For those of you not paying attention the Furious World Tour started in June heading South East out of Newcastle and stumbling through North, Central and South America, on to Australia then back on itself to New Zealand. We have holed up in Auckland in an attempt to get some writing done. In short we (Wifey and I) are on the other side of the world from St James’ Park (or whatever you crazy kids are calling it this week) so our perception might be a little wonky.
Reports from home give the impression of a fractious confusion and, worldwide, the black and white tribe squabble like the dysfunctional family we no doubt are. My own thoughts at this point are based on our limited access to live football in the local pubs and coffee houses, experience, cynicism, nufc.com, The Mag online and (foolishly) Twitter. I have mentioned before my dangerous obsession with the Tweetesphere where unidentifiable cowards bark drunkenly at the famous, and the mad cross wits with the ill-informed. Where diamonds of hilarity can be found amidst the observations of the wry, the ramblings of insomniacs and the cries for attention from the best-off ignored.
From this vantage point; the first day of 2012, in front of lap-top, high over TVNZ with the Auckland Skytower shrouded in unwelcome rain clouds, it seems to me that Newcastle fans’ principal enemy is lack of positive certainty. The negative certainties remain: like never getting six points when we have two home games in a week and our submissive surrender at Anfield. This latter tradition is always galling but Liverpool fans must be asking how their team can consistently be up for home games against us but can let the likes of Norwich and Blackburn wander off with points virtually unmolested.
To enjoy our football team’s lofty league position and to rest easier in our beds, we would like optimistic assurances and none are forthcoming. Since August we have recognised the areas where our squad is flimsy and have foolishly believed there was money available for reinforcements if only we could hang on until January. Now with the African Nations approaching we are a Coloccini injury or suspension away from having the spine of our team torn out yet none who speak can sooth us.
Alan Pardew has done a remarkable job (surely nobody remains idiotic enough to believe that 7th at New Year is luck) but the ramifications of the Andy Carroll sale can be seen behind his eyes. He can’t reassure us about anything and he knows it. This time last year Carroll was one of us, the ink on his contract was yet damp and Mr Pardew could not have been more resolved to his staying. Yet here Carroll is in ghastly red all the same. Splendid that we now have a better forward than him, who cost us nothing except a signing on fee, but the steel behind our manager’s word was compromised. So we feel we can do nothing but look on helplessly as dingoes approach our untended babies: Krul to Spurs, Tiote to Chelsea, Cabaye to Manchester United all seem feasible when we allowed Enrique to join Carroll for a desultory and insulting £5 million.
So we don’t relax and all footballing pleasure is seen as fleeting and all glory as delicate. Even as far away as I am I fear careless confidence, an example; after the rousing performances in Manchester I thought “don’t panic so, we can give anyone a game this season, what’s the harm in just having a couple of beers and watching the match?” Except the match in question I had so foolishly chosen to enjoy unencumbered by anxiety (and at half one in the morning) was Chelsea where cruel misfortune gorged itself and where the damage and injury done reverberates still.
I feel responsible. Responsible to the point that the black Ben Arfa 10 shirt I promised myself on returning to Newcastle after he dispatched ball to Bolton net so emphatically will remain unpurchased for fear of voodooing his fragile knees.
Yet compared to some voices I am a positive and optimistic Newcastle fan; those tirelessly demanding a more generous billionaire owner who can’t be silenced by good results and a vertiginous League position, the people who booed at the end of the home game against Swansea and the folk who claim we don’t deserve to be 7th if we lose to the likes of Norwich and West Brom. Those who can see nothing but imminent doom. If I didn’t know better I would assume that James Perch was a one legged blind div of a girl and that Gabriel Obertan was some backstairs bastard half brother of Albert Luque.
The point is while my own disquiet damages nothing but my already fragile peace of mind, these people are positively toxic. Seriously how the f*** are we still talking about the right to boo your own team or players, how many times do we have to go over this? If you boo your own players you are as much use to the rest of us as a dead cow’s reproductive orifice. I could be more blunt (see what I did there?) and sometimes I wish somebody with a more widespread voice than I would be. Managers are so mindful of upsetting the mindless that they have to mouth lies like “everybody is entitled to an opinion” when someone should say “Seriously if you think booing is supporting you are a dead cow’s ****!”
Yes I too can’t help adding the recent dropped points to our actual total but the fact is you could make a case for Europe the year we got relegated by doing that sort of thing and we would have half a dozen League titles to boot. But games don’t exist in isolation for us or anybody else. For example because we have an intelligent manager and players the loss against West Brom looked to fuel the win at Bolton.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your team to do and be better but you have to make sure your own actions don’t make it worse. And we have to live without positive reassurance because there isn’t going to be any.