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Tyne Talk

Newcastle United – One Of The Finest

11 years ago

I’m not often lost for words but when I got a phone call on Thursday night…words failed me.

I could hear the words and understood what was being said but couldn’t quite take it in.

One of The Mag’s long serving and outstanding columnists, Barry McQueen, had died.

Feeling unwell early in the week, Barry had nevertheless returned to work, only to suddenly collapse and be taken from us on Thursday morning.

Barry McQueen was only fifty when he passed away, still playing and watching football, a normal lad – if ‘normal’ does Barry justice..

What Barry was to me was an excellent writer with a great line in humour, little wonder that it was Kriss Knights (Billy Furious) who was the one that knew Barry socially and encouraged him to get involved on the writing side of things.

Barry became a key contributor at The Mag and when asked, he chose ‘Percy Street’ as the title of his monthly magazine column. A place where he spent many a happy hour both pre-match and afterwards, in the company of his many match-going friends.

I didn’t see Barry regularly, in these days of technology (for better or worse) we were in touch constantly by email with regard to his contributions to The Mag and other NUFC related stuff, though when I did bump into him once in a while (almost always in a pub!) the words and the beer flowed.

When The Mag website launched in November, Barry was one of the most enthusiastic columnists, loving the more immediate chance to share his very own unique slant on all things black & white.

When I think of Barry, in my mind’s eye it will be bumping into him in a city centre public house, most probably on ‘Percy Street’ on a match day, having a few pints and talking Newcastle United.

We reproduce below Barry’s last ever article for The Mag website, all I will say is he was a really lovely bloke and a great Newcastle United supporter.

He was one of us.


If Carlsberg bought Newcastle United…
Barry McQueen, Tuesday 10 January 2012

We’ve got Malcolm Macdonald and Les Ferdinand on the bench. That would have taken the worry out of that second half against Blackburn in the FA Cup 3rd round but of course they aren’t really current incumbents of the home dugout at St James’ Park (pity).

Like the team and the subs below they exist in my head, my cobbled together team of the best players I have seen at St James’ Park in my lifetime. No longer down with the kids (I had my 50th birthday cake last summer) but I’m too young to have seen the likes of Jackie Milburn in the flesh to give an obvious example of my very simple rule. It sounds easy but it isn’t.

I’ve offended myself by leaving Malcolm Macdonald and Terry Hibbit out of the team (the memory of the latter hitting a long ball for the former makes the hairs on the palms of my hands stand up). It’s all opinions and you can’t please everyone and I hope all you Frank Pingel fans out there take that on board. I reserve the right to change my mind, agree and buddy up with anyone who has better ideas and say they were my own all along. Pleased you’re cool with that disclaimer, now on with the show…

4-4-2 Formation

Manager Bobby Robson

GK Shay Given

Right Back Irving Nattrass

Left Back Jose Enrique

Central Defender Philippe Albert

Central Defender Fabricio Coloccini

Midfield Terry McDermott

Midfield Paul Gascoigne

Midfield Kevin Keegan

Midfield David Ginola

Forward Alan Shearer

Forward Peter Beardsley

Seven Subs: Tim Krul, Malcolm Macdonald, Chris Waddle, Les Ferdinand, Nobby Solano, Jonathan Woodgate, Terry Hibbit

The Fallen

In my parallel universe, several greats are now rumoured in the parallel press to be unsettled. Some will be easier to soothe than others. It’s just possible that Frank Clark prizes his European Cup winner’s medal at Forest medal higher than being in my dream team but we can’t know that for sure of course.

Many Mag gentlemen of a certain age will be yelling, “Tony Green”, but in the flesh I only clearly recall him from a testimonial (Ollie Burton’s I think). I went to my first match in 1971 and others in the early 70s but wasn’t a home regular until the mid 70s and then ever since.

I was going to do a player by player justification of others who I can’t believe I left out but I’d be here until the end of the season. I could have picked players on stats – Robert by numbers is better than Ginola on extinct. However, the latter was still one of the best players I have ever seen up close and personal. Similarly Rob Lee really should have been in there somewhere but I’d stop speaking to myself if I left out Gazza and I love Nobby Solano.

Then what is the point of having Supermac’s cannon ball shot if Terry Hibbitt isn’t in there supplying the ammo. I said I wasn’t going to go through player by player………………………..


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