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The kind of party that we Newcastle fans can look to expect?


Football FanCast columnist Chris Mackin attempts to put into perspective of what
life could be like if his beloved Newcastle were to face the dreaded drop to
the Championship.

I suppose most Newcastle
United’s fans’ big fear for Championship football is that it’s going to turn
out like one of those grindingly awkward social events you feel obliged to
attend out of deference to the fabric of societal custom and because it seems a
bit coldly impersonal to reject an event invite on Facebook.

A barbeque, perhaps, with
huddled groups gathered by the condiments creating a vaguely icy atmosphere in
a bid to make you feel nervous about using too much of the ketchup.  Or a
birthday party, where everybody seems to know the guest of honour just that
little bit better than you and engage each other in a series of in jokes as you
self consciously sup on a warm can of Carslberg export and smile timidly.

An occasion characterized by
conversations ending sharply as you enter the room and rolled eyes being shared
as your latest stab at small talk falls flat.  You know the type of thing
I mean and, soon, so too will Newcastle United.

I can’t help but feel,
though, that with a little self effacement and humility, the situation is
retrievable.  For example, there will be occasions next season where other
supporters, by way of an icebreaker, let us know that we’re not famous
anymore.  It may be tempting at this point to scowl into our wine glass
and huffily cease our participation in the conversation.  Tempting but not
recommended.  A raised palm, an open expression and a self deprecatingly
weary “tell us about it” will bring
appreciative titters and soon have the guests laughing with, and not at,
us.  And as laughter at our expense seems to be inevitable, the least we
can do is have it on our terms.

But we should be aware that
as quickly as good will can accumulate, so it can diminish and it remains
impossible to overstate the importance of first impressions.  Good manners
cost nothing and nobody wants to see us, before we’ve even got rid of our coat
and introduced ourselves properly, stomping our feet about how dreadfully
ghastly it all is to be forced to spend an evening or two away from the
children and all the other home comforts, small but meaningful, we have become
accustomed to: Jamie Redknapp’s immaculately groomed facial hair and what
not.

Modesty and respect for
others is important too.  The slides of Barcelona and Milan in the
Champions’ League, for example, would be best left where they belong, in the
airing cupboard away from the damp patch, and perhaps we could refrain from
having a nationally trained opera singer marching around the pitch before kick
off in a snugly fitting replica shirt slurring insults at travelling supporters
through a crackly microphone? Though Proust was disinclined to definitively
commit one way or the other on the merits and demerits of this particular point
of etiquette, I do think that now it is now generally regarded as something of
a social faux pas.

No ostentatious flaunting
when it comes to attendances either.  On this it may be wise to defer to
Sunderland, better versed than most in the field of relegation, who, fearful of
coming across brash, regularly allow their average home crowd to plummet to an
amount more in accordance with the lower division’s average.  In fact, so
sound is Sunderland’s commitment to this policy that they regularly adhere to
it when competing in the Premiership.    There may be mild
dissent at the notion of following any example set by our neighbours and
rivals, but perhaps, in this instance at least, they have giving us something
to think about.

Whatever
happens, I hope we’re joined by Leeds United.  Many a dull evening has
been enlivened by the thrilling realisation that somebody you’ve shared a
mutual dislike with for years is actually more like you than the two of you
could ever have imagined.  We’ll probably end up teaming up together for
the after dinner round of Pictionary.

Article title: The kind of party that we Newcastle fans can look to expect?

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