The ideas that Newcastle fans expect trophies to be won on a regular basis and that we are naturally pre-disposed to dislike anyone from the south of England are two of the most tiring and inaccurate clichés that exist about the club. Unfortunately, a great many newspapers and magazines seem to prefer to platform and peddle these tropes, than to put them to test, because of the emotional reaction they tend to cause. Against a media backdrop that craves clicks and hits, the deluded Geordie stereotype delivers more heated debate than the reality of a fan base that doesn’t demand a team that wins, only a club that tries.

The sense of entitlement on Tyneside is greatly exaggerated. Newcastle fans do not feel entitled to success simply by virtue of being Newcastle fans. The frustration is not that the club isn’t what it should be, but rather that it isn’t what it could be, given its resources.

Routinely appearing on Deloitte’s Football Rich List, Newcastle is a one-club-city, which when in the Premier League, generates revenue streams in the same band as some of Europe’s elite outfits. By the end of this season, 21 of Newcastle’s top-flight games will have been televised, up from 18 last term, which within the context of the Premier League’s broadcasting deal, is more than a slither of the overall pie.

Mike Ashley’s ownership of Newcastle, characterised by parsimony and corner-cutting, aims to benefit his discount sportswear chain, Sports Direct, rather than the club. The tragic irony, of course, is that were the club to be more successful, so would Ashley. But stubbornness is a funny thing.

Newcastle fans don’t hate Mike Ashley because the club doesn’t compete for trophies or in the Champions League – although it’s always worth remembering that it used to. They hate him because the opportunity to do so once more is being wilfully ignored.

Not only has Ashley overseen two relegations in 12 years – the club had only been relegated four times in the 102 years before he arrived – he has moved to systemically undermine the wider world’s perception of Newcastle. What was once a Premier League mainstay and a club that regularly competed in continental competitions became the butt of too many jokes, a side that many outsiders believed should feel lucky to stay up.

Prior to Ashley’s arrival, in the Premier League Newcastle had finished second twice, third twice, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, while reaching two FA Cup finals and a European semi-final; and, historically, despite having not won a major trophy since 1969, it remains the ninth-most successful club in English football in terms of this criterion.

But Newcastle fans are not obtuse enough to suggest that the club’s past should inform its present. We appreciate that we no longer have the same calibre of player as in the nineties and noughties, but is that to say that we shouldn’t wish that we did? Why must our club know its place when others, who have never experienced Champions League football before, are encouraged to dare to dream?

There is a curve ball in this equation, mind. Newcastle’s manager, the verifiably world-class Rafa Benitez, represents hope. He is the antithesis to Ashley’s lack of ambition and shares the same view of Newcastle’s potential as the club’s fans. Finishing top-half in the Premier League just one season after winning the Championship title was a glimpse into what is possible with Benitez as manager. Imagine what he could do if he was backed properly in the transfer market.

Newcastle fans don’t expect or demand overnight success; they just want a project they can get behind, that puts progress on the pitch ahead of profit margins. The same is true of most clubs’ fan bases, yet Newcastle’s is the one most often accused of hyperbole. Why? No Newcastle fans are arguing the case for the club to compete in the same bracket as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea; but it’s worth appreciating that under Benitez, Newcastle’s cheaply assembled squad has won games against all of those clubs.

Is top-half for a few years with the long-term view of qualifying for the Europa League really too much to ask of the 19th-richest club in the world? The deluded Geordie stereotype needs to die.

As for hating southerners, or people not from Newcastle, this is yet more nonsense. There is no precondition for being a well-liked Newcastle player or manager beyond a willingness to engage with the culture of the club and the city. Kevin Keegan, Shay Given, David Ginola, Rob Lee, Les Ferdinand, Nolberto Solano, Laurent Robert, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, and many, many others could confirm this is the case.  So rest assured, if Mike Ashley, Dennis Wise, Joe Kinnear and the like had been Geordies, they’d be hated all the same.

Rohan Banerjee