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Craig

Fanzine views: Mark Jensen, The Mag

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Why it's all right to want every other team to get stuffed

 

If you started watching football from the terraces then I'm sure, like me, you occasionally go all misty-eyed, longing for the days of being part of a swaying mass, united behind the team.

 

There was the odd negative, like having to plan a trip to the toilet some 20 minutes before you were desperate and a bad view if you were vertically challenged.

 

The biggest positive was that football was open to all, with season tickets not essential.

 

The Hillsborough disaster changed almost every major stadium beyond recognition, with better facilities but the atmosphere taking a right hiding - along with everybody's pocket.

 

When you add to the pot the relative success of England in Italia '90 and the arrival of blanket coverage on TV, football was never going to be the same again.

 

When Kevin Keegan inspired Newcastle's revival it wasn't a moment too late - if you weren't in the top division then you were nobody.

 

All roads led to what became known as the Premiership, and that included pretty much all the cash that flowed into English football.

 

There were more fans, more money, more coverage and it seemed like the only way was up for everyone, or maybe not?

 

The first sign that all was not well came with the horror of relegation from the Premiership.

 

Going down a division was always a bit of a nightmare, but with each year that passes it becomes a deeper and deeper abyss.

 

The fact that most of the new money flowing into football went directly on players' wages meant relegated sides had an almost impossible job in financing and keeping their squad together.

 

Relegation was no longer a bit of injured pride, more like a near fatal wound.

 

Some years ago, I started to see the signs of another dimension being added.

 

It suited the people who control football, such as the TV companies, other media and sponsors, to have not just most, but pretty much all the power and interest centred on as few teams as possible.

 

In my opinion, when the Champions League matches come around they want fans to temporarily put aside their support for their team and get behind one of the handful of clubs who are competing.

 

On TV and radio I've regularly heard the presenters and pundits ridicule punters who say they want to see Chelsea, Man U or whoever get knocked out at the earliest opportunity.

 

As a United fan, why would I want the likes of Liverpool to get further away from Newcastle in terms of financial muscle thanks to European success?

 

The FA Cup has been brilliant entertainment with the mighty struggling against the minnows, plus the likes of Sunderland going out to Brentford.

 

However, many of these classic encounters are played out to row after row of empty seats. Portsmouth couldn't even fill their tiny ground for the visit of Liverpool.

 

This is not just teams in the Premiership, those lower down the divisions are obviously not quite as in love with the FA Cup as they once were, judging by the crowds or rather the lack of them.

 

I suppose the message is to get out there and support your team and it's quite all right to want every other team to get stuffed. In fact it's your duty.

 

Source: http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/newcast...-name_page.html

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I think the gap between the prem and the championship is probably shrinking now if anything. Well the bottom 16 places of the prem anyway-with the top 4 becoming increasingly a league in itself.

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