07 October 2008

Ready for drowning

Part two of my Newcastle witterings. (Strangely, it's devoid of the long-Germanic-hyphen-laden-adjectival-phrases that I seem to have become fond of. I have, however, been messing around with Microsoft Paint again...) Part one is here. Part three should be along tomorrow, but real life is determined to derail that plan at the moment, so we'll see how it goes...

Arguably more worrying and carrying greater potential for damage is the obsession with Alan Shearer.

Shearer's arrival at St. James' Park in 1996 came loaded with so much symbolism it's a wonder the city didn't slide into the North Sea. Here was the local boy returned, the sheet-metal worker's son come back to take the club to the promised land. He had been bought for more money than Gigi Lentini, and had snubbed Manchester United to boot. And, of course, he assumed the fabled number 9 shirt, instantly establishing himself in a cherished mythical lineage. That this mass of omen appeared in the middle of the club's dramatic regeneration, fuelled by John Hall's Geordie Nation rhetoric, ensured Shearer's dominant position in the Newcastle story at a pen-stroke.

Shearer is no idiot. All he has had to do to become the anointed one is do his loadsagoals thing, say nothing of substance in public and let the Geordie yearning for a better tomorrow take hold. His shrewdness once doomed managers. Now it is employed in silently teasing fans before being invited by Gary on MotD to comment whereupon, like a Cabinet minister, he declares that he has no ambition to be leader - not yet, anyhow.

I'm far too lazy and irresponsible to check this up, but I would wager that one could measure the time it took after his signing for someone to suggest that he would one day be the club's manager in days rather than months or years. It is astonishing how someone whose abilities for the job remain so completely unknown can apparently click his fingers at a time of his choosing and move into his new office. The longer the perpetual crisis perpetuates, the more this situation seems to fasten. It is all rather reminiscent of Britain after almost two decades of Tory government, waiting for the life raft to arrive piloted by another expert politician who professed to have an undying love for the Magpies. That turned out interestingly.

(As it goes, the employment of a British politics analogy here is quite apt. In an effort to apply some statistical rigour to this issue, the good people in the Sport Is A TV Show labs, in the basement here at SIATVS Mansions, have put the current situation at Newcastle through their patented tragedy metric, the Tragedy Metric (memo: hire new metric namer). On a scale from 'a somewhat disappointing ending to a movie you were kind of looking forward to seeing' to 'multiple wedding ceremony bereavement', Newcastle score 'Young Conservatives' Disco'. Truly these are grave times on Tyneside.)

Next time: Hitchcock! Larkin! Wire! Bob 'n' Terry! Me!


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