Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Your life has lost its beauty, its dignity and passion. You're an accident waiting to happen.

Football as a metaphor for life anyone? Or how about for the way we live our lives?

Maybe it's just me. Maybe just I get too annoyed by everything these days.

Having spoken to returning VSO volunteers, without exception they found it harder to re-adapt to Western living than they did getting used to third world amenities.

When they came home everything suddenly just seemed so pointless. After dealing with life and death situations and working with people whose biggest problem is feeding their family, the western way of life just felt greedy, wasteful and decadent.

Adverts are a particular bugbear. Especially those for cosmetics or other non-essentials. All marketing is based on creating fear. Fear that you won't be accepted or won't fit in. This fear is used to sell us everything from clothing brands to anti-wrinkle cream.

If these cosmetic considerations are our biggest fear then we all need to take a long hard look at ourselves.

Now the football bit. Like the VSO returnees, after returning from my own travels, I shared many of their feelings. This eighties-style flaunting of wealth, this bling bling culture, the increased cult of celebrity wound me up no end.

I saw it everywhere. But most of all I saw it in my beloved Newcastle United.

Since I returned a snapshot of the tabloid press stories about players at Newcastle include: racist attacks, rape, group rape, various driving offences involving Ferraris, BMWs etc, attacks on women and numerous tales of drunken excess.

To add to this, tabloid fodder has also included the dating of celebrities, general high rolling and fall-outs with the manager.

Of course, most worrying of all of this, were the various rape allegations. None of these were ever followed up on, and from what I can make out, probably rightly so. This was as a result of what various players' associates called "roasting". The charming practice of group sex with very young girls flattered by such celebrity interest.

Typically Kieron Dyer managed to worm out of the last set of allegations. Newcastle's King Shagger had the perfect alibi. He wasn't having sex with the girl in question and he could prove it. Because he was off having sex somewhere else with someone else.

What causes all of this? Is it high-rolling bling culture meeting with the traditional hip-hop disrespect of women? Or it just a case of "too much too young"?

As Henry Winter in the Telegraph put it, as he compares the old pros to the kids:
" the opposite corner, an area strewn with party invitations and lads' mags, lurks the dilettante streak affecting prominent members of the younger generation, headed by Dyer. Until individuals like Dyer realise they are wasting their considerable talents, collecting niggly injuries through bad lifestyle choices, Newcastle will never see the best of them.

Life in the fast lane off the pitch often leads to a career stuck in the crawler lane. Dyer, like Bellamy, Jenas and Woodgate, was out injured for Newcastle's most important game of the season. Certain powerful people at St James' want Dyer out permanently."

On the way to the match on Saturday I saw a poster advert with Kieron Dyer looking all mean and moody while plugging Addidas. I didn't see him on the pitch he was injured again.
Typical Dyer stories include making the team bus turn around on the way back from an away game because he had left his diamond earring behind. Much worse was a story detailing the burning of a wadful of currency, on an England away trip, just to taunt a street beggar.

To me the worst feeling is that I am financing this way of life. No sooner had we endured the last game of the season at St James' Park, than I received a bill for £450 for my next year's season ticket. God knows were I will find the money but I know I will.

Every time I hear of Dyer, or the rest of the so-called "young guns" crew getting into mischief, while sipping their Kristal champagne, it always hits home that it is me that is paying for this.

When the initial rape allegations were made and it appeared that half of my team were involved then I just wanted them out. I was willing for Newcastle United PLC to transfer the lot even if it meant us suffering financial hardship and, most likely, relegation just so I could have my club back from the cluthes of these morons.

By all accounts they run rings round Sir Bobby, showing him a lack of respect. Young Jermaine Jenas is another prime example. Plucked from the First Divison by Sir Bobby and put straight into our first team he looked a potential world beater in his first season. He became an England international but now, two seasons into his Toon career, he's coasting, whinging and like Dyer, injured.

You're more likely to see him modeling in a style mag than running Newcastle's midfield.

Like I said, I feel like Newcastle United are a microcosm of our culture right now. The eighties nostalgia goes further than stupid mullet hair cuts and crap club retro nights. It seems like "Greed is Good" is back and parading your affluence is once more not only socially acceptable but actually encouraged.

Most people still think of Kieron Dyer as in his early twenties. He is actually 27 now. He is no longer a promising youngster he is an under achieving senior player. In the local paper one of the writers listed his attributes as "can't tackle, can't cross, can't run". He also said: "..he looks every inch a Spurs player and I don't mean that as a compliment". I can't really argue with any of this but on occasions he can still be a special player. He can still have it all if he wants it.

I know the fans want it all. We are the second biggest club, in terms of attendances in the Premiership and we have won nothing in my lifetime. This season has been yet another let down. In another year Alan Shearer, the very model of an old professional, retires then the young 'uns will be on their own. It's a scarey thought.

We're away at Southampton tonight. I can't say I'm confident. And I hate feeling like this.

I know I sound like an old man sounding off about the "youth of today" but I'm sure it's more than just the generation gap that is behind my dislike of all of this. I'm only 33 and younger than a couple of the players, but the lifestyle and attitudes of the less senior players are just so alien to me.

And yes, before anyone else points it out, I know it's only a game.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.