Saturday 27 October 1984

Fourteen is quite old for a modern day supporter to attend their first away game. However, back in 1984 it probably wasn’t that rare, as football wasn’t the global brand and family sport it has become since the Premier League evolved.

I’d been to my first home game at the age of about 10 to witness the mighty Alan Shoulder.  My dad bought us season tickets before the first game Keegan played at St James’ in the famous black and white stripes.

My oldest sister lived in Hemel Hempstead, which back in the day was a 6 hour drive as motorways weren’t as direct and my dad rarely ventured over 60mph.  So looking back it must have been a half-term trip to see my sister and since Watford was on her doorstep, my dad decided to get us tickets for the match.

We were in the old stand along the side of the pitch, a programme bizarrely waiting on each seat ready when we arrived.  My eyes were constantly drawn to my right into a section of fans going nuts throughout the game.

It was here I discovered the real passion that Newcastle fans have for their club. I was amazed to see so many had made the long journey south. It looked miles from the pitch to the away section back then but the noise was astounding to a teenager.

We were winning 3-2 with a few minutes left, Kevin Carr had saved a penalty too. The exit from our seats was along the stand and up the home terrace behind the goal.  As we walked through the home fans up the steps to beat the rush I looked over my shoulder just in time to see Watford score a last minute equaliser…3-3, bollocks!!

The abiding memory of that first away game was the visiting support.  My age may have inverted to 41 and my hair has taken a similar reversal of fortunes but I’m proud to have been part of some special away days since.

There’s nothing better than a day out following Newcastle United with our band of brothers.  The banter, wit and singing.  Oh and a few beers always help too to take the edge off the sucker punch moments that we invariably have to endure.

The memories and tales of travelling away will be recounted forever, starting from that first ever trip!

  • jonah

    Yeah, similar. I was in the same nostalgic vein yesterday down on Percy Street, it’s like All Our Yesterdays on here. I was 14 at my first away, me uncle took us to Burnden Park for a cup game, it was chocka and the “gents” was just a steaming walled-off lake of p*** in the open, the away end was a crumbling mess altogether in fact and I fell off the back of the terracing celebrating an Alan Gowling shot I thought had gone in. Always delay me celebs till I do a double take since then. Supermac scored a screamer which MotD have in the vaults, but somehow that doesn’t get repeatedly wheeled out every year like Ronnie f’in’ Radford’s does. Of course Fat Sam and Monkey’s Heed were on the receiving end and the media darlings can’t be upset, can they? That ended 3-3 too with an 85th minute equaliser against us.

    He also took me to Wembley that year (League Cup Final, lost 2-1 to Citeh and Dennis bloody local lad Tueart’s overhead kick) and to the 6th round at Derby (lost 4-2 with a flu-ravaged team). We stopped at Hemel Hempstead on the way back from Wembley as it happens. Coincidence? I think so.

    I think I like this interaction idea. I’d just be chuntering on to meself otherwise.