Like many others, I have become numb to the pain and suffering that goes with supporting this club. So much so, I have began to wonder  just what  it was about Newcastle United  that used to make me put it before everything else going on in my life.

What until recently kept me coming back for more, no matter what the results.

(To feature like Jinky, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

It certainly wasn’t to watch a successful football club, because  our record of no domestic honours and just a handful of  top four finishes in the past 50 years, is beyond miserable.

It certainly wasn’t to see wonderful football being played on a weekly basis, because apart from a few seasons here or there, we have endured  some pretty damn average stuff. Rafferty, Whitehurst, Pingel, Cort, the list of our Gallowgate ‘stars’ is endless

So the answer is simple. It never was about winning things.  It was about belonging to the very special group of people who followed the club.

It was about that feeling on a Saturday morning where I am counting off the hours until I could set off to the match.  Experiencing that surge of adrenalin as the train comes over the bridge and you see the stadium. The walk up to the ground (especially at night). Talking football related bollocks from midday until last orders with lads who really mattered to you.

But more than anything else, it is away days that have etched so many wonderful memories into my brain.

So please indulge me in my romantic reminiscing about the good old days but at a time of turmoil and disillusionment, these three anecdotes about trips to Leeds help remind me just why I loved supporting Newcastle United for 45 years, and hopefully will do again.

I for one really miss playing Leeds. Over the years the relationship between our clubs has  been boisterous, while Elland Road is still a ground that provides the visitor with an ‘interesting’ day out.

My first visit was way back in 1976. As a scrawny teenager, I was neither big enough, hard enough or cool enough to gain a seat on the Chester-le-street bus that regularly left the market square for away trips, therefore the only option for the ‘second team boys’  was  to get the train down.

This seemed a pretty good idea until we arrived at Leeds station to discover that the ground is not in the city centre but is actually a bloody long walk away; especially when you have drank 5 cans of McEwan’s Export.

Newcastle United were a decent side in 1976, but Leeds had made the European Cup final the year before, therefore a 2-2 draw was a pretty good result. ‘F*k*n hell its Paul Cannell’ scored, if I remember rightly.

On the way out of the ground we were herded back through the park. This meant going through an underpass. As we came out the other side, a scene from Zulu awaited us, with hundreds of Leeds fans standing on top of surrounding hills, baying for our blood.  To be honest, their fans weren’t actually wearing loin cloths, nor were they carrying spears, but you get the picture.

The scene quickly changed from Zulu to Benny Hill as we were first chased one way and then another, before we finally escaped our angry hosts by scampering over a 6 foot mesh fence and onto the motorway. As we finally made it back to the train station, I vowed never to go to Leeds again.

However, 7 years later, it was now seemingly acceptable to be given a seat on the Chester bus, so off we went for the first game of the 1983 season.

After watching the pre-match entertainment of some Oz type characters turn a poor bloke’s hot dog stand upside down, just because he ran out of ketchup, we settled down for the match. God knows how but United won 1-0 with Chris Waddle in goal and John Anderson scoring!

leeds

Memories do play tricks with your mind but I am convinced that Newcastle had nearly 10,000 at Elland Road that day. It was truly amazing support and being part of it made you feel very special.

On the way out, some bright spark decided to set the bone dry grass embankment alight. No doubt the lad who did it is now a Sales Manager, with 2 grown up kids and drives a VW Passat, but a year before the Bradford fire, this wasn’t your finest moment mate!

In 1989 we met again in Division two, with both sides challenging for promotion. I could not get a ticket through Newcastle but I had a cunning plan. A lad I worked with in Catterick was a Leeds season ticket holder, who after being pestered from morning to night, agreed to take me. This was providing that I did not wear colours and kept my mouth shut.

I really don’t know what I was thinking; because it was never going to work out. I didn’t even see them kick off.

Leeds came out and warmed up in front of our stand.  Vinnie Jones did what Vinnie Jones did best. He stood in front of us, legs spread, face contorted, fists clenched, screaming “come onnnnnnnnnn” at his adoring fans.  Instinctively, I stood up, copied his stance and screamed back at him “f*** offffffff”.

1000 people fell silent and in a scene reminiscent of a zombie movie, all their heads swivelled around to look at me. It was at that moment I believed my life was about to end. I reckon I must have taken a dozen kicks and punches before I made it to a couple of Coppers at the back of the stand and to safety. Well not quite. I then took another dozen punches from these pair of pointy headed gits before they threw me out of the ground.  No wearing of head cameras and carrying of mobile phones in those days.

Watching this club home and away has been a pivotal part of my life and I guess that applies to so many of you as well.

The bad times of 1978 and 1988 nearly finished me off and the current shambles is taking me to the brink once again, but whether I like it or not, this is my club

So just remember. Mike Ashley is transient, we are not.



  • A lex

    Good memories. Pretty sure I was there for the ’83 game and I likely got one of the Supporters Club bus from Chester, too. I think it was the debut of the silvery-grey away strip – quite smart that one.

  • LUFC1992

    Boisterous support you lot always bring to Elland Road (noisy barstewards too) if I may add. If only one day in the not too distant future there maybe a Leeds United v Newcastle United premier league match but we’re run worse than you lot!!!!
    Two big old clubs being systematically raped! Hope you rid yourselves of the blob and we rid ourselves of our Italian fruit cake then we may both just be alright.

  • Belfast Ali

    Fantastic read and great memories. By the way junky jim remains my all time favourite!

  • Belfast Ali

    i meant jinky of course

  • Leazes_62

    Quality post mate, I too was at all of those games, the one with Ando scoring in the 1 – 0 sticks out, more to do with the grass being set ahad rather than the game like, always interesting @ Elland rd

  • stepaylor

    LUFC1992 My 2nd club Leeds Utd (my father is a massive Leeds fan) and i grew up listening to radio 5 live with my dad for any information on the Leeds game. I even lived in Leeds for a couple of years back in the David O Leary era. Big City with one club and a ton of places around like Wakefield Batley etc. Can never understand why one of these billionaires hasnt bought Leeds. Seems a no brainer. We (NUFC) and you (LUFC) can only live in hope

  • philrenner09

    Memories ! Like the last line , we will be here long after Ashley leaves so keep supporting and F-CK him.

  • LeazesEnder

    I was there, and have always hated dirty Leeds…

    I.remember Jack Charlton playing for them at SJP playing for them he shouted ‘Leave it’ at the top of his voice …. the Newcastle defence obliged…. Leeds scored…. surely not cricket?

    Yes Dirty Leeds.

  • DavidDrape

    well put Jinky. well summed up and i say more than 10k poss up to 13k as that paddock was chocka. that day was a crazy day and our sheer numbers in a way made it safe enough enough place for us young kids at the time.  i remember one evening match down there and a geordie all dressed in white (strange i know) got kick rout the leeds end and he was now red and white.

  • kevinfranks3

    OfficialLUFC NUFCTheMag same reason I and 1000’s others keep going..

  • ILEYLISLEY

    Great read. Anybody else remember the 2nd replay against Bolton in 1976 which was held at Elland Road with thousands of Leeds fans looking for trouble. I remember keeping my head down in a city centre pub after the game as Leeds fans came storming in looking for Geordies.

  • Demented_Man

    LeazesEnder That might have been the same match where the Leeds substitute (Michael Bates?) celebrated a Leeds goal extravagantly in front of the Toon fans.  He was then struck by a coin right on his forehead.  There was hell on.
    He didn’t do much celebrating after that.

  • geldenboy

    As a young boy growing up in the 80’s i remember those leeds v newcastle games fondly. The atmosphere was always electric. Will always have a soft spot for Newcastle. Sadly now football is just a money making machine for the super rich. Still love to go to Elland Rd occasionally but only out of habit.

    Luckily i can go and stand on the packed terraces with my mates at Headingley. There i can have a beer amongst down to earth people and watch Rugby League players play with great pride, bravery, honesty and skill, every thing that football seems to be lacking!

    If you chance get down to the magic weekend all it will be missing is the terracing, and the hooliganism thankfully!

    Good luck next season to NUFC .

  • StephenBowers

    Great days and so many on Boxing Day.
    I remember setting off for Leeds wearing only a Tee Shirt( on top) and a black and white scarf it was snowing at the time,my late mam shouting “put somthing on you’ll catch your death”.
    If I was cold I can’t remember.
    Where have those days gone?

  • StephenBowers

    Me too, When he decided to play.

  • LeazesEnder

    StephenBowers No Trousers?

  • LeazesEnder

    geldenboy …and the magic!

  • LeazesEnder

    Demented_Man LeazesEnder A.G ….A.G.R…..A.G.R.O.. AGRO!

  • Chemical Dave

    What will be your favourite memory of Ashley’s era , sneering at the boycotters or wishing you’d joined them to “feed the ducks” ?

  • Chemical Dave

    Always had a soft spot for Leeds though obviously, I hated them when we played them. My first ever away trip too though it was for the Bolton fa cup tie when I was ten year old. Great stadium, proper football ground.

  • TerryWigham

    I remember everyone of those away days, especially when Chris Waddle went in goal after only two minutes after kick off, one of the best defensive games I’ve ever seen the TOON play , good old days. The 1989 game I was actually living in Doncaster at the time and could only get a ticket for the Leeds end and when the TOON scored I was jumping around like a idiot until I realized what end I was in