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A Lost Generation

As a slightly overweight 31-year-old father of two, I remember being inspired by the Newcastle United teams of my youth. The Entertainers were the obvious starting point for any toon fan around my age. Even when we were seemingly having poor years under Dalglish and Gullit, we still reached FA Cup Finals and beat Barcelona in the Champions League.

In my teenage years we had Sir Bobby and a side with an almost perfect blend of pacey exuberance in Craig Bellamy and Keiron Dyer, and steady heads in Alan Shearer and Gary Speed culminating in a memorable 2002-03 season. Again after a purple patch under Robson, Newcastle supposedly struggled, and yet still enjoyed memorable cup runs and European nights under Graeme Souness and Glenn Roeder.

It's hard to imagine kids on the playground having the same inspiration that I and thousands of other Newcastle had when we were in our younger years. Indeed there are glimmers of hope; I can easily imagine that one kid that is annoyingly good at every sport donning a headband and pretending to be Allan Saint-Maximin. But the way Steve Bruce sets out his team, with somewhat curious tactics, stagnant creativity, and a lack if any sort of plan, could see Newcastle United miss out on a generation of fans. I can't imagine for one minute that the youth of today are out playing football pretending to be Jeff Hendrick!

This is not just Steve Bruce's fault, it is one of Mike Ashley's many many flaws. The way club legends like Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer have been treated under his stewardship, and the club still having a long way to go to mend its disconnect with the fanbase. Not to mention the club shop (which is now well known to be just another branch of Sports Direct) selling replica shirts of other teams during the off-season.

One fifth place finish under Pardew and the hope given under Rafa may be enough for now. But if there isn't fundamental change from top to bottom, then in years to come; 52.000 fans turning up at St James Park for every home game, could well be a thing of the past.



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