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Opinion

A very special moment – The bairn’s first match

7 months ago
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I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to going to the Newcastle v Oxford game.

Yes, I know, it’s Oxford, currently 5th in League One and the last time we won a 4th Round tie was in 2006.

With 45 years’ experience of watching FA Cup heartbreakers everything within me screams, don’t do it!!

But for one reason, and one reason only, I am ridiculously excited about this match, that reason is, I’m taking my Grandson for his first ever game.

He’s nearly 6 (definitely not 5!!) he’s got his Toon strip with his name and a 9 on the back and today he’s either going to be bored silly after 10 minutes, or he’s going to get hooked on a drug that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

There is something magical about your first game, the crowds, the noise, the excitement.

I want the match to be special for him, I want him to remember it, I want it to be the start of something that will bring him joy over the years.

I remember my first game at St James’ as though it was yesterday, a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United, Supermac the scorer. I can still hear what seemed to be the whole crowd shouting in unison ‘Supermac! Supermac!’, I was hooked.

I remember taking my kids to matches in the 90s during the great Keegan days. In the school holidays we would go to Maiden Castle at Durham to watch the team train. After training the players would sign shirts and pose for photographs. We still talk about those times with great affection.

And now it’s time to introduce the first of another generation to the obsession and I can’t wait.

Except there’s a niggling doubt. Where is our club heading, what is its future? During 45 years the relationship between fans and owners or board has often been toxic.

In Lord Westwood’s day one of the chants heard at most matches was ‘Sack the Board!’ Do you remember Freddie Shepherd and Douglas Hall and all the Mary Poppins stuff?

But now we seem to be stuck with the man from Shirebrook until hell freezes over. For Ashley laments that he may own the club forever. But it’s not his club, its ours and our kids and our grandkids.

He will go, eventually, but us and ours, we’ll still be here, loving it, hating it, living every moment of this mad, glorious, dysfunctional soap opera of a club that means the world to us.

So if you’re sat next to some of the thousands of kids who will be at the match…..nee swearing mind!!

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