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!