Just because the season ended on the 11/May/14,didn’t mean Newcastle United’s capacity forFAC1 appalling its supporters ended when the players slunk defeated from the field at Anfield.

At the Fans Forum (which they are obliged to host to satisfy UEFA licensing regulations) Lee Charnley, United’s pencil sharpening, paper-clip counting non-entity of a Managing Director, explained to an unelected, compliant pre-selected selection of unknown and unaccountable supporters that Alan Pardew would remain in-situ to no-one’s great surprise but the real kick in the balls was the club’s stated attitude towards the cup competitions.

Now, I get it completely that the Premier League and its riches is where Newcastle United has to be. That is stating the bleeding obvious. That has to be our absolute number one priority as a football club. We want to compete in the Premier League and we want to be the best we possibly can be, improving year on year and hopefully challenging what has become a cartel of financially doped clubs and those who have hogged the Champions League places and cut away from the rest of the PL due to the finances generated by a competition which is the biggest on the planet, eclipsing even the World Cup in my opinion.

Any sensible supporter understands the importance of the Premier League. However, any club must understand its own supporters and their desire for trophies and glory and dreams.

It must also understand its own obligations to the rest of the game, the spirit of sporting endeavour and competitiveness and the value of every competition it enters. That seems sadly lacking at Newcastle United Football Club.

The head-spinning cod-logic of a piece of “independent” (aye, right) research illustrating how relegation beckons for any club outside the silver circle of the PL’s top six who competes in Cup competitions summed up the joyless corporate defeatism which is such a cancer upon Newcastle United but the lack of rigour in this data in informing club policy is breathtaking. Fair play to nufc.com who quickly provided statistical evidence to demonstrate the grotesque inaccuracy of such a claim. The evidence is available on nufc.com still, so have a look and you will see just how threadbare Charnley and Co’s claims really are.

What is also revealing is where these people see Newcastle United in the football pecking order. They are comparing our club, Newcastle United to the likes of Wigan and Birmingham. Now with all due respect to those clubs, Newcastle United is the third best supported club in the Premier League and it is the tenth best supported club in Europe. It is the twentieth richest club on the continent. It is little more than a decade since United was playing in the Champions League and those of you witnessed those great games against Barcelona, Juventus, Inter Milan et al. won’t forget them in a hurry.

Message to Lee Charnley, John Irving, Mike Ashley, Wendy Taylor, Lee Marshall etc. – NEWCASTLE UNITED FC is not a 2-bob club. We all know that for clubs like us – and Everton, Vila, Spurs and Liverpool we can’t win the Premier League. That is a trophy that is simply beyond us because of the finances of the modern game. But the Premier League is the most important competition we play in because of the finances involved.

We do have a chance of winning the FA Cup and the League Cup. With  a fair wind, it is not beyond us to win those trophies, though it will always be difficult. To hear club officials tell our er, (cough) erstwhile representatives at the Fans Forum that these represent a low priority for the club and for the same officials to present bogus “evidence” to justify their abysmal strategy is one of the greatest scandals of our club’s history and a stain upon what remains of its tattered reputation. Our club has just told us it exists to exist. To return to a theme I raised a few weeks ago, Newcastle United is a Zombie club.

But I’m not going to bark at the moon on this one, I’m going to call upon Newcastle United to carry through their logic further in respect of the Cup competitions.

I suggest to them that next season, they do not enter those competitions. That will at least illustrate a degree of integrity. If Newcastle United do enter a team into those Cup competitions, I can only conclude they are, in my opinion, cheating those that turn up to watch those games, the TV audiences, the broadcasters, the opposition, the sponsors and the organisers.

Going into Cup competitions with this kind of attitude is simply cheating in my opinion and they should do us the courtesy of withdrawing from them if it is club policy to hold those competitions in such low regard.

Similarly, Newcastle United should also inform UEFA that it would prefer not to enter the Europa League if circumstances prevailed that a terrible thing happened and we found ourselves in European competition again. Be honest and straightforward and tell the game’s governing body in this respect, UEFA that they do not feel it is a viable competition and pull out. Be honest.

Newcastle United by its own statement made under no pressure from awkward journalists and under no risk of being misquoted has told its own supporters and the football world at large, in not so many words, that it does not wish to compete in the Cup competitions and it would prefer not to play in European competition. That is where our club is right now.

The attitude of the club appears to be – this is what we are about, don’t come if you don’t like it, we can get by very well with the telly money and your dosh on the gate isn’t all that.

I see this as sitting within the bonus structure of those who work at the United. Ashley will have bonuses tied to income and the greatest means by which to do that is fixing it with where the club finishes in the PL. I am guessing but I imagine that applies to Charnley as well as Pardew. I’d also guess that the antipathy towards the Cup competitions comes from the absence of bonus incentives for Charnley, Pardew etc for those competitions. If there is no money in the Cup competitions for those people, then their logic may be why bother? All of this stuff about relegation and Cups is a load of horse-shit, disguising the reality of a selection of money-grabbing mediocrities out to line their own pockets in my opinion.

Those who are employed by Ashley are as much a part of the problem as he is himself. In my opinion.

The club’s statement that the 6% reduction this season in non-season ticket renewals seems difficult to square with everything I’ve heard and read for the last 4 months but as we have seen United appears to have an uncertain grasp on data and we may have to wait until the first home game of the season to see just how many have carried through their promise of chucking the whole charade in.

There appeared to be an air of smugness in the club’s revelation that they had only lost 6% of season ticket holders, same as last year. Now I’m not a mathematical genius but if the club continues to lose season ticket holders at this rate (even accepting their reports, which is a big ask admittedly) then they have lost 12% in 12 months and I don’t see a scramble of new supporters keen to get their hands on season tickets do you?

There were times last season when I know supporters could not give tickets away for the most high profile of matches i.e. Spurs, Man Utd. I imagine the same will be true next season.

I have come to accept that the club or Ashley is interested only in how you and I spend our money. Not in our anger, disappointment or opinion, simply in the choices we make with our spending. This is the only barometer that will register at all with those running United. Image, reputation, standing … none of that matters, its all about where you and I spend our money. Nothing else.

Now, it will be a cold day in hell when I ever buy any club merchandise or any food, drink or whatever at the match. I keep Newcastle United spending strictly to my tickets. I am reviewing whether to bother with cup tickets because I am of the view now that those defeats at Stevenage and Brighton as well as Cardiff weren’t a series of unfortunate events, they were de-facto intended in not in so many words.

The Cardiff game this season in the FAC is the closest I’ve ever come to claiming I’ve just seen a game being thrown. However, evidence of Pardew’s growing incompetence is a big defence from that claim.

Do not enter these competitions if you don’t want to compete them. Have the courage of your convictions. Do not take the piss out of those competitions.

 

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We’ll be finishing the true faith END OF SEASON SURVEY very soon, so if you haven’t completed it just yet, now is your chance. Go to: true faith: END OF SEASON SURVEY 

 

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Many, many thanks to all of you who are getting onto the true faith : DIGITAL subscriptions. As I’ve mentioned a few hundred times, we are working on the SUMMER SPECIAL (TF112) and it is an absolute beast of an issue and without doubt the best we have ever done. All you need to do is to go to: true faith : DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS And get onto our ever growing list of subscribers. You will get access to an archive of 30 back copies, plus the current issue.

 

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It was hugely disappointing that Gateshead FC couldn’t cross the final furlong and get into the Football League, sadly losing the Conference Play-Off Final to Cambridge United at Wembley. Gateshead has exceeded all expectations this season and indeed kept going right until the final seconds at Wembley. They did themselves, their club, the town and the North East proud. There is a strong bond between the supporters of Gateshead and Newcastle United and I would hope going forward those bonds are increased though not with the League B nonsense that would kill the dreams of clubs like Gateshead FC. Having a strong healthy Gateshead FC in the Football League could not fail to help United, having a local club it could loan (as it has) young players for the experience of proper men’s competitive football, helping develop its coaching and generally adding to the football culture of the area. I think I may be wasting my breath.

 

Keep On, Keepin’ On … 

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