I was  lying in the sun last month with nothing to do but people watch, therefore I’m scanning the hotel balconies.

There it was. Flapping in the Cyprus breeze, a huge blue and yellow flag tied to the railings.

On it, shouting out to the  passers by below, “We are Leeds. The notorious Inter City service crew on tour.”

Oh dear.

The first thing that came into my  mind was that I just knew who had tied it there. Shaven headed, pot bellied and their chest covered in white rose tattoos.

However, to be honest I don’t think that she would have been part of the inter city crew.

It was probably her husband.

Ok, I will stop there and explain myself, just in case by some chance this article ends up on a Leeds board and it is seen as clickbait to antagonise, because that is not its purpose.

That flag could easily  have been one of our own, or from somewhere like  Chelsea, Man Utd  or West Ham. In truth, the people sitting on the balcony looked a pretty decent normal couple.

The reason I bring this up is to ask the question: When do people like them and people like me, finally let go of the past and accept that life has moved on?

That may seem a pretty stupid thing to say,  coming from  the bloke who has spent the last ten years doing articles for The Mag droning on about the good old days…but I think that these days I have just about come to terms with the fact that the world in general, and football in particular, has changed out of all recognition.

So when is the right time to put away the “Notorious Leeds ” flag?

Is it when more hair grows from your nose and ears than on your head?

Is it when your belly comes around a corner two seconds before the rest of your body?

Is it on the day you become a grandad?

Because let’s be honest, the notorious Leeds crew, our own Gremlins, or the Headhunters, mean absolutely nothing to anyone under 45 and the flag was certainly  wasted on the Russians and locals  in my hotel.

Let me say  that I really hope Leeds come up this season because despite having my backside kicked up the inside lane of the M621 by this lot as a teenager, I like the people of Yorkshire  and I have time for the club.  If Newcastle didn’t exist, Leeds is a club I could relate to.

But Leeds have been gone from the Premiership for a long time and I’m afraid they are in for a shock. There is no room for the “notorious” boys in this brave new world, sponsored by Barclays. They may not want to believe it but within two years Elland Road will be a library, just like all the others.

just like my dad’s generation  who went to matches in a tie , found it difficult to understand us teenagers turning up and chucking missiles at each other, we now have to accept football is a different game. It may be something groups like the notorious crew desperately want to change but that’s just how it is in 2018.

We were a very politicised bunch in the 80s,  from both sides. “Militant tendency” or “Hello Hello, the Geordies are white.”. Some even thought they could be both. Right wing socialists .

However, look around Newcastle or Leeds and compare them to the tips they were 35 years ago.  There were not too many 25 year olds living in  new apartments with a shiny motor sitting outside it  while  spending 80 quid a month on a bloody phone, back in 1985.

Football is evolving into an American franchisee model which the new Quayside generation will happily embrace.

Dinosaurs from the 80s like me and you Yorkie, are not required  to come to the party.

It’s time to put away the flag.

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  • Paul Patterson

    £80 a month on a phone? That would break my heart. Not to mention my bank balance. Anyone on that sort of finance is an idiot..

  • Scott Robinson

    With the advent of mobile phones, and prior the CCTV cameras in virtually every street in Newcastle, you’d have to be pretty thick to get involved. The CCTV killed it all off up here in the 90’s, as Newcastle Police were really on top of it all by then. The youth who attend matches these days in skinny jeans and fake sun tans (you know the ones who think they are individuals with their beards) would be staying in and washing their hair after watching Strictly, unless there was a match on. You see them outside goading the away fans with some high pitched chants, then posting the big fight on social media which never was. Take them back in the Tardis to Millwall in 1978 or when the ICF were on the hunt v QPR and Orient, and they would soon be educated!

    As for Leeds they used to think a visit from us was like the jocks descending on Wembley, which in itself is praise indeed. We all are glad these days we can travel to most games without the threat of violence. Back in the day if you were left by yourself at any away game you were likely to get a slap, whether a Wrexham or a Preston, never mind the big boys!

    Yet in those days the electric atmosphere created by us at many games, especially away, and the edgy excitement of it all has all but disappeared and the new breed sadly can never experience the like again. Ask any dinosaur if they miss it all and they will say yes! What is exciting about following NUFC?

    • Billmag

      Yep in them days there wasn’t a steroid in sight, if you got hit you knew about it.

    • Sickandtired

      Aye. I suspect a Millwall Brick will now be thought of as a much needed design feature in your apartment, and a Chelsea Grin is found on a reality show ;-)

  • Billmag

    When I was growing up as a teenager in the sixties the old fellas used to say that they wished they had there time over again, now I’m that old fella but I wouldn’t want to be a teenager in today’s society, there isn’t the characters knocking about today that there was when I was growing up and that’s when the memories kick in, the banter in the away end was priceless,when the youth of today are old fellas what memories will they have.

    • Paul Patterson

      Bill Mag. A glimpse into the future . .
      Son, your blessed. Times were hard back in 2018 when I was a nipper. We used to moan on about Ashley (you won’t remember him) at games and despair at the football he’d indirectly influenced. The club was a hollow shell. We used to sit in the stand moaning about it on our iPhones.
      You’ll never see those days again lad.
      Joe Kinnear? Ask your great grandad.
      Kevin Keegan? Ah, there’s a fairytale son. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you ..

      • Billmag


      • Sickandtired

        Surely to be asked…”And what did you do, Dad”?

    • Davey drape

      Definitely hitch hiking to palace last game if season or kk 1st away at Bolton. Agree I wouldn’t swap it

    • Vincent Gigante

      Great article – No vivid memories, they stand and video the moment instead of living it then delete it when someone tells them it’s a sh$t video.
      When I think about it I can smell strawberry place of the past….Horse sh$t and hotdog stalls

  • Grahame Johnson

    When your part of 3000 to over 10000 at places like West ham,leeds,man u and city,chelsea spurs and more in the 80s if was unreal,alas getting thumped,kicked etc at Cambridge,Shrewsbury,palace,luton with 500 to 1000 there was a downside

  • Paul Cannell

    I miss the 80s. I miss standing up watching the .match. I also miss the thrill of an away game with all my mates all sticking together ( as you had to those days ) the threat of violence just made it more exciting.
    Drinking in another city or town before and after was superb the football was sometimes incidental.

    The sit down, no singing, prawn sandwich, power mad stewards ..and yes prats with beards, games are boring as hell. That’s why I haven’t got a season ticket, and probably never will again.

    • BanJones

      Talking of Leeds – great goal you scored down there back in the day Paul.

  • Squintytoonarmy

    The millwall away game I think in 88 where we got drubbed 4-0. The whole support was either lads or nutters. Great days.

    • Wor Lass

      “F Troop”, “Treatment” and the “HalfWay Liners”. No part of their ground was safe in those days. No doubt Monk/Moscow Man took them all!

      • Squintytoonarmy

        Where was Clarko though?

      • Themoscow72

        Got many stories over the years about Millwall but two light hearted ones. Was down Sheffield a couple of years back to see my daughter who is at University there and in a bar near the station round sic o clock when a load of Millwall came in as they had been playing Barnsley. One older skinhead doctor martins, half mast jeans came across bought me a pint and invited me to a party a small world shall I say.
        Another time think it was round 91 or 92 we set off from Monkseaton at midnight picked a few nutters up in the town and headed for London. At six in the morning we were in a bar on their patch called the Globe a market bar. A few of their lads came in and actually took us to another bar when the Globe closed at 9.00am. The guy who used to write under the name any O’Brian was on that trip but mad times down Millwall yes.

        • Wor Lass

          There was a lot of weird camaraderie about in those times. The real tough-nuts were better than the young wanabees.

    • WildBill

      Great day that was. Just last week, Almost 30 years later me and a couple of mates were talking about that day. In 30 years time no f-cker is going to be talking about any games this season, whatever the scoreline is.

      • Squintytoonarmy

        We’ve won nowt so it’s days like that made it worth going. Likewise Spurs away in the cup in 87, Liverpool away where Mirandinha scored last minute penalty and Chelsea away in 86 where we won 3-1 Andy Thomas scored twice.

    • Themoscow72

      Think that was the year when there was a load of Millwall waiting outside so they took us round the back of the stands to the other end where the coaches were waiting. However not before someone put the dressing room windows out.

  • Steven05

    Football has changed – and in my fairly young brain, for the worst. But Leeds fans have love for their club the way I pray for a future for ours. I guess in our case, logic has very little to do with it right now

    But one day. One day…

  • t00nraider

    A team paying the price for wreckless spending.

    • MadMag83

      Whilst we pay the price for the opposite

      • t00nraider

        We are still paying for the Keegan days, but if we stay up, which we should, the tv money will get us back on track quicker.

        • Wor Lass

          Just explain WHY we should stay up, t00lrider.

          • kingfisher

            Yes, and what has tv money got to do with it? It’s almost as though t00nraider expects Ashley to actually invest it in NUFC 🤣

        • Big Hairy Man

          The TV money will go to Uncle Mike.

        • MadMag83

          Last seasons TV money is still to be invested.

  • Stephen Paylor

    The game has changed so much. Different atmosphere now and more money biased. Leeds (club of my father) along with Hartlepool (town i was born) will always be clubs i have interest in. Lived in Leeds for a couple of years really wish them well.

  • Davey drape

    Great read again and all very true. Toon and Chelsea only ones I know who set alight to the grass at rear of paddock. Think toon and Leeds were as crazy as each other. 1-0 win (Anderson goal) start of season our end was more chocka then usual

  • Wor Lass

    A lot of the 70`s “bother boys” couldn`t have told you anything about the match. They were either lifted before kick off or they just didn`t go in – just hung around outside waiting to fight the other lot.

  • Cockneytrev

    Always loved going to Leeds,, great atmosphere and in my opinion one of the really big clubs,, I was never one of those who hated the them,,

  • Brian Standen

    Best writer on the Mag by the country mile, always entertaining, sprinkled with a good mix of fact, humour and nostalgia!
    Things of evolved socially across the UK in the last 30 years , not all for the better

    • Themoscow72

      Yes great writer the best of them all. Please see comment from Moscow 72 below replying to wor lass.