A milestone for Newcastle United and Spurs are back at home.
Like everyone else, I am off the scale, excited about recent events and what our future will be like now.
My old head is struggling to close the gap between what I experienced during my lifetime and what it will be like with this new order…. As a result, I looked for a direct comparison through 50 years of memories.
We’ve lived in a soap opera for so long that we’ve definitely been here before. But of course we don’t have that, do we?
If you watch the first game of the new incarnation in a week today, Sunday will be huge, but the 90 minutes of football will only play a small role. A result is very much appreciated, but it’s more about the rest of the day, this wonderful stadium and its people bloating collective breasts and letting out the loudest roar the place has ever seen!
It had a few special days, but not one of those.
The next comparison for me is again Newcastle United versus Tottenham Hotspur – August 93.
We reach the top table – Premier League after worrying for a couple of years whether we could lose the club at all? We almost slipped into third place (current home of our close neighbors ffs).
Then Keegan came along, Quinn and Kelly scored the goal together against Portsmouth, we survived the chaos on Filbert Street. We dared to dream, then that unbeaten run to kick off Keegan’s first season with his own players. Promoted to Grimsby, then refuel Leicester 7-1 at the party center to sign out.
Went away thinking this is great, now back with the big boys – let’s see what happens. Because the Premiership was new to us and KK said it would be all right, but were we so confident? I’m not sure it was us.
My season ticket had been in the middle in the paddock at the time, but I quickly applied for one in the Leazes-Ende, which was under construction (John Hall booth – yes, I know). I was spellbound by this structure that saw it grow. How high would it get? Remember, I compared it to that shabby little patio, a pathetic memorial to the cowshed at the end of Leazes, where I had spent most of my teenage years. I changed my route to work so I could pass it every day. I took my kids to Leazes Park every weekend so we could watch it grow. Son was excited like me, daughter less.
The season ticket came, I had MY first seat at St. James Park, the games came, Spurs at home, first day, boarding, how many days? I think I counted them down. Up early, strong sunshine, into town early for a few beers, couldn’t stay in the pub?!?! (Yes I know!) Had to be there to see it.
Found the turnstile, fresh concrete and paint, up the stairs and there it was. We were just above the crossbar and halfway to the east stand. Everyone stands around like ninnies and grins at each other. Introductions were made, where did you stand earlier, etc.? The structure looked even bigger from the inside compared to the relatively small Gallowgate end. We had arrived at the big time, what happens now? Confidence has increased, that’s great, we are invincible, KK is the man. By the time the game began, concern had turned into borderline arrogance.
In truth, I don’t remember much about the game, but our boys worked hard, I remember they looked a little more accomplished than us, sharper, we chased and harassed, but somehow they managed to hold the ball … 0 -1 Sheringham scored a goal and got down on one knee to be photographed. Did he take the p.ss or was he aware that he was part of an opportunity? Who knows, he probably doesn’t even remember it now.
In any case, this incoherent foray is not about football, but about the fact that the day is an event that is much bigger than the game itself. It is about welcoming the new owners together and telling the world: We lie Been in a coma for 14 years but now we’re coming back. Better, stronger than ever, and we’re going to enjoy every damn minute of it!
I was lucky enough to be at the game in ’93 and a lot more. I won’t be there on Sunday, but I want to hold onto my belief in those who will be.
Make the loudest bully you ever heard. Go early, scream and yell from start to finish and make it a day none of us will forget!
We’ve been silent for way too long, let’s never go there again!