When younger Newcastle fans hear those with a few years on the clock getting all nostalgic about the terraces, and in particular the old Leazes End, you did really have to be there to appreciate it.
Any young fan back in the seventies (my era) being first introduced to the covered terraces of the Leazes End was just in awe of the whole thing.
It couldn’t be more different from today’s sanitised environment at St James Park, where younger fans lean back in their seats and get most animated when trying to film a goal on their smartphone.
Yes it was all a bit mad in the Leazes End and the the Gallowgate Corner/Scoreboard when the bulldozers moved in to clear the Leazes in 1978…but it was bloody brilliant!
The crowd surges, singing, ending up 20 or 30 yards away when somebody in black & white scored, it was electric. Yes it was all a bit basic and toilets were a bit of an optional extra but that all mattered little compared to the excitement you felt when you stepped onto that terracing.
At the top of the tree were the select few who climbed up onto a barrier and led the singing, we all dreamed of being one of them, but of course 99.9% of us were only ever going to be followers, not terrace leaders.
Sadly though, a number of Newcastle fan social media sites have reported the passing of one of these terrace characters,
The Old Leazes End as it was 1930-1978 facebook page are one of those to have paid tribute to the passing of ‘Decca’, the terrace legend pictured above up on the barrier leading the singing.
“Have just heard the sad news that Decca (Magpie Ranger and many other songs) central barrier old Leazes End, the East Stand Paddock, the Corner and the Scoreboard, has died RIP.”
“Very very sad.
“I honestly hope someone sings at least one verse of the Magpie Ranger at his funeral, Decca would be chuffed with that …”
We would like to add our sadness at the passing of one of these terrace greats who helped so many of us have such a brilliant time at the football, whatever the result on the pitch.