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Has the wife been slipping those blue pills in my porridge again?

5 years ago

I recently read a piece on here by Jack London talking about his pre season optimism (or possibly lack of it).

Jack is of an age which meant he started his reminiscing  from the time of  Keegan. However, as I am now officially in the ‘old fart’ bracket,  I thought I’d  cover a  few of the seasons before that.

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The thing is, whether it’s been  1975 or 2015, it hasn’t stopped  me getting that tingly feeling as the new season draws closer .

Every August brings those illogical thoughts  that despite all the doom and gloom,  this season will be the year that we  win a cup. You know you are deluding yourself but maybe, just maybe, this will be our year. For me, even after forty odd years , there is nothing quite like the  first  game of the season

Way back in August 1977 our first game of the season was a very enjoyable 3-2 win over Leeds, however I remember the game for a very different reason. A few weeks earlier I had hair down to my shoulders, looking like something out of Led Zeppelin, but I had just joined up.

I travelled up for this game from Sutton Coldfield, having just had my hair shaved off.  This was the first time I had seen my mates since being sheared and I can still see the  tears of laughter streaming down their cheeks, as I walked up to Marlborough bus station complete with my pudding basin hair cut. Their abuse scared me for years to come.

This was the year that after this great start it went the same way as my hair and headed down the plughole. Our club fell apart and we were relegated.

We were a truly terrible team in 1977.

On opening day of 1982 I was in Spain listening to a faint world service broadcast of Keegan’s first game for Newcastle.

They only joined the game with 25 minutes left but at least that allowed me to feel part of the special day.  Unbelievably, that weekend I did get to see his goal on local TV, because Mr Keegan was such an international star that it was deemed important enough for a spot on a foreign sports bulletin. If I remember rightly Keegan’s goal was  on just after some bloke in a funny hat had finished sticking knives into a very angry cow.

We were a half decent second division side in 1982

First game in 1988 and I am in amongst 6000 others watching us get well and truly gubbed at Everton, however it was still some day out because the pre and post match drinking was something of legend. Looking back, it makes you wonder how so many of that 80s generation of fans have managed to make it to 2015 with their liver intact.

I also remember the local Harry Enfield impersonators were waiting outside our end  in order to give us  pieces of  local masonry to take home as souvenirs. What a lovely bunch of scallywags  they were.

Of course, by the end of the season the club had fallen apart (again) and we were going down

We had returned to being a truly terrible team in 1988.

By the start of the next season I was like many others who had planned to boycott the game, however  that plan went right out the window when the fixture list came out and it was Leeds.

After many weeks of wrestling with my conscience, I decided to buy a ticket a few days before the game and I found myself in the Milburn stand, completely surrounded by Leeds fans.  This was due to the McKeag administration deciding to sell the boycotted empty seats to the away fans.

Inevitably this resulted in trouble and I ended up getting cuffed by those around me as I had the cheek to celebrate a Micky Quinn goal. When I complained to a member of Northumbria’s finest about away fans being all over the Milburn stand, I got chucked out for inciting trouble.  By the time I got home we had won 5-2 and I had missed Quinny score four.

We were a half decent second division team in 1989.

And so we get to 1993.  Spurs were the visitors for our first game back in the top league.

My seat for this game was in the very back row of the newly built Leazes stand. Nowadays that’s just halfway up, but on this beautiful sunny day, looking out over the ground from what felt like miles up, everything was good in the world.

We were back, we had Keegan and  we had finally built a stand on the Leazes after 16 years of waiting.  Of course we managed to lose the game, but it still remains one of my happiest days in St James Park

We were a truly magical , marvellous team in 1993.

What do I take from all this reminiscing?

Well good times or bad, at the game or just there in spirit, Newcastle United are ingrained into my life.

Ask me what I did for my birthday 2 years ago and I don’t have a clue. Ask me about the one away game at Oxford I have ever been to and  I can tell you the  score, the away kit we had on and  who got arrested for trying to pinch some graduate’s hat.

Well what do you know, writing this piece has got me feeling all tingly about the opening game against Southampton .

Or has the wife being slipping those blue pills in my porridge again?


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