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Opinion

We swapped numbers on the back of a beer mat, which of course was lost by Sunday night…

6 months ago
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It is January 1996 and all is good in the world of Newcastle fans.

I have had my couple of pre-match pints and now I’m walking up to the ground, when I sense a car slowing down as it passes me.

“Oi, you little Geordie Bast..d , where do you get parked around here?”

I pretend to have something wrong with my finger nails and ignore the shout, but quickly glance at the car, where I see a lad decked in his finest Reebok Bolton Wanderers shirt hanging out the window.

“Yes, I am talking to you, because you are without doubt the smallest Geordie Bast..d I have ever known.”

I then realise that the person verbally assaulting me, is a lad called Shaky Makin. I hadn’t seen him in fve years, since the days when we served together in Northern Ireland.

I jump in the car and we head off to dump it on Westgate Road, because you could do that in those days, I guess it was one of the benefits of 36,000 crowds/capacity. Then we just had time for a pint in Rosies before the game got under way.

Newcastle won 2-1, with the whipping boy of the time, Paul Kitson, getting one of the goals. This kept us firmly at the top and three points closer to winning the Premiership.

Arghhhh.

We arranged to meet up after the game and the four Bolton lads were warmly accepted in the pub, and would have stayed all night if the driver hadn’t threatened to leave them behind if they didn’t go.

We swapped numbers on the back of a beer mat, which of course was lost by Sunday night. No mobile phones or intranet in Keegan’s day. As such, I haven’t spoken to him again in 20 odd years.

So what? I hear you ask. This is an NUFC web site, not Davina McCall’s long lost squaddie TV Show

Well the reason I bring it up, is that I’m sure you are aware of the goings on at Bolton this week, which has seen them go into administration and start next season with a 12 point deduction. It probably is going to mean relegation again to the fourth division.

It brought Shaky to mind, who I can assure you was a fanatical a fan of his football club, as anyone who you have ever known.

Even you Monk!

For us it’s pretty simple, support underachieving Newcastle or support underachieving Sunderland, but for a lad growing up in Bolton, you had all your schoolmates following Liverpool, Everton, Man Utd or Man City. And in 1996 you also had near neighbours Blackburn as the reigning league champions.

If that was not bad enough, you were about to get Fat Sam as your Manager.

Supporting Bolton sucked.

So to stick with them meant having guts and fierce pride in YOUR team. Shaky had that in spades.

For his sake, I hope by some miracle that Bolton manage to survive next year and then can rebuild and come back up. Maybe Shola can come out of retirement and join Sammy as the dream team up front! Maybe not.

As nearly every article on here at the moment highlights, we are a very split bunch. No amount of comments under the articles is going to change people’s opinions on whether we are in an acceptable place, or whether our luck is about to run out and we are heading for Championship.

You will have your opinions and that’s fine.

What I would say is this. Football in 2019 means the elite win the trophies and the other 86 make up the numbers.

Should we count our blessings that we are not Bolton?

I mean, Ashley wouldn’t be dumb enough to bankrupt us now, would he?

Now there is a comment to light the touch paper, if ever there was one!

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