Best and worst media coverage of Newcastle United

Well, obviously TF is the best but I suppose if we go off-piste then, let’s have a look.

The best – Who isn’t logging onto the mighty NUFC.COM everyday for proper, verified news rather than pouring through bogus ITK twitter accounts brought to us by an army of tedious, anonymous attention seekers? .COM has always and will always be the go-to location for real news rather than the white noise of social media. Their vast army of devotees salute them.

There are others of course. The Athletic is way out in front of everyone else in the mainstream media for intelligent football journalism and Messrs Caulkin and Waugh are at the forefront of how the club is reported on.

The Athletic’s February interview with Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad  Ghodoussi was probably the article fans fell upon most enthusiastically for the horse’s mouth perspective. The long silence regards the takeover over the last 12 months as others opined on the petrol fumes of information, much of it wrong and inflated beyond bursting point of credibility, was wise on their part.

The long-read prose suits both writers and they are using data to inform their pieces rather than for it to replace insight. Having Geordie Soul Brother No. 1 Alan Shearer on the firm can’t but help either.

Honourable mentions to Mark Douglas now with The Independent! The broadsheet format is more suited to his writing style. Better to come from Mark next season is the hot top TF tip of the summer.

We cannot ignore Craig Hope of The Mail who in the last season established himself as the bête noire of the Bruce clan and easily the closest to the pre-takeover supporter zeitgeist. His is a welcome voice on TF Podcasts over recent months too.

Fair play to The Guardian’s grown-up David Conn for his piece regarding the UK government’s role in supporting the Saudi-led Newcastle United takeover as well as the questions for the Premier League in their associated handling of it. This was sober, relevant and well, further exposes the congenital dishonesty of the oaf in No.10.

Worst? Where do you start? Well, obviously the braying noise of Talk-sport will take some surpassing with an inane tattoo of ever-more shlock-jock drivel designed to get the calls coming in. Switch-off, un-follow and your world will be brighter.

I’m not sure Barry Glendenning of The Guardian counts as a journalist. I see him more as a curiosity designed to give the audience something amusing to stare at – rather like Bez of the Happy Mondays, shaking his maracas while the dour Jonathan Wilson produces something frequently worth a read, albeit seldom uplifting. Arab News’ Wilson as an E-free Shaun Ryder? You heard it here first.

Barry’s late-night manoeuvres (pissed?) on social media invariably see him handed his arse – most spectacularly by former Thomson House stalwart Neil Farringdon – and he is evasive in the extreme when it comes to being quizzed on photos of his Tyne Dock firmly gripped in his mitt which appeared briefly on social media. he’s almost as evasive as on the subject of Wilson’s stipend from Arab News. To quote an unnamed journalist who covers United full time in his description of Glendinning –“he’s a knob”. Few reading would disagree.

We’ve also seen something of a schism opening up between those who’ve covered Newcastle United for decades and largely based in the NE and a hyena-pack of largely London-based hacks with a baffling sense of superiority doing painting by numbers moralising for a disinterested audience. No-one with a semblance of sanity would suggest it is not the media’s job to cover what is clearly a controversial takeover of our club

but brow-beating Eddie Howe after the Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge, haranguing fellow-journalists for not joining in on the pile-on and indulging in the usual class-regional snobbery towards working class football supporters doesn’t come under the heading of serious investigative journalism.

David Conn has shown how it is done.

We look forward to Mike Ashley being button-holed for his decision to sell to the Saudi-led consortium and trouser at least £300m despite all the controversy of Saudi human rights, Richard Masters pursued to reveal what went on with the delay to the takeover, the role of Qatar, the PL’s cartel of clubs conduct and the heat from no-less than Boris Johnson.

Barry, I’ll buy you a jotter, a pencil and a push-bike myself. Get to work.

Moment of the season – 7/Oct/22

I’ll be honest, I groaned.  I may have thought not this shit again, when I took a call a few days before the 7/Oct/21 to tip me off the takeover might be back-on. I started taking it seriously when I was told Staveley, Ghodoussi et al were holed up at the Jesmond Dene Hotel with lap-tops, people in Hugo Boss suits and pricey overcoats with phones clagged permanently to their lugs.

Okay, I may have started pacing-up and down in my Geordie dacha telling myself this was probably another red herring and not to open my heart up to more agony.

But then … all the people you can rely upon started saying it was real … so then I started gabbling, speaking in tongues … usually to the bewilderment of my better-half … but to mates and family, largely to a strange stunned, incredulous, sceptical silence.

Then SKY’s Keith Downing tucked out the way on the car park bit at SJP announced it was done and Ashley was down the road … Staveley coming out of the Jesmond Dene Hotel and casually, saying “it’s done” with a regal wave and a smile.

There’s me rocking up and down with my face pressed into my hands growling in joy and relief. Smart-phones are going mental all over Tyneside and the NE. The silence as the news broke was like that brief moment when you know we’ve scored but just before you’re up out of your seat, hugging strangers and roaring like a mad-man into the middle distance.

Then we roared. And roared some more. Then shook with excitement. Followed by a bit more roaring.

I didn’t go to SJP to join thousands of others. I thought it was for younger Mags. It was their moment. Mags who’d known nothing but the 14 years of Mike Ashley sucking the joy out of our lives and stomping on the soul of our great, beloved football club.

I watched the scenes via social media of celebrations the like of which the Strawberry Place and Barrack Road junction had never seen. I watched the day turn to night and the crowds grow bigger, more boisterous and well, more pissed. #CANS – by the way, where is the flag? #CANS

Wor Flags added the essential flourish. The flags waving our unrestrained joy. Is this what a revolution feels like?

I couldn’t think of anything else. Mates who follow clubs all over the country sent messages of congratulations, happy we were rid of that slug, knowing how much he’d hurt Newcastle United, our city and our people. I didn’t receive anything from any Sunderland fans. I still haven’t. But I smell the fear hidden under the cordite of their hypocrisy and risible concern about human rights.

I looked at the footage and pictures of that night for days. I howled with laughter at North Shields’ finest Sam Fender, hung-over to fuck on a BBC sofa in a Newcastle United trackie top. The Geordie Bruce Spingsteen. If he’s not doing a Born on the River Tyne version of Born in the USA, then frankly I’m wasted here. Ahem.

I listened to mates, good people, great supporters, who felt troubled by the club being owned by the Saudis. I understand. I wish football wasn’t like this, I’ve done a tiny bit to pursue supporter-ownership, so have thousands of others. That was ignored, the people pouring scorn on our club and the people who follow it, never took up arms in that battle, they are constant lemon-sucking bystanders disappointed that others won’t display the virtues absent in themselves.

Supporters of the Season

How can you go beyond Wor Flags? Their displays have helped light a fire under the club, inspiring supporters, players, manager, staff and directors. They provide a spectacle that has turned our matches into events. They make us proud. This is what supporters can do acting collectively. Wonderful.

The Newcastle United Food-bank – another display of solidarity in action, albeit one that gives me concerns that it is at risk at being used as PR by those who donate to the Tory party which is responsible for the poverty and hunger gripping millions of our fellow citizens.

I understand the bind they are in but this isn’t about nice photo opportunities and positive column inches. It isn’t about making people feel good they are donating to a worthy cause. It is about fighting poverty, changing government policy so our fellow Geordies and others aren’t humiliated by going to a stranger in a church hall and asking for help to feed their families. Charity as a failure of the state.

I’m not the only one who grew up hearing of the privations of our people in the 1930s from my grand-parents. We have to fight against going back to that world. That Food-bank is a political act, it does a very good, practical thing, but it isn’t a media event to gild a reputation.

But food is being put on the table of Geordies who can’t afford to buy food and the bottom line is that is a very good thing. You people reading this do that, not the Reubens donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tory party. You, the people!

Newcastle United Supporters Trust – Pledge 1892 was the insurance we were paying into for the feared point that would have inevitably come under Ashley when the club would have been trashed completely. 6000 Mags were putting in their monthly donations and the money was totting up after only six months. It now isn’t needed because we’ve had the Takeover. NUST members decided that. NUST members have decided that £200K should be donated to worthy causes across the NE. Real people will benefit from that money and NUST is organising that. That is supporters acting together, a collective effort, all of us.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust – responding brilliantly after the crush outside Elland Road, offering a credible, capable supporters’ response to a bread and butter issue – our safety at a football stadium.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust – representing us brilliantly with the Tracey Crouch Review of football governance. Our voices heard as much as any other in this work that will hopefully change how football works.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust – petitioning the PL to lean on Ashley’s Newcastle United FC to respond to season ticket DDs amidst complete silence and indifference from Charnley et al.

Never Darken These Doors Again Award

Hands down goes to Mike Ashley who I’d be happy never to see or hear from ever again. See also Lee Charnley, Ashley’s bitch only out-done by the self-pitying waste of space Steve Bruce who pimped himself to Ashley after Rafa’s departure despite growing up as a Mag and hanging on until the new owners weighed him in with £8m. Pieces of silver. Beat it and STFU.

Every single one of us that loves Newcastle United

Those that travel home and away with a devotion that defies logic, those that stuck with their season tickets as Bruce talked us into therapy, those that chucked it, at the end of their tether after 14 years of Ashley, those who follow from afar and those round the doors. Lads, lasses, owt in between, black, white, whatever, scarfers, casuals, owld gadgies, wifies and bairns, radgies and sensible pencils, all of you. All of us, the heart and soul of Newcastle United. Forever and always.

A reminder that football is fun Award

Emil Franchi. His Fan-Cams are gloriously daft, funny and joyous. Rave on, young man.

This is what we’re now worrying about Award

Tickets. Season tickets. How do we get into the match. How do our mates, sons, daughters, Mams, Dads get to see the Mags? How do we get away tickets? Will they expand SJP? Will they relocate the stadium? How big will it be?

TF Unsung heroes

As ever, our brilliant designer and great lad Glenn Ashcroft who has done so much work for TRUE FAITH over many years. Loved by all of us. Likewise Peter Willis, our artist in residence, providing fanzine covers and art-work for The Special and anything else. Brilliant lads both.

Michael Martin @TFMick1892