Liverpool fans at St James Park…Would we be any different?
A big topic of conversation in the past week, has been the Liverpool fans in home areas at St James Park last Saturday.
First of all let me say this up front, I did not attend the Liverpool home game.
I rarely attend home games these days with the challenge of living 150 miles away in the North West and having four young lads who all play Saturday football. So midweek, Sundays and local away games, is as good as it gets for me nowadays.
However, reading all the updates about Liverpool fans mixing it in the Gallowgate and Milburn stands last Saturday, brought back a few memories and I started asking myself – would we really be any different?
Back in 93/94 and our first experience of the Premier League, despite being a season ticket holder I couldn’t get away tickets unless we got a load, so was often sat in the home ends. I’m 5ft 10 and not the aggressive type so treated these games with caution.
Coventry first game they wouldn’t sell home tickets to fans with NE postcodes so my aunt in Birmingham bought ours and we diverted that way en route to the game, sitting in with a lot of toon fans, still cheering when we scored.
Everton away, again literally loads of us in the lower Bullens on the halfway line when Coley put us in front – cheered no bother.
Man City away I sat in the North Stand with my NUFC coat on – cheered no bother when we took the lead, Sheff Wed’s last minute Cole winner sat in the West stand – cheered no bother.
It got better the better we got.
The so close season, Everton away on the gangway was a great day out and as that season went on, you noticed loads of toon fans in the home ends everywhere, at every game.
By now I was qualifying for away end tickets, so at the Anfield 4-3 and Blackburn Graham Fenton game I sulked in peace, but watching the games back on the Telly that season, you can see the toon fans everywhere when we scored. Look in the Kop when Sir Les scores at 1-1 and Anfield Road when Tino scored the 3rd.
The pinnacle for me was again at Man City and the 3-3. There were so many of us in the North stand when Albert scored the 3rd, I was up celebrating and there were hundreds of us in there. City needed something that day and we equalised 3 times and they were all gutted but I was getting backslapped and congratulated after the game – clearly taking on Man U helped of course – but I remember one guy saying to me thanks for respecting the place and good luck, hopefully see you next year – great touch, City went down. How times change.
Point is this. Whenever I’ve sat in the home end at away games I’ve been aware of the surroundings and so have, in the vast majority, the many toon fans in the same situation. But we did it with a healthy degree of respect and the home fans whomever they are, normally accepted this – it happens.
If we ever got to the point of challenging for major League honours again someday in the distant future, what happened with Liverpool fans will happen with us, so the question to ask really is this…
Would we really be any different?
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