After an abysmal season in the Premier League, it’s not only the Newcastle United players that have to adapt to the Championship – the fans also have to come to terms with the highs and lows of second-tier English football.
Seven games into the new season and the Magpies find themselves second in the table, after winning their last 5 games in a row in all competitions.That’s all well and good, but I can’t say I’m really enjoying the Championship that much.
Firstly, when signing up for ‘Fantasy Football’ this season, instead of being able to pick the Premier League team that i support (which is part of the registration process), I had to tick the box that said ‘Premier League fan’. How humiliating.
Furthermore, gone are the days when I could lay back on the sofa at 10.35pm on a Saturday night and watch Gary Lieneker’s ears and Alan Shearer’s shiny scalp dismantle the latest Newcastle performance. No. Instead, I have to tune into Channel 5 at 9pm and endure Football League Tonight with George Riley and Lynsey Hipgrave. The horror!
To be fair, one positive thing I’ve taken from the Championship are the football matches themselves. The lower quality football can be conducive to some pretty exciting contests. Having said that, you may be entertained at first, but then you soon realise that you’re watching Burton Albion take on Rotherham United, and you then have to reflect on your life and ultimately switch the channel.
And that’s the most annoying thing. I’m finding it very difficult to become a ‘fan’ of the Championship, and that’s a shame because I’m sure those who have teams regularly competing in this league enjoy the season.
Another sad truth is last season, despite us losing the vast majority of our games, it was always exciting when we came up against one of the top 4 clubs. Even though a win was highly unlikely, seeing the Newcastle players up against some of the world’s best footballers was always a treat. This year our toughest fixture on paper is probably Aston Villa…
I think the most ‘Championship thing’ I’ve seen so far this season was actually the game at the weekend between Newcastle and Derby County. The match officials had apparently forgotten to charge the electronic board that is used when announcing substitutions and added time, so they had to get a new one sent to the stadium in a taxi. It then transpired that the original board was in fact charged, and actually could have been used in the first place.
Despite its short comings, the one saving grace for the Championship is this – Newcastle are actually winning games now! It’s brought back the feel-good factor on Tyneside, and it’s great being Goliath as opposed to David for a change. All that remains to be seen is whether or not we can bounce straight back up to the Premier League, and although there seems to be a good chance that we will, you never know with Newcastle.