When Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League last season, fans of the Magpies had to put up with fans of rivals Sunderland flying a banner reading ‘Auf Wiedersehen Prem Tyne To Go’ over St James’ as Newcastle played. Now it’s payback time.
With Sunderland’s relegation already confirmed. Newcastle United fans began to plot their comeback riposte, which would be a banner flown over the Stadium of Light during today’s home game against Swansea City.
Toon fans had been voting and, after voting closed last Sunday, the winning slogan to be towed behind a light aircraft was ‘United By Cancer Divided By Leagues’, a slogan that came out 2% ahead of second placed ‘SMB Enjoy The Championship We Did’.
— James Upex (@james_upex) May 13, 2017
However, despite the underlying thought behind the message, to highlight three youngsters and supporters of both sides suffering from neuroblastoma, many fans are aghast at the banner and its wording.
But the condemnation isn’t universal, with some fans and general observers not seeing the linking of cancer with Sunderland’s relegation as controversial in the slightest.
One banner but two points of view as football fans react to Newcastle stunt
Crass and insensitive – a banner too far
For many fans of both sides, there is a sense that linking the seriousness of a child fighting cancer to the levity of a dig at a rival suffering relegation in football is a juxtaposition too far. Far from a blending of serious and comedic, these football fans and observers see it as misguided and tragic – their views below summing up what they think.
— Andrew Musgrove (@ADMusgrove) May 12, 2017
The state of that bairn and how ill he looks and the banner has still been flown. Utter disgrace
— Nufc away days (@NufcAwayDays) May 13, 2017
As Andrew Musgrove mentions above, there is condemnation from both sets of fans with Newcastle fans taking to Twitter to express their sorrow at the crass nature of the banner, the linking of cancer and football relegation not melding together well in their thoughts. Fans such as Neil, below, pretty much sum up the division that they see the banner is causing.
Well done banner dickhead – that's any good will we had ruined!! #nufc
— Neil Twizell (@Twiz51) May 13, 2017
Let's fly a plane above Darren curry's house with the words 'you complete bellend' on the banner #nufc
— Geordie Boy (@Geordieboynufc) May 13, 2017
— Blowin' A Gayle! (@AnotherNUFCView) May 13, 2017
As the condemnation grows, this Newcastle United fan account on Twitter says what it thinks and doesn’t hold back, in doing so showing there is a common groundswell on this point.
— The Toon Review (@TheToonReview) May 13, 2017
The Toon Review are not the only Newcastle United group on Twitter who are vehemently against the flying of the banner. Other groups who represent Newcastle United fans have also had their say.
Using cancer to justify having a dig at Sunderland is abhorrent and we are totally against it. #stopthebanner
— Wor Hyem 1892 (@WorHyem1892) May 12, 2017
The rest of the responses against the banner being flown tend to fall into the above categories or are encompassed by the sentiments expressed above. But the condemnation is not universal, some fans can’t see the reason behind all the fuss.
What’s the fuss – it’s banner and banter
The organiser of the banner, Darren Curry, quoted in the Chronicle Live defended the message ahead of its flyby during today’s game. Curry said: “To be honest, I’m happy with the result. I’ve spoken with the families of some of the kids affected and I know they wanted something positive.” In the same article the Chronicle Live say that, so far, £4,700 had been raised and that after £960 had been deducted to pay for the banner and flight, the remainder would be split between appeals for Bradley Lowery, Hope Feeney and Frankie Sherwood.
Guna leave twitter for the night. This banner craic is dreadful. Cudnt care less if it happened or didnt #nufc
— Rog1986 (@R_N_Rodge86) May 13, 2017
Some fans really aren’t too bothered about the banner, such as Rog1986 above. And it is a common theme that people are letting themselves become outraged by something that some feel really shouldn’t cause this degree of anger and backlash.
@NUFC_Index People getting pissed off at something which shouldn't effect us as much as people are letting it. So what is there is a banner.
— Matthew Daly (@MDalyNUFC) May 13, 2017
This sense of ‘fauxtrage’ is gaining some momentum as some fans, like those below, really do wonder what the fuss is about with what has happened today.
— Fur Q (@savjuan) May 13, 2017
Can someone please explain to me what was wrong with that banner? Am I missing something?
— Dale (@dc_nufc_84) May 13, 2017
The banner is embarrassing and poorly though out but nowhere near the shitstorm everybody is making out. Take a chill pill. #nufc
— Paul Hepple (@paulhepple) May 13, 2017
Despite the anti-backlash of those saying that the banner and its message have been blown out of all proportion, the vast majority of those commenting on Twitter are firmly against it being paraded. For them it is a case of something ill-judged and without even a modicum of tact.
Yes, highlight being unified by cancer, but not at the expense of taking a sly dig at local football rivals and their relegation.