The Chronicle reporter was at Newcastle's first European fixture against Feyenoord (as I was) back in 1968, and he has been to just about every NUFC since since.
Nobody - and I mean NOBODY - has experience more of Newcastle United than Gibson, because whenever there was an incident (and there have been millions over the years) he was there!
But, Mike Ashley has banned him from the press office at St James' Park, and is trying his damndest to keep the guy quiet.
BUT HE WON'T GAG MR NEWCASTLE ... TRUST ME!
When Ashley is pushing up daisies - and the same goes for us all - Newcastle United will still be here.
Ashley is only temporary - and the sooner he goes - the better for NUFC, Tyneside, the Geordie Nation and (probably) the world!
John Gibson: The message came down from the mountain top. You are banned!
Mike Ashley had spoken. Well, er, not quite, he never does, but presumably he had instructed his minions to carry out the dastardly deed.
All those who reside at Trinity Mirror’s local offices in Newcastle have been banished from St James’ Park and United’s training ground.
What an absolute farce. What paranoia, what arrogance, what pettiness.
It would appear freedom of speech is no longer a privilege of the individual. At least not in Ashley’s domain.
We are not allowed to have an opinion. You, me, your neighbour, mates down the pub, guys who cough up much of their wages in pursuit of heroes and happiness.
We were all, it would appear, under a misapprehension. This is not our club, our birthright to be followed regardless from cradle to grave. It is Ashley’s club, his alone not to be shared with punters, and to heck with anyone else.
Wanting to win trophies is stupid. Only finishing in the top 10 of the Premier League counts. Not the FA Cup or Capital One Cup. Not Europe. Just the balance sheet and if you do not understand that at least have the decency to shut up.
Our crime was we reported on the Time4Change march in the city against Ashley and his cohorts. We gave it “disproportionate” publicity - or so we were accused.
As a consequence, an attempt has been made to gag us which effectively means denying fans because we are conveyors of news and opinion to supporters of Newcastle United. Nothing more or less.
Doesn’t Ashley and United realise taking on the local press, who are the umbilical cord between club and fanbase, as well as 50,000 supporters when the club is in such a precarious position is nothing short of an act of stupidity. Yet again.
Banning those who dare to speak out not as PRs but customers and observers does more harm than good to those who are being dictatorial.
The way to bring peace is not to wage war. Open hostility only creates a greater divide and, heaven knows, United can do without that in troubled times.
Having lost a critical derby in such a spineless way at Sunderland with Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs to come you would think United would want to keep a low profile. Not take a dirty big spoon to stir a bubbling cauldron.
Instead of blaming marching fans, the local press et al, how about Ashley concentrating upon putting things in order at St James’ Park where there is much unrest and confusion. Is he right and everyone else wrong?
What is happening now has happened before. Ashley’s United had previously banned individuals, me included, in terms of player interviews. They have banned newspapers too – the Daily and Sunday Telegraph last season for example. They have also banned certain sections of local radio.
What good did it do them? They simply look like bullies rampaging round the school yard.
Can’t Ashley realise football is part of the entertainment industry which gives people the right to an opinion on what is served up for public consumption. Theatre critics earn a living doing it. Music columnists do likewise regarding new albums.
Film reviewers help decide an Oscar nomination or box- office flop. Yet they are not banished, harsh as their point of view may be. Discussion, opinion, creates interest which in turn sells a commodity. Don’t talk about something and it goes unnoticed.
The bottom line is Ashley has no time for supporters or sports writers. We are an inconvenience, an irritation.
At least the supporters are paying money so grudgingly we will let them in as long as they stay stum. Hacks are different. Nothing but pests.
Television, of course, is quite another matter to the rest of the media.
Clubs can make very good money from it, therefore what is said on Match of the Day or Sky has to be grudgingly accepted.
Alan Pardew, one of those who put his name to the banning order, recently summed up his boss Ashley thus: “He loves football but sometimes cannot understand how it works. It confuses and upsets him and when he is upset he does things which are not brilliant for the football club.”
Even those on his side of the fence realise the shortcomings of a man used to getting his own way.
Of course, the written press can receive as much criticism from the public as the owners of football clubs.
We, too, are viewed in some corners with cynicism, heightened by the Leveson inquiry and the phone hacking scandals which, I must point out by way of truth, havein the past mainly been the weapon of some national not local newspapers.
Ironicallym the greatest accusation levelled at the local press by football fans is they are a PR mouthpiece for the club. Towing the party line rather than criticising. Well, United don’t see it that way.
I can understand newspaper men have to ride the bucking bronco.
It is not a job in which it is easy to curry favour with club or fans if it is done properly and honestly. No-one can please all of the people all of the time.
However, I am under no illusions about what is the basic job of a sports journalist.
He or she must report the facts and the quotes without fear or favour while, if employed as a columnist, offer an honestly-held opinion which may stir debate in the pub that night and, yes, compliment profusely when it is deserved.
Plain and simple.
Throughout it all, however, must be the right to have an opinion and voice it.
Ashley and those who have formally signed the declaration of intent to ban those who dare to stand their corner disagree but that in itself is an opinion and we have not banned them from our Bigg Market offices because they have voiced it.
No, what Mike Ashley has done is score a huge own goal. Not for the first time.
IDEAL FOR CHRISTMAS
MAGPIES IN EUROPE -
HARVEY TO PARDEW
The new version of "Magpies In Europe" will be launched next week.
Although NUFC are not talking to the Chronicle or Sunday Sun ... we are!
And the full story is expected to be in newspapers within the next two weeks.
The official new title is "Magpies In Europe - Harvey To Pardew" and is an up-dated version of "From Antwerp To Zurich" - which includes the 14 Europa League fixtures we played last season.
The 280-page book features match reports from the 134 European matches Newcastle United have played, starting with the memorable 4-0 win over Feyenoord in 1968 on our European debut.
Included are stats and the figures you would expect, but also each away fixture has the remarkable experiences of individuals who travelled to watch the matches.
Introduction by "Big Bad" John McNamee, part of the Fairs Cup winning team of 1969.
It is a fascinating history that every Newcastle United fan will enjoy.
And with a limited print-run, make sure you order a copy.
DON'T MISS OUT!
More details will be announced this week about where it will be sold, but we are selling it MAIL ORDER for £8.95 (but postage will be £1.50 extra).
(*Or we will be selling them for £8.95 prior to home games in Newcastle)
ON SALE NOW AT: M&M City News; 140 Northumberland St, Newcastle NE1 7DQ.
The Flower Shop, Spennymoor, Co Durham.
if you want to order, contact us:- Kevnumad@fsmail.net
Mail order: Send a cheque for £10.45 made payable to K.Fletcher to:
K Fletcher, 5 Dunelm, Sacriston, Durham DH7 6NU
Include your own address.
THIS WEEK'S FIXTURES
Tuesday October 29
19:45 Arsenal v Chelsea
19:45 Birmingham City v Stoke City
19:45 Burnley v West Ham United
19:45 Leicester City v Fulham
19:45 Man Utd v Norwich City
Wednesday October 30
19:45 Newcastle United v Manchester City
19:45 Tottenham v Hull City
Saturday November 2
12:45 Newcastle United v Chelsea
15:00 Fulham v Man Utd
15:00 Hull City v Sunderland
15.00 Manchester City v Norwich City
15:00 Stoke City v Southampton
15:00 West Brom v Crystal Palace
15:00 West Ham United v Aston Villa
17:30 Arsenal v Liverpool
Sunday November 3
13:30 Everton v Tottenham
16:00 Cardiff City v Swansea City
NEWCASTLE UNITED 2013/14
SUNDERLAND 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Debuchy)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Dummett, Santon, Sissoko (45' Cisse), Tiote, Cabaye, Gouffran (86' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Remy (70' Shola Ameobi).
Subs: Anita, Haidara, Elliot, Obertan.
NEWCASTLE UTD 2 LIVERPOOL 2 (Cabaye, Dummett)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Cabaye (78' Sammy Ameobi), Tiote, Gouffran, Sissoko (45' Dummett), Remy, Ben Arfa (78' Anita).
Subs: Cisse, Elliot, Obertan, Dummett.
CARDIFF CITY 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (86' Ben Arfa), Gouffran, Sissoko, Remy (71' Gutierrez), Cisse
Subs: Anita, Yanga-Mbiwa, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
EVERTON 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (Cabaye, Remy)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa (46' Williamson), Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Anita (69' Cisse), Ben Arfa (46' Cabaye), Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy
Subs: Elliot, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 2 HULL CITY 3 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy (86' Tiote), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (62' Gouffran), Anita, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Cisse (73' Marveaux), Remy
Subs: Williamson, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
ASTON VILLA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ben Arfra, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita (74' Tiote), Cabaye (88' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Remy (63' Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, S Taylor, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 1 FULHAM 0 (Ben Arfa)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita 65' (Cabaye), Marveaux 74' (Remy), Shola Ameobi 65' (Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Gosling, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 0
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux 66' (Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi, Cisse 72'
Subs: Gosling, Bigirimana, Elliot, Vuckic, Dummett
MAN CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 0
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tiote, Gouffran 45+4' (Dummett), Ben Arfa 65' (Sammy Ameobi), Gutierrez 44' (Anita), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan
NEWCASTLE 2 LEEDS UTD 0 (Cisse, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gouffran (90' Vuckic), Anita (80' Gosling), Tiote, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Cisse (71' Obertan).
Subs: Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Alnwick
MORECAMBE 0 NEWCASTLE 2 (Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi)
Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux 88' (Sissoko), Vuckic 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi, Gouffran 71' (Ben Arfa)
Subs: Santon, Anita, Alnwick, Streete
Newcastle United Fixtures
Wednesday October 30
19:45 League Cup - 4th Rnd
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Saturday November 2
12:45 Premier League
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Sunday November 10
12:00 Premier League
Tottenham v Newcastle United