As a kid, I would regularly find myself sitting in the Greenbank club, necking snakebites until the bar closed or my legs had given way on me.
Whichever came first.
This was a very enjoyable experience, spoilt only by the old farts in the corner, bleating on about how Newcastle United were not a patch on the team that they watched as kids.
Jackie Milburn this, Bobby Mitchell that, three cup finals in five years, blah blah blah. God those old codgers could drone on. It was worth buying them another stout just to shut them up.
Well time waits for no man and I’m afraid that these days, that’s me. I am now a paid up member of the NUFC Old Fart supporters club.
Let’s make this very clear. I will always love Joseph Kevin Keegan for giving me the greatest years of my NUFC life and therefore I cannot apologise for regularly reminiscing about those great days.
However, I now realise just how annoying people like me are. Harping on about these wonderful times must do the head in of the new generation of Newcastle fans. While it might feel like yesterday to me, sadly the Entertainers were 20 long, long years ago.
To think, people didn’t even have mobile phones or the internet back in those days and we thought Tony Blair was going to be the saviour of country.
Yes really, we did.
So unfortunately, the entertainers are as relevant to today’s young fans as Jackie Milburn’s team were to me.
Whilst I believe Peter Beardsley is the greatest footballer to ever wear our shirt, to those of you who are under 30, he’s just some podgy middle-aged apologist for the current regime.
That’s because you didn’t see him play and therefore he didn’t make you shake your head in utter disbelief as he scored wonderful goal after wonderful goal, season after season. He is now just a part of our history.
But what a part of history it was.
Back in 1994, we were blessed with not only having a midfield of Rob Lee, Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark and Scott Sellars, we also had a front two of Peter Beardsley and Mr Andrew Cole.
Can you believe that in this (1993/94) season, Cole and Beardsley scored 55 league goals between them. Last season, the whole squad got nowhere near that (44 including own goals by opposition players).
In that season, Andy Cole broke all sorts of goal scoring records, including becoming the highest scoring Newcastle player in a season, something even Alan Shearer couldn’t beat.
Cole not only broke goal scoring records, he changed perceptions of many fans standing on the terraces. I remember his early game against Birmingham, where he had replaced the much loved David Kelly. We went two down early on and having missed a couple of chances, the vitriol aimed at him from the Milburn paddock was vicious and vile. He must have seriously questioned his decision to move to the club.
But by the end of the game he had scored and then he didn’t stop scoring, until that injury that changed things and eventually led to Keegan selling him to Man Utd.
Bellamy and Shearer, Shearer and Ferdinand, Ferdinand and Beardsley, were three of the best forward partnerships we have ever had, but in my opinion, Cole and Beardsley were the best. They were telepathic and complemented each other perfectly.
If you need cheering up, just go and youtube 93-94 and marvel at a team that played without fear and a front two who were simply sublime.
Yep, an old fart I may now be, but I’m just glad I had the chance to witness what was a truly magical time in our history .
Please God, let me be writing a piece in 20 years time about the Mitro – Gayle partnership that got us promoted in 2017.