Jinky Jim produces feel good antidote to current Newcastle United troubles – The great times to be a fan
I think it is fair to say that these days, it’s not the best time to be a Newcastle United fan. You may say that it never is. Sadly following this club can sometimes feel like being a fully paid up member of some S&M club.
Just what I have heard, I’m guessing of course.
Anyway, it got me thinking that my piece this month could be about times when things have been even worse than now, but I reckon we are all miserable enough, without looking back at the likes of losing 4-0 at Southend.
So to try and cheer you up, a better idea is to look back at some of the times that live in my memory as truly magical times.
Times when it really was a pleasure to be a Newcastle fan.
January 1976: League Cup Semi Final
50,000 in St James Park, including this long haired teenage waste of space, to see Newcastle overturn a one goal deficit from the first leg at White Hart Lane by winning 3-1 and take us to Wembley.
I started the game at the top right end of the Leazes (East Stand side) and ended the game close to the cinder track at the bottom. I don’t think my feet touched the ground in 90 minutes.
What a night this was. Even coming back home to find the girlfriend behind Bells chip shop with my best mate, who was supposedly too ill to go to the match, couldn’t dull the euphoria of this night .
Summer 1982: Kevin Keegan signs for Newcastle
Had away and shi.. man. Had you ever heard anything so stupid in all your life?
Keegan was arguably the most famous footballer in Europe at the time and we were, well , we were a rubbish second division team, going nowhere. Think Sunderland.
And yet here was the great permed one, sitting in front of the Scottish and Newcastle brewery logo , putting pen to paper.
I can still remember this day, walking on air, because Keegan had put Newcastle on the national news and was going to singlehandedly transform John Anderson, Kenny Wharton and John Craggs into world beaters .
Well not quite but the subsequent promotion season was to be one of the favourite years of my life.
Sept 1999: Home to Sheffield Wednesday
A club that just a few years earlier had been on the cusp of greatness, was now bottom of the league, had a world class striker in Alan Shearer dropped and was in crisis.
Again, just for a change.
Then along comes Bobby, and on a crazy afternoon, we totally destroy Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 with Shearer scoring five.
Coming out of the ground that day, it was as if 35,000 people had all taken the same mind altering drug. Gullit’s time was over and now Bobby was going to take us back to the top.
He had a pretty good go at it.
November 2002: Feyenoord away
Just a few years on and Bobby had taken us to the Champions League. Unfortunately, we had lost the first three games and the media were having a lot of fun at our expense. “Disgrace to English football” “out of their depth” etc, etc
Then we beat Juventus and Kiev. So that meant we went to Rotterdam, knowing that if we could win and the other result went our way, we could somehow qualify .
90 minutes up and it’s 2-2 and then that wonderful servant of the club, Kieron Dyer, shoots and the keeper pushes the ball along the goal line.
The world stopped turning for a few seconds until Bellamy was there to push it past him and put Newcastle through .
I then started screaming more than Amir Khan and spent five minutes running around my front room waving my arms around like an electrocuted orangutan. I don’t think I heard the final whistle sound.
What a wonderful night this was to be a Geordie.
May 1994: Arsenal at home
Choosing my favourite time to be a Newcastle fan was very difficult, because I could have chosen any time of Keegan’s reign from Feb 1992 until Jan 1997.
But if I have to choose just one night, then for me it was 7 May 1994, last game of the season against Arsenal, which we won 2-0 to finish third.
Like thousands of others, I couldn’t get a ticket, so watched the game in a city centre cinema, then ran up to the ground at the end, to watch the players take the plaudits from the fans.
But it’s the night that made it so special. No one seemingly went home, the town was crammed to the rafters with delirious fans drinking and singing the Sunday night away.
For those of you reading this who were there, I will put money on you pulling a sicky the next morning!
The atmosphere was something I reckon I won’t experience again, unless we actually win something.
All Newcastle fans felt that night that this team were something special and after all the false dawns, we were going to become one of the country’s top clubs.
Of course, this being Newcastle, it wasn’t to be, but that night I have never been happier or prouder of following this club.
Sadly. I don’t have too many memories from the last 10 years or so to match these, but what history tells me, is that things do change . Our time will come.
Although sooner rather than later would be good.
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