Brian Hall Chronicle Blog On NUFC
By Brian Hall
Friday 20 Sep 2013 16:52:00
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I am cutting straight to the chase here

 The football club which matters so much to the people of this city, and so many in this region, has been treated with utter contempt by the current owner, Mister Michael Ashley.

Since a bairn of 6, thrown into the deep end at the Leazes End in the 60s, I have learnt, like so many others,  to enjoy the many highs of life with NUFC, and  to take  quite a few  lows as well, on that black and white journey.  No room to list them in this small piece, obviously.

One thing is for sure though. I ,for one, have never seen anything like what I have been currently witnessing since the arrival of this owner from the Deep South into toon. The old Viz comic could not have written it all, as people would have thought that the Donald brothers were going way over the top into total fantasy.

It is not worth even going into some of the shambolic, absurd goings-on in recent years at times. This summer alone just sums it up. Joe Kinnear returns with a  ridiculous bang, the manager hopes for back-up to a squad which narrowly missed relegation last year, the owner himself keeps his monk-like Vow of Silence, and the club ends up on the transfer deadline day bottom of the Premiership  spending league table.

The strategy, if there is one, that is, seems to be – hope and pray for no injuries or suspension to a very decent 12 or 13 players. Continue to assume that the Geordie  natives will just be as loyal as they always have been. If that is Plan A, the mind boggles what Plan B is – unless I have missed something, football does tend to involve injuries and suspensions!

This time, though, I think something is in the air. The huge numbers of people – who see this club as so much part of their lives, their city, their very culture -  have finally, finally, had enough of being pushed up against the wall, and treated with total disdain by the regime up at our black and white cathedral high on the hill. Maybe that is just part of my blind optimistic side coming out. Who knows?

All know, of course, that against a background of absurd and insulting events -  an endless list which includes Kevin Keegan being stabbed in the back, Alan Shearer simply disregarded, a period when St James Park itself was renamed, and so on – many groups have fought back admirably to attempt to speak up against this Ashley regime.

I  confess to one sin. Although I was always with such moves, in spirit, to defend our club,  part of our city’s very soul, from the onslaughts against our pride and identity, I have not been as active as I should have been in trying to help those initiatives.

However, this summer, I decided to walk. First, to the Labour Club in town, to a very well attended big meeting. I also put on my shoes the other week to see the birth of the Time For Change movement itself. Their aim is to bring all together for one very big push to bring this shambolic Ashley administration to its end.

Their first initiative is in October, when a peaceful march, with plenty of media coverage, will assemble before the Liverpool game.

I, for one, am happy to be a foot soldier on that walk, and put my shoes on again. To join all those who are saying  Enough is Enough.

This club is far, far more than just a toy to be played with – it is part of our North East culture itself, and I feel, in my humble opinion, it is Time to Say Goodbye to Mister Ashley.




Brian Hall

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