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Newcastle Away Trips – Did I Just Dream Harry Palmer and The Burning Chest Hair?

8 years ago

I’d like to share a memory with you all if I may and ask anyone who remembers this event to tell me it actually happened.

I’d like to take you back to the F.A Cup 5th Round in 1993. Blackburn Rovers away and 5,000 travelling support which helped the lads put on a performance to be proud of.

‘There’s Only One Harry Palmer’

Now at this point I’m going to skim over the game – which we lost 1-0 – although that was far from deserved. What I’m going to talk about is the most surreal time I’ve had in a pub while I’ve supported Newcastle.

I’d like to say I remember the name of the pub in question (I think it might have been The Fernhurst?) and if anyone was there please feel free to confirm its name.

As it is, it didn’t really matter what the name of the pub was, but the couple of hours in there before kick-off is another reminder to me of what this club, or more appropriately, what the support is all about. Optimism, blind faith, humour and thinking really bad ideas are good ones.

For any younger readers, this was the time of a lad called Harry Palmer; guitar-toting, sunglasses wearing, song-writing genius. I still have the tape of his ‘medley’ even though I can’t play it anymore. The wife wasn’t happy when I put it in the ‘treasured memories’ box with our wedding photos though…

Anyhow, this pub was heaving with Newcastle supporters, and what happened over the next half hour or so, I still can’t convince myself actually happened. Once again, if anyone was there, please confirm that this did happen because I think it might have been a weird dream.

Happily drinking and singing in the pub, there seemed to be a bit of a ‘do’ behind me. As the place was full of Newcastle supporters I knew it wouldn’t be any bother. The stir was actually caused by the previously mentioned Harry, resplendent in sunglasses and guitar, being hoisted onto what I can only remember as some sort of shelf, giving everyone a bird’s eye view of the legend himself.

This is when I think I might have dreamt the next bit. Maybe a couple of songs into Harry’s impromptu set, some bloke got up and sat next to him, whipped off his top, and whilst conducting the choir began to set light to his chest hair!

Please, if you were there, can you tell me it actually did happen, because whenever I relay the story to my son and wife (for the millionth time) their eyes keep telling me I’m going in a home…

To top the day off, I was on the Match of The Day highlights in my black and white curly wig. It was just black until I decided to add the white stripes with spare paint from the shed the day before the game mind, and I must say the lads on the bus were very tolerant about the smell of emulsion on the way down there, and I heard not a peep out of them on the way back.

Then again, we all still had the smell of burnt chest hair in our nostrils.

Let’s keep the optimism, faith, humour and bad ideas. It’s what makes us…us.

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