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Opinion

Goodnight Uncle Tommy – He had seen the lot

3 weeks ago
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I wont forget yesterday the second of September in a hurry.

After attending my mate Morris’ funeral I received a phone call from my younger brother, to tell me that my beloved Uncle Tommy had passed away.

Tommy Hunter was born in 1930 and had supported Newcastle United for over eight decades.

He had seen the lot, from Milburn and Robledo to Demba Ba and Papisse Cisse.

A Christian Socialist by nature, I never ever heard Uncle Tom swear or have a bad word for anybody. As a boy I would pop around to see him after I had fell out with my Da and he always made me feel reassured and better about myself.

A pacifist by nature who enjoyed the happiness life could offer and the joy that Newcastle United brought him.

A season ticket holder for many years, Uncle Tommy and me Da thought all their Christmases had come at once when Kevin Keegan turned our fortunes around in the 90s. The whole city and region was reawakened to the potential of our club, people from all generations genuinely felt that a passage of rights was to eventually be fulfilled.

Unfortunately, the trophies eluded us and then in 2007 we had a change of ownership. By 2008, along with me and my brothers Graeme and Neale…my Da also threw in his season ticket.

Uncle Tommy however, decided to hang on and did so for a few more years into his eighties. After a little hope with a one-off fifth placed finish in 2012, he eventually called it a day after a lack of investment gave us another brush with relegation in 2013.

I sat with him three months ago and in his thoughtful way he reluctantly agreed, that the decline of the club was due to the undoubted wilful neglect by a spiteful owner intent on destroying us.

I believe the lack of action in the transfer window will prove to be defining for Newcastle United and that all things now are going to turn out for the worse…but that somehow pales into insignificance when I think of losing one of the real good guys who always looked for the best in everyone, even Mike Ashley (although he doesn’t deserve one iota of respect).

I’ll never forget you Uncle Tommy and it is because of you that I still haven’t ultimately lost faith in the human spirit…no matter how vindictive and cruel it can somehow turn out to be.

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