Apathy is defined as a state of indifference or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation or passion. Sound familiar, Newcastle fans?
I noticed a number of fans on Twitter post messages about their lack of interest or excitement when the new fixtures were released and it’s a theme I’ve seen developing within the fan base over the years. People who have spent their lives investing heavily into the emotional commitment of being a Newcastle United supporter have become increasingly distant. Obsession has waned and fatigue has set in, with fans weary from years of giving their all with little in return. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep the faith and I invited fans to tell me their thoughts.
Scott, ‘I’ve supported Newcastle for 26 years. The Entertainers was everything I loved about football, it’s how the game should be played. I was hooked, I fell in love, but the last thirteen years have made me fall out of love with both the game and the club. I’m not surprised at defeats, not surprised when we go out of the cup and not surprised when the likes of Palace are beating us to signings.
My son was born eight years ago and I introduced him to NUFC but looking at it, I’m torturing the poor lad! Shit team, shit tactics, no ambition, poor lad gets roasted about following them (we don’t live in Newcastle).
The takeover was the light at the end of the tunnel, my lad was ecstatic thinking his team who he loves could be a team to be proud of. Now the dreams are crushed and we’ll be fighting another relegation. He hasn’t even asked me who we play and when the league starts again and I’m devastated for him. I’m just exhausted with it and seeing my kid already exhausted and gutted has devastated me.’
Andy, 'Ashley has just used us to promote his store, he's deprived us and killed our passion along the way, almost killing the very soul of this club.'
Lewis, ‘The takeover gave me hope and ignited my passion and love for this club all over again. I was only a young child when we were in the Champions League and I distinctly remember the European semi-final against Marseille and the heartbreak from that. Under Ashley’s tenure, my love and passion has faded away and a win on a Saturday or Sunday is nothing more than a surprise. It’s a nice surprise, don’t get me wrong, but constantly battling in the bottom half of the table and leaving it late to secure safety gives me anxiety.
I don’t find any pleasure in it anymore. Why should I or any NUFC fan invest time, money and emotions in a club that only cares about profits and not people? I don’t look forward to the new season, I fear it. I fear that it could be the final time I see my club in the Premier League.
As far as the takeover falling through, I’ve never felt so angry and upset since the last relegation. The hope was taken away and filled with absolute dread.’
Sam, ‘I loved the club due to the passion of the players in the times of Shearer, Shaka Hislop, etc. I think what saddens me now as a fan is the expectation is for struggle every year and the lack of investment – not necessarily in players but also the training ground and facilities in general.
The passion that supporters have seems to have been sucked out. I don’t expect to be winning titles but I want a team that tries again.’
Micky, 'The day the fixtures were announced, I logged onto my work laptop but didn't even bother to check. I worked through until lunchtime and took a cursory glance, shrugged my shoulders and went for lunch.
Do I still care? It's a tough question I ask myself. I, my brothers and my Dad all had season tickets ten years ago. Now, we've all left and we left because the connection was gone. Mike Ashley doesn't care about us and going to the match became a chore, the football club became badly disconnected from the community and even though Rafa tried to repair some of that, it's gone.
Think of that Sir Bobby quote about what a football club is then ask the Premier League what a football club is. To them it's TV companies, marketing, executives and the people who get the least say are the fans.
I wish my eight year old would be able to clamber up the stadium steps and fall in love with it but unfortunately, the noise is now discontent, the feeling is anger and the pride has left as the club is rotten to the core.'
Without being able to do a thing about it, we all fell in love with Newcastle United and with similar helplessness the noise and passion is falling away. Everyone I spoke with still loves the club but their excitement and motivation has been suppressed to the point of indifference. One day Ashley will be gone, one day we will have new owners and ambition, hope and pride will return. For now, though, we remain a pathetic excuse for a football club with a worrying trend of an apathetic rot setting in.