Monday, May 19, 2014

The final whistle

Way back in the mists of time - well, August 2004, to be precise - two Toon-supporting university friends decided to join forces and Black & White & Read All Over, a blog "dedicated to the discussion of the splendidly self-destructive and calamitous circus that is Newcastle United", was born. Now, nearly ten years on, the time has sadly come to put the site to sleep.

It's not a decision we've taken lightly, and one for which there are several reasons: both Paul and I are living in exile from the north-east and aren't able to get to as many games as we'd like; one of us has a particularly demanding job; we both now have young families. All of these have meant that we've been finding it increasingly difficult to give the 110% (in footballers' parlance) that the site deserves, and, determined that it shouldn't simply fade away or tail off, we wanted to bring it to a definitive conclusion. And now, at the end of a long and typically turbulent season and with the summer stretching out in front, seemed like the perfect moment.

We aren't alone in taking the end of this season as a curtain call, of course; both The Mag and True Faith have also called time on the production of their hard-copy magazines, moving to online-only publications.

While not a reason for either of us to bring down the curtain on this blog, supporting a club whose sum total of ambition is to finish mid-table with no desire for cup success has also caused a degree of disillusionment and detachment from the club which we've supported for a combined total in excess of 70 years. For many fans, the decision to take a step away from the club is a very real prospect.

The internet is awash with football blog equivalents of the Marie Celeste, once vibrant but long since abandoned and left to float around unattended. While it's unrealistic to expect football blogs to break news, it is important that they react to it relatively swiftly if they're not to appear irrelevant or out of touch, and maintain a consistently decent standard - challenges that have defeated many a talented blogger over the years, but ones that we've doggedly sought to meet (generally with success, we feel). Allow us a self-congratulatory pat on the back for longevity and sheer bloodymindedness, if nothing else.

But, ahead of blowing the final whistle for good on Friday, we won't be transparently attempting to milk your applause by doing a lap of honour or indulging in an open-top bus parade along the highways and byways of the internet. No - instead, incorrigible nostalgics that we are, we'll be looking back over the last decade in the history of Newcastle Utd as refracted through the prism of the blog, reflecting on the highs and lows, the sublime and the ridiculous. Those ten years have seen relegation, promotion, European football, an FA Cup semi-final, no real silverware, changes of ownership and stadium name, and JFK being appointed not once but twice. In short, it's been eventful.

We kick off our reminiscences tomorrow with a look back at ten of our best results of the last decade - and five of the worst...

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Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for being a far better blog than Ashley et al. deserved.

1:21 am  
Blogger skif said...

A great shame. I'll miss your vivid nicknaming policy and remarks on 'Jabba' and 'JFK'.

Best wishes guys and thanks for making me seek out the Toon highlights on MOTD each week even though my interest in football beyond my own non-League club has severely dimmed of late.

8:15 am  
Anonymous Phil said...

Have followed this blog for a couple of years now, abroad and at home, and will be very sad to see it go. Thanks for all the hard work yous have put in.

Second what skif said about missing the nicknaming, Little Big Lad quite possibly my favourite.

Enjoy your retirement! I suggest you do the football equivalent and do a blog about MLS to spend your retirement in peace.

11:27 am  
Blogger Yeager said...

I too will miss the insights and the nicknames most of all.

Great job over the years and all the best.

2:51 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

Cheers folks!

1:28 pm  

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