Newsletter

Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!

Opinion

Ending up in the Manchester United end as a Newcastle United fan…

4 days ago
Share

“Geordies here, Geordies there, Geordies every f……”

The away day chant that always gave me goosebumps as a young lad.

I recently wrote a piece on The Mag entitled ‘A tribute to Mark Carroll’, which reminisced about away days together.

Then recently reading a great piece by a bunch of lads who had been in the Sunderland end at Roker Park, it got me thinking about all the games I ended up in the home end, instead of where I should have been.

I recalled in my piece about Mark Carroll, how I had ended up in the Swindon home end because it was a pound cheaper and our socialist principles justified being in their end (A pint was under two pounds back then).

So, what is it about going away from home and being in the football tribal cauldron?

When I first started watching football, me and my mate (and older brothers) would stand in the East Stand terrace next to the Gallowgate, as that was where the away support were, above us in the seats. Even as a ten year old I seemed to get a buzz from being close to the away support, it sort of magnified the importance of the game when you saw people close up and saw how passionate they were.

So as soon as I was old enough, I was off to away games and in the eighties being able to pay at the turnstile meant you could just roll up on the day. Post-Hillsborough things changed and ticketing came in, though sometimes just for away support (correct me if I am wrong).

Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge and we are in the Shed and a bit worried for our safety. Positioned ourselves close to the pitch in case we are rumbled, or the Toon score, for a quick exit but once again our team lets us down and we troop out with the cockneys and I hear more Geordie accents around me.

There is a strange satisfaction being in the wrong end at a game and surrounded by the “enemy”…

On one occasion I travelled to Manchester United and paid in to the home section nearest to the away support. The police didn’t expect so many Geordies to turn up and as they arrived and filled their pen, they started to scale the fences. The hard lad Manchester United I was surrounded by, suddenly stopped being so mouthy and their aggressive gesturing started to drop off. The next pen was scaled and massive numbers of police came in to the next segregation pen. How I wanted to acknowledge my Geordie kin but had to restrain my inner laughter.

Next up, Old Trafford again, it is all ticket and living in London I can only get a ticket in the Stretford End. This is when my dislike of all things Manchester United FC and their supporters became set in stone. We get beat again!

Manchester United again, this time at St James Park. League Cup.

Man Utd cannot sell all their tickets for a Wednesday night game so I get a ticket in their end, which is the West stand paddock below the new Milburn Stand. Philippe Albert scores in the 82nd minute (we end up winning 2-0, Kitson on 87 minutes), cue celebrating and having kicks and punches rained down on me. I manage to get out of the paddock onto the side of the pitch, then quickly ejected from the ground with many others who had bought tickets like me. Off to the Three Bulls to wait for my mates to celebrate.

I have many more experiences, QPR and buying a ticket from a Norwegian tourist at Shepherds Bush tube and so on, but I am sure readers will outdo me with their more exciting away day adventures.

Moving on to 2022, one of my mates is a big Burnley fan and tells me he will get tickets in the Burnley end for the last game of the season. I have been taking my 11 year old son to away games for a few years now.

Pitch invasions and unpleasant scenes recently. I bottle it and tell my mate I’ll give it a miss. Something inside tells me I should have been there with my lad, so he can get that unforgettable buzz of being in enemy territory.

Share

If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2022 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks