Newcastle fans to take part in open-top bus parade prior to Manchester United match

Ironic 'Magical Misery Tour' ahead of this weekend's game a response to the highs and lows of a difficult few months for Magpie supporters

There will be an open-top bus parading through the streets of Newcastle on Saturday, before the home game between the city's beloved football club and Manchester United. It is to signify the success of Newcastle United's season. Supporters have been encouraged to toot horns and wave as it passes. Newcastle will start next season in the Premier League, they have had no cup runs.

Roll up for the "Magical Misery Tour". And yes, it is ironic. Here is Newcastle's season in six words: bad, good, really good, really bad.

By January, after the really good part, they were safe. Yohan Cabaye was sold. No replacement was signed. Since he left, Newcastle have played 10 times in the Premier League. They have won three. Five games have been lost by scorelines of 3-0 or 4-0. In the last 14 games they have failed to score in 10 of them. Loïc Rémy, the loan signing from Queen's Park Rangers, has not played in nine games this season. In his absence Newcastle have scored once.

When Newcastle moved into sixth place in the Premier League on Boxing Day by beating Stoke City 5-1 at St James' Park, the club were one victory from safety. At that point, the season was done.

This is the case for those who have felt so underwhelmed as to hire a bus to drive through bemused shoppers on Saturday afternoon.

Thirteen miles and 21 points away, in the muddled mess of Sunderland, is the case for the defence, where a club on their fourth manager in less than three years lies stranded, four points from safety, and where a culture of change – players and managers – has led to an erosion of the security of the Premier League.

Ellis Short, the Sunderland owner, cannot plan for what division his club will start in next season. He has not received much criticism. Sunderland have 25 points.

In Newcastle, the Mike Ashley Out Campaign, which has received the support of the True Faith fanzine on its website, talks of the "alienation and exploitation fans feel from the club they love and support". They are the people behind the open-top bus.

Last week's Manchester United flyby seemed to galvanise sections of the club's support to back the team as much as further criticise the manager. Supporters inside Old Trafford jeered the plane that carried the banner "Wrong one – Moyes out". There is likely to be more support for the Misery Tour.

It has been a bad week for Ashley. On Wednesday night, Sports Direct scrapped plans for a shareholder vote on a share bonus scheme worth £73 million for the founder of the company after failing to secure enough support. A proposal was set to be put forward to grant Ashley eight million ordinary shares at a vote at the company's AGM in Mansfield. The AGM was also cancelled.

Last Saturday in the directors' box at Southampton, he sat in front of Alan Pardew, the manager of his club who is banned from the dugout for a further two games, and watched Newcastle lose 4-0. Rob Elliot, the back-up goalkeeper playing in the absence of the injured Tim Krul, was their best player. Only two players went to applaud what was left of the 2,187 visiting fans at the end of the game, Elliot and substitute Davide Santon. They were jeered, Santon more so, such was their anger at the display.

Norwich City lost 3-0 at Swansea on the same day. Their players paid for the club's supporters who travelled to the Liberty Stadium, as a way of apology. Pardew confirmed that the move will not be followed by Newcastle.

If Newcastle finish in the top 10, the entire staff, right down to the cleaners, will receive a bonus. Last season they were within a defeat in the penultimate game of the season, at Queen's Park Rangers, of going down. It should be viewed as progress, but Newcastle were safe too soon and Ashley, who now has a strict, slow version of growth, will not allow wanton spending.

To add to the situation, there will be no Rémy, Krul, Mathieu Debuchy or Moussa Sissoko available for Saturday's visit of Manchester United because of injury.

"I think we're in a difficult place, I make no bones about that," Pardew said. "We're on 46 points, we have a few excuses in terms of injuries so it's easy to go, 'Oh well, okay, the summer's not far away'. Certainly I have made that very clear to the players that that's something that cannot happen.

"We can't do that in front of 52,000 people paying good money to come through the door. We have to put on a performance that shows real commitment. It's difficult when you get to an area of the season where there's no real goals for you, other than a league position. That's something we've been trying to focus the guys' minds on."

The lack of a more tangible goal. That is what has inspired a bus.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes