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Opinion

As a Newcastle United fan, today feels the strangest matchday yet

4 weeks ago
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When you are a Newcastle United fan, you should be used to things being pretty strange…

In all my many years following the club we have indeed seen pretty much everything.

Well, apart from success that is.

On that front, I must admit I have never been that bothered really.

Obviously, if asked the question ‘Would you like Newcastle United to win a trophy’, it would be a ‘Yes please’ from me.

However, it has never even been something that has ever preyed on my mind as a Newcastle United fan.

Yes, like the rest of you I want our team to be competitive as possible, I want the club to be the best that it can possibly be, but I don’t believe that winning the League Cup in some random season would be a life transforming experience.

The thing is though, it isn’t something that keeps me awake at night. I would love the day, I would be a bag of nerves in the 90 minutes, then delirious when the final whistle goes at Wembley. Yes I would from time to time think back on that day and enjoy reliving that moment in my head, but it wouldn’t define me as a fan.

Instead, what actually defines me as a fan, is going to matches.

Yes, it is really that simple.

By the way, I am talking about the home match routine here. Away games are a bonus for me these days as commitments curtail your freedom, as compared to the days of your youth.

So yes, home games. Getting ready on the morning and heading out early, the Metro into town and grab a bacon sandwich at my usual place before heading to the pub.

Our group of drinkers gradually congregating, the pub getting busier and busier, people getting louder and louder to make themselves heard and of course the alcohol taking effect.

You and your mates talking more and more nonsense as kick-off gets closer and visits to the pub bogs more frequent.

Recalling matchdays of the past, the great and not so great, the laughs and all the daft moments that make being a Newcastle United fan so special.

Then the 90 minutes of the match.

Back to the pub and inching your way to the bar, getting the beers in and hoping one of your lot has grabbed a table. Then dissecting what you have all just watched and the night going merrily along. Until at some point you have to accept that it is time to head home, the day is done, match watched and seeing your mates for the highlight of the fortnight, already looking forward to the next one.

Today though, here I am still sitting at home. Waiting for kick-off and then watching on TV, can’t even have any of the lads around today with the local lockdown measures etc.

After the gap with no games from March to June, I kind of just gone on with Premier League restart in June and July.

It was a bit of a novelty, football was back and whilst no fans were allowed, that was just the way it was. A means to an end to finish the season and with all the matches in a concentrated period it was a bit of a novelty, wall to wall football on TV for a month or more, a bit like a World Cup.

Even last weekend, the away game at West Ham, I wouldn’t have been down anyway. So I watched it on TV and thought nothing of it.

However, it has now finally hit me.

The first home game of the season at St James Park and I’ll not be there. No meeting with my mates pre and post-match, no laughs, no nothing.

As a Newcastle United fan, today feels the strangest matchday yet.

I don’t want to experience too many more of them either, so here’s hoping that one day soon we will all be back at St James Park and back in the matchday experiences that we all love.

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