Shearer’s record breaking strike or a Robert thunderbolt. 

Football is everything in this great city. From the older generation right down to those starting out their journey, the main topic will be Newcastle United.

Supporters have been asking “Where’s the money gone?” But where’s Newcastle United gone? There is an Identity crisis at the club. Those pound sign seeing directors have no interest in where the club came from, all those great memories that make the club what it is today. That’s where the disconnection lies.

Until the owner finally decides to unlock the prison cell and let the real Newcastle United roam free, the club will continue to decline.

Graeme Bell