I know it was a pre-season game and I know he’d probably pull his hamstring if he attempted an Obafemi Martins triple-flip but Andy Carroll’s goal celebration today was how I feel about Newcastle United, personified.
This is no dig at him, before anyone starts, as he would have looked a bit ridiculous sprinting the length of the pitch to do a knee slide or attacking an advertising hoarding but the half-hearted, not even a jog, stop after a couple of steps reaction was like looking into my black and white soul.
It is how I find myself reacting to every bit of news regarding a club I was once obsessed with. Hendrick is finally announced! Slow jog. We play our first friendly today! Slower jog. Newcastle linked with…stop and stand still. I have lost the ability to do back flips and lost the will to knee slide. I am Andy Carroll’s celebration.
I don’t even know what date the season begins. My calendar remains unmarked, as though it is an opposing left midfielder and DeAndre Yedlin has been given responsibility for dealing with it. The days of copying over the fixtures and booking in my annual leave are (temporarily, I hope) over. I know it’s West ‘am away and then Brighton at home but beyond that, I’m as clueless as whoever scouted Joelinton and said, ‘Give that lad the number 9!’
I know we played today but I have no idea what the rest of our pre-season schedule looks like. I know there were three new kits revealed but I have no idea whether they’re available yet or, if not, when they are (not that I’d buy a polyester betting advert, anyway). My mind has entered the realm of the vaguely interested, vacating its lifetime membership in the world of the fanatic. I am weary and battle-scarred, and I no longer have the endless positivity and energy required for another campaign as the unnecessary underdog.
I see the younger generation, and some of the older generation who obviously had an easier paper round than I, continue the daily resistance against the Premier League and its allies. I don’t know where you find the energy, lads and lasses - I could barely summon a single petition signature. I see the daily analysis and digestion of every story, click-bait or not, as the buffet queue for knowledge shows little sign of dying down amongst the online section of supporters.
I’ve left the queue but I’m still here sitting at a table in the back, thinking about it and nibbling away at whatever crumbs I can stomach. I’ve lost my appetite and my hunger but I still need it to survive because I’ve lived off it for as long as I remember. I was once so full, though, gorging on an endless feast of football until I was beyond satisfied. Perhaps that’s why I can only manage a half-hearted, not even a jog, stop after a couple of steps reaction. If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.