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Never meet your Newcastle United heroes

2 weeks ago

I can’t say that I’ve met too many famous people in my lifetime.

I think standing on a parade square with 300 others while Princess Anne walked past, somewhere in the far distance, would be pushing it a bit.

Likewise, being cut up by Robson Green just outside Ponteland garden centre hardly means we were on speaking terms.

Unless you count me shouting “watch where you are going you daft b%%£d” as a conversation.

And yet somehow, I have come across four players, who would all be amongst my favourite 25 Newcastle United heroes of the past 50 years.

Sadly, my fleeting moments with them left me disappointed.

I guess the moral of this tale is that, you should never meet your Newcastle United heroes.

Peter Beardsley

He was doing a book signing in Durham Waterstones and I joined a small queue to get his autograph on his autobiography.

When it’s my turn, I say something banal to him like, “it was a pleasure to watch you play Peter.”

He pushes the book toward me, without looking up or speaking. I leave the shop feeling angry.

Andy Cole

One Tuesday morning in 1994, I park up in the car park behind the Leazes, because I have come to get tickets for the match.

Mr Cole pulls in very close to me.

As we get out of our motors, I say something banal to him like, “Hello Andy, let’s hope you get another couple on Saturday.”

He totally blanks me and walks off. I head to the ticket office feeling angry.

Alan Shearer

Now this one is slightly ambiguous.

It’s a match day in 1997 and I’m part of the crowd walking toward the Milburn, when an injured Sheared is spotted walking toward the main entrance.

Obviously, many kids (and adults) are shouting to him, asking for his autograph. He ignored everyone and walks sour faced into the players entrance, leaving a lot of kids very disappointed in his wake.

I appreciate he was injured and probably feeling down but he left a lot of people feeling angry.

Bobby Moncur

He may be the last Newcastle captain to lift a trophy but he didn’t make any money from his time in the game.

Hence, he had to come to my workplace to act as what is best described, as a Dragons Den judge, where he had to help choose the best improvement project.

The winning team getting 200 quid.

As I’m old enough to remember the Fairs Cup win, I was really looking forward to meeting Bobby Moncur after the presentations.

However, as soon as they were over, he was out the door and gone.

And he didn’t even choose my team’s project, the git!

I headed home feeling angry.

Maybe it’s me having unrealistic expectations.

We watch these people, we think we know them, Maybe we think we “own” them.

Football is a job, which they did very well, but I guess it doesn’t mean they have to be smiley happy people 24 hours a day.

However, on the other side of the coin:

Jack Charlton

It’s fair to say Jack was not my favourite manager. His Reilly and Cunningham forward line did our heads in and his time at the club ended badly.

So my perceptions of the man were based on his time in charge (and from trying to break Newcastle players’ legs, while playing for Leeds).

Then one day I am sitting in the Oaks hotel in Alnwick, with my wife and new born daughter.

Over comes Jack and starts to make a fuss of the little one, then offers to by us a drink to wet the baby’s head.

He did keep referring to Jessica as “he” despite her being dressed head to toe in pink frilly bits…but that just added to his charm.

He was a cheerful lovely bloke, who despite being a World Cup winner, was as down to earth as it’s possible to be.

It’s little wonder to me that his funeral was attended by thousands.

What do my fleeting encounters with the rich and famous tell me?

I guess money does not automatically make you happy, but getting 30 / 40 / 50 grand a week while being incapable of winning any football matches, probably helps!


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