Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Sad to See Toon Fans Drifting Away. but You Can't Blame Them; UNITED CRISIS: The Pundits and Former Players Have Had Their Say - Now It's Turn of Supporters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Sad to See Toon Fans Drifting Away. but You Can't Blame Them; UNITED CRISIS: The Pundits and Former Players Have Had Their Say - Now It's Turn of Supporters

Article excerpt

Byline: By LEE RYDER

THE LAST time Newcastle United were relegated from topflight football, the fall from grace of the black and whites coincided with the emergence of popular Toon fanzine The Mag.

Now more than 20 years since its introduction, United's place on England's top football table is now in grave danger again, with editor Mark Jensen fearing the worst.

Jensen feels that, despite all of the optimism which came with Toon tycoon Mike Ashley's arrival in 2007 and the exit of controversial former chairman Freddy Shepherd, Newcastle United are severely lacking in direction.

Despite Joe Kinnear's initial input as boss, Newcastle's slide down the table seems inevitable with a difficult set of fixtures coming up.

With the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to come to Tyneside and testing fixtures at Liverpool, Aston Villa and Spurs also in the pipeline - not to mention derbies with Sunderland and Middlesbrough - the tough schedule is about to meet head--on with a crippling injury crisis and a failure to attract reinforcements in the transfer market.

Jensen feels the situation is nothing short of a shambles, which could leave the Mags hosting teams like Plymouth, Barnsley and Blackpool in front of rows of empty seats next season.

He said: "A lot of fans were quite rightly disillusioned after Blackburn.

"Then there is the fact that, from the moment Blackburn went in front with 30 minutes to play, more people were wondering how Stoke and Sunderland were getting on.

"When fans are worrying about how other teams are getting on below you, you know it is getting serious.

"It just sums up the current position. I am not feeling optimistic at the moment, and if we can get through the transfer window without losing anybody, that will be seen as an achievement."

Ashley informed fans on December 28 he was taking the club off the market, and he pledged to work with Kinnear in the transfer market.

Ashley also urged fans to have a bet on Newcastle finishing in the top six. …

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