Someone I know of, although not a friend as I have very few people I’d consider bestowing that title upon, had always made it very clear that he supported Inter. This, despite writing occasionally about Newcastle United. I then heard him state that he was a Dortmund fan as well as an Inter fan and a Newcastle fan and he was then downgraded below ‘someone I know of’ to dead to me.
I’ve always found the notion of a second team a bizarre one. Being a supporter of a football club is an all-encompassing, draining commitment of such magnitude that it often interferes with objectively more important things in life such as family and work. A lifelong dedication to a cause that often offers little in return and frustrates and disappoints you at almost every opportunity. A character-building, soul-destroying, life-affirming voyage on an ocean of mediocrity with the odd glimpse of a paradisal island just out of reach. Or maybe that’s just life as a Newcastle United supporter?
I can see why supporters would glance enviously and lustfully elsewhere, after a lifetime without success just as I can see why married people do the same after years without regular sex. But cheating is cheating, man. Don’t do it. We’re married to Newcastle United and, sure, Liverpool and Man City are sexy and flirtatious with their come to bed football but we made a commitment. For better or worse, ‘til death do us part.
I realised as we were starting out with this website venture and having conversations about the division of labour that I would be wholly unsuited to match previews, as I know next to nothing about any opposition. My experience of the other nineteen clubs in the Premier League is the home and away fixture against Newcastle United and as that knowledge comes after playing them, it isn’t best suited to the world of previews.
I don’t get excited by Super Sunday because I have no interest in who wins between Manchester United and Arsenal. I don’t get excited by Transfer Deadline Day because Newcastle United uses this day to clean the wheelie bin ice baths rather than invest in the playing squad. I don’t have the FA Cup Final in my calendar as it hasn’t been a day of note since 1999. I like football and I enjoy watching it but nothing stirs the emotions of excitement, passion or despair other than the ol’ black and white ball and chain.
I view football outside of Newcastle United as how I imagine people who like Ed Sheeran and Coldplay view music. The type of people who respond to, ‘What music are you into?’ with vague and apathetic mumblings about something on the radio in the car. Whereas Newcastle United is hundreds of back catalogue vinyl accrued from record shop visits over two decades, alphabetised and used to personally make playlists for all occasions and moods, all other football is a NOW album and an iTunes Top Songs list.
Even when the needle isn’t in Newcastle United’s groove and we’re spinning aimlessly without making a sound, there is no temptation to reach for the latest heavily advertised trend that I’m supposed to want to listen to. I did not watch Man City vs Real Madrid, I did not become a temporary Wolves fan and I certainly won’t be adopting a European team for the remaining Champions League knockout fixtures. I’ll re-read copies of The Mag from twenty years ago, though, and did you say there’s a re-run of Newcastle 5-0 Man Utd for the twentieth time this summer? Count me in, bonny lad.