It’s been forty years since I first ambled up to St James’ Park to watch us get beat 2-1 off Crystal Palace in October 1971.

Forty years. It’s what they give to terrorists and mass murderers. Perhaps I can appeal to a jury of my peers at the Hotspur or something.

Forty Years supporting Newcastle United is manifestly excessive for anyone………

Nothing prepares you for a lifetime of supporting Newcastle United which is why I’ve devised my degree in supporting them. After exhaustive consultation with the voices in my head I’ve based my world class tutorial on the decade I started watching – the 1970s.

Topics covered include mid-table finishes – what they are and how to get used to them.  Also on the curriculum, cup defeats so bad (Hereford) that recent reverses at Stevenage seem like a prize and an FA Cup final Wembley no show (0-3 against Liverpool).

I was closer to Liverpool’s Kevin Keegan that day than Newcastle’s defenders and I watched it on my Uncle’s telly. We had some great players but we sold them including Malcolm Macdonald to Arsenal for a semi omen-esque £333,333 (we’d sell our soul properly a few times in the decades to follow).

After the enigma of the legendary Joe Harvey’s long reign we employed non-crowd pleasers, Gordon Lee (a sort of Ryanair version of Graeme Souness) and Bill McGarry (imagine Howard Wilkinson without the gags).

In between that we predictably squeezed in a boardroom crisis when we signed a player without telling the manager (short-lived dugout fall guy Richard Dinnis). An NUFC tutorial without a board war would be like an episode of Columbo without a body. Naturally we managed relegation (1977/78). The decade ended with Newcastle riding high and chasing promotion. You have to love a happy ending. Except it wasn’t, we nosedived at new decade’s dawn and finished well down the old second division table.

As you’d expect for the fees (9,000 pints over three years), everything is covered and I expect the graduation photos to be hugely popular (grinning mags wearing black and white Tam O’Shanter hats holding a rolled up copy of the old football pink).

If you want to riot about the fees, can I refer you to footage of the 1974 pitch invasion against Nottingham Forest as a useful guide.

The 1970s then. All you ever need to know about supporting Newcastle United ever since.

We always threaten to soar, we always promise to self-destruct. Sound familiar?

  • Mr C.

    Yes Mr. McQueen an acurate summary of forty years of pain/pleasure, love/hate, lows/ a few highs but like yourself still love the memories. Keep up the good work and the faith.

    Mr C.

  • jonah

    We’re living parallel lives, man. I’ve been in the battle since 1971 too, Derby County was my first – Dave Mackay was playing, we won 3-1, and I remember us playing in red, which doesn’t make any sense at all and, no, I can’t prove it. We finished 12th, they finished 9th, the next season we improved to 11th, they finished…League Champions. And I’ve been jinxing us ever since. Sorry about that.

  • Anonymous

    As a fellow alumini of the said educational institution your article provoked me into investigation further research on footballing matters. I came accross the following tutorial opportunity

    “Guest Speaker

    3.15 – 5.00 Sarah Gilmore, University of Portsmouth Business School. ‘A Case Study of Bolton Wanderers Football Club’ (abstract below)

    Structure, Agency and Homogeneity in Organizational Success: A Case Study of Bolton Wanderers Football Club

    Dr Sarah Gilmore

    University of Portsmouth Business School

    During the period from 1999-2005, Bolton Wanderers Football Club (BWFC) secured promotion to the English Premier League and, against all predictions, managed to not only retain their league status, but to challenge for European honours. In this paper, I explore how BWFC’s executives helped set in motion an intensely meaningful and functional discursive environment that turned heterogeneous individual “I’s” into functional, corporate “we’s”. I engage BWFC’s experience by first crafting a deep-level understanding of the generative qualities of their organizational discourse that served to integrate elements of the organization’s institutional and structural realm with its action or agency realm. I then describe how the club’s senior leaders, as key agents for the creation of meaning, established over a period of time collaborative mechanisms by creating what I will call ‘strings’ of persuasive arguments that converged to become a powerful method for generating influential, functional meaning. I depict how these strings form, evolve and converge and illustrate how organizations integrate diverse heterogeneous perspectives into relatively homogeneous systems of meaning with both functional directionality and intentionality. I conclude by exploring what occurred when key rhetors or persuaders departed and the implications of these departures for strings. ”

    I would welcome comments and was wondering if you thought it worthwhile to forward to Mr Alan Pardew. Perhaps he could incoporate some of the abstract into his pre match team gatherings subject to nothing being lost in translation into French of course.

    P.S There are some strong rumours circulating that the University may be rebranded as the ‘Sports Direct College of Further Education’. One does hope that the vice chancellor Mr Ashley sees sense and abandon this misguided path.