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Charlies Angels, Divorce and Newcastle United

5 years ago

I have been married so long, we got a betamax video recorder as a wedding present. However, I count myself  very lucky because my relationship has lasted a damn sight longer than that piece of crap did.

All and all , we have had a pretty harmonious 35 years, with there only being  two times when divorce was on the cards. They both occurred in 1984.

The first involved Julie  from accounts, but hey,  if you had seen  Julie  you would  have understood.  I was always a sucker for a Farrah Fawcett  bubble perm.

The second involved  informing wifey that I was going to the tattooist, in order to have a bloody great magpie put on my arm, complete with the words  ‘Newcastle United  Division Two  promotion 83-84’ underneath it.

Funnily enough, it seemed that this  was  a step too far.

Why did I think that my useless football team who had somehow managed  to finish third in the second division,  warranted me marking my body for life?  I think she would have been happier if I had come home and said I wanted Julie emblazoned across my forehead.

She was right of course, but so low were my expectations for Newcastle, so happy was I with the exploits of Keegan, Beardsley & Waddle, so proud was I of being a ‘successful’ Geordie, I  thought  that this promotion needed to be remembered with a permanent ink memorial.

This story came to mind  recently  when my work  had me down at East Midlands Airport.  This was perfect timing to witness the region’s equivalent of Carol Malia and Jeff  Brown  do wall to wall coverage of Leicester City’s  premiership triumph.

Anyone and everyone was interviewed about their success.  From the 100 year old bloke who hasn’t missed a game for decades to  the 10 year old kid who actually said on national TV; “I have been waiting for this all my life.”  Bless the little bugger and the naivety of youth.

All the cars had  Leicester flags in the rear window and the  population were decked out in blue shirts.  The region  was having a party.

I’m sure that in amongst the celebrating City fans, there will have been a few who have ‘Coca Cola Cup winners 1997’ tattooed on them because they could never have envisaged that triumph being  bettered . At the time, those fans would have been ecstatic with winning the trophy the ‘big clubs’ didn’t want.

As would Man City fans of the past, who used to be a top bunch when they were fighting in the shadows of Man Utd, but since becoming noisy neighbours, they turn into a group who  walk out en masse after a crap season of a Champions League semi final and winning a cup.

It’s a funny thing, expectation.

Leicester’s euphoria reminded me vividly of our own  region  in  1995, when Keegan held open training sessions in Durham in front of thousands of people and where the sun seemed to shine every day.

At this time Newcastle on match day was a truly wonderful day out.  My bunch could see as many as 25 lads gather together in an  Italian  in the shadows of the Gallowgate, laughing and joking for hours before and after yet another superb  performance.

These were halcyon days for us and a time I will always cherish, therefore I  found myself being really happy for Leicester and their fans.  After all, isn’t this what supporting an ‘unfashionable’ club for decades is all about. One day, just one day, it might be you.

Leicester have done what we so nearly did 20 years ago.  We failed at the final hurdle. They did not.  Let’s hope that their victory ushers in a new era for football, although I have to admit that  I believe it will be a crazy one-off.

For the last 20 years , there  have been just four or  five  clubs who have been capable of winning things:  Man U, Man C, Chelsea,  Arsenal and  Liverpool. It might stick in the throat to say that,  but it’s true.

Between them,  they have carved up the honours  with every  premiership title in those 20 years and  18 of the last 20 FA Cups as well. You can even throw in 4 Champions Leagues and another 5 Champions League runners-up for good measure

The likes of Villa, Leeds, Forest, Wolves, Ipswich   Derby  and ourselves,  are all clubs who conquered or nearly conquered Europe  40 years or so ago but where are we now.  Past glories count for nowt. It would seem that about 87 of the 92 clubs  are here just to make up the numbers.

Until this season.

And that’s why I personally was one of the 40% who would have been happy to see Crystal Palace beating Man Utd.  Put aside any issues you may have with past employees, to see those Multi Billion backed clubs lose out and next season’s Charity Shield be contested by Leicester and Palace  would have been a good thing.  Wouldn’t it ?

I was in Spain straight after our relegation and  was very interested in the reaction of  other fans to our demise. The general reaction was along the lines of  ‘You used to be a great club, I used to like  you, but you got what you deserved’.

Whatever happened to everyone’s second club from 1995…?

Sadly it doesn’t exist anymore. However, if Leicester can rise from the third division to the summit  in just a decade, who knows what our future may hold

After all, I still have room for ‘Newcastle United Vanarma Conference winners’  to be tattooed on my arse.



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