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Opinion

I was interested to read about the case of the Newcastle United glory hunter

3 weeks ago
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An excellent article on The Mag about the Newcastle United glory hunter.

Greg McPeake telling his story very well.

Some daft cockney kid making the glory hunter accusation when seeing Greg drinking out of a Newcastle United mug at work. Not realising he was accusing somebody who had supported NUFC as man and boy, through thin and thinner.

In his article, the Geordie ex-pat going on to then talk about what almost certainly lies ahead, people getting interested in following / watching Newcastle United who hadn’t previously taken an interest.

My feeling has always been, that our geography, as a far distant north east outpost, means that no matter what happens, we won’t see the overwhelming volume of coaches of fans that you see at Anfield and Old Trafford. Hundreds and hundreds of coaches transporting thousands of people from outside the area(s), almost all of these coaches travelling from somewhere south of the north west.

Even if Newcastle United end up winning everything, I still don’t see fleets of coaches heading up to Tyneside from Bournemouth, London, Reading, Cardiff and so on.

There are of course already a lot of people who for some time have headed to St James’ Park regularly / irregularly from a distance away, the majority ex-pats and / or with family ties to the north east, along with others who have somehow found themselves starting to support NUFC for whatever reason(s). Though ‘glory hunting’ very unlikely to be one of those reasons, unless they are in their eighties or older!

What my experience has taught me, is that I definitely think Newcastle United are THE (Premier League / English) team of the north. Our geography meaning that as well as dominating the north east itself, NUFC in modern times/ Premier League era, actually pretty much dominates everything north of Leeds, across to Cumbria, up into Scotland. Plus loads coming from Scandinavia and generally from the continent, flying in and / or on the ferry from Amsterdam into North Shields.

If a lot more tickets were available via a much increased stadium capacity, then I think we would just see an expansion of what I have detailed above. Areas where out of Newcastle fans have often travelled from for matches at SJP, for the first time and in many cases, further visits.

Talking (usually in the pub!) to countless people who are visiting from out of toon, I have typically found that regardless of how they came to visit for the first time, they invariably have found themselves falling in love with our city as well as our football club. Not for most of them, if possible, coached in just ahead of the match and coached back out afterwards, as is the case at Liverpool and Man Utd. Instead, people want to make a weekend of it in Newcastle, as well as going to the game.

Personally, I think we have always attracted a better class of ‘glory hunter’ at Newcastle United and I can’t see that changing drastically. We haven’t even finished top half of the table yet under these new owners and as for potentially winning something, or even getting back into Europe, I think we all accept that this will be measured in years. So if we are talking about glory hunting, then at this moment in time I think there are many other better options if that is simply what some random person living elsewhere, was interested in.

I remember as well somebody making the point on the glory hunting thing, an NUFC fan from somewhere down south who had started following us in the Kevin Keegan 90s era. He made the point that it wasn’t when you started supporting Newcastle United that counted, it was when / if you stopped. If anybody started following Newcastle United in the Kevin Keegan or Sir Bobby Robson eras and have continued all through these 14+ years of Mike Ashley, then they have done their time!

We need a much bigger stadium to get in more locals AND those who want to come from outside the area. The potential is there and having a decent number of folk from outside coming into the area every other weekend, filling hotels and pubs and restaurants, spending money in the city centre and the region generally, then even better.

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