The Newcastle mauling: lapping up the news, good or bad

Our inquest on the Tyne-Wear tragedy is nearly over. Will the verdict be death by misadventure, suicide or unlawful killing? That’s for you, collectively, to judge. We have one more piece to run in our series of articles, by different writers, on the derby fallout. That will appear tomorrow. Meanwhile, what has it all meant for Salut! Sunderland? …

Is there something
about a really bad event or setback that makes us all gloom junkies?

Newspapers – as I should know – have always been more to do with bad news than good. Entrepreneurs who tried to launch good-news-only alternatives ended up broke. TV news bulletins are predominantly filled with what is evil, contentious or sad in the world.

And Salut! Sunderland, after one terrible performance by SAFC and a catastrophic result that ends a moderately encouraging start to the season, has never been busier. I was going to say “more popular” but that doesn’t somehow seem the right phrase.

Mrs Logic gets the gates back to normal

In the 24 hours following the final whistle at St James’ Park, we had something like 11,000 visitors. Traffic has continued to be heavy, driving us up to our best position in the Soccerlinks football site rankings (just in the top 20 for the first time). Numbers are likely to remain high so for a day or so before we all decide it is time to move on.

That will seem small beer to the really big boys; the Arsenal site Gunning Hawk draws in many more thousands than that every day of every week without needing a massive defeat or victory against Spurs to inflate the figures. But it’s certainly a big deal for us.

It would be great to think fans came here in droves knowing the quality of the material they’d find. It is not so simple.

Many of Salut! Sunderland‘s new readers, of course, have been Mags eager to gloat, just as hard as we gloated when they went down the season before last. Though a good few of them did not merely gloat but added perfectly reasonable comments; in return came some approving words from Sunderland supporters about the Newcastle performance.

There was a rare – rare in tribal terms anyway – outbreak of magnanimity among the triumphant, and humility from the defeated. Not everyone, but you know what I mean.

Like John Cleese and the two Ronnies in the famous sketch about the class system, we are under no illusions about our proper station in life.

The hit level will tail off as the Geordies depart these shores and Mackems return to a more sporadic pattern of visits.

Come the next Premier games, smiles and frowns could end up on different faces, the season resuming its inconsistent progress bringing pleasure one week, pain the next, until everything – in January – seems once again to depend on one game of football, SAFC v NUFC at the Stadium of Light.

Naturally, we’d be thrilled if a lot of the people who have been here for the first time decided to stick with us to see what we get up to when times are more orderly.

You might find loads of interest if, for example, you devoted some time to exploring the left and right-hand columns (I know one recently widowed woman who would derive quite a bit of comfort from the knowledge that so many Newcastle fans who have been here have spotted the link from the Salut! Gold list to an appreciation of her NUFC-supporting husband at a non-football site of mine).

On a brighter note, come back on Thursday and see the excellent capture we’ve made among Stoke City fans for our traditional “Who are You?” questionnaire with a supporter of our next opponents. Have another look in the day or two following the Stoke game and see what Pete Sixsmith makes of that one. He’s too down after Sunday to be bothered with the Reserves tonight.

And even if you think you are here for the last time, for a while or for ever, thanks for stopping by.

Monsieur Salut

11 thoughts on “The Newcastle mauling: lapping up the news, good or bad”

  1. My point is that you got thugs everywhere and i am sure Sunderland had its fair share of bad apples as well… I quote you “We are potentially a better team than the Town and attract a far better class of person” after that statement you go and talk about the 60’s and why you ended up supporting Sunderland, but the first line was clearly refferring to present day.

    I have been in Newcastle and i found it a very warm city in which i saw no violence whatsoever, so perhaps you should visit and accept that just as in Africa, times have changed, as have people… After all, there was a time where English fans in general were seen as hooligans in Europe.

  2. Valle
    I have worked all over Africa for almost 30 years and I abhor racism in whatever form it raises its head. Not wanting to spend your quality time with boozy voilence driven fanatics is not racism it is me excersing my rite to be law abiding and unthreatened by people who paraded their so called masculinity with group violence and depravity. It happened and I and my family hated the Big Lamp and other groups of mindless thugs and I still do.

  3. Valle – he was talking about the 1950’s and 60’s. And his comments are far from racial. They are a fact. My dad took me to Sunderland for the same reason.

    Good shout about a leader though. Personally I think the only thing that would have helped us the other day is a water cannon.

  4. It was a good game and maybe a fluke result. But I will enjoy it for a while longer. Still tough games and times ahead at SJP the soap opera everyone tunes into!

  5. Why did you fall apart you ask?… You lacked leaders, thats why. Your captain is a 22 year old boy who on several occasions have lost his head and was lucky not to see red again in that game, and if he is the closest to a leader you have then you have your problem right there… Being a Newcastle fan from Denmark, i wasnt at the match, but even through the TV i could feel the tension and the immense atmosphere. I was feeling nervous and got goosebumps so how must the players have felt? Well your players were overawed, thats for sure. Im not even having a dig here, its just the plain truth as i see it.

    As for your comments about 20.000 NUFC supporters looking for fights and them being all bad people while your supporters are of a higher class as you put it… Get a hold of yourself, that kind of narrow minded opinions border to racism in lack of a more suited word for the ocasion.

  6. Much appreciated and well written comments from Newcastle fans ; let’s hope we will be sending them similar messages come January

  7. SteveD: every club has a percentage of neanderthals. It rises and falls between clubs (at a guess, the range would be 5/10 per cent at most going up to – I was going to say 98 per cent but that would be unfair – at Millwall). And it was definitely worse in the 1970s and 80s.

    I remember being on the train going to a derby, possibly at the time Keith describes, from North Shields, where my mother had moved for some inexplicable reason. I wasn’t daft enough to be wearing colours but was conscious of travelling with a carriageful of sub-human nutters spewing abuse, menace of violence and obscenity even though they were unaware of any foe in their midst. And I bet Mags could recount similar experiences the other way round. It would be enough to put you off football for life if not for the fact that you also meet many great people, no matter who they support, through shared passion for the game.

  8. Keith,
    Sorry your dad didn’t stick with us though I do agree with your interpretation of the clientele back then. Seems to be different now, though. Scan the crowd at SJP and you’re more likely to see a far milder face than years before. Come on back!!
    As to the game, I don’t think anyone saw it coming. Shola and Caroll were immense together, probably for the first time, and once the first goal went in you were up against it. For what it’s worth I thought the sending off was a bit debatable – could have gone either way.
    Best of luck for the rest of the season. I think you’ve a decent manager, a fantastic chairman and some very good players. It has to be a combination that can make the club move forward.


  9. Keith,

    The reason there are more 5under1and fans than Mags in “darkest Africa” is probably down to the fact that moving there from the Pennywell shanty town is a step up in the world.

    Seriously though looking at both teams results this season (in fact most teams results) shows that potentially we all face the prospect of an out of the blue hiding. The fact that this one came against your biggest rivals only rubs salt in to the wound. I wouldn’t read too much in to it though and it certainly doesn’t warrant a knee jerk reaction from the board. You will dust yourselves down and will no doubt twonk some other team 5-0 or 5-1 before the seasons over, just hope it’s not against us at the SOL.

  10. I have been a Sunderland fan for close to 50Years, during that time there have been a few highs but many more gloomy days. None more so than last Sunday, we have played far better team than that and won why did we fall apart? There must be some deep rooted reason why we cause ourselves such undeserved pain. Thank the Lord I am in darkest Africa, I know several Sunderland supporters in this part of the world but funnily enough no Mags. How strange is that. Are we destined to a life of torture and pain. No we are not it was just a game of football when we played for once badly not unlike the 7 we shipped against Everton, you dust yourself down and get on with it. We are potentially a better team than the Town and attract a far better class of person. I was brought up in Birtley far closer to Newcastle but as a child my father took me to Roker because of the types that went to St James. In the 70’s there was 20000 people looking for a fight at a Newcastle game mostly drunken yobs from Byker or Walker or Elswick terrible people sinister and out of control. I’m not happy with the result but I am infinitley happy that I have a deeped rooted love of Sunderland Association Football Club,

  11. Fans of both clubs and a few neutrals have been welcomed here on Toon/Wear issues since the pre-match buildup began. Only in one or two cases has there been any need to edit comments to eliminate abuse. The standard of debate has generally been very high on both sides.

    If you wish to make a point, but have not posted previously, there may be a delay for moderation (which means until I can have a quick look) in case verminous international spammers manage to creep through the filters.

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