Even from over 1,000 miles away it was enough to put a tear in my eye…
Scott is the one to blame.
He was the one that stuck an old VHS on, back in the early 90s, as we sat cross-legged on the living room floor of his parents’ house.
Little did I know, that small act would set in motion a ridiculous love affair with our absurd club.
We could have been playing ISS on the SNES (ED: After googling this, turns out it means International Superstar Soccer on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System!), instead, we were watching the Newcastle United 92-93 season on repeat.
Listening to matches on 5-live on the radio.
A first match at Wembley to watch us lose 2-0 to Arsenal.
Being sat in the Holte End at Villa Park as Solano equalised, my very good friend James holding me down from celebrating.
Many, merry evenings watching our fantastic journey in Europe with Gary, only to be dashed by Marseille. Feeling a sense of belonging when up in Newcastle for the game.
Things took a dip from there, but through it, were James, Dave and Mike, as we watched every game we could live, or in the pub.
Ashley’s takeover and sudden excitement. Relegation. The Championship season, eventually becoming that rollercoaster of 5th place with Pardew.
Even through all the awful football, aside from the last half of Benitez when things clicked, it was always worth it with my friends and a supporting cast of fellow Newcastle United fans. Always something to talk about. It’s what has made being a football fan for me.
After moving to Poland a couple of years back, I lost that first-person contact with my friends and fellow fans. Watching Newcastle United play has been a purely virtual experience. It’s had to be watching on TV coupled with WhatsApp chats as my replacement. It’s been one of my key links back home.
Even with that, the last few years have been tough. The apathy and, let’s be honest, awful football created by the previous ownership, by the manager, made it harder and harder to make that time. It wore away at me.
The weekend’s match against Tottenham saw that change. The atmosphere at the start of the game as the teams walked out was something else. Even from over 1,000 miles away it was enough to put a tear in my eye. It was a reminder of old times, of good times. A feeling of hope.
I hope that Scott, James, Gary, Dave and Mike all got that feeling too.
Mind you, we all know where hope has taken us as Newcastle United fans over the last 30 or so years…
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