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Newcastle Fans – The Common Bond

8 years ago
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Given the general feeling of doom and gloom which swirls round the club, I thought I might relay a story from my own experience to remind us all of the importance of the support we can give the lads.

No matter what, we all have a common bond which needs no introduction to most of you out there.

It’s the morning of the 4th May 1993 and I’m getting sorted to travel to Grimsby for that nights potential promotion clincher.

My soon to be wife, had managed to get me a ticket and a lift via a work colleague who had relatives in Grimsby. The plan was for me to meet three complete strangers in the car park of The Bluebell pub in sunderland that dinner time.

The meeting place had to do with work commitments etc but it still felt bizarre to say the least, to begin a journey that might end in promotion in the backyard of our nearest and dearest.

New Asics Toon shirt discreetly hidden under my jacket, I sat awkwardly awaiting the car to pull up. After what seemed an age a car pulled up into the car park and a window was wound down.

“Aalreet?, yu gannin’ to the game?”, the accent gave away who these people were, and we were on our way. The journey to sunny Cleethorpes was initially passed with summary introductions and it transpired that no one in that car knew anyone else. That didn’t matter, because by the time we’d cleared Scotch Corner, we were all p*ss taking as if we’d known each other for years.

I hadn’t seen or heard from the lads I went down to the game with until last year, when I bumped into one of them in a pub. It was as if we’d kept in touch every day.

I’m sure many of you have similar stories and tales, but the point I’m making is that now, maybe more so than ever, we need to remind ourselves why we support this club.

We’re all sick and tired of Ashley and his cronies. We all have opinions about the rights and wrongs of events at the club. But, beneath all of the opinions, we all want the same thing at the end of the day. A decent game and good craic with people you know, or some you don’t.

I know we aren’t getting much of the former at the moment, but the latter will be a constant whoever is in charge. We just need to remind ourselves sometimes I think.

We’re all naturally optimistic pessimists up here, it’s in our blood. So if the rest of the miserable b*stards in the country want to see us as dreamers then so be it. It’s what makes us unique, and we know the truth anyway.

Anyway, back to the night in question. After a few pints, my new found friends and I made our way to the ground. Two had tickets for the seats, which left two standing ticket in the Grimsby end of the ground of which I had one. Now in hindsight, that wasn’t as bad as it sounded at the time, because once we got in, it was apparent we weren’t the only ones.

As we tried to make our way to the pockets of blatant mags, we noticed the Police had spied the same thing and were letting the hundreds of toon fans from around the ground into the allocated away section at the far end.

At this point I’d like to point out that official figures put the attendance that night as just over 12,000. B*llocks, there must have been at least 8,000 toon fans in that ground, and they opened up a section of their still-under-construction new stand to accommodate the overflow, such was the crush in that away end.

As I said, we made ourselves known to the harassed police officers on the gate, and were allowed onto the cinder track to walk up to the already massed ranks of black and whites. The next event will stay with me until the day I die and I never tire of telling anyone I meet of the feeling that it gave me.

As we walked up that cinder track, having suddenly gained some bravado, I decided to take my jacket off and show off the new shirt in all its glory…

At that same time, what I can only describe as a wall of noise rolled down from the away end and literally hit me. Of course I put it down to those eagle eyed amongst the away support to have spotted my unveiling of the new strip. My chest puffed out and I was just about to salute my fellow supporters when I realised that the dribs and drabs of the team had just jogged out to warm up at the same time!

Putting ego to one side, I had never, nor have I since, experienced anything like the feeling I got when I walked up that cinder track. That noise did literally roll towards me and stop me dead in my tracks, which brings me to my second point.

That sort of support can make a difference to the lads. Whatever age, creed, nationality or belief, I defy anyone to tell me differently, having witnessed it from a ‘head’ on perspective all those years ago. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end to this day thinking about it.

Let’s get back to that positive atmosphere this weekend and for the rest of the season. It can make a difference and it will if we can provide it. Let’s do our job off the pitch and give the lads on it a chance to respond, and remember we can all moan about the off the field stuff in forums such as this.

Support the team, not the regime.

Anybody else have special matchday memories. Send them to [email protected],uk

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