Of all the obvious milestones I’ve been through during my years on this planet, there has only been one real constant.
Whilst work and relationships fluctuate, people come and go, opportunities are missed (and sometimes taken) and experiences alter, Newcastle United has always been there.
Through the good times and the bad, from solitarily celebrating a 4-1 derby success from as far away as Torquay, to being surrounded by hundreds of like-minded miserable black and white souls in ‘The Goose’ round the corner from St James’ as the awful events of May 2009 unfolded.
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From 4th March 1997 against AS Monaco to 29th December 2013 against Arsenal (both 1-0 defeats, typical!) and hundreds of matches in between, it’s safe to say a lot of my development (but certainly not ‘growing up’) has been done at the football.
Taking my mate for our first ever match alone (without grown-ups, imagine the excitement!), organising away trips for the first time (Everton and Bolton in 2003/2004) and even managing to buy a sneaky pint underage (I was not only short but couldn’t grow facial hair to save my life, so just the smell of alcohol was a novelty in those days) were all experiences that I would later look back on with a degree of fondness and amusement.
Well this weekend, I reach a fairly significant milestone. On 18th January 2014, I will officially be joining an exclusive club and turning 50!
Not 50 years old (although it does sometimes feel like it), no I will be be making it 50 Newcastle away games supporting the Toon. What experiences await me as I once more venture behind enemy lines?
It’s safe to say I’ve seen some sights following the Toon around the country and formed friendships that have gone on to become lifelong. Some of my favourite memories have been at the match (Tim Krul’s master class performance at Spurs this season stands out) and I’ve been able to share the trips with some of my favourite people.
At the end of last season, I wrote an article about my away trips and my fairly dreadful record (P45 W8 D13 L24) on the road.
Thankfully, 2013/14 has proved to be my most successful away season yet, four matches have panned out as follows:
Blackpool 1-0 (Sh Ameobi)
Morecambe 2-0 (Sh Ameobi, Sa Ameobi)
Villa 2-1 (Ben Arfa, Gouffran)
Spurs 1-0 (Remy)
Four games and four victories have boosted my personal record to: P49 W12 D13 L24.
Here’s hoping it gets even better on Saturday with a lucky 13th victory south of Tyneside!
The match against Big Sam’s relegation threatened mob might be in the balance but the humour, friendliness, camaraderie and drunken madness of the travelling Toon Army can always be counted upon, one of the main reasons I keep going back for more!
HOWAY THE LADS, here’s to another 50 away days!
What are your best and worst away match memories – have you got the best or worst record following the team away from St.James’ Park?
Leave a short comment below, or if you fancy writing about your travelling exploits or anything else Newcastle releated – send in your letters/articles for the magazine/website to [email protected]