Late-bloomer Victor William whose love for Newcastle is all-consuming

Victor William was 19 when he started “supporting” Newcastle United because his father was a fan of Kevin Keegan and Peter Beardsley.

William was working as a police officer in Singapore at the time and his colleagues were avid football supporters.

Undecided who to follow, he picked the Magpies.

“There was no Internet back then but I do remember reading about Keegan’s Newcastle in the newspapers and with Beardsley wielding his magic in the Black and White, it was a no-brainer, really,” said William, 46

“What started as ‘Okay I’ll support Newcastle to fit in with the football crowd’ turned into a passion that has lasted till today … despite the trials and tribulations.”

He was referring to owner Mike Ashley, a popular figure when taking over in 2007 but lost support following the exit of Keegan as manager in September 2008. The club was relegated in May 2009.

Although Newcastle returned to the Premier League the following season, it suffered another relegation in 2015 before bouncing back the following year.

“Mike Ashley runs the club like a business and has perhaps been ill-advised,” said a frustrated William, who works in the chief executive officer’s office of AirAsia.

“I do not think he knew what he was buying into. The fans are still waiting for someone to save us (from him).”

Some of William’s Newcastle memorabilia at his home.

Asked his expectations for the season, William, who used to be a journalist, said the priority has always been to avoid relegation.

He lamented the lack of depth in the squad as Ashley has not spent in strengthening the team.

“Realistically it’s hard to hope for any sort of success on the field except perhaps avoiding relegation. Look at the bench and you’ll know what I mean,” said William, who is not a fan of manager Steve Bruce.

“He is out of his depth or maybe not in touch with football management as it is today. Bringing in Graeme Jones (as assistant coach) has helped the performance.

“Having said that, I’m dreading the game against Manchester United (Monday, 3am).”

William said he watched the team in 2001 when it beat West Ham and it was an amazing feeling being among the crowd and walking around the city.

“The entire city was like a huge stadium as almost everyone was in the home kit,” recalled William.

William at St. James’ Park in 2001.

“It was like a pilgrimage, one that I would love to make again someday – under new ownership, hopefully.”

He also said meeting the players during the 2003 FA Premier League which was held at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, was a big thrill.

William, who has three sons – Seth, Shane and Shay – said he has a wall in his house filled with Newcastle memorabilia but has not passed on the love of the club to his sons.

“My kids are not football fans. But if you asked, they would say Newcastle (they’d better or else…),” he said in jest.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)

Wolves vs Leeds (4am)
Southampton vs Chelsea (8.30pm)
Burnley vs West Brom (11pm)

Liverpool vs Everton (1.30am)
Fulham vs Sheffield United (4am)
West Ham vs Tottenham (8pm)
Aston Villa vs Leicester City (10pm)

Arsenal vs Manchester City (12.30am)
Manchester United vs Newcastle (3am)

Brighton vs Crystal Palace (4am)