After the game in which Newcastle went down 4-3 at Manchester United on Boxing Day, in a game we actually turned up for, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson insulted the Tyneside club after the game, by calling the team “that wee club from the North East.”
Alex Ferguson - when his team are not doing well – watch out!
And quite honestly, in any other real job, that kind of ridiculous and vicious statement would not have gone unpunished – but this is football – and not of the real world.
But it’s also true that in the last two months the Newcastle brand has taken an awful lot of hits to its great image, and that was just one of them – and it’s all been very painful.
And we think Ferguson can be a piece of work when he’s angry, and he’s annoyed quite a lot both during and after games - especially when his team do not play well – or heaven forbid – lose.
But Alex has made a point of apologizing to Newcastle fans, and said his comments were aimed at those who run the club – and not at the fans – who are the best in the business.
This is what 71 year-old Alex said today:
“‘Among the criticism there were also messages from people who feel they have been let down by the club and that it has not matched their own ambitions for success.” ”It was never my intention to belittle Newcastle fans.” “I want to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen over what I said.”
I have nothing but the highest regard for Newcastle fans and I always have had. They are up there with the best supporters in the game. Their passion, commitment and fervour have never wavered, even though they have had little to celebrate.”
“They have turned up in numbers to get behind their team wherever and whenever the games have been played. When I take a team to St James’ Park, I have stressed to the players that not only have they got to beat the opposition on the field, just as important is coping with the atmosphere created by the fans.”
“Sadly, results have not matched their loyalty. If Newcastle’s achievements had matched the support of the people who pay to watch them play, the club would be among the game’s giants. It’s tragic that they haven’t been able to win a league title for over eighty years.”
“The whole country would like to see a Newcastle team that matched the one in the Keegan era when they took us to the wire.”
Never mind the whole country – we the faithful fans would love to see Newcastle back up there – and we thought a new era was dawning last season when we shocked everybody and finished 5th in the league – but in truth I don’t expect us to repeat the fantastic Keegan era anytime soon, and certainly not in my lifetime.
But this season is almost a polar opposite of what we did last season, and we are now in a relegation fight, and we could be fighting for our Premier League lives through the end of the season in May.
We hope Mike Ashley will pay the money to bring four good players in during January – and we already have one excellent acquisition this month – French star Mathieu Debuchy – but we have lost our top scorer Demba Ba, who amazingly seems to be bad mouthing Newcastle at every opportunity - since he moved to Chelsea last Friday.
We’ll have to survive and maybe even prosper without mercenary Demba Ba – but we need some good new players in urgently to carry that out.
Over to you Mike Ashley.
Howay The Lads!!
You can also reach Ed at email@example.com