The six stages of your life supporting Newcastle United.
Sometimes it is best to ignore the current mess and forget about the here and now at Newcastle United, a bit like when your house is a tip it can do you good to get out and have a few drinks and a curry then face reality the next day when you are in a better mood.
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However, I think plenty of other Newcastle fans will buy into what I’m about to relate.
My name is Dale and I am 50 years old, I support Newcastle United and these are the six levels of my support for our great club.
Stage 1 – Going to my first matches. These were with adults – my dad, uncles and their friends in the early to mid-seventies, coincidentally the Supermac era. It was very exciting and a bit scary at the same time being crushed amongst loads of adults on the terraces, couldn’t really see that much unless sat at the front of the terracing with other kids.
Stage 2 – Going with my mates. In my early teens I was then allowed to go with friends instead of being overseen by adults. This was great. Probably my favourite time watching Newcastle even though the first season I went with the lads was the relegation season of 1977/78. The football was crap but what a laugh being with your mates at the match.
Stage 3 – Away matches. Moving through my teens I then reached the stage where I started going to away games when I had the money. My memory gets a bit hazy now as to how often my parents actually knew I was away somewhere exotic such as Rotherham and Barnsley. Magic times though in transit vans and on football special trains from the Victorian era, this particular stage in my supporting life coming to its peak when promotion with Keegan, Beardsley and Waddle came along. Nearly ever y away match seemed to be in Yorkshire or Lancashire and places likes Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday were invaded with seemingly half of Tyneside there.
Stage 4 – Balancing work, women, alcohol and football. This was probably the biggest challenge in terms of the demands on your body and shouldn’t be attempted by those of older years. Holding down a job whilst at the same time trying to get to every match, drink as much as possible and find time to see my girlfriend(s) saw me often in a sorry state on a Monday morning going back to work.
Stage 5 – Marriage made in heaven. Next up was sealing the knot with somebody other than Newcastle United. I got married to a woman, it was dead good. However, there were consequences. I still went to every home match and aways when I could, but I now had to accept that I had other responsibilities and would have to tow the line at times. No problem pet, I don’t mind missing that weekend stay in London when we play Arsenal, I’m really looking forward to that engagement do at the local social club instead.
Stage 6 – A star/son is born. My first child comes along, it’s a boy (no offence), yes!!! Will he automatically like football or will I have to brainwash him? ‘When can I start going to the match with you dad?’ Are there any sweeter words a man can hear?