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GO ON YOUR WAY ACCORDINGLY BY MARC CORBY then warmly welcomed back when he became one of Keegan’s assistants in 1994. Likewise Terry Mac, apparently bitter over a poor contract offer hence his departure that same summer of 1984, but still a fan favourite when he took the ‘buffer’ job a few times years later. So what’s the difference? For me, aside individual circumstances, there is none. I suppose the point I am trying to make is that football moves on quicker then we care to imagine and we don’t know 100% what has really happened. Let’s not forget, Sir Les could have stayed to ‘help us out and not drop us in the shit’ and fair play to him for honouring his word to Spurs but what good was that to us when we needed him once Shearer was crocked in the summer of 1997? Not pointing any blame whatsoever to Sir Les of course but putting things into perspective, the fans are never put first and those who take an alleged act of betrayal to heart really need to look at the bigger picture. NUFC is bigger than any player. So, when I reminisce and talk about explayers performances for us on the pitch, and in this instance Shay Given’s, his record with us far outweighs his reasons for leaving just like Waddle, Beardsley and Sir Les before him. I, along with the majority, gave him a well justified good reception when he eventually returned with Villa in February 2012 if only to shout ‘Dodgy Keeper’ once the game kicked off of course. Democracy say’s we’re free to choose but take into consideration an alleged self imposed ban (he won’t step foot in St James’ as a supporter until the FCB has gone) before you judge. Moving away from the topic of some essentially using Given as the proverbial scapegoat for us going down in 08-09, and onto the FCB where all the current apathy lies and in truth, the only reason we got relegated in 2009. #Time4change are demanding action and rightly so. But a valuable lesson learnt is if “all we care about - is NUFC” then perhaps it’s a must that any ‘campaign’ continues as it has started, democratic, peaceful and with purpose but fundamentally, outside of St James Park. The recent past has shown that protests inside the ground simply affect the team in a bad way. As well as the aforementioned terrible start to the 86-87 campaign, it’s surely no coincidence that we lost 4 of our first 6 home games of the 1987-88 on the back of ‘Sack the Board’ chants in anger at replacing Peter Beardsley with a new stand, Mirandinha and.…Glyn Hodges? Granted, the mood changed somewhat when Mira found his feet, Gazza became unplayable and Michael O’Neill scored for fun to push us into a well respected 8th position but the angst against the board continued in force once Gazza was sold. I’ve still got a copy of the televised game v Man United (a bore goalless draw with Brian Tinnion’s free-kick off the post our only chance) in the 1988-89 season and the animosity and contempt towards the board is venomous. There is hardly one song supporting the 11 on the pitch and in an interview I read from 1989, John Hendrie, who had just left for Leeds United confirmed the despair this gave off saying “It was hard at home last year with all the shit in the background because the fans wanted to help the team but at the same time they wanted to get at the board.” 3 wins at home that season and we were relegated. For some this may be hard to accept but consider the knock on effect the chanting on the terraces has on the team as obviously indicated during 1988-89 and for most of the 2008-09 relegation seasons. Moving forward inside SJP, it is essential we concentrate purposely on supporting players who we hope will earn the right of our unreserved admiration in the Black and White shirt and who, at the end of the day, represent us, and the unfortunate heartache that seems to come with it. Photos: Singe Vert Photography 33