On May 22nd 2011, I sat in my seat inside St James Park, in the same spot I had been in for the last eighteen years. I witnessed Newcastle score three goals against West Bromwich Albion before conceding three for the draw.
After more than two decades of football, this was my last game in England, I emigrated to America a couple of weeks later. I didn’t know if I would ever see my beloved team again. Moving to another continent between seasons helped as I wasn’t distracted by news from home.
It is easy to avoid football on American television, though on rare occasions you can pick up a newspaper and find a small paragraph dedicated to Manchester United or Chelsea. The closer it got to the start of the 2011/2012 season, I started to rely on websites for news about my team.
Once Newcastle started their first friendly games, I found myself using Twitter. Fans and Journalists would ‘micro blog’ about their day before the match and I would be able to follow their thoughts during the games. Instead of finding out scorers and red cards, I could now read about which players were playing well and who weren’t. Some journalists will even upload pictures. Discovering other people’s views during a game helped me gain a bigger picture of the Toon.
As an ex-pat, the internet has become my lifeline for an NUFC fix. Newcastle’s first game of the season was broadcast live in America and the next few were as well. The Premiership’s goals and highlights are broadcast daily on one of FOX’s channels. I am very fortunate that I can keep up to date with the goings on of Newcastle United Football Club anywhere in the world. Apart from physically being at the match, I can find out what is going on instantly.
Following your team from abroad maybe isn’t so hard after all!