I’ve always wanted kids but it’s taken me to my forties to actually be in a position where it’s finally happened. In the early hours of Thursday 16th October 2014 Mrs Horse knocked out a young foal (a colt to be precise) which as all parents will testify to, will completely change our lives forever and for the better.
The due date was the week leading up to Newcastle United v Leicester at home and given that Mrs H is usually running late for everything, there was a strong possibility she may still be hanging on until match day.
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Now when I was a young-un it was not unknown for an announcement such as the one that follows to be broadcast during the match:-
“Can Jimmy from Byker please make his way to the maternity suite at the RVI, your wife’s just gone into labour!!”
Usually this would be followed by a huge roar from the crowd and then the pointing at various males heading for the exit and the speculation whether that person was the soon to be dad, or just some bloke needing a wee. An embarrassed/proud wave from that man would signify the hero of the hour. I kind of hoped I’d fall into this old school category, just for the crack. As it turned out that scenario didn’t happen, with his arrival well before the match.
Obviously the advent of these mobile telephone type things has eliminated the need for a prospective father to be rallied via a public address system. Nowadays it would be an intimate phone call or text direct to the recipient, without anyone else needing to know and said father slipping quietly out the back.
The obvious question everyone wants answered post-birth is, “So what’s his name?” For the last 2 weeks he’s had to be called “ThingymebobWhatyoumacally.” Thinking back to when I was at Newcastle College in the early 90s a friend called his son Liam in honour of the free-kick maestro. Going back even earlier, my mate called his dog Keegan in honour of the then player, which came back into fashion for him on Kev’s managerial return. I know lots of people out there will have used football references when naming their children and pets.
So what can Newcastle currently offer in terms of names and how do friends offer some logic? Gabriel and Sammy were quickly dismissed. Moussa doesn’t fit and Rolando just reminds me of Grange Hill (older person reference claxon!!). Ayoze is different, which is what we were maybe looking for, but would that fit in with the other kids in Newcastle’s East End?
Nigel texted me his usual, “you’ll have to call him Hughie, Len, Albert, Jackie, Vic, Joe, Wyn, Malcolm, Imre, Kevin, Micky, David, Andy, Peter, Les, Alan, Faustino Hernan Tino Asprilla…”
Here is an extract of an email chain from friends:-
ME: Gents, the baby with no name (currently) would like to say a massive thanks for the lovely card you sent to his parents, cheers.
Evans: Well done all of you. If it’s the baby with no name, you really should call it Clint !!!!
Just a thought, ok I will get my coat.
ME: Is that tumbleweed I see behind you James, appreciate the thought like!!
Elder: After an unbeaten run in October, I think it only right you should call the little fella Pardew, all he’s ever known in his short life so far is Newcastle victories!
Smudger: That’s an interesting observation Elder, I wonder if a star appeared over St James Park the night he was born, obviously he’s the new Messiah and Keegan shall be his name!!
Me: When I proposed Pardew he literally s*** himself. I fear his unbeaten run may come to an end tomorrow (Liverpool). And far from being the Messiah, as he is currently a very naughty boy!!
Obviously we are very proud parents and have since chosen a name unrelated to football. It’s going to be bad enough for the little fella that his parents are Newcastle United fans and he will be shoehorned into a similar fate. I can almost sense the neutrals reaching for the phone number to social services to report child abuse.
That said, it’s now 4 wins out of 4 since young Horsey’s arrival and his 100% record remains intact. Ok, if we’d been playing a half decent team it might have been a different outcome but for once the players are showing some pride in wearing the black and white. It’s absolutely incredible really. Post-match it was suggested since he’s not yet registered, it wasn’t too late to change our minds on a messianic name.
Liverpool were terrible despite the referee’s assistance to help them out. Fortunately, not so super Mario played his part by not doing very much at all, a waste of space. Cheers for that Mario. Newcastle fully deserved the win despite what game Brendan Rodgers was watching. For once the match was nervy but enthralling, at times electrifying and the atmosphere approaching what I would hope for every week. We looked like a team fighting for each other again and that projected some joy to us all in the stands, who have by and large suffered a joyless experience in recent times.
Given I was born the year after our last meaningful trophy in 1969, I’m hopeful that this new generation of our family will spark a positive change in the club’s fortunes…so far so good son!!