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Micky Quinn – That special first game of the season moment

2 weeks ago
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First game of the season, a special moment, I had a piece published a while back on The Mag about first game of the season and last game and how they are special (also first home and away game). This season it is Notts Forest and will be extra special for them after such a long time in the purgatory of the lower divisions.

First game of the season 1989 and it is Mickey Quinn’s debut.  Our record signing at £680,000, a figure created because the two clubs were so wide with their respective valuations of the player.

Opening day is Leeds and it is always special with the Yorkshire folk, their supporters always up for it, which makes for a good atmosphere.

That day a Gallowgate hero is born – Micky Quinn. “He’s fat he’s round………” Watch his goals on YouTube and revel in the open terracing that was the Gallowgate end.

I was stood in the Scoreboard end of the Gallowgate end with mates and brother and was witness to a great game forever in the memory. Atmosphere cranked up by who the opposition was. Looking back, I feel privileged to have seen Leeds being put to bed by Micky Quinn (and one Saturday much further on, shaking hands with him in the boozer on Stowell street).

Later in the season, when we played Portsmouth who we bought Quinn from, a future Pompey workmate of mine has a trophy he would like to present to Micky Quinn before the game at St James’. Quinn had been voted Pompey player of the season previously. He is allowed on to the side of the pitch and presents the trophy to Micky Quinn just before kick-off. John and his mate from the Independent Pompey supporters club expect to be accommodated in the main stand. They are escorted out of the ground, where they have to make their own way to and pay into, the away supporters end, which was the Leazes corner next to the East Stand. That’s hospitality in the 80s.

Let’s roll the season on and it’s the FA cup 5th round.

We love the FA Cup (I do anyway, I have great memories as a kid of watching finals on TV, consuming the whole day, big bottle of pop and crisps). What would you give for a good cup run this season? The Cambridge United game last season was hard to take!

In 1990 we have the chance to get one over on a much hated club, in my opinion. So where better than Man U in the fifth round. Man U were struggling to find form and were mid-table, supporters had called for Ferguson to be sacked earlier in the season. It was the year of the infamous “tara Fergie” banner. Ferguson was under pressure and had what looked like a misfit side with Danny Wallace, Jim Leighton and the smoggie Gary Pallister at centre back (correct me if I am wrong). They appeared to be there for the taking.

Again, same mates and brothers in the Gallowgate end. My mate from Burnley, who hates Man U, had come up for the game, speaking quietly as he didn’t want his heavy Burnley accent mistaken for a Manc one, and sensing / hoping for a Newcastle win and another blow to Ferguson (He’d also come up for a pre match session at the Kings Court in Kingston Park). So, many drinks later, we got into a packed Gallowgate and move to the floodlight section as the terracing was so full. We waited and eagerly anticipated the Man U defeat ahead of us.

The ground was so full, a guy had brought (probably found) a set of ladders and scaled the wall before dropping down into the terrace pursued by police, much to everyone’s amusement. No one was amused at the final score! (Newcastle United losing 3-2)

Last home game of that (1989/90) season was West Ham (Newcastle won 2-1 with goals from Kristensen and Micky Quinn!), ending with a celebratory pitch invasion to taunt the travelling Hammers mob.

We finished third top of the Second Division and should have been promoted and Jim Smith would have gone down in our history as a top manager winning promotion. The mackems though had the last laugh in the play-offs. What an end to a season that was! Jim Smith would eventually quit towards the end of the following season (March 1991).

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