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Opinion

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

7 months ago
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Lockdown. Day whatever it is?

Lockdown has seen me become more sentimental and selfish!

I’ve set my lessons. Made my phone calls. And, as I always do once work is done, I turn my attention to the big question of the day.

Not the scandalous way that our Government is handling the pandemic, the other big question… The Newcastle United takeover by Team Staveley.

Has it happened yet? No! No takeover.

However, I’m astounded to be reminded by twitter that it is six years to the day that I was at Wembley with my son watching Gateshead lose in the Conference Play-off final. A great day out, shame about the result. Then it hit me. Six more wasted years.

I don’t have a season ticket but I do have History.

The first goal I saw scored at St James’ was by Alan Shoulder. I worshipped him and Peter Withe. I was at Keegan’s debut. The last time I saw Newcastle play at St James’ was under Sir Bobby in that friendly against Barcelona. It was my wife’s first and only home match. She is from the Midlands. She cried!

I am an exile living in Sussex. This follows on from emigrating to Africa with my parents at the age of nine, boarding school in Durham, University in Liverpool and then straight into teaching in Sussex.

The vast majority of my life has been spent away from Newcastle but I never lost my love for the Toon. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

I try to see as many away matches as possible. I’ve been to disparate places such as Swindon and Anfield, Swansea and Goodison, Reading, Chelsea, Fulham and Brighton. I will never forget leaving Loftus Road having seen us score six, thinking we should have had ten! Who can forget Diame’s ‘screamer’ against Brighton?

Time certainly has flown. I loved taking my eldest son to football training. Being in the South most of the kids would be decked out in Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U strips…and then there was my son. Always wearing his Toon strip. The one and only! Yes, he had two left feet like his dad, but God he looked the part!

Then I’m back to the present. Was it really six years since we were at Wembley watching Gateshead? I’ve been to Wembley (old and new) on numerous occasions. Gigs, American Football (Can anyone remember the London Towers?) and Gateshead. But never Newcastle United! My true love.

Six fruitless years! Seven before that! My biggest worry is that time is running out. I’m much closer to the end than I am to the beginning. I want to see us win something! I want to cheer and sing, hug my son and cry.

The last time I cried was when Miggy scored his first. I’m bound to cry as I have become much more emotional as I have got older. Let’s get these checks done and dusted!

We can discuss the Saudis and their human rights issues later. For once just let me be greedy and have something positive done for my team.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day! I’ll set my lessons, make my calls and then check…

You can follow Paul on twitter @tomellifred360

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