In his first piece for this new site Jamie Smith wrote about the warm welcome visiting fans are likely to receive when they visit our wonderful city.
I might add that welcome would not extend to anyone daft enough to be wearing a mackem top. It’s a great pity that same welcome isn’t forthcoming in numerous other cities around England.
There are lots of things around football that irritate me and fortunately this new forum will allow me to express my curmudgeonly personality as often as I like. So let me begin.
I love travelling to away games. It still excites me. I don’t get to nearly as many as I used to, or would like to, but all the same the atmosphere is nearly always fantastic and the craic with the lads is great. Quite often our welcome is good, unless of course we are visiting one of the many places that have those welcoming little signs in their window to inform you that the establishment is to be patronised by, ‘Home Fans Only’.
What is the matter with these people? Do they think we are going to load them down with Scottish pound notes or something? My travelling group is made up of 3 lads around the 50 year old mark and 1 who is 31. We don’t wear colours or even as much as a Toon lapel badge between us.
The only thing we have to identify us as Geordies is our accent. All we want is a quiet pint and some conversation. If the locals want to join in with some banter, then that’s fine. We’ll leave all the shouting and balling to the young daft lads and do ours when we get to the match. We really are no threat to anybody but how do we get that across?
One of the worst examples of this was when we were refused a pint at 3 o clock in an empty pub in Derby city centre. The kick off wasn’t until 7.45! Plus, as you’ll know if you’ve been there, Pride Park is not even in the city centre.
As recently as Blackburn last month the same problem occurred. With the Fernhurst bursting at the seams as usual and the car park so overflowing with bodies it looked like an ‘Occupy Blackburn’ situation.
So other venues were sort and the same refusals received. Only 10,000 were at the match and I thought there was currently some sort of financial crisis taking place. Naively maybe, I’d thought businesses were set up to make a profit and would therefore be happy to sell every pint they could, regardless. Presumably money must not be tight in East Lancashire, if they are able to turn it down.
As far as I am aware there is no such thing in Newcastle as a ‘Home Fans Only’ pub which is a great thing and one of which our city should be very proud.
My mates and I have had some great banter with the visiting fans of numerous clubs over the years. You know what as well; we always end up extolling the virtues of our fine city, often advising visitors where to go for food and drink and generally encouraging them to have an enjoyable time.
What a pity that large parts of the rest of this Little England does not see fit to do the same.