Soapbox: oh what a circus, oh what a show

Soapbox
It is time to forget Man City – last week’s apology for a match, and the subsequent Abu Dhabi takeover – and concentrate on laughing at Newcastle United. But Pete Sixsmith‘s enjoyment of the Toon Circus has been marred by crass media coverage..


Never, I thought, would I borrow words from the pen of that uber-Sunderland fan Sir Tim Rice. But I honestly cannot think of anything else to describe the goings on up the road at St James’ Park.

In fact, the word circus is defined in my Collins as meaning “a travelling company of entertainers such as clowns” and as a “public performance given by such a company”.

Well, we have certainly had a public performance despite the fact that neither Mike Ashley nor Kevin Keegan seemed particularly keen to talk to anyone about it.

The group of clowns that we have witnessed have been the “supporters” and the media who have made complete arses of themselves, not in the way they have reported this latest Mag fiasco, but in the over the top way that they have dealt with the self-styled “greatest fans in the world”.

I don’t have much interest in the squabble between a billionaire barrow boy and a serial quitter, but I do become interested when it is assumed by the London (and Tyneside) based media that I am distraught and suicidal because the Mags have lost another manager.

Why should I be distraught? Well, according to various media types, Newcastle United and all who sail in her represent the whole region. That will be everyone from Berwick -upon- Tweed, throughout Northumberland and Durham, down to Whitby and Northallerton in the south. A whole region represented by a club of such crassness and .vulgarity that we are all tarred with the same brush.

Television journalists have been the worst. From their position opposite Shearers Bar (do Northumbria police have “Reserved for TV crews when manager is sacked” painted in the road there?), they have conducted “interviews” with a variety of weeping/angry/incoherent black and whites, usually accompanied by a back shot of truanting schoolkids and television wannabees who were insufficiently photogenic or intelligent to get past the pre-vetting stage of Big Brother.

The only sensible interview I have seen on ITV was with Roger Tames, who tried to make himself heard over a cacophony of “fans” who were clearly there for their two minutes of fame. The least engaging have been with Steve Wraith, a man with little to say but who has had the opportunity to repeat it ad infinitum.

Thank goodness for Jeff Brown and the BBC who refused to get drawn into a succession of vox pops with the rent-a-crowd in Strawberry Place.

Up here, the demise of a washed out manager has been treated with the same level of gravitas as that of the death of a much-loved royal 12 years ago. Let’s hope that we have seen the last of King Kev and his sidekick Terry Mac and that Mike Ashley will continue to run the club in the same way that he runs Sports Direct – cheap and tatty and perhaps ultimately heading for a tumble.

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