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Opinion

It’s only three points but we all know it’s more than that

11 months ago
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I appreciate that to many out there, Manchester United isn’t “the big game” anymore.

After all, it’s 10 years since they were the Premier top dogs.

However, if you are of a certain age, then this lot have always been a game that really mattered and as I go back to 1969, it means there have been something like 40 matches against the other United at St James’ Park.

Don’t worry, I’m only going to remember a few of them.

United 5 Manchester 1 1970

Way back then they had won the European Cup just two years earlier.

Full disclosure time, 11 year old me desperately wanted to see Georgie Best in the flesh. However, as he was busy entertaining a Miss World and drinking Manchester dry, I had the pleasure of seeing the other Charlton to watch. Comb over Bob.

The stars were all in black and white though. Some bloke called Jinky Jim Smith scored the first goal, which obviously had a huge imprint on this kid’s brain, whilst Pop Robson got a hat trick.

We utterly destroyed them and I never saw anything like it again for 26 years.

United 2 Manchester 2 1976

I remember this match for events off the pitch rather than on it. Cannell and Burns scored our goals, and my old memory says we deserved to win it, but this was at the height of football hooligan days.

They brought a big following to Newcastle (no tickets, pay on the door) and we put them in the Gallowgate/ Milburn corner.

I don’t remember away fans in this corner any other time? Or am I wrong about that?

The fences between the fans got a good hammering with the daft lads trying to get over it. Meanwhile, plod just sat back and let them get on with it.

As for our guests walking back to the train station, well think Russell Crowe waiting to go out at the colosseum.

These were truly crazy days.

United 2 Manchester 3 FA Cup 5th round 1990

Despite being in the second division, I really thought we were going to win this, but back then I always thought like that.

Looking back at our team that day – Ransom, Bradshaw, Sweeney, Stimson and Dillon, I assume that drink seriously affected my judgement.

We really gave it a go but the gulf between us was very evident. After all, we were an average second division side (Sunderland beat us in the play-offs for God’s sake!).

United 2 Manchester 0 League Cup 3rd round 1994

However, just four short years later, that was no longer the case.

No more Sweeney or Dillon. Now it’s Sellars, Cole and Albert.

Granted, they played a young team, but those kids happened to include Beckham, Gillespie, Butt and Scholes. I remember this game as one which said to the country that we were a fine side and we were good enough to compete at the top.

Albert scored. It may not have been that chip but it was just as sweet.

Which takes me to this weekend.

I feel that Newcastle United are in a very similar place to where we were in 1994.

Once again, we are on the brink of becoming a real contender for trophies and beating this lot would make a top four finish a real possibility.

It will also say to potential new signings that this is a club that they want to join.

It’s only three points but we all know it’s more than that.

Let’s turn them over.

Newcastle United are no longer the plucky underdogs, so let’s prove it.

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