Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Will Be Back; Sooner or Later, Newcastle Will Be Back: One Fan's Message of Hope

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We Will Be Back; Sooner or Later, Newcastle Will Be Back: One Fan's Message of Hope

Article excerpt

Byline: Graeme Whitfield

WALK in the sunshine laid bare the impact of one deflected goal on the people of a city that usually loves to party on a Bank Holiday Monday. Everywhere my disappointment seemed to find a reflection. There was comfort too in the sight of others still coping with the reality of relegation. Somehow it was apt, after years of self-inflicted wounds, that Newcastle United were finally done in by a goal that span in off the luckless Damian Duff. Relegation is not like a death in the family, but it is depressing all the same to go from Champions League to the Championship in less than 10 years and the effects were felt yesterday morning not just on the terraces of St James's Park. If you grow up on Tyneside or Northumberland or some parts of County Durham, and come to like football, playing in front of the Gallowgate End is every boy's dream. For many that dream has only ever meant mixing it up with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Now they must aspire to games against Blackpool, Doncaster and Plymouth Argyle. Fans all round the country will laugh at our misfortune and the sight of a glum Alan Shearer - the man who probably scored against their team and roughed up their defenders many a time - will be an added bonus. Yet it was an increasingly impressive Shearer who spoke some of the wisest words on Newcastle's plight.

"Relegation isn't about today," he said, "it's about what's gone on this season, last season and the season before." Shearer was there when United were beating Juventus to get to the second stage of the Champions League and has clearly been horrified by the club's decline. The finger of blame for that fall might point at owner Mike Ashley in the first instance, but the roll of dishonour is long: Freddie Shepherd, Derek Llambias, Douglas Hall, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce have all played their part, and that's before you even start on the players. Oh, did I mention Chris Hughton? …

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