I have a confession….I wasn’t always a Newcastle United fan.

Born in 1958, I grew up in Elswick in the early 60´s, large swathes of land were still bombed out from World War 2 and you could see Vickers Armstrong from our house, with a clear view all the way to Scotswood Road.

(To feature like Peter, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views those of the author etc etc)

Playing in the street wasn´t a problem because very few people round our way had cars, and you could still buy loose tabs and a book of matches.

Man from UNCLE was the best show on TV and I knew nothing about Newcastle United except what my older brother told me.

We kicked an old leather ball in the street or on the waste ground opposite our house, and everyone wanted to be Georgie Best!!!

That all changed for me in 1966, it must have been a special occasion because our TV hadn´t been repossessed and we had enough two bob bits for the meter.

My dad must have been in prison (again) because I don´t remember him being there with us to watch the World Cup.

I saw a footballer who changed my world, for better or worse: Gordon Banks!!

He could do things that no other keeper could and that was it for me, I wanted to be a goalie.

I was too young to go to the matches on my own and my older brother didn´t want to be saddled with me as he was a ‘Leazes Ender’, so I had to make do with him bringing me the Pink after every home game so I could find out how Leicester City were, or more precisely, how Gordon Banks was doing !!

Much to all my mates´ pleasure I was eager to go in goal for all our kickabouts (wasteground where we played pictured below).

newcastle united fan

1967 he got transferred to Stoke City and when he played his first match at St James´ Park for them, my brother decided to take me with him.

In those days the Leazes End was for the ‘Big’ boys and the kids would go in the Paddock or Gallowgate, and because I wanted to be right behind the goal to see my hero in action it had to be right down the front.

It was a good crowd, not full, but still a good crowd and I had a great view.

I can´t remember the score, but I was so close to the goal I could almost smell the linament on the goalie and when the match kicked off with Stoke defending the Gallowgate end I was in heaven, he commanded his area like Wellington at Waterloo, and when he pulled off an unbelievable save against Pop Robson, I thought it couldn´t get any better! Boy was I wrong.

The second half kicked off with my hero being at the other end of the pitch so I was resigned to paying more attention to the game, the crowd and the feeling of standing in St James´ Park.

I could say I remember all the players’ names from that match but I´d be lying.

I remember Wyn Davies and Pop Robson and John McNamee and Frank Clark and of course some Irish fella called Iam (that´s what he called himself in those days) McFaul in goal for us.

I think the match finished 1-1, but on that day something more important happened: I fell head over heels in love with Newcastle United Football club.

No more Georgie Best for me (when not in goal) It was Pop Robson (obvious choice for me) or Wyn the leap.

I lived and breathed everything Newcastle United and when my 3 older brothers left school and got jobs and money started coming in (in those days there was no welfare support if the head of the household was in prison) I started to get pocket money.

My brother still took me to home games and never let me pay him back, he would drop me at the Gallowgate and I had to wait around afterwards for him to collect me.

On one of my birthdays he even paid extra for a midweek game against Stoke City, but by then I had Black and White running through my veins, Gordon Banks was still the Best Goalkeeper in the world but my head wouldn´t be turned !!!

When I was old enough to have a paper round, I did mornings and evenings, before and after school and when we were playing away I did Billy Baggott’s round so that he would do mine for home games.

I could afford to pay for my own admission and life was perfect.

Reserve games were played on the hallowed turf at St James´ Park and were actually quite well supported. One of my mates got spotted by a scout and was signed up for Newcastle Boys, so I got free tickets to all the home games for them too and sometimes they even played at St James´ Park.

I´ve seen some great days and some oh so close seasons, I´ve travelled far and wide and visited some grounds that weren´t much better than the wasteland I played on as a kid growing up in Elswick, and I wouldn´t change a single thing about it.

I wangled prisoner escort duty when I was in Basic Military Training, just so I could get home for a match even.

I don´t like where the club is at right now, and if affirmative action is the only way we can get things to change, then so be it.

I don´t have to like it, but for someone like me who never thought I would see the day when I felt ashamed to be associated with a club that has been my life blood for so long, I can´t see any other way to make it a Football Club to make our city proud once more.

You see, when I was writing this, I could still feel the butterflies and that coppery taste of excitement from my very first game as a nine year old trying to catch a glimpse of his hero!!!

I want to feel that just one more time, and I´ll be damned if I let some ‘businessman’ take that away from me.

I´m not asking for the world, just a club that at least tries to be the best it can.

Is that really too much to ask for ?


  • GToon

    You speak for a lot of us Peter. I wanted to be Supermac. I cried when we sold him. What a mess we are in now. There are lots of arguments for going or not going to try and force Ashley out but you know what, i think he’s doing the best job himself. Once again he’s proving that he isnt the right man and once again he has a toy that is broken because he doesnt understand how to care for it. Honestly with his money a moron could turn us into a force to be reckoned with rather than a farce to be avoided. Shame isnt it.

  • mm1953

    He isn’t a business man its greed

  • PeterRobson

    GToon I´m not asking for a force to be reckoned with mate, just a team we could be proud of !!

  • Andgeo

    It’s not part of the deal. As far as the fat man is concerned if you don’t like it move on! He is a total disgrace. The short term damage will be relegation and playing catch up to much smaller clubs. The longer term damage will be the loss of an entire generation of the toon army.

  • GToon

    PeterRobson GToon But we could be couldn’t we (be a force). Its like Golden Gordon and Barnstoneworth supporting this lot. And i wonder why a bloke who is hell bent on ruling the high street shows such a lack of interest/ability when it comes to the most basic of footballing decisions. I could list them but we’ve seen them a million times

  • RitchieForster

    Very well put Peter, my sentiments exactly … a great friend used to say …  “you are judged by the company you keep” …. sadly it’s not good company anymore.

  • ilullissat

    I first watched Newcastle United in the 60s.My grandad and my dad took me to the games when I was about 7 or 8.My Dad made me a stand with ropes on to hang over the pointed railings at the Gallowgate end.We used to always play Leeds United on boxing day and I can remember making snowballs and throwing them on the pitch and the man selling peanuts in a white coat on the touchline.So what the fucx  has happened to our club

  • ilullissat

    GToon PeterRobson Ripping Yarns with Michael Palin.Google it.

  • A lex

    Lovely words – thanks.

    I can’t actually remember this, but it reminds me that when I was very young, my mum told me that I never went out to ‘play football’ – I always went out to ‘play Jimmy Greaves’!

    Oddly enough, I ended up preferring to go in goal, too. :-)

  • GToon

    ilullissat  GToon PeterRobson Good isnt it!

  • ilullissat

    GToon ilullissat  PeterRobson Even West Auckland won the World Cup, Google it

  • GToon

    ilullissat  GToon PeterRobson Aye, remember seeing the tv programme with dennis waterman in it.

  • cjr_shearer9

    Lets do a Blackpool

  • ministrymole

    GToon Hi GToon, I am a Peterlee lad, and basically a Sunderland supporter. We are in the sh*t and you are too. Neither of us should be. But you mention Supermac. When he played his last game for Luton it was at Ayresome Park, and my mam and dad left me in the children’s end as they went to do their shopping in Middlesbrough. The Boro fans were laying it on thick singing “Old Macdonald had a farm”. Then he took the ball in the centre circle turned, and noticed the keeper off his line, and in the back of the net.
    That guy was THE best striker in England all the time he played for Newcastle, and when did he start to get picked for England? At the end of his good run, when he played for Arsenal.
    It’s not what you do, it’s who you do it for that wins International Caps.
    The North East deserves a few good managers who will get the best out of the wonderfully supported teams up here. And owners too.
    Please do not take it against me that I support Sunderland rather than Newcastle, other than Derby day, i am willing on all the teams in our region.

  • GToon

    ministrymole GToon My dad always supported all 3 teams. I dont wish you lot to go down as the derby game is literally all we have to play for! I also know how much your club will mean to you.
    You are spot on about England call ups. It was the same with Andy Cole. Before that Waddle and Beardsley only cemented their places when they had left. Its the main reason i dont bother with England. You lot have a decent manager and a decent squad too. Hopefully you might let us have a share of the 6 points next year!

  • I think all fans walk out on field in the rest of the games so the match would be abonboned and if newcastle stay up r go down do it aĺl homes games. That would put fa having to do something and government to sort it out.

  • It would change laws in owning clubs and fans having a say on there club is run.

  • LeazesEnder

    Very good article…. are you that young lad in the end credits of the ‘Likely Lads’ playing in the rubble?

  • whickhamrobbie

    I like you started out following another team as a kid Leeds utd and adoring peter Lorimer and as you I was taken to the front of the leazes in the 70,s by my sisters older boyfriend and was hooked .You just cant explain why this game drags you in but it does but now probably more than ever the ties are being eroded as millionaire owners and overseas players with no affinity to the area ,club or fans take our hopes and just smash them to pieces.
    I despair at the moment and just hope we don’t go like Leeds Utd and implode into a complete mess but alas my fear is that’s exactly where we are heading.

  • A lex

    ministrymole GToon What a refreshing reply! Thanks.

  • Morpeth mag

    You just have to look at the running order of the BBC match of the day,,, to see that they are not bothered about the North East,,I say again if it was one of the so called big clubs getting treated the way we are, the national press would be all over it,,,,,,

  • PeterRobson

    whickhamrobbie I wasn´t really following another team, I was simply in awe of Gordon Banks.

    He was the greatest English Goalkeeper ever and was voted 2nd best in the world of all time, just pipped by Lev Yashin !!
    In his heyday we had the likes of him, and pat Jennings and Lev Yashin and Dino Zoff and even they considered him the best, now that says something !!!

  • PeterRobson

    LeazesEnder Funnily enough……… no ??? But that was shot not far from where I lived, the Cushy Butterfield was the name of the pub in the credits though…. I feel a song coming on…

    Oh she´s a big lass and a bonny lass, and she loves her beer,
    And the called her Cushy Butterfield and I wish she were here !!!!

    Applause !!!!!

  • foggonridiculous

    Very well said.
    I’m just clinging on to something KK said….along the lines of the club will still be there long after Ashley has gone….but dark days indeed.

    It will be harder still to take if the Mackems get 3 points at home to Leicester….and we end up going down in their place….particularly after surrendering  6 points we surrendered to them…..
    They are still – and always will be – my club…..but the Geordies deserve a lot better than this