I have something to say about Newcastle United
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPH Klas Lundström
Today, I feel compelled diving into Eduardo Galeano's masterpiece "Soccer in Sun and Shadow.” It is the coward’s escape, I know, in the wake of police raids conducted at Newcastle United's headquarters at St. James Park.
Organized crime and football have enjoyed a long-term relationship for decades – one of many phenomena Galeano unfolds with humor and sorrow in his book – but to see a 125-year old football club rooted in one of UK’s nowadays most economically and politically forgotten corners make things so much worse. A few days ago, Newcastle United secured its comeback to the Premier League and a whole city could suddenly breathe again after last season’s relegation – just when it looks like neither neighboring Sunderland AFC nor Middlesbrough FC will be there to greet them after both club’s respectively disastrous seasons.
The fans will, of course, take the biggest slap on the chin, and after having turned the other cheek to they probably find their beloved club starting the next season on minus 12 points from the word go. Or left with nothing but debts, if the FA take serious act against football corruption and decide to flush Newcastle United down the league system and leave the fans demoted and defeated. In the case of the latter, all alone with the same collective sentiment that clad the whole North East after the coalmines were closed under prime-minister Margaret Thatcher's regime without handing the region any lifeline to hold on to.
But if – or when – that day comes, the squad, all multi-millionaire players, and the vultures who’ve ruled the club since 2007 will be long gone, having nothing more to drain from the club's supporters or the city's eternal love for football. A form of cynical commercialism (another word for capitalism) that nowadays is modern football. Very much like Eduardo Galeano explains it, in story after story, in a book about football. And in my own little world, which is occupied by a sometimes-unhealthy love for Newcastle United, has the sun of promotion given way for the shadow of disgrace.