Don’t worry, be happy
Yes it’s bad, yes things will probably get worse, but stick with it guys, things can only get better…
Besides, winning trophies is for glory hunters. Don’t we support this club for other reasons?
How else can you explain the totally undeserved support seen at the Norwich and Southampton away games?
There is no logic to being an ‘away’ Newcastle fan, travelling for hours without any expectation that you will actually see a goal, let alone a win.
But travelling has never been about the glory, much as we all dream that it might. In the absence of success, or indeed hope, it’s all about the crack, the daft lads and those moments that stick in your mind for years.
I don’t get to many away games these days, which is something I miss, but at least I have hundreds of memories from my days out.
Maybe some of you old buggers were at a few of these games yourself?
We arrived five minutes before kick-off, so we dumped our car in the Mcdonalds drive through just outside the ground and pegged it while being chased by some irate five star employee.
The game was capped by Mr Alan Shearer standing in front of the Rovers home end doing some daft Cantona type pose having just buried the ball in their net. Having taken dogs abuse for the entire game, you could see how much the goal meant to him. I am sure I saw two Rovers fans’ heads explode from utter rage as Alan give them a cheeky smile.
Leicester away 1997
Coronation Street’s ‘Roy Cropper’ is a celebrity City fan and as he is introduced to the crowd at half-time, 5000 Geordies serenade him with ‘Do you know your wife’s a man’.
Sunderland away 1980
The soccer special turns up at Roker and a lot of very drunken people fall out. The police greet our arrival by lining us up against the wall to await a search, with the mouths of snarling Alsatians a couple of feet away from our reproductive organs.
Up steps one member of the group and he lands a perfect right hook on the nose of one of the dogs. Cue utter bedlam. The lad is last seen being dragged off the station platform Basil Fawlty style, screaming “It bit me first.”
Sheff Wed 2009
Xmas time in the Championship. Thousands descended on Hillsborough, with the surreal sight of an entire coach load of lads dressed as Shaft.
If there had only been one lad he would have been arrested – but forty ? The pointy heads decided it would be easier to leave them alone and would therefore eject the four lads dressed as the cast of Beetlejuice instead.
The game may have been pretty dire but the away end was full of its usual brilliant mad individuals.
Old Trafford 1999
The sound of 25,000 singing ‘Ruudy Gullit’s black and white army’ (I know) throughout the 30 minutes of extra-time was as good as we have ever been. It was even better than the year before!
I find myself hiding in the changing rooms of Harrods due to being chased through the streets and into the store by a gang of bloodthirsty individuals who evidently didn’t like Northerners.
I had time to reflect on how surreal the moment was, when a very pretty assistant pulled back the curtain to ask “Can I help you sir?”… “Yes you can, just pull the curtain back pet.”
Then getting to the match late and running up into the away end only to then realise I’m in the Chelsea section of that old uncovered curve. This was without doubt the most scared I have ever been in my supporting life, as I tried to push my way back out the crowd without attracting too much attention to myself.
Shrewsbury away 1982
This little market town didn’t know what hit it when Newcastle fans turned up. Think 5000 descending on the bars of Alnwick and you get the picture. The sight of Nick Berry Heartbeat coppers trying desperately to stop excitable elements of our support take off with the rowing boats moored next to the ground, still makes me smile.
Newcastle Station 1979?
It’s a pre-season friendly at Carlisle and they have put on a train for us to get to Cumbria. The trouble is it only has three carriages on it, because the authorities are obviously not expecting too many people wanting to go to this nothing game in late July.
Wrong. As it pulls out of the station, the doors are still open, dozens are manfully trying to get in, and Little Ted’s head is sticking through the window, with his legs dangling in thin air outside. In the words of Jim Royle, “Health n Safety, my arse.”
The look on Emlyn Hughes face as he came off the pitch after Keegan had scored four in a 5-1 win was a sight to behold. It was somewhere between blind rage and utter humiliation. And he didn’t take kindly to being serenaded by the away end with ‘Emlyn Hughes, what a w****r, what a w****r’.”
We travel down in my brand new motor which has one of these automatic hand brake devices fitted.
We park up, and as we start to walk to the ground, a lad shouts at me, “Hey pal, I think your car’s moving.”
Cue me desperately chasing my motor before it rolls into a wall, while being laughed at by fellow Geordies. It was pretty humiliating, though not quite as humiliating as the bloody team’s performance two hours later.
As I said earlier. I don’t travel very often these days, but if we should head back to the Championship, I have a feeling that trips to Rotherham, Leeds, Huddersfield, etc could become a habit, if only for the nostalgia.
After all, it really has never been about the glory.