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Opinion

Newcastle United at home, Sunshine, Match pubs open, only one problem…

5 months ago
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Newcastle United taking on West Ham today.

The sun is shining on Tyneside.

The gradual lockdown easing now sees the matchday pubs reopened, well, the ones who can accommodate punters outside anyway.

Only one problem…

No, not allowed inside St James Park is most definitely NOT a problem.

Never in a million years am I paying another penny to watch Newcastle United whilst Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce are still there.

No, my big problem is that I am now wondering if we have seriously miscalculated our options today.

Myself and my usual matchday crew (well, they were the usual matchday crew until the combined efforts of Ashley and Bruce forced five of the eight of us away from St James Park) descending on Newcastle city centre today.

Well, I say five of the eight were driven away, but in truth that was only for the ‘football’ bit, last season they were still turning up for the pre and post-match drinking, despite chucking in their season tickets.

Indeed, the lucky five had the benefit of a couple of hours of bonus drinking AND not heading inside SJP to watch Bruceyball poverty football.

It was only when the pandemic came along that it finished us off…that is finished off our matchday drinking only thankfully, the eight of us all set to be present and correct today.

I am rushing this down just before the missus is giving me a lift into town, she is equally excited about the lockdown easing but bizarrely just because a few shops are open again.

My big growing problem / worry is that now rather than worrying about getting back inside St James Park, I am instead worrying about getting into pub beer gardens.

The eight of us arranged this matchday reunion a few weeks ago once it became clear the pubs were going to be open this weekend.

Trust the sun to shine and no doubt attract a load of other pub worshippers into the city centre as well!

I fear the very worst as I have just seen some photos from yesterday, a load of knackers standing in a two hour queue to get in (the beer garden of) one of the pubs on the quayside. As well as that extreme, I saw plenty other photos showing queues everywhere. Plus people were supposed to be at work on Friday!

We are meeting up outside The Strawberry at 11.30am BUT I think it will remain outside The Strawberry, as I can’t see us making it onto their glorious outside beer terrace today.

Instead, I am now calling on my years of experience, drinking experience that is.

I am mentally making a hit list of pubs on a trail leading from The Strawberry that have outside space (‘beer garden’) and just as importantly, won’t have come to mind for the masses who we will no doubt be competing with today.

I have a hit list so far of 15 pubs for us to try, wish me luck.

No, I can’t give you any clues as that would be a real own goal for our chances…a bit like employing Steve Bruce as your manager.

Yes of course I hope Newcastle United win today, as always, but until Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley leave, we will never have our football club back.

It is 14 months since the eight of us last met up for a matchday, I cannot wait!

That last time was 29 February 2020 and your typical Steve Bruce performance and result. A 0-0 draw at St James Park against Burnley.

Regardless of what happens inside an empty St James Park today, I am determined to have a great time regardless on the drink.

Reading that back, in reality that has been the case over the course of all my decades following Newcastle United…

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