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Opinion

From Lancaster to Newcastle – Now any cures for Newcastle United indifference most welcome

3 weeks ago
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Firstly, I will make a confession.

I was not born in Newcastle, I was born in that hotbed of football, Lancaster.

Growing up, I along with 200 or 300 hardy souls would watch Lancaster City playing. Firstly, in the Lancashire Combination and latterly in the Northern Premier League (along with Wigan Athletic amongst others).

They never won anything of note and the football was often dire, but it only cost a few shillings in old money and it was a good excuse to meet for a few pints before the games.

Two highlights spring to mind, the first was travelling to Boston (Lincs) for a first round FA cup tie. At the time we were rock bottom of the league and they were top. Somehow, we beat them and drew Notts County in the second round, playing at Meadow Lane. We scored first after about five minutes but eventually our part-timers ran out of legs and we lost 2-1.

Anyone left still reading this drivel may be wondering what this has got to do with NUFC (or SDFC if you prefer).

My love for Newcastle (the club and the city) can be traced back to meeting and marrying a Geordie lass (North Shields born and bred). My missus has virtually no interest in football but her Dad and Brother were both passionate supporters.

My father-in-Law (Alan) was one of a rare breed who had actually watched Newcastle United win a major domestic trophy, as he was at Wembley in 1955 to watch our last FA Cup win. Alan took me to my first ever game at SJP, it was a 1-1 draw with Barnsley shortly after KK took over (David Kelly scored I seem to recall). The match was forgettable but what struck me was the passion of the supporters.

The missus and I both got fed up with living in London, so I got work in Newcastle and we moved there and stayed for several years before work dried up. I started going to games more regularly and often took my two young sons.

My favourite game during that time was a 3-3 draw with Spurs, a rescheduled end of season game with nothing riding on it. We took a two-goal lead and Spurs scored three times in quick succession to take the lead, Beardsley (I think) equalised then Pav got sent off giving away a penalty. The sub keeper (Hooper?) saved the penalty and both teams had chances to win (Klinsmann missed a sitter late on).

Alan and I went to the last game he ever saw at SJP and it was a cracking send off as we beat ManU 3-0 (Ba, Cabaye, Jones OG) on a memorable night. I did have tickets to take him to a Villa game about five years ago but sadly he died a few days before the game.

After a bit of globetrotting we finally settled in Australia where we now live. Even after many years away from Newcastle and despite the Cashley ownership, I was still extremely passionate about our team, that is until Rafa left and Brucey took over. My passion seem to drain away overnight, not 100% sure why. Perhaps something to do with the old saying “I can live with despair, it’s the hope that kills me every time”.

Although I must admit that some of Rafa’s football was dire, he did give a lot of us hope for better things. Even though I was sceptical about the takeover, I allowed myself to hope that it would happen and we could look forward to better times. I still watch the games but I now greet wins and losses with a philosophical shrug of the shoulders.

I also visit The Mag every day and read lots of articles online in the increasingly vain hope of getting some news that could help reignite my passion. Maybe Brucey will shock us all and come out next season with all guns blazing and Andy Caroll will start scoring for fun, or maybe I should change my medication.

If you got this far, well done. Not sure what the point of this article is but it made me feel better writing it. Any suggestions of cures for indifference would be welcome, I can’t handle the Tyne Bridge’s contempt for me anymore.

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