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 Premier League wouldn't be the same without Magpies

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Localisation : NOVI SAD
Datum upisa : 03.07.2007

PočaljiNaslov: Premier League wouldn't be the same without Magpies   Sre 1 Okt 2008 - 11:06

by Jorge Moran, FoxSoccer.com


Call me sentimental, but I do not want to know a Premier League without Newcastle United Football Club.

I am not a fan of the team. I simply refuse to harbor the thought that St. James' Park could be hosting Championship football come this time next year.

As competitive as England's second tier is marketed to be by its television rights holders, it is just no place for a club like Newcastle. A club that is loved beyond the parameters of rationality and that is engrained into the very existence of its followers, without having won a domestic trophy in over half a century.

The idea of a Premiership without the Magpies is absolute madness. Unfortunately, United owner Mike Ashley, he of the seemingly endless succession of blunders and poorly disguised PR moves, is making it increasingly likely that said scenario will become reality.

His latest gaffe? Appointing a temporary manager who must begin his month-long spell as Newcastle boss by serving a two-match touchline ban that stems back to 2004, his last time in charge of a club, and who has not managed in the Premier League in nine seasons.

Not to knock on Joe Kinnear, but the Toon Army deserves better. Yes, they deserve better than their beloved club and its players have given them in recent times.

Many will lead you to believe that Newcastle's supporters are themselves responsible for the Magpies' plight; that their delusions of grandeur have on many an occasion led to stalled footballing growth and stunted potential.

The Toon Army is not blameless in the ordeal. That much is true. One must wonder if the team would be in this predicament if Sam Allardyce, hated as he was by the Newcastle faithful, had been given just a little more time to turn things around.

But every supporter at every club in the world has a right to criticize a manager who is not living up to expectations. In sacking the unpopular Allardyce, however, Ashley simply set off the sequence of events that has placed the Tynesiders on a collision course with relegation.

Why install St. James' Park hero Kevin Keegan as manager, a move welcome by seemingly all of the team's followers, and then deny him the power to buy and sell each of the players that he'd have to manage? Why not let Keegan be part of the process of appointing a director of football, instead of forcing him into an untenable working relationship with Dennis Wise?

If apportioning too much control to one of the city's living legends was a concern for Ashley, the repercussions of empowering him and then publicly limiting his authority should have crossed the owner's mind as he sat among the die-hard fans in his 'King Kev' replica shirt.

Ashley's biggest mistake (in a long line of big mistakes) was attempting to assimilate the spirit of the Geordie masses by joining them in the stands.

As noble and genuine as the gesture/publicity stunt may have been, Ashley had no chance of ever being seen as one of their own. Not when his only tie to the team was the fact that he owned it. He simply gave supporters a face to immediately revile when things went awry, as they seem to always do in Tyneside.

Kinnear joins a Newcastle that, for all intents and purposes, had been boycotted by practically every available manager in England. For a reported $180,000 for the month, plus bonuses for wins and draws, Kinnear will at the very least be expected to lift the morale of a playing staff that has slumped to five consecutive defeats.

Until the eventual change of ownership comes to destabilize the club again, that is. When he does sell United, Ashley will be leaving it in worse shape than when he found it. What's more revolting is that he will probably make a profit in doing so.

There is no greater unrequited love in English football than that of Newcastle's supporters for their club. In spite of the circumstances, their passion toward their team is second to none.

For that alone, I respect Newcastle United, and dread the idea of their relegation. The Premier League without Newcastle would not bet the Premier League. And it's not something I want to imagine.

Fox Soccer Channel's Premier League and Fox Football Fone-in producer Jorge Moran writes about English and continental soccer for FoxSoccer.com.

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