The meeting had already started when he opened the door. He tried to enter the darkened room without being noticed but it was to no avail.

The leader looked at him and beckoned .

“Come in. Please join us.”

Reluctantly he shuffled towards a chair near the back and sat down.

All eyes were now fixed upon him as the leader continued to speak.

“Friend, we all know how difficult this must be, so why don’t you introduce yourself to the group.”

The broken man looked up from the floor, sighed and began to speak.

“My name is Jinky Jim, and I am a Newcastle Fan.”

He heard the room gasp and could almost feel their pity flowing towards him.

“That’s a very serious addiction friend, why don’t you tell us how you have ended up in this state.”

Jinky took a few moments to compose himself.

‘Well , I suppose it all began way back in 1974………..

‘It’s fair to say that I wasn’t turning out the way my dad wanted, due to spending too much time with an undesirable bunch of friends who dressed in Miner’s jackets, shiny trousers and big red boots.

My Dad was not a football fan. He was the only Scotsman I have ever met who had ‘nae interest in fitba whatsoever’   but he felt he needed to bond with his lad. So he decided to take me to my first away game.  He chose West Brom  in the 5th round of the FA Cup.

Off we went in a car that was held together with string. It was similar to the one Fred and Barney had in the Flintstones, where your feet went through the floor.

It’s a long long time ago but I can still remember the atmosphere on that day. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. Newcastle United were utterly brilliant and Jim Smith had arguably his best ever game in a black and white shirt.

Even my Dad was totally swept up in the occasion, so much so, that he took his tie off. He never took his tie off. I think he even wore it in bed.

On the long drive home, we were buzzing and he promised that should Newcastle get an away tie in the 6th Round draw, we would go.

Of course fate (and 1000 parka clad scallywags) was to take a hand, and our match with Nottingham Forest went to another replay, after a draw at the City Ground, this time at neutral Everton

Once again the away support was phenomenal. So many were on the terrace that once you were in , you weren’t getting out any time soon. These days I wonder just how everyone got to Liverpool that night, because public transport was terrible and there wasn’t that many cars on the streets of Chester Le Street  back in 1974. I guess there must have been a hell of a lot of work transit vans go missing from the building sites of the North East.

 For me the most remarkable thing about the night wasn’t the football , it was the sight of my mild mannered Dad coming to blows with a bloke standing behind us,  who had began to pee on his shoes.  It’s hard to believe but It’s just what people did back then.

As we travelled back through the night in our British Leyland design classic (an Allegro I think),  a realisation began to dawn on me. The lad who previously quite liked Newcastle United, was now a complete Newcastle United addict.’

This would lead to years of putting the club before work and family. Not attending weddings and birthdays if they clashed with a ‘big’ game. Travelling through the night from Germany to watch a crap second division side get gubbed by the likes of Millwall and Wrexham. You know the type of thing.

So I guess it’s fair to say that the reason I am the emotional wreck that you see before you today, is completely down to my dear old dad.

But you know something? I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well apart from: Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick,  Graham Fenton  being conceived,  Eric bloody Cantona,  Gus Poyet at  Wembley 2000, Drogba in Marseille 2004…

  • grahame49

    January 1974 was the start of a long sentence giving to me by my dad, over the 41 years my mam gran granda uncles took a ever willing young bairn to toon games. Then the joy of going with your mates. Then with a good group of lads sometimes 2 buses to away games. Man u Wednesday in the 80s the police saying to the drivers it won’t be safe to walk to ground wait for a escort been replaced by a couple of us will walk up with you when seeing the unusual suspects getting off bus. A bunch of working class lads having a day out summed up by man u game. My 3 children didnt get my addiction bless them as toon addiction has no cure .

  • Brian Standen

    People who read this know me, I would not change it for anything , we are lucky to be fans of the most unique football club in the world ! Hooked for life simple as. WBA 1974, anyone has any doubts get on you tube!

  • DownUnderMag

    I guess we’re all thinking “why oh why couldn’t we have just been glory hunters and follow someone successful?”.  There was always that self-belief that at some stage we were going to do the unthinkable and actually win something other than the Inter-toto, we thought “now there’s a party worth being around for…”.  How many of us can see any light at the end of the tunnel right now?  There is a pit of despair growing at the club, evidenced by the silent fans, drop off in attendances and general feeling of just waiting.  Would I change supporting the club?  Probably not in fairness, but i’d love for some hope and optimism to be injected back into the place, as of right now it is a dire affair.

  • SusanCommon

    great story. 15000 at least at west broom that day with a lot mixed in etc. my own father was at the game and remembers a quote from lord westwood who said something like the fans were brilliant and if we get to wembley then eery single one of them deserves a ticket for the final. the game at everton my old man went on a works bus from hawthorn leslies so i would imagine they may have officially been allowed time off/loss of pay to go to the game

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Those lads in this and other articles (some of us are still here) would have been tearing down the stands over the current ownership. Take a leaf out of the Rangers book and realise we can have an impact.
    Doing nothing is the easy and cowards way out.

  • macandmarge

    Brian Standen One of the greatest days of my life…i used to help run the London Supporters Club..and this was a great trip…great Barrowclough pic as he scores and throws his arms wide…i’m getting teary…Will those days ever return…not i’m afraid whilst Ashley is in charge

  • LintonLad

    Nice memories, Jinky!  I was there too.  Together with the Burnley semi, they were the highlights of my Toon travelling life.  There was so many Mags there, we seemed to be on all four sides.  The lads played in their new “Brazil” strip, first time out.  Jinky actually came on as sub when Terry Hibbit got injured; match reports later said that he came on like a returning folk hero.  It just got better and better.  Supermac scored, 1-0 at HT.  Barraclough then got the second.  At 2-0, Supermac powered down the middle and put the ball in the net only to be brought back for a foul against him!  The Baggies CH (was it John Wile?) had a helluva day chasing after Mac.  Not to worry, Tudor got the third.
    I saw every game of that FA cup run – there were quite a few – and I really thought that it was our year.  What did I know?

  • TerryWigham

    Nearly got sacked from work with those cup replay’s against forest, brilliant memory’s, shame the young ones of today won’t have anything good to talk to their kids about due to the current sickening owner.