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Supporters Clubs

Newcastle United Supporters Clubs – Introducing Toon Army Minnesota

3 months ago
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Welcome to our brand new feature on Newcastle United Supporters Clubs.

This will now be a regular feature and kicking things off are Toon Army Minnesota.

We want to feature Newcastle United Supporters Clubs from all over the globe, whether in the UK or overseas.

If you help to run one of the Newcastle United Supporters Clubs and would like to see your club featured on The Mag in the future, please drop a quick email to contribute@themag.co.uk and we will send you the questions and other info, then once we get your replies we will schedule your NUFC Supporters Club to go up.

Toon Army Minnesota

When asked by “The Mag” to submit a profile of our local supporter’s group “Toon Army Minnesota” I was thrilled. It’s an amazing cast of characters that bleed Black & White.

Matches are shown at Brit’s, a large pub in city centre Minneapolis. It’s an eclectic mix of people and consists of Geordie Expats, locals, and even an ex-Toon legend – “Hallelujah” John Tudor with his lovely wife Anne and son.

I must admit though, that I only get to Brit’s 10-12 times a year though (I live three hours north east of Minneapolis) and, unless the wife and I stay overnight, the matches start just too darn early!

So, I decided to get some of the core supporters to answer the questions in their own words.

These are:

Keith (founder, administrator), Malcolm (administrator), Lee (administrator), Adam (administrator), Jon and Marne (among the most regular attendees and contributors), Jonathan Tudor, and me, Toon Man (Tom). There are so many others that show up week in and week out, through thick and thin, during work days, or at the earliest starts. Shout out to all of them! And to you supporters throughout the world that love Wor Club, Newcastle United.

Name of your supporters club?

Toon Army Minnesota

How big an area do you cover, drawing fans from?

(Keith) We cover all of Minnesota, and even parts of Wisconsin, as western Wisconsin doesn’t have any local groups.

(Adam) Primarily the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul and suburbs. We do have regular visitors from Wisconsin. Visitors from all over.

(Lee) Mainly for the twin cities areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul with the odd visitor from out of state or even the U.K.

Year it was formed?

(Keith) April, 2015

How / why did it get started and who were the main people responsible (tell us a bit about your / their background)?

(Keith) I started the group back in 2015 after my friend Mark Stephenson was visiting from Chicago, he said that Chicago had started a local group and that I should do the same. I really kind of thought he was crazy and I thought it was crazy.

At that point, my friend Alan Oliver and I were the only ones showing up at Brit’s to watch the matches. Every once in a while, there would be a random person who would show up with a Newcastle shirt on, but we were the only regular people at that point.

But I ended up starting up a Facebook group and started adding some friends that I knew were Newcastle supporters. Some didn’t live in the area, but I wanted to start getting numbers in the group.

Luckily, people actually started finding us, and we started to have more than just Alan and I at match meet ups! I think at the final match of the first season we were a group, we had 15 people show up and we were only a group for 2 months at that point!

Malcolm Halliday and Lee Finley were early members who were part of the core that started showing up regularly to matches, and both are part of the Admin team with me now. Matthew Rian was also very involved early as an Admin, but he ended up moving to New York He is now one of the main people running that group! Adam Conlon moved here for his work, and instantly because a core member of the group, and one of our Admins.

As far as my background, I started to support the Toon back in 2000. I was working with a few guys who were Man U supporters, and I had played football when I was young, and followed World Cups, but it was hard to follow foreign leagues, and most were pay per view to watch matches, pubs were required to charge a cover charge by Setanta sports. So, I didn’t really follow the Prem until my co-workers did. And I just didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon, so I started researching teams, and I knew of Sir Bobby and Shearer because of the England team, and I liked Newcastle Broon Ale, so, it felt like that was the team for me, and have been supporting ever since!

I am a professional graphic designer, so I designed the logo, the flag, and t-shirts for the group. I first met Alan Oliver on opening day in 2009, the first match after being relegated, and Brits had it on. We played West Brom that day. But Alan and I struck up a conversation and have been friends ever since!

(Adam) Founded by Keith Morioka. Lee Finlay, Malcolm Halliday and Matt Rain (now Toon Army NYC after moving) were all instrumental in welcoming me to the group 5 yrs ago. I’m Geordie and lived in Gateshead for the first 15 years of my life. I could see St James’ Park from my bedroom window. Gazza went to the same school and played in the same park. Steve Stone was a classmate. Dad took me to games with uncles and cousins starting in the late 70s. I was at Keegan’s debut, the greatest match experience of my life.

My twin brother and I moved to Southend-on-Sea in 1986 and we used to meet up with the Toon fans in Trafalgar Square for London games (lucky to survive relatively unscathed). After moving to the States in 1988, the only way to follow football was the Evening Chronicle in the post from my grandfather several days after the game. When I moved to Minneapolis 5 years ago, it was the first time I lived close enough to join a Toon Army club and it quickly became my home away from home. We get to watch more games in the US than you can in England.

Toon Army Minnesota

How many people are part of your supporters club? Is it an official membership that people join?

(Keith) We currently have over 200 members in our Facebook group, but there’s quite a few people in the group who don’t actually live in Minnesota, but have a Minnesota connection, whether it be that they used to live here, or have family here, or have visited here and were looking for meet ups.

(Malcolm) Currently 222 members and growing. There is no official membership to join, just love the Toon and be affiliated to Minnesota. Regularly have 20 to 30 supporters show up for games. No official membership to join

What is your presence online, do you have Twitter account, Facebook, website, whatever?

(Keith) Our main group is a Facebook group, but we do have an Instagram account (run by Malcolm) and Twitter, but we don’t have a website, as I never felt that we needed one, as it doesn’t feel like a community like the Facebook group is.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ToonArmyMinnesota/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toonarmyminnesota/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArmyMinneapolis

If somebody lives in your area and wants to join up with you, how do they get in touch (or somebody who might be visiting your area)?

(Keith) Facebook group is really the best way for people to connect with us. It’s really been our main point of communication for everyone.

Tell us a bit about your people / membership, what kind of split is it of Geordies / ex-pats and locals, also any other way you would describe your people and the mix?

(Keith) I would say that we have a good mix of both ex-pats and locals. Quite a few members were born in Newcastle or the surrounding area, but surprisingly there are quite a few locals who found supporting Newcastle in their own way, some because they played for Tonka United, and Newcastle great John Tudor was running the club for quite a while, and he has been showing up to matches. Some because of the movie “GOAL!”. Some because of some family connection, or some just because they visited the city and fell in love. There’s a lot of great stories of how they became supporters.

(Malcolm) A big mix of locals, Geordies, and ex-pats. Membership is made up of people who have an affection for the Toon either through birth, through family links or travel links. We are not a group of bandwagon jumpers.

(Lee) We have a few Geordies but primarily the group is made up of locals. As time has gone by more have joined and crucially have stuck with us through the darkest of times (FCW era) largely due to the camaraderie of the group. As the EPL has grown in popularity in the US and our social media presence in more recent years it has become easier to find out about us.

(Adam) There are at least 5 or 6 Geordies that live locally and show up regularly. Others have some connection with Newcastle including having studied or worked there, family / parents from the area or were influenced by John Tudor who lives locally and was very involved in youth soccer in this area. Some like Newcastle because of Alan Shearer and the entertainers team of the 90s, others are more recent fans as our fortunes are changing. All are welcome and the core of the group is tight.

When it comes to people who had no previous connection to Newcastle United / Newcastle Upon Tyne, what are the typical things that have led to them start and follow NUFC?

(Malcolm) We have people who have joined because a family member was a supporter. People who watched the movie “GOAL!”, and people who just wanted to support a team similar to what they know in Minnesota – Northern team with great expectations that does not always cross the finishing line in first place.

(Adam) I think a lot of the locals can associate with Newcastle as there are similarities such as being a Northern city with sleeping giant sports teams.

(Marne) I must admit that I do have a connection to Newcastle as I lived there for 10 years in the 1990s. I was a young wife caring for my disabled husband at the time. He was a Geordie born and bred. He watched all the matches down at the pub while I worked in toon at Fenwicks. I could never understand the excitement and mayhem that would occur on those days out on Northumberland Street and around Eldon Square. I never went to a match and now I wished I had.

My love of NUFC didn’t come from those days when I lived there. No, it came from me finding a group of people that share the love of a team. This group is now family to me and I cherish the banter and camaraderie we share watching our beloved Magpies. Who knows, maybe the Geordie I married wouldn’t be my ex if I embraced NUFC back in the days we lived there. Ha! Who am I kidding… NUFC was good but no way was that ever going to happen!

Toon Army Minnesota

John Tudor, Jonathan Tudor, Malcolm Halliday, Anne Tudor, and Marne MacDonald-Guthrie

(Toon Man) I traveled to Newcastle in 1978 as a 15-year old. My dad was researching our family history (family emigrated from Cumbria and Newcastle in the 1830s) and we stayed with an “uncle” (a distant cousin in reality) in Gateshead. It was in December and I can remember how sooty the city was and how dreary it was in December. Plus, I couldn’t understand the local dialect!

I had cousins closer to my age that introduced me to some nightlife, girls, English ale and thought I’d become a man. The highlight was going to SJP for a match and standing in the Gallowgate end. I was too short to see too much if I’m being honest – and I had my shoe urinated on in the crowd – but I absolutely loved the energy and my “uncle” was such a great supporter and regaled me about the club, Supermac, Wor Jackie, and a host of others. He then sent me a packet of old “Pinks” in the mail at the end of the season.

So, I’ve been a supporter for many years, although this past ten years we’ve had most matches on the television and I’ve gotten more “Gung-Ho”. Then two years ago I discovered “The Mag”, podcasts, and the stories of an expat from Benwell that moved nearby. I’m now obsessed.

Do you have a regular meeting place to watch matches? If so, what’s it called, where is it and what kind of numbers turn up?

(Keith) Brit’s Pub is our home pub. We have always been there and they are really good to us. They have made sure that if it can be televised, they will show it. They even let me hook up my iPad to their TV, so I could stream some of the matches when we were relegated back in 2016.

(Jon) Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis. Anywhere from 5-70 may show up depending on the day of the week or the significance of the game (and the start time).

What are the very best and very worst UK kick-off times and what time are they in your area?

(Malcolm) With a 6 hour time difference (we are 6 hours behind UK) the best times are the games later in the day in the UK. The hardest are the 12:30 (UK time) as the pub does not always open for us that early. Midweek games are usually a struggle with those being held in the middle of the day on a work day.

(Adam) Worst is the early games so a 12.30pm kick off in England is 6.30am here. I think some of the lads just stay out all night. Later kick-offs are best and especially on days when you can go from the pub at lunchtime (5.30pm kick off in the UK) and then go to watch the Loons (MNUFC), Minnesota United Football Club (MLS), I call these “Toon then Loons” days.

(Jon) 6:30am US central time games are hard, as the pub is often not open at that time. 9am or 11:30 US central time games are probably the best for most. Midweek at 2pm (for us) is ok if people can skip out of work.

Tell us about some of the big characters who are part of your supporters club?

(Keith) I have already mentioned some of them, Malcolm, Lee, Adam, always there and supporting the team. But really, the whole group is a bunch of big characters. When I first started the group, I wanted it to belong to everyone, and not just something that I ran. And that is what is happening now, everyone is involved with this group, everyone participates, and everyone has a hand in making this group special.

(Malcolm) We are lucky to have “Hallelujah” John Tudor, his wife Anne and son Jonathan as members. Due to ill health John can only make it to a few games per season. Lee Finlay is a great guy to get the songs going during the game along with Adam Conlon.

(Jonathan Tudor) John Tudor – my dad. Sadly, due to his health, he is not up to making all games. He is suffering with dementia, he doesn’t always connect with the game – but he does with the Geordie accent, the warmth of the people, and the Blaydon Races – all things that raises a smile.

Toon Army Minnesota

Jonathan Tudor, John Tudor, and Lee Finley

(Adam) Certainly, it’s great when John Tudor and his wife Anne make it to the pub. It’s great when Lee gets the Blaydon Races going and Malcolm bangs along on the drum, but there are quite a few strong characters in the group with plenty of friendly banter with the other supporters groups who gather at the Pub.

(Toon Man) Malcolm Halliday is our very own “Wor Flags”, getting to the pub early to hang up our Club flag and various other Toon flags – He also is our resident drummer during singing and goals. Lee leads us in songs and ensures we’re the loudest supporters group in the pub. Adam and his son Jacob really ramp up the energy. Everyone plays their part and its always a good time. And a shout out to the staff of Brit’s – food and drink are first rate and the service is always excellent!

Have there been group visits from your supporters club to Newcastle / England for matches?

(Keith) We haven’t had any group visits yet. Many of the members have made the trip but we never have done a group trip. I have yet to make the trek to the cathedral on the hill!

(Malcolm) We have a couple of people with family ties in Newcastle who will get across for possibly 1 game a year.

(Adam) Not as groups but individually yes and our flag (designed by our founder, Keith) has been to many venues globally.

(Toon Man) Incredibly difficult to go as a group. The expense, time off required, and getting tickets are all daunting! I get to a match or two most seasons, only because work takes me to Europe and I have plenty of frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points.

Any planned for the future?

(Toon Man) No group trip but I have an extra ticket to the Sheffield United match in April and I am trying to get Malcolm or another friend to join me and my two sons.

What would be involved in travelling from where you are based to Newcastle Upon Tyne? How would you make the journey, how easy / difficult would it be, what kind of rough costs involved?

(Lee) It’s a relatively straightforward trip through Amsterdam. Minneapolis airport is a hub for Delta Airlines and part of the sky team alliance so typically take the KLM city hopper from AMS direct to Newcastle. It can be as short as 11-hours, but the jet lag is a killer so I recommend getting up early ahead of your trip to lessen the impact.

It can be $1000 or more. Typically, cheaper in November / early December which can get down to $700. Aer Lingus are starting flights from 2024 so I expect there to be more options in future.

(Adam) Flights and game tickets would be the costly and difficult part. It’s about a 10-12hr air journey with connection flights, cost around $1500.

(Toon Man) I’ve been to Newcastle for matches many times in the 40+ years I’ve followed the club, most recently with my wife this past April. It used to be MUCH harder and MUCH more expensive (relative to inflation) than it is today.

For the wife and I, it’s a three-hour drive to Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) airport, an overnight flight from MSP to Amsterdam, and then onto a short flight into Newcastle. Generally, it takes about 16-20 hours from home to hotel with layovers. I’m fortunate that I use airline/credit card miles for the expense most times. My frequent travels for work fund my Toon addiction.

I’ve flown into Manchester, London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and Edinburgh and trust me, those who have not been to Newcastle – you want to go through the local airport. Easy customs and hop on a train to go downtown. It’s easy, safe, inexpensive, and convenient with friendly Geordies to help with directions!

We stayed at the Hampton Inn across from the main train station the last few times we’ve been there and it’s a great location and very comfortable.

Toon Army Minnesota

Stuart Kemp, Toon Man (Tom Richardson) and Susan Richardson

When it comes to people in your NUFC supporters club, which local football club(s) do they also support, if any. Or maybe supporting teams of other sports in your area?

(Keith) A lot of members support Minnesota United, which is our local football club. And there’s support for:

Minnesota Aurora -women’s football team
Minnesota Vikings – NFL Football team
The Minnesota Wild – NHL hockey team
Timberwolves- NBA basketball team.

(Malcolm) A lot of members support Minnesota United, the local MLS team. There is also a lot of support for other local teams –
Minnesota Aurora, which is our local women’s team, Minnesota Vikings, our American Football team, The Minnesota Wild, our hockey team.

(Adam) As mentioned previously MNUFC (Major League Soccer) but also the Vikings (American Football), Twins (Baseball), Minnesota Wild (Hockey). Sports venues are all very close by.

(Toon Man) I’m originally from the Philadelphia area and was a diehard Eagles fan…but such is my Toon obsession that I watch nothing but NUFC. Its all-consuming for my energy, focus, and funds!. I’m living in Wisconsin and can’t stomach the thought of supporting the local Minneapolis teams.

How much did it mean to have Newcastle visiting the USA this past summer? What kind of distances were involved to each of the venues, did any/many of you travel to the pre-season games? 

(Keith) It always means a lot to us when Newcastle travels to the US for matches!

Quite a few made it to the pre-season matches, although I don’t have exact numbers who traveled for them. The distances are not close, we do have to fly to each match. Back in 2015, they played in Milwaukee, WI, and that was pretty easy for many of us to drive there, as it was like a 5-hour drive. They also played in Kansas City back in 2011, and that was a drivable trip for
some of us, although, I did fly to that match.

(Malcolm) It means a lot to us that the team comes to the US. Due to the fact that this year the team visited the East coast we only had a few people able to travel but the word back from them was that it was a great experience at the game and pre-game.

(Adam) Several of us attended games in the US. Since it was on the East Coast the travel was lengthy. We are about 1500 miles from the east coast and then there was travel from Philly to Atlanta to NJ probably another 2000 miles. I attended all games and it was fantastic but included several flights, a couple of hotels, AirBnB, couches etc.

(Toon Man) My wife and I went to the Philadelphia match and had a blast. We met “Adam P.”, Charlotte from “True Faith”, Eddy from “Tyneside Life” (he even interviewed us), and several others who read and write into “The Mag”. It was great seeing so much B/W in Philly and the local Toon Army Philly did an amazing job of hosting a “tailgate party” where we met Shola Ameobi and Shay Given. Everything was fantastic except there were no NUFC shirts to buy from the gift shop!

Toon Army Minnesota

Talk us through the Mike Ashley years, how it affected your supporters club?

(Keith) We started in the Ashley years and it was always tough. What was nice is that you really had to support the club, if you were supporting them during the Ashley years. There was no question of your loyalty to the club. The meet ups usually had small numbers, probably only around 10 or so each match, except for some of the bigger matches, then the numbers would be bigger. A lot of frustration, a lot of yelling at the telly, but it was always a fun time, no matter the result.

(Malcolm) It was a difficult time. Due to relegation and poor performance on the field it led to very small numbers for games. At one point it was only 4 people huddled around a laptop at a single table in the Pub watching a stream of the game.

(Lee) Our club was relatively small when Ashley took over but I think the era set the tone for the nucleus of the supporters club. At its core it’s not made up of those who are there to turn up, celebrate a win, and get in the face of opposing fans. It’s more about the gallows humor and camaraderie of the group and a genuine passion for the team and the game itself. I’m amazed at the deep knowledge of many of the local fans – it would put many of us native Geordies to shame.

(Adam) Well it was terrible and I remember that Wolves away game which was absolutely awful and we had to watch it at another pub because Brit’s pub had suffered fire damage related to the George Floyd riots and with Covid protocols was closed. I remember it being a low point of my lifelong support and it really epitomises the previous 14 years of Ashley’s ownership. Thankfully this was the bottom and how quickly things changes.

(Jon) Some of us stuck through it because we’ve been supporters our whole lives. But it was demoralising and frustrating to see the lack of effort to improve the club and there wasn’t as much excitement generated among Toon Army MN.

(Toon Man) I imagine Toon Army Minnesota mirrored fans Tyneside and all over the world. We supported the Team the best we could…and we hit a mini-high under Rafa and the exciting year that we fought our way to promotion. When he left, we were devastated when he left the club, and speaking only for me, I wondered if I could continue to trudge through. His replacement’s lack of class, energy, tactics, and nous further weakened resolve. Still, the wife and I would watch every match – either at home or with Toon Army Minnesota on occasion. If the takeover did not happen though…I’m not sure where I’d be.

Tell us about when the takeover happened in October 2021, how did your club / members react, did you have a special celebration?

(Keith) Everyone was ecstatic about the takeover! There was finally hope that the future of the club was bright. I think overall, there was some hesitation that Bin Salman was going to be the owner, but also, there was hope in the fact that Amanda Staveley, and Mehrdad Ghodoussi would be the people actually running the club, and I think that helped a lot of us be okay
with the takeover.

(Malcolm) No group celebration on the day but people turned up in good number for the first game after the takeover.

(Jonathan Tudor) To me it’s bittersweet in that I don’t want us to buy our way into success. I love how Eddie has managed things in that he has brought hardworking, passionate players and still rewarded the local lads.

(Jon) I know that many had cans ready and celebrated that way but it happened during the week so we did not gather that day.
Sheer joy! Renewed excitement about a hopeful future.

(Toon Man) I was traveling for business and all of the sudden my phone was being texted non-stop. I watched and read about the events in my Houston hotel room in stunned disbelief. My wife called me and was actually crying with joy! I remember exactly where I was on two occasions, 9/11 and the Toon takeover. And what a takeover, except for some apparent ticket issues – ownership and Eddie have not put a foot wrong!

Toon Army Minnesota

What kind of impact (if any) has the takeover and these past couple of years had on the numbers of people and interest in your club?

(Keith) We have grown exponentially, and the meet ups definitely have increased since the takeover. I think that there was just a lot more excitement of watching the team with others, than just watching it at home. Quite a few were supporters before the takeover, they just were so beaten down during the Ashley years, it was just hard to watch some of the matches for
them. I don’t feel like any of our group members are plastic supporters, unlike some of the other clubs who had big takeovers…

(Malcolm) Interest has obviously increased with membership numbers steadily rising. What I do see though is that the new members are not just interested in joining because we are now the “money” club, but because they always supported Newcastle and are now proud to show it.

(Adam) It’s been fantastic, the energy is so much better among the fanbase everywhere. I now believe that I will see Newcastle win something before I die (I’m 53) and we came so close last season.

(Jon) Increased interest and excitement for people to more closely follow the team.

(Toon Man) Ashley made following football pure drudgery. As mentioned, going to Brit’s is a 180 mile drive (each way) for the wife and I – so it usually accompanies a hotel stay. It was just hard to justify the time and expense to watch a club that didn’t try, led by a gaffer who couldn’t be bothered to try. The takeover happened and now I make excuses to time travel and meetings around the match times and try to make matches no matter where I happen to be. I’ve attended matches at Brit’s – but also in supporters clubs across the USA. All say the same thing – supporters are showing up again and are proud to do so. There is more energy and excitement than ever!

Any amusing tales to tell of your meet ups, your members, your club’s trips to Newcastle for matches, or whatever?

(Lee) In the early days around 2003 when my son Luca was a toddler, I would bring him to the pub to watch the games. He wasn’t quite able to walk yet but was very energetic and would shoot off on his hands and knees around the pub. So, like a proper Geordie he went on his first bar crawl before his first birthday!

(Jonathan Tudor) We went to the Wolves Game last year when we won at St James’ Park. As we were walking up to the Stadium the first person we saw was Supermac!

(Adam) My son, Jacob and his friend managed to track down Tonali, Bruno and couple of other players at a Brazilian restaurant in Atlanta and got some selfies and was recognised by some of the fans and even podcasters in NYC.

(Jon) The cup final was a particular highlight with 60-70 supporters in full voice, despite the result. I’ve also been at Brit’s on a couple of occasions where I have been one of only 2 people there (once with Marne and once with Lee) where we tried hard to fly the flag despite the low attendance!

(Toon Man) Susan (my wife) and I were in Newcastle last year for two matches – Southampton and Arsenal. Unfortunately, the Arsenal match was moved from Saturday to Sunday and we were unable to go due to our return flight time. We had a Saturday with nothing planned and our solution was to leave city center and do a pub crawl on the Metro! We left late morning and had stops at the Monkseaton Arms (we left a note for Simon), Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields, Wallsend and Walkergate.

We had a blast! We met the nicest people and had out pictures taken with our Toon Army Minnesota flag. The highlight was the Railway in Walkergate where we met friends of Lee’s! They recognised the Toon Army Minnesota flag. Brian H. and Danny S. were among the group attending and were so generous to us and even arranged to get an autograph and pic of Entertainers great, Keith Gillespie!

Toon Army Minnesota

I was a bit too drunk to have a decent conversation with him and regret missing the chance!

Apart from possibly meeting up on match days, does your club get up to any other activities, how do you interact / keep in touch, whatever else you’d like to tell us about what your club / people get up to?

(Malcolm) We have a few younger members play indoor and outdoor football together or go bowling after the game to continue the day of celebration.

(Lee) When I first moved from Newcastle to Minneapolis in 1999 I’d never heard of the city and only knew a little from some research on the internet. I told my company I was interested in working abroad and was actually hoping to live in a warmer climate, but they sent me to Minneapolis in January when the temperatures were in the (-20 F) to (-30 F) degree range. That’s when I first experienced my nose hair freezing when breathing in!

However, I was greeted by some expat colleagues on arrival and was immediately taken by the friendly nature of the locals. There is also a strong expat presence which made it easier to settle in along with a lively social scene focused near Brit’s Pub in Downtown Minneapolis. Brit’s has been home away from home, managed by the Higgins brothers from Burnley who are massively into football and I believe have a soft spot for the Toon.

Brit’s is surprisingly one of the largest bars in downtown Minneapolis AND for several years was the biggest seller of Newcastle Brown Ale on tap in the world. Several Newcastle shirts adorn the walls of the pub courtesy of Scottish and Newcastle, with the squad numbers representing the years they won the accolade.

Visitors should also look out for the Byker Clooty Mat which is a tapestry of the Viking invasion of Newcastle told on old Geordie . I met my wife in that first year and the rest is history. I am actually writing this on the plane to Newcastle, heading home for a holiday and to see the upcoming Chelsea and Man U games (the one positive of the Ashley era is my parents and I were able to get a couple of season tickets just before the takeover for knockdown prices). This will be my first game since the takeover (except for the weekend trip to Wembley for the final) and I can’t wait to taste the atmosphere and show my son what it truly means to be a Newcastle supporter.

(Adam) Some have played football together, planned on seeing concerts together (many had tickets for Sam Fender but it was cancelled). Go to holiday parties etc.

In your area, what is the level of interest in Newcastle United compared to other Premier League clubs, their local supporters clubs in your area etc?

(Malcolm) We are the smaller of the clubs that meet up in Brit’s Pub – The others being Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City, but our numbers are increasing and there are days that we can outnumber the others.

(Adam) The support for Newcastle is definitely growing. Brit’s pub is primarily a Liverpool, Chelsea and City pub and we can proudly say that our attendance now competes with theirs. We are turning Brits into a Toon Army Pub!

(Jon) I’d say that we are maybe viewed by other supporters clubs as insignificant (especially compared to Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City when they are at Brit’s). Sometimes feels like we are given less freedom in Brit’s and haven’t yet won over their staff about us having a dedicated space to call our own (Example: They’ve pushed back in allowing us to display permanent pictures etc). I think that other supporter’s clubs probably see us as having only become significant since the takeover, without realizing that many of us supported the club long before that and dedicatedly followed the team.

(Toon Man) It was fun to put this together with a very special shout out to Malcolm Halliday (@malcolm_halliday) for all his tireless efforts in coordinating this and for making every match day so much fun! And to all the members of Toon Army Minnesota. We’d love to have a pint with anyone that comes and joins us at Brit’s for a Newcastle United match.

If you help to run one of the Newcastle United Supporters Clubs and would like to see your club featured on The Mag in the future, please drop a quick email to contribute@themag.co.uk and we will send you the questions and other info, then once we get your replies we will schedule your NUFC Supporters Club to go up.

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