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Opinion

Alcohol and heart drugs (and Newcastle United) really don’t mix

4 months ago
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It is fair to say that the mood of a Newcastle United fan is not the best these days, therefore I thought it would be a good idea to write an upbeat article for the holiday season.

How about recalling our great history of Newcastle United Xmas victories?

Sadly, after a little bit of research I realised that it wasn’t going to happen.

We have played 47 games during holiday week since Christmas 2003 and you know how many we have won?

Seven.

Even those were over Birmingham, Wigan, Bolton, Forest, Everton and Stoke (twice).

I guess there is not a lot for an article in that.

Newcastle United must have the worst Xmas record of any premiership team in the Country, with 30 defeats in 47 games.

So I’m writing this before we take on City, Liverpool and Leicester and without sounding defeatist, you can’t see this abysmal record improving any time soon. But you never know. Football is a strange game.

It wont come as any surprise that the only decent periods were under Kevin and Bobby.

Under Keegan there was that unbelievable 7-1 destruction of Spurs and the beating of Arsenal when Ginola scored a wonderful goal before half the Millburn stand had sat down in their seats.

Under Robson there was 2002, when we beat Spurs and Liverpool in successive games. Unbelievably, the last time the club won two games in a Xmas week.

Newcastle have always managed to put a damper on people’s celebrations.

So here are a few of my personal “highlights” of going to a Xmas match.

Boxing Day 2008. Newcastle 1 Liverpool 456 for 3 declared

It was just a humiliation, watching us being played with, like a shark chucking a baby seal about until it kills it. It was so bad, Shay Given decided he couldn’t take any more and quit on us.

Boxing Day 1998. Newcastle 0 Leeds 3

The start of bad things. The dreadlocked man from Holland was beginning to make his mark on our team and it wasn’t good. I remember this game for having a very bad headache, a very bad mood and a bloody bad performance. Lee Bowyer took dogs abuse from a cheesed off crowd and therefore it was inevitable that he would score against us.

Boxing Day 1996. Blackburn 1 Newcastle 0

Just a few days before we destroyed Spurs, we put in a poor performance in front of an away support that were awash with rumours about Keegan. Shearer and Batty were both booked on their return to Ewood Park, with Batty especially looking as if he was trying very hard to get off the pitch so he could beat the traffic home.

New Year’s Day 1990. Newcastle 1 Wolves 4

Wolves weren’t a great side,(neither were we), but Steve Bull took full advantage of a Newcastle side that must have been out drinking late into the night. He scored all four but could have had six

It capped off a rubbish week for me because on the Boxing Day I had driven down to Stoke, not aware at the time of the extremely friendly and welcoming attitude of the local population.

The game wasn’t anything special, Kevin Scott scored our goal, we lost 1-2 but I did manage to win 80 quid on the fixed odds for four draws. This turned out to be very handy because I discovered I had a tyre slashed when I went back to the car.

Lovely lovely people.

New Year’s Day 1992. Southend 4 Newcastle 0

I actually wasn’t at this game- thank God

I married a girl from Shropshire, which for those of you who don’t know where it is, don’t worry, nobody does.

Anyway, that’s why I find myself on this night sitting in a little village social club propping up the bar with a bunch of farmers and a lad who professes to be from Southend and a big fan. For God’s sake, there aren’t any Southend fans in Southend, so how I managed to find one to drink with on this night of all nights is beyond me.

Despite many attempts to beat it since, I believe this result is still our lowest moment in history .

These days , the football has simply made me indifferent. I don’t really care. Back then it was like a dagger to my heart.

So if it all goes pear-shaped in the week to come, don’t get too upset, its just normal for this club. Don’t let it spoil your holidays.

And there is just the chance that this is the week that we win in the Premier League at Man City for the first time in 20 years. Isn’t it?

Sorry, that was a silly thing to say. Alcohol and heart drugs (and Newcastle United) really don’t mix.

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