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Opinion

This is the best thing you will read about Newcastle United today – No more No less

4 months ago
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If any club epitomises Brexit, then it’s Newcastle United.

Totally divisive with no middle ground given between the sides.

There doesn’t seem to be any understanding of where the other side are coming from, so you had better choose your corner. You are either in (the ground) or you are out (the ground).
Where do I stand?

Well I have to say that I just don’t understand why anyone would take the walk up to St James Park to watch this club at the moment.

Who am I kidding! That’s simply not true. I do understand why people do it. Even if I don’t agree, I do get it.

This is because I have been there myself on many occasions in the past, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1991… take your pick.

During these seasons, I found myself questioning just what on earth I was doing supporting Newcastle United. And yet I kept doing it.

I was there amongst the 8,000 in ‘78 and I was there amongst the 14,000 in ‘89, watching my side get relegated.

The thing is, in those days I wore my attendance as a badge of pride, not as something I had to justify to those who had stopped going.

How ironic is it, that in 2019, the only thing that people can possibly say makes Newcastle United a big club, which is its huge loyal support, is now seen as a major contributor to our current state of affairs.

It’s a strange world.

These days, I believe that the only card left to play by the fans is to stay away and yet at the same time I don’t think a one or two game boycott would make the slightest bit of difference.
I have two contradictory beliefs in my head at the same time and believe them both. What an Orwellian ‘Doublethink’ nightmare.

I can’t speak for others, all have their own reasons for attending. I can only explain my logic for sticking with a truly awful side back in the day.

It is 1979. I’m a 19 year old kid, posted out to Germany and living for the weekends.

When Friday arrived, everyone would pelt back to their accommodation, put on their best gear (mine was from Sgt Peppers in Eldon Square), splash on the Brut and then head off to the massive Army HQ near Monchengladbach and the fleshpots of the Marlbourgh and Queensway clubs.

All except one person…. me.

I would be heading to the local railway station, to get a train to the Dutch coast in order to get a late ferry over to Harwich. Once docked in the morning, it was another train into London, a tube over to Kings Cross and a meet up with the Newcastle train arriving at lunchtime.

We then would set off for whichever ground NUFC were going to get drubbed at that day. Chelsea 0-4 and 0-6, QPR 0-3 and 0-4, West Ham 0-5. I did see a goal at Charlton though, got beat 1-4.

Then it was the return journey through the night. Going via Zeebrugge. I would arrive back at camp on the Sunday afternoon – stinking, starving and knackered.

I reckon that in a four season period between 1978 and 1982, I did this trip at least 10 times and never saw us win a game.

Worse than watching the team get beat every time would be having to endure listening to the exploits of my mates who would take great delight in letting me know how they had got on. Suffice to say they tended to score more times than Newcastle.

I remember Jock Chalmers getting hold of me one time and saying: “I have just spent the weekend with an RAF nurse. Her mate was asking where you were. I had to tell her you had decided to go to Leyton Orient!!”

“Geordie lad, you are not right in the heed.”

He had a point.

Now 40 years later, given the choice of watching Peter Cartwright run around in a pair of very tight shorts (you can see it on YouTube) or Nurse Wilson ( who you can’t… probably), then the decision may be different, but at the time it made perfect sense.

It was simple really. I loved being with this gang of lads and I was proud to call myself a Newcastle United fan. The result didn’t seem to matter. Which back in 1979 was a bloody good job that it didn’t.

Whether it be in our relationships, work career or our football team, we all get to stages in our life where we need to re-evaluate that relationship.

If it still works for you, great, but if it doesn’t, then you do something about it.

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