18 April 2008

Newcastle United

'...[C]ynics from the rest of the north will often chunter into their half-time Bovril about Newcastle United's absurdly inflated sense of self-importance.  This is a team, after all, who haven't won a domestic trophy for half a century and have spent the GNP of several African states in the not winning of anything.  According to the 'Toon Army', the self-mythologising name they've given themselves, Newcastle United are a 'massive club'.  You hear this time and time again and frankly no one outside the NE postcode seems to know what that means.  It seems to mean, as it does with Manchester City, 'used to be quite good'.

If, as those cynics suggest, there is monumental self-delusion at work here, it gets stoked regularly.  Chairman Freddy Shepherd's claim that the Newcastle job is 'one of the biggest in world football' shows a loyalty to the club somewhat undermined by his comments that Geordie women football fans were 'dogs'.  Former Magpies striker Micky Quinn once claimed that 'Newcastle is a bigger job than England', which is the football equivalent of saying that the horn section of Dexy's Midnight Runners are controlling the weather through people's televisions'

- Stuart Maconie, Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North, 2006

[In the interests of fairness I should point out that in the remainder of the book's discussion of Newcastle Maconie is quite complimentary, particularly of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the Baltic arts centre.  And Newcastle United did win something called the Intertoto Cup, whatever that is, in 2006 after the book had been written]

No comments: