Newcastle United supporters have had little to cheer recently. Seasons of overpaid and overpampered players underperforming culminated in them being relegated from the English Premier League this summer. Next year they will compete in the Championship, the second tier of professional football in England, against the likes of Scunthorpe and Watford. These are not the glamour games against Manchester United and Liverpool they have become used to.
But, it is a chance for supporters to reconnect with the game:for football is, in the North-East of England at least, still a game for the working-class. At least that was the case until they unveiled their new away kit for next season. The all-yellow striped number - designed to celebrate 10 years history with Adidas, with the yellow symbolising the Brazilian kit - was described as stylish by the club.
The British media and fans of rivals clubs were less kind. An early comparison was to the deckchairs seen on neighbouring beaches such as Whitley Bay. Some say they look like custard creams, quite literally taking the biscuit. Newspapers in the UK rarely agree on anything, but in this they were united: this is a new low for the club."And you thought relegation was bad!" mocked The Sun. It appears a slightly comical shirt is worse than relegation, wasting thousands of pounds a week on injured players and going through several managers in a season.