We’re delighted to welcome Mitch Murphy’s football comedy series ‘Team’s I Hate in the Spotlight’ to Under The Cosh Blog. We saw his pieces on Reddit a little while ago and much like Florentino Perez in the transfer market we thought ‘that is so good, we must have it.” Mitch has kindly shared his work with us, so for your enjoyment, please read on and be sure to follow Mitch on Twitter @iammitchmurphy. One more reminder – this is comedy writing. Taking offense is futile.
Welcome to the inaugural ‘Teams I Hate in the Spotlight’. A series of posts where football clubs that I proper hate get their well-deserved spot in the limelight.
“The Geordie nation – that’s what we’re fighting for. London’s the enemy. The South East’s the enemy.”
- John Hall, Newcastle Chairman from 1992-2007
Newcastle United – a team so desperate to be viewed as the ‘King of the North’ that they tried to marry a Stark. The most illustrious and grandest team in all of England as long as the barometer of measurement is not winning trophies. A club that specializes in mass underachievement and catastrophic hilarity. Newcastle United play in a black and white kit – a throwback to when their fans used to watch their side win trophies on their black and white televisions.
Newcastle United Football Club was born through the merging of two separate and equally massive Newcastle clubs back in 1892 when Newcastle West End dissolved and merged with Newcastle East End to create the self-perceived footballing olympus Newcastle United. Much like when members from different bands begin to collaborate in order to create a super-group, the idea started off pleasantly but quickly deteriorated into a heaving pile of shit. Newcastle United dominated English football for a number of years beginning in the 1904-1905 season in which they won the then-named First Division. They then went on to win two more league titles and also picked up an FA Cup before 1910 rolled around. The team was described as being known for their “artistic play, combining team-work and quick, short passing.” However, as everyone who was alive during that time is either dead or too old to be taken seriously, this is widely regarded as a lie.
It was after this era that Newcastle United really began to build their stellar reputation as a team that doesn’t win trophies. In 1955, they won their last significant competition when Doug Livingstone, the then Newcastle manager, led his side to success at Wembley lifting the FA Cup in the process. From this date forward other clubs could only look on in admiration as Newcastle broke record after record in terms of being proper shit. After 14 years passed without winning a trophy, Newcastle United were entered in to a reputable cup competition named the ‘Inter-Cities Fairs Cup’ – which doesn’t sound fictional at all. Predictably, they won this mythical cup beating the most certainly real and not make-believe Ujpesti Dozsa 6-2 in the final. Strangely enough, UEFA do not consider this victory as part of Newcastle’s official European record.
By the time the 1990’s rolled around Newcastle United were lingering in the First Division (now the Championship) and were being threatened by the very realistic and very fitting possibility of further relegation. Moses of Crete, Jesus of Nazareth, L. Ron Hubbard of Nebraska, Kevin Keegan of Doncaster. An illustrious list and one the Toon Army believe Keegan should be a part of as he is the Holy of Holies, the anointed one, the messiah who had come to revive the sleeping giant and continue the age old tradition of not winning trophies. Keegan saved Newcastle from relegation then in the following season catapulted the club back to the top flight where they were able to rub shoulders with the likes of Everton who were busy being boss (do not fact-check this).
The following seasons under Keegan’s reign were anything but uneventful. He employed a reckless brand of attacking football which gained the plaudits of all those who watched and admired offensive play. His team played the game in a manner in which it should be played: with freedom, flair, creativity, and a passion to entertain. All this culminated in the scintillating 1995-1996 season in which Newcastle United were fighting with Manchester United for domestic supremacy. Then, for reasons largely unknown, Kevin Keegan decided to cut a WWF style promo in which he fought back tears as he verbally illustrated just how much he fucking hated Manchester United and Alex Ferguson. The stylin’ profilin, team coach ridin’, point-stealin’, attack team buildin’, Man United hatin’ son of a gun manager had suffered a meltdown on live television. Manchester United went on to win the league that season as, surprisingly; Keegan’s impassioned interview had a negative effect on his team. By time Keegan resigned in 1997, Newcastle fans were left feeling hollow as the most their messiah could achieve was a series of 2nd place finishes. Even when Newcastle were good, they were still ultimately shit.
The 1995-1996 season was so very Newcastle that it should be played to all children as an educational video before they become supporters. Then if those children still wish to become Newcastle United fans they should be kicked off a cliff in Spartan-esqué ritual manner in order to end the bloodline.
The next couple of years that followed the Keegan era were relatively boring in comparison. The club shambolically sacked Sir Bobby Robson, their players were fighting each other on the pitch, Kieran Dyer was refusing to be played out of position, and Alan Shearer was, as always, a monumental bore.
In 2008, business picked back up as the prodigal son Kevin Keegan returned after resigning more than a decade earlier. Aside from the delirious Newcastle United fans, nobody with even the slightest insight into football thought this was a good appointment. Keegan had spent the past couple of years opening and personally running a ‘Soccer Circus’ in Dubai. A fucking Soccer Circus. I don’t even have to write any jokes to accompany this point as its 100% true. Keegan also boldly stated in his opening press conference – to which he arrived in a small car filled with 28 other people – that he had “not watched a live football match in three years.” – the equivalent of practicing karate in your garage and then entering yourself into the Kumite Tournament.
Regardless, and staying true to Geordie delusion, St James Park was sold out for his first game back at the helm and a buzz of excitement and optimism painted the stadium. Much to the amazement of everyone looking from the outside in, the appointment didn’t work out and Keegan resigned three matches in to the 2008/2009 season citing lack of control over transfers, interference from the board, and absence of chances to call Alex Ferguson a c*nt on live television. A series of stereotypically poor appointments – including the pub landlord Joe Kinnear – led to an immediate demise in league position and, after 16 consecutive seasons in the top flight, relegation loomed. Alan Shearer, club legend, was appointed with the sole task of saving the club from the impending doom.
“It would be a disaster for the city if Newcastle went down. But it would also be a disaster for the Premier League as well. The English game would suffer.”
- David Ginola in 2009 (Newcastle midfielder 1995-1997)
At the end of the 2008-2009 season, Newcastle United were relegated from the Premier League. The whole of England sat in a deep state of anxiety fearing Nostradamus Ginola’s prophecy would come to fruition. Ginola was proven to be a false-prophet as Newcastle’s relegation proved hilarious on levels previously thought unobtainable. The post-apocalyptic scenario that Ginola professed would engulf the Premier League in Newcastle’s absence did not materialize. Their hero Alan Shearer had guided the team to relegation. It was perfect.
The Newcastle of 2015, while back in the Premier League, are still shit. Keeping with tradition, their players still regularly rebel, incompetency runs wilder than Hulkamania at board level, and managerial appointments remain bewildering. The future is bright for revered historians such as myself in that the club continues to supply content for ridicule in abundance.
Newcastle fans are famous for being obese, not wearing much in terms of clothing and being possessed by delusions of grandeur. If they had their own Tumblr page they would be revered by feminists worldwide. Their fans are always quick to tell you how fantastic their support is, even suggesting that they rank first amongst all others in England. However, considering they all reside in a one team city in which the only other form of entertainment is watching drunken men belligerently fight cars as if they were on a bonus round of Street Fighter, it’s not the magnificent feat they would have outsiders believe. To help the city and its occupants cope with Newcastle United and their rich history of depression inducing catastrophe, a local resident created a brand of alcohol which was universally adopted by fans. Symbolically, ‘Newcastle Brown Ale’ was introduced to the city in 1927 – the last year in which Newcastle United won the league title. It has been used as a coping mechanism and a way to artificially enhance the attractiveness of their team since.
Famous fans of Newcastle United include warmonger Tony Blair and intellectual warmongers Ant & Dec.
Alan Shearer – The man with less personality than a dead horse. In his prime, Shearer was a sensational goal scorer amassing a record of 303 appearances scoring 148 goals during his time at the club. I had the privilege of being in St. James Park for the volley he scored against Everton which he himself describes as “the best goal in my career”. But take it from someone who was there when it happened – it was shite. Now famous for being boring on Match of the Day, Shearer regularly takes exciting matches and puts a verbal bullet between their eyes with his analysis. Who would have thought a man with such an exhilarating celebration would not contain a matching personality. Despite all the grief I give Shearer it is genuinely difficult to not appreciate the man. For a number of years now he has proven that it is actually possible to live with a testicle for a head – a truly incredible achievement.
Mike Ashley – The Lord and Saviour for all Newcastle-hating brethren. The Church of Ashley opened in June 2007 when then-chairman Freddy Shepherd sold his shares to Mike Ashley allowing him to take leech-like control of the club. Like Solid Snake sitting inside a cardboard box, Mike Ashley was able to mingle amongst the staunchest Newcastle fans without being detected for the charlatan he was. Due to perfectly fitting the Geordie Nation criteria of being a fat whopper, Ashley was able to parade around local bars and even traversed the terraces in his ‘Alan Smith 17’ replica shirt. Then the Toon Army figured him out. Maybe it was the ‘Smith 17’ shirt. A tyrant of Hollywood proportions, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Ashley resides in a volcano lair and has appointed a bald cat as Newacstle’s vice-president. During his tenure, Mike Ashley has managed to get away with making some of the worst managerial appointments in the history of football, lying to the fans about the sale of the club, threatening to rename the stadium to the Sports Direct Ltd Arena, and being all round good egg for every football fan who doesn’t support Newcastle. Fly high you golden God. We all believe in you.
Go fuck yourself, Newcastle United.
Follow Mitch Murphy on Twitter @iammitchmurphy.
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