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Opinion

Kevin Keegan, a short cut blouse, hot dogs and a very excited 13 year old

8 months ago
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Back on the 8th of October 1977, my dad took me and wor kid to my first ever Newcastle United game.

A 2-1 defeat to Derby County, Micky Burns with our goal.

On returning hyem my mother asked “How did the bairns enjoy the match?”, to which dad replied “Well Paul ( my younger brother) just whinged about wanting a hot dog but our Tony couldn’t keep his eyes off the pitch.”

I was hooked.

The crowd, the players resplendent in their black and white shirts, plus of course the smells. Even now the smell of Condor toabacco takes me back all those years.

Fast forward to July 1982 and me 13th birthday is approaching, what do I want for it, well a season ticket obviously.

Me grandad Tommy had been a season ticket holder since the 50s, not bad for a chippy from the Felling who also had a mortgage and fought in ww2. The two things he taught me in life were, love nufc and fight fascists at every opportunity.

So for my 13th birthday I persuade mum and dad to let me go to the match on my own and can I have a season ticket for my birthday. Yes course you can my little cherub, mummy dearest says.

So off to the ground and asking what season tickets they have left. The box office then produce a plan of the east stand, with a chart showing availability. I start to well up in tears as I scan the graphic and it appears there are only 12 seats left in the East Stand. No, my mistake says Mrs Ticket Office lass, the graphic shows we’ve only selt 12 season tickets for the East Stand. Happy days as I pick out seat v55, mummy dearest pays the grand total of £25 and I am a season ticket holder.

Then three days later I pick up the Ronnie as I am doing my paper round “Keegan signs for Newcastle.” Whoa, whoa and thrice whoa.

The captain of our country has just signed for my sh… inconsequential club.

Fast forward to our first home game of the 82/83 season and it is QPR at home. Going up to the ground I’ve never been so excited in my 13 years ( well apart from Mrs Macormack wearing a short cut blouse in geography class).

I was in the ground for 1pm and watched the ground fill up, with 36,185 (mostly) Geordies inside St James’ Park.

Come 2.56pm the atmosphere was palpable as King Kev came out to an unbelievable reception.

With a winning goal in the second half from Kevin Keegan, KK quoted as saying “The Gallowgate sucked the ball in.”

Despite having been going to SJP since 1977, this is still my favourite ever toon game, although the game against 5under1and might run it close

(***Ps It would be nice if anyone else would like to follow up with their favourite toon game.)

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