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E-MAIL: WEBSITE: EDITOR: Alex Hurst DEPUTY EDITOR: Norman Riley FOUNDED BY: Michael Martin PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Flynn, Colin Ferguson & Carl Haynes COPYRIGHT: All items(c) true faith. Not to be reproduced without the prior permission of true faith. STATEMENT: This is NOT an official product of Newcastle United FC. NOTICE: All views expressed are the views

Editorial......................................................... pg4

Football fans are not the enemy.... pg48

A-Z.................................................................. pg6

News from nowhere............................ pg52

What is a club in any case?............. pg10

of true faith.

mackem tweets...................................... pg12

Newcastle United: The out of tune years......................... pg54

Belgium...................................................... pg14

A Way of Life........................................... pg58

contributions to true

Top Man..................................................... pg18

Review - Third Lanark........................... pg60

faith are welcomed,

Brand New Mag..................................... pg20

A Way of Life............................................ pg64

My Favourite Match............................. pg22

Objects of Desire................................... pg66

articles, photos etc.

Stickers....................................................... pg24

Postcards from the edge..................... pg68


Down Down............................................. pg26

60 second season.................................. pg68

England, My England?.......................... pg28

Takin’ Italian............................................ pg72

Away Day Elation.................................. pg30

Drums and Wires................................... pg76

A Night with Shearer........................... pg34

of the author and do not always represent the views


encouraged and considered for publication - letters,


State of the Game................................. pg38

Happiness, Six in a Row and Bird Death.................... pg90

GHGT Hibsters on Tour....................... pg42

The End...................................................... pg92

© true faith.


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Welcome to tf 138. Newcastle United is a happy Football Club. For now. The manager in his pre-match presser before Everton has made clear that Mike Ashley’s ambition must match his own if he is to stay at the club. The statement has gone largely unnoticed by much of the support and why not? These past few weeks have been as serene as I can remember as a United fan. A team that gives us everything but also has the required quality to prove itself as a top ten force in the Premier League. That last sentence is satisfying. This group have been written of as second division. While it’s undeniable that they’re a limited group compared tf 4

to some of the more expensively assembled sides in this division, there is quality in this side. Mo Diame is playing like a £40m player. Shelvey the same. Perez looks like a number 10 at this level. The back 5 are better than most. I don’t mean to disparage the achievements of Rafa Benitez, far from it, but this team can play and I back them for 8th. A monumental achievement if they can manage it. It would represent the joint seventh best ever finish for a newly promoted team. That may not sound impressive but that’s out of 75 promoted teams. Not bad considering many will have spent far more and achieved far less. I’m talking to you from a bar in Liverpool, pre-

tf 138 April/May 2018

Everton Away. The cup semi between Southampton and Chelsea and Wembley has its fair share of empty seats. Regardless of any grievance that each support could claim to have to have, its laughable that either support couldn’t fill their allocation. Compare and contrast to mid-table Newcastle United who sell out home games so fast thousands of fans are left wanting to get in. Our ground is too small for us. Fact. Almost any other side in the Premier League would be seriously considering a massive expansion of the stadium.


Mo Diame is playing like a £40m player. Shelvey the same.

Then there’s the training ground. It’s no secret Rafa Benitez believes it requires a massive upgrade and he’s not wrong. Newcastle United need to compete

on every level with the clubs that are above us in the football food chain right now. It’s criminal that the likes of Brighton, ‘Boro and even Sunderland have superior training facilities. Mike Ashley once again has the chance to flush away so much negative history by getting things right this summer. Speaking of our Wearside ‘rivals’ their relegation to England’s third tier was confirmed this weekend. Tyneside and the greater North East area from which United draws it’s massive support went wild. Many fans of the League One side seem infuriated with the vast majority of football fans in the North East taking great delight in their failure. They’ve short memories. Like many reading this, when United were relegated in 2016,I was subject to some personal abuse and gloating from a number of them. Social media has provided us with a historical goldmine of schadenfreude. As Newcastle United soar Sunderland football club sinks and dies. I’m enjoying it. True faith was the first of any media outlet to properly predict the financial implosion that was coming, as early as 2015. It was there for the world to see but Ellis Short is discovering that as Niall Quinn’s promise of   ‘beat

the Mags twice and stay up and they’ll worship you’ doesn’t actually work. ‘6 in a row’ simply doesn’t matter to Mags, whereas a number of that lot still swear by it. When Luton come to town next season I hope ALS are still selling plenty of t-shirts and the club shop are still selling the DVDs. To the 8,000 or so that turn up. Back to United though and the end of the season is relished. How often have we been able to say that in recent years? Under Pardew April was the best month to go abroad, so horrible was United’s record. Tickets for the remaining away games at Watford and Spurs are at a premium.

It hasn’t always been like this and it may not be in the future. The games against Arsenal and Leicester were an utter joy to attend. No pressure. Just enjoyment of fantastic and deserved wins. The lads were superb and the national media are starting to talk up the SJP atmosphere like its the nineteen nineties. These are the days. Long may they continue. That said Newcastle United, despite a disastrous ten seasons, are capable of so much more. That’s what exited Rafa Benitez, I feel. That’s what should excite fans and in an ideal world, the owner. We’ve no idea

what Ashley is thinking and we’ve no idea what he plans to do. He needs to sell Newcastle United to someone who believes in the club. He needs to sell it to someone who believes in the manager and the squad. Anything else will be a massive disappointment. The club has never been more valuable so there will be buyers out there. Thanks to all of you who read true faith online, in this Fanzine and listen to our podcasts. We’re recording record numbers for all and are grateful to all of the people who provide all of our content free of charge. It’s a great time to support United at the moment. Enjoy the end of the season. We deserve this. Alex Hurst Editor FOLLOW @tfalex1892

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Algerians. Accrington (A) – enjoy it. Business. We’re at that end of the season and as I write this we’re 10th, 10 points above the relegation zone and playing with confidence and belief. let’s hope by tf 6

the time you’re reading this our main business is done and we’re aiming to finish as high as possible.

was almost as enjoyable as witnessing a goal. Footballing brutalism at is best.

CRUNCH. The noise made 7 times as United players stuck in 7 tackles in the space of 25 seconds against Leicester. There was an art to it that

Down. The opposite direction to the one that Newcastle United are heading in. Everton. The away match shifted from the Saturday

to a Monday meaning people with pre-booked train tickets and a match ticket being fucked over by Sky and the PL again (me included). We can complain as loudly as we like but Murdoch’s gang do not give one single iota of a shite. Fat. Big Fat Sam. manager of the above. His penchant for the fantastical when talking about himself reached new highs (lows?) a couple of weeks ago when he claimed, ‘West Bromwich Albion were above us when I arrived’. They weren’t. Geordie John. Carver offering fans out who support a team that plays in black and white after yet another capitulation presided over by Alan Pardew. Sound familiar? Huddersfield. 18 shots, 63% of the possession. 1-0 wasn’t a fair reflection of the dominance. We were so much better than them. Islam. Big Slim played! And he was good! An excellent cameo from the Algerian who ruffled Huddersfield’s defence and intelligently stayed behind the goal line to allow Pérez’s goal to stand. Looking forward to him having an impact in

the last 5 matches. Jonjo. Surely, surely the performances he’s put in since the start of the year mean he should be on that plane to Russia. His temperament has improved in tandem with his ability to utterly control a game. Just a shame Mo’s already played competitively for Senegal.... Kenedy. The same K as last month but it’s a tough letter! The stats speak for themselves. the impact he’s had on the side since signing has been nothing short of incredible. The 2 goals against the Saints were superb. He’s happy here and I’m sure we all want him to become a permanent NUFC player.

exactly the total Rafa wants to be confident enough to turn around and say ‘Yes, we’re safe’. He was asked by the BBC post-Leicester if his team had made it. His reply? ‘Nearly, but nearly is nearly’ One of our own. Paul Dummett g o t serenaded during the Southampton match. What a player this local lad is turning out to be. His tackle on Mahrez was outstanding and never a penalty. NEVER. Perez. Ayoze’s goal against Huddersfield was celebrated loud, long and with the possible loss of limbs. The side’s stats with and without him indicate just how important he is. Oh, and aye...that lob.

Liverpool. A tough match away but no shame in that performance. Just look what they did to the world’s most expensive team in the Champions League.

Quip. A good one from Shelvey post-Leicester when asked about the Maguire non-red card, ‘If it was me I’d probably have been sent off already’. Funny but, sadly, true.

Mitrovic. Doing very well at Fulham in the Championship. This has some clamouring for him return to NUFC. It’ll be interesting if his performances with the Cottagers give him a final shot at making it with Rafa.

Rotation? What rotation? An unchanged side for 3 consecutive matches. 3 wins. Rafa supposedly loves to rotate. I’d suggest it’s more that he picks a team for the match depending on the opposition.

Nearly. 2 points off 40 as I type this and clearly

It’ll be interesting if his performances with the Cottagers give him a final shot at making it with Rafa.

Schmeichel. Both Peter and his son Kasper have been lobbed by United tf 7

players. Albert over Peter in 96 and Atoze’s absolute beaut over Kasper away to Leicester. Does Kasper have a son by any chance? Tottenham. Rearranged f o r Wednesday the 9th of May.Not the best but then again, watching midweek football when it’s still naturally light is appealing. Wembley needs to prepare itself for 3000 raucous Geordies. Under 23s. So we might get a derby match to attend next season courtesy of tthe magnificent Checkatrade Trophy. Albeit our U23s against our rivals firstteam. This is the final dig at the expense of our

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local rivals....they could still stay-up.... Vardy. The Speedy Sheffield Albert Steptoe scored a late tap-in but apart from that was utterly anonymous. Reason? Our defence is magnificent.

and work-rate have been absolutely exemplary over this last month. Plus, he had a go at that giant-heeded oaf Maguire despite being 3 times smaller than him.

Wagner. Knows the City, knows the Club, knows the Team, knows a lot about Newcastle. Didn’t know how to beat them mind.

Yedlin. His performances since those 2 nightmares versus Watford and West Brom during those dark winter days have improved so much. The Leicester performance was his best yet. Outstanding.

Xanthous. This means of or relating to races with yellowish hair and a light complexion. Matt Ritchie could be described as xanthous, for example. A great goal against Southampton and yet again his application

Zero. Home goals conceded by our Slovak stopper. Well done Martin Dubravka lad. He’s also already enamoured with the City of Newcastle, as is his other half. Another superb piece of scouting by Rafa and his team.

His performances since those 2 nightmares versus Watford and West Brom during those dark winter days have improved so much. The Leicester performance was his best yet. Outstanding.

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It’s a famous quote that was coined by the late, great Sir Bobby Robson. A burning question that for many of our loyal fan base will evoke different memories and opinions. I sense that the quotation conveys how essential the supporters are to a club, many players, managers and directors come and go; yet the constant is the fans. Through thick and thin times, in the Magpies case it’s been thin and then even thinner, no trophy of any note since the heroes of the 1969 Fairs Cup team. The 1955 FA Cup win, still to this day remains the last domestic trophy. The two cup finals in the late 90’s are for me an even more distant memory; it seemed only yesterday that I watched both on television.

The famous quote, I feel portrays that fans are the essential fabric that holds a club together. The city has got a real sense of unity back again. The loyal support has always been there, even through the Pardew, Carver and Mclaren era, support was still making that pilgrimage to St James’. If the team are performing well, then the city has a smile on it’s face; in the shops, restaurants, nightclubs and pubs all ooze that chatter and buzz of a Magpies win. I also would argue the fact that the ground is in the city centre, a huge towering landmark makes it a huge focal point. The stadium sits proudly on a perch and dominates the skyline. All the tight knit streets; sometimes laid out

What is a club in any case ?

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in squares, there will be somewhere a link pointing towards the towering home of the Magpies. The season thus far for me has been a mixed bag; however the real pioneer behind our upturn in results recently, is of course Rafa Benitez. The team have been giving their all for the cause; all too often in recent times there have been players solely intending on picking up a wage, rather than playing. An articulate tactician who keeps the media guessing is so refreshing to see. A genuine, humble manager who has taken the city and fans to heart is again brilliant to see, visiting the city’s famous landmarks and exploring the rich, vibrant history, conveys to me someone who takes the club and

Sam Wilson

city’s demographics seriously. Donating to the NUFC food bank and Hillsborough Fund; that is the measure of the man. Our manager has given the club a sense of integrity back, sure the guys made some mistakes, no manager is perfect, however the guys a natural winner, a football fanatic. I believe Rafa has always admired our club and has said on record, many times that the fans and potential is there for all to see. The January signings Kenedy and Dubravka look real quality and a cut above what we’ve got which who knows could lead to permanent deals. Again the fans will always be behind you if they see genuine effort and commitment to the shirt. Another aspect of the famous quote is a young child grabbing his father’s

hand, outlines some wonderful and emotive memories for me. Seeing the pitch is a real sense of nostalgia. I was overawed by the ground. It’s sheer size and structure is mightily impressive. I can surmise from Sir Bobby’s quote; football and your team is a live long journey. My first visit was the 2009 Championship fixture against Reading. The ground was around half full that day; still mightily impressive given the off the field frustrations of the fans. A real sense of concern was present at the time; Would we come back up? Who will stay or go? The Grandad collared shirt with the Brown ale sponsor. I had the full kit. I thought the vibrant kits that we’ve had were real retro as well as vintage. I also loved Ferdinand as I got a figure of him via my breakfast cereal! It’s those

unique links which made me support the team. I felt that Newcastle’s badge was smart and I thought in my innocence that the two sea horses were indeed Magpies; (cue laughs)! The badge though with the two sea horses; portraying the citys link to the sea; Newcastle being a famous shipbuilding city, and of course the little flag highlighting the castle’s keep within the city; another historic link and landmark. Encapsulating, fascinating and amazing isn’t it? Finally the stripes on the badge outlining our famous colours.

The January signings Kenedy and Dubravka look real quality and a cut above what we’ve got which who knows could lead to permanent deals.

It’s been a privilege to write for my fellow fans we’re in it together, in closing; What is a club in any case ? Over to you lads and lasses........the most important people the audience!! tf 11

Our nearest and dearest really took the piss when we went down to the Championship in 2016. We had a world class manager, a packed stadium and fan base that didn’t rely on 9,000 free tickets a game to boost attendances (before SAFC just started making them up) but still they laughed and laughed. No one questioned the huge financial loses being incurred every year to finish with less than 40 points in the league (apart from true faith) and they were so consumed with Newcastle United they didn’t see what was so obviously coming. Here’s a short story of how the laughter stopped...

The glory days

Signs of trouble ahead

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Sunderland fans always back their managers

Grayson IS MAGIC and a great person

Mistakes can be made

Coleman is the saviour

Urgent Correction

This seems a while ago now doesn’t it?

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I first arrived in Brussels in 2011. Back then, Belgium was associated mainly with Tintin, Poirot, the Smurfs, chocolate, waffles, fritten met mayonaise and hilariously strong beers. Seven years on, Belgium is synonymous with Islamist terrorism, dysfunctional governments, and “plotting against” Brexit. More pleasingly, it has undergone a footballing transformation - shooting up the world rankings and regularly exporting genuine word-class talent to bigger leagues.

Why our imports from the Belgian league haven’t Stephen Pearson worked out in Sels, Mitrovic and Mbemba? As a semi-regular attendee of matches in Belgium’s top division, the Jupiler league (named after the blandly inoffensive massselling lager), and having played for teams at grassroot level, I can offer some insight into why this might be the case - and why Matz Sels, Aleksandar Mitrovic

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and Chancel Mbemba have largely failed to impress for Newcastle. Belgium’s international pedigree is decent. Qualifying regularly for World cups and European championships between 1980 and 2002, highpoints included finishing runners-up at Italy 1980

and fourth at Mexico ‘86. Between 2002 and 2012, Belgium entered something of a footballing wilderness, reaching a nadir in 2007 when they slumped to 72nd in the FIFA rankings. By 2015, Belgium had risen to first - the emergence of a talented crop of players leading to quarter final

places at Brazil 2014 and France 2016. Yet the feeling was one of opportunities missed, and saw manager Marc Wilmots replaced by Roberto Martinez; unbeaten in qualifying, Belgium face England on 28 June in Kaliningrad, arguably as favourites. But whereas the national side has undergone a renaissance, the reverse is true of club football. Once well regarded - between 1976 and 1993, Anderlecht, Club Brugge, KV Mechelen, Royal Antwerp and Standard Liege all contested European finals (since tarnished by allegations of bribery and corruption), Belgian teams seldom feature in the latter stages of European club competition nowadays. The Jupiler league is ninth in UEFA’s rankings, based on club performances in Europe - ahead of Turkey, Netherlands, Switzerland and Greece (note this criteria excludes the Championship). Inevitably, talented players are

snapped up by foreign clubs at a very early age, replaced by cheaper imports from lesser European, African and Latin American countries. There appears to be an age disparity - players seemingly either very young, or at the end of their careers perhaps explaining how David Rozehnal (a shortlived Newcastle signing courtesy of footballing genius Sam Allardyce) turn out for KV Oostende aged 37. This mixed picture weak domestic league, but genuine stellar talent gracing leading European club sides - means that assessing the readiness of players in Belgium to succeed in England is somewhat complex. On the surface, Belgium possesses the ideal conditions for young footballers to develop. A melting pot of nationalities (sizeable Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, Greek, Yugoslav, Moroccan and Congolese populations) contribute to

the football culture played in myriad parks and streets nationwide. Possession, patient build-up play and individual skill is emphasised over speed, strength, crosses and set-pieces. Teams generally build from the back, with all players comfortable in giving and receiving the ball. Tackling and pressing occurs, but not at the intensity seen in England. So how to explain our experiences with Sels, Mitrovic and Mbemba? On paper, the signing of Mitrovic from Anderlecht in 2015 was a no-brainer. Belgian friends who follow the Jupiler league were convinced he had the attributes to succeed in the Premier League - aggression, strength, aerial ability. In parallel, his career followed an impressive upward trajectory - his goals-togame ratio was consistent, regardless of the level he played at. Sadly, his early appearances for Newcastle set the tone - a booking

But whereas the national side has undergone a renaissance, the reverse is true of club football. Once well regarded

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seconds after coming on during his debut, and a red card against Arsenal soon after. More pub league than Premier League, his childish wannabehardman act often proving counterproductive. His record for Serbia suggests there’s clearly some talent hidden away - but he failed to score in sufficient quantities for Newcastle to justify the cult hero status a sizeable portion of the fanbase bestowed upon him. Mbemba has at times looked classy and capable since arriving from Anderlecht in 2015. Thrown into a struggling team and partnering a past-hisbest Fabricio Coloccini, or played out of position to accommodate the similarly in-decline Steven Taylor, he failed to perform consistently. Rafael Benitez is clearly unsure of his talents, using him sparingly.

as they defied expectations by subsequently reaching the the Champions League knockout stages. Agile, brave, confident, and excellent at distributing the ball with his feet increasingly vital in the modern game - he seemed a shrewd purchase. However, initial signs were not promising. I recall his debut at Lokeren; I expected him to rise to the occasion on his “homecoming”, but during a 4-0 win over lacklustre opponents, failed to assert himself. Nevertheless, Sels was between the posts as United began life in the Championship, but failed to convince - spilling shots, flapping at crosses, and pacing nervously across his line - and was soon replaced by Karl Darlow. Barely six months later, given a runout in the FA Cup at Oxford, he was a sorry sight - visibly bereft of confidence, shellshocked by the demands of English football.

A key member of KAA Gent’s first ever championship winning side, Sels starred

But the failure of this trio to set English football alight does not necessarily mean

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players from Belgium are best avoided. Recent arrivals from Belgium have proven their worth in England - such as Wilfred N’didi (Leicester), Steven Defour (Burnley), Anthony Knockaert and José Izquierdo (Brighton). Indeed, as I contemplated drafting this article, I bumped into Stuart Pearce at Brussels Midi station. Engaging him in conversation, he explained he planned to watch a few Jupiler league matches; days later, his employers, West Ham, attempted to sign Anderlecht’s young Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker. So it’s not just Newcastle who see value in Belgian-based players others recognise there is talent to be found here. Instead, I would question whether our scouting undertook sufficient assessment of their backgrounds to determine their suitability to English football generally and Newcastle United specifically. I would also question whether the coaching set-up hindered

A key member of KAA Gent’s first ever championship winning side, Sels starred as they defied expectations by subsequently reaching the the Champions League knockout stages.

their subsequent underperformances. Age may have played a significant role. All three were in their early twenties when they arrived at Newcastle. They wouldn’t be the first young players to struggle to adapt to the high-intensity demands of English football (Jon Dahl Tomasson, anyone?). Further, none arrived in ideal circumstances: Mitrovic and Mbemba both arrived under Steve McLaren’s doomed tenure; Sels in the immediacy of a catastrophic relegation. Mitrovic’s temperament was memorably questioned by Craig Hope of the Daily Mail on a TF podcast; his investigations led him to conclude the Serb lacked maturity and professionalism - time will tell if a spell at Fulham can revive his career. Mbemba only arrived in Europe from DR Congo (by any measure one of the poorest countries on the planet) in 2012. Further, he arrived at Newcastle unable to speak English - not ideal when communication is so vital in central defence. He

has impressed when played to counter specific threats - hopefully there is a future for him here. Sels - despite his titlewinning and Champions League experience - had played barely 100 games as a professional. And while the Champions league is the pinnacle of club football, the Championship is a different beast altogether. Loaned to Anderlecht in June 2017, Sels was in and out of the side as Anderlecht struggled initially. He has since re-established himself, aided by Hein Vanhaezebrouck, his coach at Gent, being installed mid-season. Hopefully he can rebuild his confidence in familiar surroundings - but doubts surely remain. Indeed, one could even query whether Sels was identified by Benitez. Although he was the first signing to arrive following relegation in 2016, given Newcastle’s transfer policy under Mike Ashley, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if his arrival was a legacy of the Graham Carr era. This is given further credence if we consider that

several Newcastle signings from stronger or equivalent leagues have hardly distinguished themselves in United’s colours but have - irritatingly - thrived elsewhere (Georginio Wijnaldum, Florian Thauvin, Daryl Janmaat, Luuk De Jong, Facundo Ferreyra to name but a few). Poor players, or inadequate scouting and coaching? Given they all arrived under McLaren or Alan Pardew, the answer rather suggests itself. In sum, given the Jupiler League’s reputation for unearthing and exporting talent, it would be unfair to blame the style of football or quality of the league for Newcastle’s failure to successfully scout and sign Belgian-based players. No manager is perfect, but with Benitez at the helm and with a suitable budget (two big leaps of faith, admittedly) I would have no qualms about signing players from Belgium in future. As with most things at Newcastle, It all depends on Ashley. That is the real conundrum.

Age may have played a significant role. All three were in their early twenties when they arrived at Newcastle. They wouldn’t be the first young players to struggle to adapt to the high-intensity demands of English football (Jon Dahl Tomasson, anyone?)

tf 17

Recently the bairn was fortunate enough to represent his school at a Premier League tournament. Four teams qualified , one from each of Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead. The regional part of the tournament was organised through the NUFC Foundation and the winners were to represent NUFC at U11 school age at the national finals taking place at the KP Stadium Leicester in May. The matches were to be played at the Newcastle United training ground inside their tent on 4g so no chance of a postponement unlike most of the recent juniors football fixtures. He was obviously looking forward to it and asked if I thought there would be any players there watching. As it was taking place on a Friday afternoon two days before the league match with Man United, I told him not to expect anyone as they’d be in press conferences or ‘resting’.... Anyway the afternoon of the games came and by chance I’d checked the tf 18

NUFC foundation twitter feed to see if there was any mention of the kids playing and any results. A quick check and there in front of me was a photo of the bairn and his team talking with Rafa after they had won their semi final match. Never used to happen when I played..

Apparently he’d spotted him watching his game on the touchline and nearly fell over when he realised who it was. No pressure son! Another example of the little things that go unnoticed by the majority but enough to make the kids day, week , month - year. Top Man.

Id later found out that he’d took the time from his busy schedule to walk over unannounced to watch the games, meet the kids and have some photos taken with them and the premier league trophy.To say he was buzzing when he got home was an understatement.



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If you had told me last year that I would spend a solid chunk of my free time getting drunk and going to Newcastle matches, I would have given you a puzzled look. I’ve always been a Premier League fan, but living in the United States, I had never been to a match before this year. Since moving to London and starting my master’s program, I’ve had the great privilege of getting to tag along to a handful of Newcastle games this year. But my first trip to St. James Park—the match against Southampton—was by far the best.

I got on the train from Newcastle at 8:00am at King’s Cross Station. I guess for some people, traveling 3 hours each way just to go to a football match seems a bit intense. But I was actually just happy that I didn’t have to wake up earlier. I met Norman at the train station in Newcastle around 11:30am. We walked around the city a

tf 20

bit—popping into a cool retro sport shop where I narrowly avoided spending forty pounds on an East Germany football jacket— before meeting up with his friends at the pub. We grabbed some pints and the boys started recording their podcast. I was content to drink Guinness and watch Manchester United

defeat Liverpool while they discussed a season of Newcastle football that happened before I was born. Once they finished, we sat around and chatted before kickoff, downing about five pints over a couple of hours before we decided to walk to the stadium.

Allison Cary @FindingAllison

A word here—when you’re a 5’1 woman and you down

five pints in two hours, you tend to get drunk. Safe to say that by the time we got to our seats, I was very happy and ready for the game to start. My only goal for that match was to see Newcastle score some goals. In the past two matches I had been to, I had seen them score once— and in neither match did they win. Norman warned me that if they did score, I might end up getting lifted off my feet and float down a couple of rows, but not to worry about it. With the amount of alcohol in my system, I wasn’t sure I could find my way back, but I was about to find out. In the second minute of the match, Kenedy launched a goal past Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy. No one expected the match to pick up so quickly, and while I thankfully stayed on my feet and in the same row, the fans went nuts. The boys had picked up the early lead—but now it was on them to maintain it. Any fears that Kenedy’s goal was merely a moment

of brilliance were assuaged when Kenedy doubled Newcastle’s lead in the 26th minute. When the boys went to the locker room at the half with a 2-0 lead, we all felt pretty good. Apparently, the alcohol really hit me in a bad way somewhere around halftime. I don’t remember being that bad, other than my buzz was dying down. But Norman later told me that I just stopped talking. I was probably just trying to figure out why people would rather bang against the metal wall of the stadium than invest in a drumline, but I don’t really remember. When Matt Ritchie scored Newcastle’s third goal in the 57th minute, I knew that the boys had won. But despite such a good score line, Newcastle had not dominated the game. Shots were nearly even between the two sides, and Southampton dominated possession and corners. I don’t think I really believed they had won until the final whistle.

Everyone was in a great mood after the match— so different than it had been after the draw against Crystal Palace or the loss to Arsenal. We stayed around, letting other people file out of the stadium, before Norman and I needed to head down to the train station. Before catching the train back to King’s Cross, we stopped at Burger King for some fries and picked up a full meal from M&S (“a true English picnic,” Norman called it). I let the alcohol wear off, but Norman kept drinking, on a high from such a wonderful day of football. That night, Norman and I made plans for me to go to two more matches— including another one at St. James Park—before the season was over. I worked for a football club in the U.S for two years, but I forgot how great a win like that felt. I can’t wait for my next Newcastle match, where hopefully I’ll get to feel the same exhilaration. But minimally, I know I’ve got more days of great friends, great beer, and great football ahead of me.

I worked for a football club in the U.S for two years, but I forgot how great a win like that felt. I can’t wait for my next Newcastle match, where hopefully I’ll get to feel the same exhilaration.

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When asked to do a piece on my favourite ever game, I really didn’t know where to start! From my first memory of going to St James Park, a televised F.A Cup 3rd round game against Blackburn. I remember walking up the back of the Leazes End, walking through the access and seeing the pitch for the first time, then celebrating my first goal when Rob Lee put in an equaliser from outside the box. Fantastic! A brilliant memory, but not my favourite game.

My Favourite Match


Manchester united 0 Newcastle United 1, Sat 7th December 2013. Old trafford, Att: 75,233. Other contenders come into it of course (I’m including only games I have actually attended) Of course Barcelona at home and likewise the Manchester United 5-0 game come into contention, but I think I was really just a bit too young to fully understand them. I eventually decided that it had to be a game where I was old enough to remember, by that I basically mean, where I was old enough to have a drink with all my mates,

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that’s what going to the match is really about for me, enjoying it with them. That enevtiably led me to think of away games, great days out beating those lot down the road, especially the 4-1 game the season they had already been relegated by the time we played them. Then of course the two european games I had done in both Brugge and Benfica, absolutely class trips that will live long in the memory! Brugge was tremendous, we

found a tiny little bar a bit of the beaten track, drank there before and after the game and practically drank the place dry!That point away at Benfica when we took the lead and the whole away end thought, we’re going to win this!! I finally came to the conclusion that my favourite ever game was when we beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford, when Yohan Cabaye scored. Why this game, because I fucking

hate Man Utd! The amount of times I’ve been to Old Trafford and watch us being hammered, 6-0 Ronaldo hattrick etc! The amount of shite we’ve had to put up with of their shithouse fans, the Alex Ferguson factor (I’ll never forget him on the Old Trafford pitch just before the start if the second half one season giving it all sorts to the officials (we ended up losing that game 4-3 I think) As all good away games start with an early pick up and a few cans, on the road down to Manchester, 4/5 cans are normally gone by the time you reach the bar. We always call a bar a little bit outside wherever we are going to see if we can go there for opening time, this way it keeps us away from the ‘knacker’ percentage of our support, we all know who they are, beer being hoyed about etc. More pints and maybe a pie (because that’s definetly enough to eat on an away day isn’t it) then it’s time to get on the mini bus and head to the ground. Everyone is in

fine spirits, literally, and a good sing song on the bus as we head to the ground. At this point in an away day it is usually down hill from here on in, especially at Old Trafford......not this time though. We got to half time 0-0, the last time I’d witnessed us being 0-0 at half time away at Man Utd, it ended up being 6-0 full time! However just after the hour the ball broke on our right hand side and Sissoko charged down the wing towards the penalty area, somewhat suprisingly he managed to pick out Yohan Cabaye arriving at the edge of the penalty area who calmy stroked it beyond De Gea, cue scenes of limbs flying all over the place. I think I ended up being flung two rows in front and didn’t know where I was by the time the celebrations had died down. Of course like we always do, we rode our luck a little bit with Van Perise having a header disallowed. But then, the full time whistle sounded we all realised we had seen

our first win at Old Trafford since 1972! Players and fans celebrated as though we had won the league, that might sound a little small time but I didn’t give a fuck at the time! The singing and celebrations went on for a good half an hour after the game and it’s not as if we had been held back by the police, we were free to leave the ground when we wanted, but nobody did! Such were the reactions and jubilations that we decided en route home to stop in Kendal and went around a few bars there celebrating! At one point we were all taking turns on the kareoke in one bar, and I remember looking around and just thinking this is what it’s all about. Supporting your team, it makes all the shite we’ve been through worth it. For one day only we’d done Man Utd in their own backyard, geeeeet in man!

he managed to pick out Yohan Cabaye arriving at the edge of the penalty area who calmy stroked it beyond De Gea, cue scenes of limbs flying all over the place. I think I ended up being flung two rows in front.

What would be your favourite game and why? Start thinking, it really isn’t as easy as you’d think! Howay United!!!! tf 23



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I have to confess to not being one of those who like to see ‘all’ North East teams doing well. Far from it. In fact there is one particular North East team that I’ve always had a dislike for and I suspect many readers will probably have similar feelings. To give you a clue they may well be entering the FA Cup at the first round stage next season.

At the time of writing this article the Mackems are second bottom of the Championship and things aren’t looking good for them. With six games to go they are 5 points behind Birmingham who have recently appointed a new manager and currently stand fourth bottom. No doubt about it the Championship is a hard league to get out of …but the Mackems are certainly trying their best to do so… although perhaps not in the direction they intended. Enjoy the Championship they said, and we certainly are-for the second season in a row. Of course for those with longer memories it’s not like they haven’t been here before…. It all seems a distant memory but the 1986/87 season will stick in the minds of both Mags and Mackems but for different reasons. Special Agent Lawrie McMenemy had tf 26

taken over the manager’s role at Sunderland in 1985 with specific instructions to see how much damage he could inflict on them. They regarded him as the Messiah-so did we, to some extent. He did a decent job it’s fair to say and with end of the 86/87 season approaching and only half a dozen games or so left he was sacked. NUFC FA Cup winner Bob Stokoe was then appointed to see out the season. We knew he’d finish the job that Lawrie Mac had started and weren’t disappointed in the end. They lost their last game of the season at home to resign them to a playoff position and a two legged ‘cup final’ against Gillingham for the right to a second division spot for the following season. At that point in time the play offs were third bottom against third top as opposed to involving half the division

being involved-no play off semi- finals. Up until that point I’d never seen Sunderland in action other than against the Mags but there was plenty of chat circulating around Tyneside about going to the second leg if there was a chance that Sunderland would get relegated. I faced the personal dilemma of whether or not to break the habit of a lifetime if the chance arose and go and watch the Mackems in action. The first leg was at Gillingham and resulted in a 3-2 victory for the hosts with a little known centre forward - Tony Cascarinoscoring a hat trick for the home side. At that point in his career he wasn’t quite the established international he went on to be. Even at that point I didn’t personally believe our neighbours would be relegated and felt that they

It all seems a distant memory but the 1986/87 season will stick in the minds of both Mags and Mackems but for different reasons. Special Agent Lawrie McMenemy had taken over the manager’s role at Sunderland in 1985 with specific instructions to see how much damage he could inflict on them.

would do enough to stay up. I was undecided whether or not to go to the return leg at Roker Park and cheer on the Gills. By this time it was clear from chat around pubs in the town that there may well be a sizable contingent of Mags going down to Roker for the return leg .I was undecided until the night before the game. Out in the town I bumped into a few lads I knew from away games who said they were definitely going and being ‘worse the wear’ for drink myself and another lad from our own drinking squad decided to take the plunge and pop along for the second leg the next day. No metro to Sunderland in those days so train from Newcastle to Seaburn it was. No social media to catch up with other supporters who might be attending so it was just the two of us with a mates agreement to do nothing other than watch the match, keep our

gobs shut and straight off afterwards. We went into the Roker End, the only end we knew but stood in the side furthest away from the away following. The rest is history. Gillingham went ahead early on. Sunderland scored twice. Gillingham equalised and then within the last couple of minutes the Mackems went and scored a third. Equal on aggregate, Tony Cascarino then popped up and scored again. It wasn’t too late for the Mackems to score again but it was all too late6 each on aggregate and Gillingham away through on away goals. Sunderland relegated to the third division. An exciting game no doubt about it. What had become obvious during the course of the game was that a considerable number of Mags had gathered together in the Paddock adjacent to the Gillingham away following and they had to

be cordoned off from the Sunderland fans. Celebrating wildly whenever Gillingham scored we looked on in envy, our lips sealed but hearts pounding! The job started by Agent McMenemy had been finished off by Agent Stokoe…relegation to Division 3. We sloped off home after the game looking ‘despondent’ until we got home, whilst the Mags in the Paddock were held back and celebrated with the Gillingham fans. A bond was forged that day and respect for Cascarino given from both sides. I’ve never been back to watch a game involving Sunderland apart from when they played the Mags and have no intention in ever doing so. I’ll always remember that day and hand on heart probably thought it would never happen again. How wrong!

What had become obvious during the course of the game was that a considerable number of Mags had gathered together in the Paddock adjacent to the Gillingham away following.

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England, my England? Date, 15th June 1996. If you weren’t around or too young to remember, let me paint you a picture. It’s a glorious summer and the country is properly behind our national team. These boys are the real deal. The spine of the team has solidity, skill and possibly most importantly, character. From Seaman through to the indomitable Adams. From the genius of Gascoigne to the telepathic forward play of Shearer and Sheringham. I’ve managed to get my hands on a couple of England tickets (from some Scottish lads dressing SJP in the Euro 96 regalia - straight up) I steamed down to the old Twin Towered Wembley with the artist now known as ‘Castle Farm Mag’ stood in line with Gazza’s Mrs and picked up my Willy Wonka tickets. England v Scotland. One of the best football experiences I’m sure I’ll ever have. From sitting on the grass banks outside the old Stadium supping ice cold lagers, relief palpable at having the tickets in my wallet, to being in that amazing tf 28

atmosphere, watching Seaman saving that penalty. A couple of minutes later, Paul Gascoigne’s best moment in an England shirt, as he made a mug of the excellent Hendry then laced it past Goram. I was right behind that goal. After the match, we ended up in the Grand in Clapham. At the end, everyone absolutely bladdered singing ‘Football’s coming home’. It was just brilliant. Fast forward nearly 22 years. It’s World Cup year. And as it stands, I honestly couldn’t give a monkeys. And here’s why.....

Nick Clark Follow @Clark5Nick

Naivety I was mid 20’s. It didn’t matter that Newcastle had just lost a Titanic struggle to win the Premiership with Manchester United. We’ll win it next year. It doesn’t matter that, although clearly the best side in Europe, England have lost on dreaded penalties (again) to the Eric’s. This team is class. We’ll go again. Now I’m late 40’s & nauseating defeat coupled with mind numbing mediocrity have worn me down. I feel like Steve Naive for ever thinking my twin footballing loves would win stuff.

Am I a middle aged curmudgeon or has reality finally gotten the better of me? Probably a touch of both, if I’m honest. Corruption It’s in Russia. Has ever a more nefarious State ‘won’ the prize of holding the World Cup from a more corrupt bunch of individuals? Has England ever had a more dislikable bastard than that corpulent, grubby charlatan Allardyce? Ok, Venables was a dodge pot, but at least one with finesse, pedigree & character. I packed in my EnglandFans membership the day after Big Sham got the job. Geography England are a London Club. Most of the support are cockneys. They only ever play in London & they won’t pick Jamaal & Jonjo. When they were rebuilding the £700M white elephant at Wembley, it was great to

see the Three Lions playing in stadia around the North. Due to this ridiculous cost it’s unlikely that’ll ever be seen again. It’s just plain wrong, in my opinion. The ‘fans’ Ok, I admit the first few paragraphs are a bit on the misty eyed/rose tinted side, and that England has always attracted a decent percentage of undesirable characters. But in recent years? Jesus wept. If you want to spend some time (and I have, both home & abroad) with Southern Satellite Town wankers singing ‘No Surrender to the IRA’, racist fucktards from Grimsby & a plethora of yoof who can’t work out whether they want to be Danny Dyer or some tit off Soccer AM.... Be my guest. Vanilla Ok, we haven’t won anything since before I was

born. But, we’ve had some sensational players, a few great teams & a couple of near misses. The golden generation of 2002 are all now pundits and in their wake they’ve left an England drifting ever further into ‘hatstand’ territory. To top it all, we have a man called Gareth as our Leader. He looks like a middle manager at Barclays and has less charisma. In conclusion, I think that Rafa Benítez has something to do with it as well. His reunification of Newcastle United has reinvigorated my love for the club and the enjoyment of going to the match again. The whole England thing feels insipid compared to events in our corner of the world. I’d like to think that one day my interest and fervour for the National side will return. I must say, I’m not holding my breath though.

If you want to spend some time (and I have, both home & abroad) with Southern Satellite Town wankers singing ‘No Surrender to the IRA’, racist fucktards from Grimsby & a plethora of yoof who can’t work out whether they want to be Danny Dyer or some tit off Soccer AM...

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I desperately wanted to go to an away match. I kept looking at the fixture list and asked and asked and asked if I could go to an away game - Bournemouth - no, too far, Arsenal no, too expensive, West Ham - no, a family event to attend; but even the ones that were a possibility in terms of time and distance required loyalty points to be able to purchase a ticket so they were off the list too. I felt as though I would never get to an away game and wouldn’t experience the thrill of being among the 3000 + passionate fans following their team. But my luck was about to change... Normally, eleven o’clock on a Friday morning means one of two things to me: I’m either sitting staring blindly at a computer screen, trying to make it seem like I am doing work, or I am actually working. On this particular occasion, I was gaping at a blank screen half-listening to a conversation taking

place among three good friends of mine. They were discussing the prospect of going to Leicester away on the 7th April. I spoke up and quickly dismissed their idea, knowing full well that to purchase tickets we would all need 10 loyalty points. Not of us had been to an away

game meaning that none of us had two loyalty points to rub together. However, not to be deterred by my pessimism, we decided to try our luck with the Newcastle ticket webpage. To our delight, however, the page now read ‘Leicester away tickets available to all season ticket holders’.

Away Day Elation DANIEL WALES

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ALL season ticket holders could buy tickets. NO loyalty points required. We couldn’t believe it! Reality then struck us. We were at school and we didn’t all have bank cards on us to purchase the tickets. The next 10 minutes were a bit of a blur, as it involved several frantic phone calls to my Dad, asking him to buy the tickets (as he would be the taxi-driver I thought it would be nice for him to go to the match too so I did invite him!). He was in a meeting at work and couldn’t do anything so a call went out to Mam, who rescued the situation, and purchased the tickets for me. My other three friends secured their tickets via use of another mate’s bank card with the promise that they would reimburse him. The upshot was, by 11.20am we all had tickets and were

going to Leicester in a few weeks’ time. Our first away match and none of us could wait! Following the triumph of securing the tickets and after much anticipation in the days leading up to the game, Saturday 7th April 2018 finally arrived. The alarm went off at 8 am, and I was out of bed within five minutes (a task that usually takes much longer!). Before I knew it, the three lads had arrived at my house and we set off at 9.35 am. For the journey down, we ate bacon sandwiches made by my mam and had the pleasure of listening to a questionable playlist put together by my fellow travellers. Approximately three and half-hours later we arrived in Leicester, and found our pre-purchased car parking

space. A ten-minute walk to the stadium followed, with a quick stop-off to purchase a programme. At the King Power Stadium, the programmes are £3.50, 50p more than at St. James’ Park. In my opinion, this was justified, even for away supporters, as the programme was of good quality with plenty of content about the visiting team. Before entering the turnstiles, we had the now obligatory security check but this was speedily executed. Finally, we were onto the concourse. For a modern stadium, it was quite dark and quite compact – not too different to the East Stand that I am used to. In fairness, it was actually more spacious than that of the East Stand, but one must remember that the East Stand is years older when space wasn’t

The alarm went off at 8 am, and I was out of bed within five minutes (a task that usually takes much longer!)

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so valued in construction. We were into the ground over an hour before kickoff, so we spent some time in our seats and took in the view inside the King Power Stadium. Thirty-five minutes before kick-off we could hear the concourse below coming to life. I’d heard rumours that prematch, the concourse is a crazy place, and it did not disappoint. While we didn’t get involved in the heart of the action, which resembled a mosh pit at a concert, we did join in with the chants and contributed to the atmosphere. Returning to our seats twenty minutes before kick-off we watched the players finishing off their warm-ups and the stadium steadily filled up. Due to ‘unusual’ ticket allocation I was sitting away from my group and among complete strangers, although we all

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shared a common love for the Toon. The tannoy announced that the Leicester Chairman had celebrated a birthday during the week and to acknowledge this fireworks were going to be set off as the players emerged from the tunnel. As this happened however, the bangs were completely drowned out by all 3,200 Geordies in the away end. The north east corner of the ground (how apt!) rang out with “Newcastle, Newcastle, Newcastle” and “When the Mags go marching in”. To call it loud would be an understatement. This electric atmosphere in our section continued for the whole 90 minutes, with nearly all of the starting 11 receiving dedicated chants, as well as old favourites, including the “Blaydon Races” being sung.

Sunderland were, of course, included in these chants as we mocked our neighbour’s potential relegation to League 1, while we appeared to be staying up, featuring appropriate arm actions. It was during a chorus of that chant and performance of the actions that we heard the silence from the home support. Only twice did they attempt to raise their voices, before being quickly out-shouted by the Geordie faithful. Even when their goal came in the 84th minute their celebrations in the stands seemed quiet. On the other hand, when Jonjo Shelvey curled his shot in the bottomright corner, we went into raptures. Although I stood with strangers it did not matter. I celebrated with them as if I’d known them my whole life. The opening goal was well-deserved and

Jonjo Shelvey curled his shot in the bottom-right corner, we went into raptures

was merited by the first half performance and we went into half-time very happy indeed. What struck me most at half-time was that it was the first time I had sat down. As I discovered, you don’t sit down at away matches. At all. The half-time break therefore offered a welcome rest for my knees. Soon though, the players returned and the second half began. During the second half, it has to be said that we were more under the cosh. Despite this, the defence stood firm and Martin Dubravka in goal was never properly threatened. As the final 15 minutes approached it looked like we might hang on. Luckily, following a Leicester attack, a Florian Lejeune clearance was missed by Leicester captain Wes Morgan. The Jamaican centre- back tried

to the block the advance of Ayoze Perez as the clearance came upfield. The Spaniard, however, evaded Morgan, before calmly lobbing the helpless Kasper Schmeichel, sending us, in the away end, completely wild once again. The Leicester goal eight minutes later did make the final few minutes slightly nervy, but we needn’t have worried, and the final whistle came after four minutes of stoppage time. As the home supporters flooded out, the away end remained full and welcomed the squad over, along with Rafa to celebrate the victory. Such was the mood and atmosphere, nearly all of the players threw their shirts into our corner although I was too high up to catch any. After the players had departed, the sound of “Don’t take me home”

echoed for another ten minutes summing up the atmosphere and emotion that encapsulated the away end of the stadium. We eventually departed and walked back to the car amongst many of the dissatisfied Leicester supporters. The journey home seemed shorter and with that vital win, was all the sweeter. So I’ve done it! I have attended my first away game and what a game to break my duck at. I went hoping for a draw but with optimism hoping we could take it. Take it we certainly did. Travelling away is a very different experience to a home match. Being in the minority makes you want to be more vocal to show your support for Rafa and the lads and at Leicester we certainly showed that. I can’t wait for the next one!

So I’ve done it! I have attended my first away game and what a game to break my duck at

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I recently had the huge privilege to spend an evening meeting with and listening to our record breaking goalscorer in Doncaster of all random places. I got the tickets for me and my Dad as a Christmas present for him and as a Geordie lad now living in Sheffield it was too near to not take the opportunity to fork out the cash for this one. We arrived at Doncaster Dome, a leisure-cumevents venue in the ‘nicer’ (ahem) part of the town. What became apparent soon after sitting down in our seats was that this place was full of exiled Geordies like me. Shortly after sitting down we were asked to join

the queue for our photo opportunity with the big man himself. There were hundreds there. All waiting patiently to pay their £10 for what in all likelihood would be a once in a lifetime meeting. We slowly made our way to the front, turned around the corner behind a big

screen and there he was. Hands out with a big smile on his face and an “Alreet” greeting. A quick chit chat about me and my dad being ex-season ticket holders in the gallowgate end and a photo and it was over in a flash. Photos being printed at the end of a conveyor-

A Night with Shearer

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David Campbell-Molloy @DCM_1983

belt-like queuing system and the two of us sat back down just staring at the photo in disbelief that we’d actually just met the greatest goalscorer in our club’s history and who (for me) is the greatest player I’ve seen play in our famous black and white. A bit of crack on with the others on our table, a 3 course dinner and some entertainment followed before Shearer came on stage for an hours Q and A. Questions were asked from someone from TalkShite radio. I’ve no idea who but as I refuse to listen to it I was far more interested in what the main man had to say. The questions to Big Al

covered a range of topics including his early playing and NUFC career, his brief time managing our great club, his England experience and his current time doing football punditry. He also touched on Rafa. On his pre-NUFC career, Shearer talked about his debut at Southampton at just 17 years old v Arsenal. He was told half an hour before kick off that he was playing due to an injury which meant that his family couldn’t get down to watch. Shearer went out and scored a hattrick. On leaving Southampton Shearer described the battle for his signature between Blackburn and

Man Utd. Blackburn had a bid of £3m accepted and Shearer had met with Kenny Daglish and Jack Walker to agree on terms. Shearer said he would give them an answer in 5 days. In the meantime Man Utd had come in and had a bid accepted but asked Shearer if he would wait for a month while they raised the finance. Shearer stuck by his agreement with Blackburn and signed within 5 days. A measure of the man, a man of his word. Shearer then got on to his NUFC career, which he emphasised time and again he would never have changed. He basically loves Newcastle United, tf 35

loves the North East, hates the Mackems and stressed that all his dreams came true when he was given the opportunity to come home and wear the famous number 9. As a lad who grew up on a council estate in Gosforth, a sheet metal worker’s son who watched Kevin Keegan’s debut in the Gallowgate end the pull of returning to the club he supported as a lad was too good to turn down. Shearer had loads of good crack on his NUFC playing career. Best goal he was asked? Everton home no question. Sir Bobby saved his NUFC career as had Gullit beaten Sunderland that was that. Sir Bobby’s man management skills were second to none. He talked about what really went on when he lamped Gillespie in Dublin and how

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Steve Howey hopelessly tried to cover for him. Bellamy he thought was (and remains) a prick. The most interesting part for me was his description of NUFC when he was asked to save the club from relegation in 2009. As a club legend he couldn’t turn down the opportunity not to help in any way he thought he could. Shearer described a club that had fallen so low beyond the standards when he was a player and gave a particular insight into how indisciplined the place had become. A white board listed a load of fines for players who had either turned up late for training or who had walked off early. Shearer got them all together and asked for 3 hours of their time each day for training, no later than 10:30 for

arriving and leaving no later than 13:30. 3 hours commitment, that was it. First time they were late Shearer said they’d be fined 10% of their wages, 2nd time 25%, 3rd time 50%. You get the idea. Some of the wankers went straight off and got the PFA involved who told Shearer he couldn’t do this. Shearer asked why not as he rightly stated that his dad would have been sacked if he’d been 5 minutes late for work. Queue applause from the whole audience. Shearer’s basic point was that there were too many players at that time who either didn’t care, couldn’t be arsed or didn’t want to be there. Which we all know to have been the case. Interestingly someone in the crowd shouted ‘Michael Owen’

Interestingly someone in the crowd shouted ‘Michael Owen’ at this point to which Shearer’s immediate response was ‘Well said’. Even Shearer thinks Owen’s a twat.

at this point to which Shearer’s immediate response was ‘Well said’. Even Shearer thinks Owen’s a twat. Following relegation, Shearer put a plan together for getting the club back into the PL, talked it through with Fat Mike and shook hands. Ashley said he would be back in touch in a couple of days. Shearer’s still waiting for the call. The experience has clearly scarred Shearer and he told a tale of a club run by mugs who don’t give a toss. Again, we all know this and he sympathises with the difficult circumstances Rafa is working under with the current regime. Other tales included the farce that was the renaming of Shearer’s bar and his statue outside SJP. It all comes down to a regime

that has seemingly pissed off a whole generation of fans and legendary players alike. Shearer then got on to his time with England. Best player he played alongside. Gazza. What’s the difference between this England team and the ones he played alongside? Answer. Leadership. Shearer referred specifically to the group of leaders that were part of the Euro 96 team. Alongside himself the likes of Seaman, Adams, Pearce, Southgate, Ince, Sheringham. Who are the leaders in the current group? I couldn’t tell you. Big Al’s view on Lascelles and England? Russia will probably come too early for Jamaal. Good. I don’t want our esteemed captain heading to Russia from a purely selfish

point of view. But Shearer described his interview with Jamaal for match of the day and said he was extremely impressed with him as a leader. I hope he’s with us for the next 10 years. The final part of the talk was Shearer describing his current time doing football punditry, which he is clearly enjoying. No desire to get back into the game. Then the inevitable question from the crowd came. If you were to get back into football management who would you see it being with? ‘NUFC no doubt, but not under the current regime’. It made us ponder as we left. There will come a time when we are reunited again with our favourite son. The bonds are too strong. tf 37

The football has been great. Southampton and Huddersfield swatted aside without either having a meaningful shot. Martin Dubravka hasn’t conceded a goal at home for United and the world seems like a safer place as a result (even though it isn’t). They’ll make documentaries about Mo Diame (probably) and Rafa looks great in that long coat.  What is there for me to get annoyed about then, regarding the state of the game? Loads, of course.

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The England Band I don’t pay to watch England anymore. I’ve done three tournaments and used to do home qualifiers. I don’t hate the England team.  If you do, I don’t mind. You can support and hate whoever you want.  Please be aware that all of your preconceptions are probably wrong about England fans. England aren’t followed predominantly by ‘smaller clubs’ and ‘southerners’. Loads of North East lads and northern lads follow England. I’ve met plenty Man United and Liverpool fans following England at tournaments, despite the protestations of weirdos in their support that these people don’t exist.  This is beside the point but I thought it would be a point worth making. I don’t care if you hate England and why, good luck to you.

What I do have an issue with is people (particularly journalists) disliking the England band. If you don’t like England it’s fine (as I’ve said). So what the fuck has it got to do with you how the people who do follow England support their team?  The same scenario unfolds time after time.  You hate England. You still watch the match (if you don’t watch the match you will tell as many people as you possibly can that you aren’t watching it out of choice).  You get annoyed at the band and wish them dead or something weird.  Get a grip.  Maybe there are England fans who follow the team (you know, go to games) who don’t like the band and their opinion is valid. There are also loads of cocks who attach themselves to England to practice their very own brand of anti-social disorder fort Instagram. 

Throwing a bike in a canal isn’t the same unless you’re filming yourself doing it for RTs. None of this has anything to do with the England band despite loads of odd people linking the two and Russian hooligans. The best atmosphere’s I’ve encountered in recent years were England v Sweden in Kiev 2012, and NUFC at Sheffield Wednesday last season. There was a common denominator at both.  Everton away The silence from Newcastle United has been deafening. Alan Pardew, Paul Lambert and Mark Hughes They’ve all managed to make the sides they inherited worse which is quite something considering all the sides they inherited were

They’ve all managed to make the sides they inherited worse which is quite something considering all the sides they inherited were unbelievably shit.

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unbelievably shit. Worth the money? Last year Daniel Levy was paid more by Tottenham than any player or the manager. £6m for Levy.  Tottenham’s players have reportedly reacted badly to the news according to The Times and several players have indicated they will not sign new contracts at the club due to the club’s salary cap.  It’s tough to know where to stand on this. On one hand, refusing to pay agents and players silly money (well, sillier money) whilst being successful has been lauded in the press and by some Spurs fans.  On the other hand, what’s the point if the money isn’t passed on to fans and instead just makes people within the

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game richer. I don’t like how much footballer’s are paid as it costs too much to go to football.  Replica kids shirts are too much and the game is inaccessible to many.  However I don’t have an issue with world class players being rewarded for their talent and hard work. I don’t begrudge any of our lads their immense wealth as they put it all in for United.  What’s the point in not paying players the going rate to make directors and chairman more wealthy. What do they do for the game besides increase corporate areas and agree to fans being fucked over by short notice kick off times?  Aye Danny Rose got loads of shit from the Sun for saying he was underpaid at £65,000 a week.  His pal

Kyle Walker earns nearly three times that playing for Man City, so he’s right. It’s hard to stomach to everyone reading this, but he’s right and he’ll likely leave on a free after being linked to clubs for £40m last summer. Spurs head into a new stadium with corporate season tickets costing upwards of £10,000 per season and some fans worried that their club will charge similar prices for standard season tickets as their rivals Arsenal do.  Football is rubbish sometimes. Chris Coleman Spends half his time trying to get people to go the match.  That wasn’t in the brochure.

David Moyes was too good for them. Look at him now, look at them. Their support is myth. The club put our attendance figures that insult those that do actually turn up. 9,000 free tickets a week in the Prem.

All of our Podcasts are absolutely FREE and recorded by match-going Mags. We all hope you enjoy them all listen on iTunes or Soundcloud.

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Back in April 2016, in Issue 125, an article appeared about a trip made up to Hibs and the political and social history of the club. Since that article was published true faith has kept in touch with the lads we met at Hibs and some of us have made subsequent visits.



Easter Road Stadium - Saturday 17/02/2018 KO: 3pm, Att: 19,551 Those visits have been reciprocated and the Hibs lads have travelled south on occasion. Friendships and links between Newcastle United and Hibs are nothing new of course. Those who can remember back to the 80s will recall how both

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sets of hooligan firms got on very well, until the inevitable fall out happened, the origins of which are not that clear. Those interested in such things can read all about the Newcastle/Hibs link in Casuals: Football, Fighting and Fashion -

The Story of a Terrace Cult by Phil Thorton. It must be said that there have also been the odd documented altercations, notably a friendly at Easter Road, in 1984. Of course, many other types of Hibbies and Mags have got on

Tony Higgins @Higgins1892

very well and developed friendships and there is even a Tyneside branch of Hibs supporters club. Many players have worn the famous colours of both clubs including the likes of Ronnie Simpson, John McNamee, John Burridge, Michael O’Neil, Darren Jackson, Gary Caldwell, Tony Caig, John Connolly, John Brownlie and more. Due to the proximity of both cities it should really be of no surprise that both clubs and fans have had close links. In fact, if you want to get historical about it both cities were part of the old Kingdom of Northumbria, long before

England and Scotland existed, but maybe that type of fact is for a different type of article. Nowadays it only takes one and half hours by train from Newcastle to Edinburgh and that was our choice of transport for this trip north. Its not the intention of this piece to regurgitate what was written back in April 2016, if you are interest in the social and political history surrounding Hibs I suggest you have a quick read of that article, which like most issues of TF is still available online. Here we will focus on another great day out amongst similar thinking people. Our

party was made up of three, which included the former editor of this fine publication, Michael Martin. We arrived at Waverley Street Station around one o’clock and dived straight in a taxi to the “Fit ay the Walk”, that being the bottom of Leith Walk and the centre of Leith. Our host Callum Kane had arranged for us to meet in the Central Bar, a great pub from a bygone era. The Central Bar is featured in the Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and once had a door that led out into the now defunct Leith Central Station. The station was closed to tf 43

passengers in the 50s and finally made redundant as a rail depot in 1972, after which the building fell into disrepair and became a haven for drug addicts, thus the coining of the phrase “doing a bit of trainspotting”. This is what inspired the name of the subsequent books and movies by Irvine Welsh and he has numbered The Central among his favourite pubs in the city. Apparently, it is a great music venue. Next up was another iconic venue and again one that featured in Welsh’s books, The Leith Dockers Club. Unfortunately, this was out of bounds as it was full of Aberdeen fans who

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had booked the venue for pre- match drinks. So, we headed off to the Tamson Bar which is a proper old school prematch watering hole. It was packed to the rafters and the clientele included a few pissed-up Aberdeen fans who were having good-natured crack with the locals and us as it happens. From there it was time for the match and we headed up a hill that leads up to the stadium, for me there is something religious about going up a hill to a football stadium, especially if it’s a big match. Of course, we had to make the obligatory stop at the badge seller and we got

told off for crowding out some bairns, all three of us are now in our fifties by the way. Easter Road is a great stadium to watch football in and it goes by the nickname the Leith San Siro. I don’t imagine that there is a bad view from any seat in the place and on occasions like this, when it is a virtual sell out, it can generate a great atmosphere. Since that TF article back in April 2016 the fortunes of Hibs have taken a turn for the better. Under Alan Stubbs they won the Scottish Cup in 2016 that ended a 114 year wait to lift the old trophy. 1902 had been

the last time Hibs had won the cup and their fans had suffered years of taunting from rival fans. That all came to an end on an emotional charged day at Hampden Park where Hibs beat Rangers 3-2, with a lastminute goal, in one of the best cup finals for many a year. Since that cup success Stubbs has left the club to be replaced by Neil Lennon, the former Celtic manager. Under Lennon the club have now been promoted back to the Scottish Premier and making steady progress. They are in the top four at the time of writing. I

like Lennon, I think he is an honest kind of bloke who wears his heart on his sleeve and he seems to get Hibs, which is important. Onto the match itself, which was a great game. Before kick-off both sets of fans stood and gave a minute’s applause for the sad passing of former Hibs, Sunderland, Celtic, Man United, Ireland and others player Liam Miller. Miller was super fit and aged only 36 when he died from pancreatic cancer. That sort of thing puts everything into perspective. From the off both teams set out their intentions to attack and

Newcastle (on loan to Aberdeen) goalie Freddie Woodman was forced to make a couple of good saves. Half time came with the teams’ level at 0-0, a fair reflection. The second half started with a bang as Hibs took the lead through a Martin Boyle header after Woodman had made a couple of great saves. The TF team missed the goal though, as we were still under the stand enjoying a half time pie and Bovril …. proper football fare.  From the goal Hibs took control of the second half as the Aberdeen game tf 45

plan seemed to lack a plan b. Hibs doubled their lead on the hour mark as a Hanlon shot from the edge of the area was blocked. The ball then fell into the path of Kamberi who’s shot on the turn took a deflection to leave Woodman helpless. Kamberi is on loan from Grasshoppers Zurich and looks a decent player alongside Aussie-Scot McClaren. After the match we headed to another iconic Hibs pub, The Four in Hand. Again, the bar was packed out with happy Hibbies and you get the feeling that Hibs could be on the cusp of something. From there we went along Easter Road to Middleton’s

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Bar which was full of Aberdeen. Thankfully, the days of huge casual rivalry between these two sets of fans is over and everyone drank together and chatted about the match in relative calm. Remember, back in the day Hibs Casuals threw a petrol bomb at their Aberdeen counterparts and a Hibs fan almost lost his life after a violent confrontation. After a few beers it was time to head back to the station for the seven o’clock train back to the sun lit uplands of Tyneside. We were back for in time for a couple of beers (in Gateshead’s own Central Bar, just off the Tyne Bridge and a compulsory match-day ruby, over

which we reflected on another great day out. Hibs is a special club, proper working class, a bit anti-establishment with an Irish heritage they don’t shove in peoples’ faces, as some others do.  If you want an insight into that I suggest you read a great book called We are Hibernian: The Fans’ Story by Andy McVannan, a book that underscores what it means to be a Hibbie.  Thanks to Kano, Jamesy, Tesco Tony and the rest of the Hibs Family for their hospitality. If you’re looking for a canny day out #choosehibs and go on the train.

Donate matchday: Opp NINE Bar, Strawberry place. more info

donatE by texting NCLF00 & a £ amount to 70070 OR VISIT OUR DONATION STATION AT GRAINGER MARKET Wed, Fri & Sat: 9am – 5:30pm

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Football is nothing without fans. How often have we heard this? There’s been a load of media coverage of West Ham fan protests getting a bit out of hand and Arsenal fans are constantly wingeing on about whether Arsene Wenger is good for their club or not. There’ll always be arguments about who’s in charge and who’s playing each week. Long may that continue because the game is about opinions and emotions. Where fans are badly let down is in the overall governance of the game.

Peter fanning

Football Fans Are Not The Enemy After a report toGovernment by the Culture Media and Sports Select Committee a couple of years ago a government minister said that football was the worst governed of all sports. As the major stakeholders it’s a disgrace that, as fans, we have no real say in how the game is governed. We’re lucky if we get the chance to represent the views of fans to club directors or the league hierarchy and when we do we’ve got to make the most of it. The problem then is how genuine is the dialogue? Box ticking to stick to the rules or wanting to work with fans? tf 48

The English Football League (EFL) introduced a rule for its clubs requiring them to involve fan representatives, and particularly Trusts, in regular meetings. This helped get NUST invited back to the Fans Forum in 2017 when we were still in the Championship. After promotion we come under English Premier League (EPL) rules which are a bit less prescriptive than EFL but they still recommend their clubs to meet with fans at least twice a year. At the time of writing there hadn’t been a Fans Forum meeting since June 2017. During our first two disappointing

transfer windows in the Premier League and a period of major turmoil surrounding the potential sale of the club they were resoundingly quiet about when a meeting would be organised. It seems that the more there is to talk about the more reluctant the club are to meet with fans. In March the Trust were involved in a national meeting between fans groups and the Premier League. Richard Scudamore and his senior team met us to talk about a range of issues including how Structured Dialogue was working at Premier League

clubs. The disgraceful West Ham situation was discussed but the PL reported that they were unable to comment on who West Ham were meeting with but they said they could perhaps influence the Newcastle situation about arranging meetings. Two days later word came out from the Newcastle United Supporter Liaison Officer suggesting a date of 25th April.

were arranged. This all sounded a bit hollow when I pointed out the number of our away games that had been rescheduled for television. We already travel the furthest distance in a season. Having games regularly rearranged for broadcasting brought extra travel problems. It’s not like we’ve been playing like the old style “Entertainers” but the broadcasters are certainly fascinated by us.

This felt like a result! Maybe there was something in this structured dialogue.

At no time during the whole discussion about games being rescheduled and the importance of the broadcasters sticking to the deadlines for picking games was there any mention that the April “picks” which had been confirmed weeks earlier, were under review. Two days after the meeting the news came out that the Everton Newcastle game had been moved from a Saturday afternoon 3.00p.m.

Another item on the agenda, however, was T.V. rescheduling of games. There was a lot of discussion about this with Richard Scudamore explaining the complexities of the process and the implications of the new T.V. contract. He wanted to assure us that consideration was given to the fans when fixtures

game to a Monday night! It’s beyond believable that it wasn’t known that the April selections were going to be altered but Richard Scudamore and his team were not prepared to tell us face to face. What’s the value structured dialogue?


Most fans have the nouse these days not to arrange travel and accommodation to attend away games until the T.V. games have been confirmed. Rescheduling after tickets have been sold is a disgrace. Richard Scudamore confirmed that when the broadcasters identify the games they want, the final say is with the clubs concerned. The £1.1million they get for a televised game is clearly a big incentive but when you’re venting your wrath at Sky or BT remember that the

but when you’re venting your wrath at Sky or BT remember that the club has the chance to put the fans first.

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club has the chance to put the fans first. On that basis the Trust has written to the club requesting that they compensate fans for any costs already incurred over and above having their tickets refunded. This is an opportunity for NUFC to do the right thing.

some who were doing great work in the local community on behalf of the Foundation.

On the same day that I attended the meeting with the PL I had the pleasure of attending the Ten Year Anniversary of the Newcastle United Foundation at the House of Lords. Lord Jeremy Beecham, previously the Leader of Newcastle City Council and still a season ticket holder at St. James’ Park invited me on behalf of Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

A number of high profile guests were in attendance including representatives from the Premier League, Lee Charnley and Bob Moncur from the club and Foundation Trustees, and Patrons Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi who both spoke about the work of the Foundation.

As you’d expect security was high getting into the venue but once inside there was a room full of people interested in what happens at Newcastle United and

The event was hosted by Lord Beecham, with Jonathan Edwards, from the world of athletics, performing the role of Master of Ceremonies.

They best speeches were by Foundation project participants Ally, Silke, and Chloe – who have been supported by the Community, Employability, and Disability programmeswho told their stories about how Newcastle United Foundation has positively

affected their lives. The event celebrated a decade since the Foundation began helping disadvantaged young people in the North East – raising more than £13.5 million in 10 years. Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: ‘For the last ten years the Foundation have been using football as a means to touch the lives of thousands of participants who benefit from our projects.’ ‘Last year alone more than 50,000 people were directly impacted by one of our programmes. This event is a celebration of how far we have come, but it’s also a chance to reflect on our plans for the future and how we can continue to help more people in our region.’ The Trust has been campaigning for some time for Newcastle United

The event celebrated a decade since the Foundation began helping disadvantaged young people in the North East – raising more than £13.5 million in 10 years.

Pic Newcastle United Foundation tf 50

to promote itself as a “Community Club”. By this we mean : • a club that will work with supporters on fans issues and will recognize their value as the long term custodians of the club, • a club that will work with our MPs, the city council and local businesses to play its part in regenerating our area rather than simply billboarding a national sports retailer, • a club that will work with local football clubs and schools to develop local talent and keep that talent in the North East, • a club that says we can compete, we will compete, we don’t reward mediocrity, we strive for excellence and to be the best we can be in everything we do. We




being done by the Foundation demonstrates a real commitment to strengthening the links between the club and the Tyneside community. Check out some of the great work done by the Foundation here. The West End Foodbank in Newcastle is the biggest in the country. Not something we want to be proud of but a real sign of the times. It recently won a Pride of the North East Award and acknowledged the fantastic support it has received from the football community including the club and the fans. Matchday collections were set up by the Trust working with Fans United and they’ve gone from strength to strength. Not only are there matchday contributions from Newcastle fans at every home match but by working through social media visiting supporters

have arrived with donations of food and money. Sharing experiences with fan groups from other clubs is helping to set them up all over the country. Foodbanks shouldn’t be needed, but they are. The football family can do great things to mobilise support for those who need it. Football clubs should play an integral part in the life and wellbeing of the local community. The Foundation shows how this can benefit those who need it most. Football is reported to be the worst governed of all sports. Perhaps it needs to recognise that football fans are not the enemy and we need to be involved in looking after the game for the good of everybody.

It recently won a Pride of the North East Award and acknowledged the fantastic support it has received from the football community including the club and the fans.

Football without fans is nothing. tf 51

Mid-season international breaks are always tough on match going football supporters. Those of us not fortunate enough to be throwing bicycles into Amsterdam’s waterways were at something of a loose end. But where God closes a door he opens a window; the rugby at St James Park and the football over at Gateshead offering two viable alternatives for a Saturday’s entertainment. However there’s about as much chance of seeing me at a rugby game as there is seeing a mackem in Milan. Not going to happen.

news from nowherE Gateshead 1 Bromley 1 (Bromley win 4-3 agg)

FA VASE SEMI FINAL, Gateshead international Stadium, 3:00pm 24/03/18 So with that in mind we set our Satnav’s for The Schooner and went across to Gateshead for their FA Trophy Semi Final with Bromley. The Heed trailed 3 2 from the first leg, so the tie was delicately poised. Newcastle legend Steve Watson was in the dugout and the sunny weather was sure to tempt some bored Toon supporters along for the ride. With away goals

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not counting Gateshead needed a one goal win just to force extra time. Unfortunately that was a task made more difficult when Bromley scored after just five minutes. It was a poor goal to concede. A high ball was brought under control by a red shirt and they played the simplest of balls between two of Gateshead’s three

centre halves. The defence couldn’t keep pace and, although the Bromley centre forward hesitate and tried to check back inside before shooting, the ball ricocheted through to the goalkeeper who defected the ball onto Kerr and into the back of the net. It was a calamitous start but the scoreline in the first leg suggested there were more goals in the tie for

whoever was brave enough to chase them. What followed was one of the most one-sided games of football I’ve ever seen. That might sound hyperbolic, and this international break has dragged so badly that I’ve lost all sense of perspective, but the Heed were the only side playing football. However, the wing backs struggled to get into the game; any efforts to make play down the wing would usually result in the ball being returned there via the head of a Bromley centre half. Most of Gateshead’s best play came down the left and I was particularly impressed with Jamal Fyfield. He was one of the few Gateshead players I was familiar with. He defended well and brought the ball forward from the left side of the defensive three to get in to some promising areas. His positional awareness and recovery speeds meant he was rarely caught out

of possession. And he was mint for me on Football Manager 2016, so top marks for the big man. It looked as if Gateshead’s efforts would come to nought. But Gateshead hope was ignited when Scott Barrow controlled a ball cleared from the Bromley penalty area. The defender’s strike was one of the finest I’ve seen this season. Thirty yards out and through a crowd of players. The keeper not moving until the ball was nestled in the top left corner. It was sumptuous. His celebration was right down the front of what is affectionally known as Gateshead Kop (I’d imagine) to gee up the crowd. Trips to Wembley mean a lot to any supporter and even more so to the Heed Army considering their recent cup record. But Bromley’s dreadful early goal was worth every bit as much as Gateshead’s fantastic one, and another would be needed just to

force extra time. It was Bromley who looked more likely to score from then on, countering every time it looked as if Gateshead had men over. Bromley sat deep; were dogged and resolute. Barring another wonder strike, it was all over. It would have been nice for Gateshead to put on a bit more of a spectacle for the bumper crowd, but that’s difficult when only one team wants to play ball. Even the best sides in the world struggle to break down a flat back ten and, with all due respect to the job Watson has done, Gateshead aren’t there just yet. The Heed supporters really got behind their team and there were a lot of positives to take. It’s just a shame that the early goal coloured the entire tie. I’d like to think that I, along with many others, will be back next time there’s a gap in the diary.

The defender’s strike was one of the finest I’ve seen this season. Thirty yards out and through a crowd of players. The keeper not moving until the ball was nestled in the top left corner

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On the 23rd April 1977, Newcastle United overcame a halftime deficit to win 2-1 at QPR and move within 3 points of joint leaders Liverpool and Manchester City with 5 games to play. Player power was evident as the majority of the squad raised their game to ensure coach Richard Dinnis would get the manager’s job following the shock departure of Gordon Lee in January when the club sat in 7th place.

Despite an instant cup exit to Man City and no league win in 3, United found form as Dinnis oversaw an 11-game unbeaten run in the days of 2 points for a win. Sadly, that was as good as it got as 4 defeats in the final 5 games saw a drop to 5th place but qualification for the UEFA Cup saw Dinnis appointed permanent manager. Newcastle started the 1977-78 season with a 3-2

win over Leeds but went down 0-1 at Liverpool and Middlesbrough before a home game against West Ham.

moved The Mags off the foot of the table but a UEFA Cup exit to Bastia before a 0-1 defeat at Wolves cost Dinnis his job.

The result would be the 3rd of 10 successive defeats that saw United hit bottom of the First Division table by mid-October and extend the terrible run to 14 defeats in the last 16 league games. A 3-game unbeaten run that included a remarkable 4-4 draw at Lee’s Everton,

Bill McGarry left the Saudi Arabian job for Tyneside and immediately transfer listed the likes of Alan Gowling, captain Geoff Nulty and Tommy Craig in an attempt to take complete control of the dressing room. His influence was instant as 3 wins from his first 4 games

MARC CORBY @NUFC_1980_1994

Newcastle 2-3 West Ham 3rd September 1977 tf 54

Newcastle Utd 3-1 Sunderland January 1st 1985 in charge included 3 clean sheets and a move to within 1 point of safety. However, 6 defeats in the next 7 games saw a return to the bottom of the table and an FA Cup exit to 3rd Division Wrexham ensured no Quarter Final tie with Blyth Spartans. Stopping the rot with 4 successive draws, United then lost 5 out of the next 8 games before a 0-2 reverse at Aston Villa meant The Mags joined Leicester as a relegated side with 3 to play. Just over 21,000 watched the final 2 home games as United finished the season 2nd bottom on goal difference only and 11 points from safety having accumulated a record 26 league defeats. The season also saw The Leazes End knocked down for intended redevelopment. Shambolically, this didn’t materialise for 15 years that included helped by 10 seasons in the Second Division. Gaining promotion back to the top flight in 1984, United got off to an unbelievable

start winning their first 3 games and topping the Division 1 table for the first time since October 1950. Quickly back down to earth with 3 successive defeats, a run of 4 wins in 24 games saw a drop to 18th and a serious threat of relegation for Jack Charlton’s men. Thankfully one of them secured a 3-1 victory over sunderland on New Year’s Day. Despite the loss of form, the continued emergence of Chris Waddle, scorer of 11 in 19 games, brought attention from Tottenham Hotspur in particular especially. A 1-0 victory over Luton in late February saw George Reilly make his debut alongside fellow new signing Tony Cunningham in a new look strike force that pushed star players Peter Beardsley and Waddle out wide. Both Reilly and Cunningham would score their first United goals in the next game, a 3-1 win over Watford before United returned to more common

form winning only 2 of 9 games as attendances dropped below 20,000 for the first time in 2 years. 2 wins over Southampton and Stoke appeared to ensure survival but going into the last game of the season, The Mags were still looking over their shoulders at 7 of the 9 teams below them as they all had games in hand and could overtake United. Thankfully, a 0-0 draw at Norwich ensured United survived by 3 points in a game that saw the now England International Waddle play his last game for the club. Beardsley, scorer of 10 in his last 20 games would become the new crowd favourite as sunderland, who dropped into the bottom 3 following a 0-0 draw with United at Roker Park, went down 12 points adrift of Newcastle.

Beardsley, scorer of 10 in his last 20 games would become the new crowd favourite as sunderland, who dropped into the bottom 3 following a 0-0 draw with United at Roker Park, went down 12 points adrift of Newcastle.

Charlton would resign after a few hundred fans heckled him in a pre-season draw at home to Sheffield United and Willie McFaul tf 55

Newcastle 4-0 West Ham 30th November 1986 Division 1 was named as caretaker manager going into 198586. He would make United hard to beat at home as 12 wins and 5 draws were secured in the 21 home games during 1985-86 of which sadly, a TV rights over the majority of the season meant that none were caught on camera as United finished 11th. Given the job permanently heading into the 1986-87 season, this form wouldn’t continue as 4 of the first 6 home games were defeats and United were rock bottom after 13 games. With only 9 goals scored, McFaul would break the clubs transfer record by bringing in West Ham forward Paul Goddard for £415,000 following “Sack The Board” chants and an apparent supporter demand for Arthur Cox to return following a Cup exit at home to Bradford. Goddard’s influence was immediate as a 7-game unbeaten run saw a rise to 15th with the highlight a 4-0 victory over West Ham tf 56

on Sunday’s ‘The Big Match Live,’ backed by support that earned constant praise from the commentators. FA Cup fever hit Tyneside before United went out to a highly debateable penalty decision in the 5th Round at Tottenham. Following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, supporters present on the vastly overcrowded terraces at White Hart Lane that day have retrospectively considered this as a ‘near miss.’ The defeat came towards the end of a horrific run in the league that saw 8 defeats in 9 and a return to the foot of the table heading into March. 6 points from safety, United would defeat fellow strugglers Aston Villa to kick started a remarkable 11 game run that returned 7 wins and only 1 defeat. Goddard scored in 8 of these matches that included equalling Len Whites league record of notching in 7 consecutive games. The highlight of which was a 2-1 win over Manchester United on Easter Monday that would

see Beardsley limp off in his final appearance in his first spell on Barrack Road.

Newcastle United 2-1 Manchester United 1987

Ending the season with 2 defeats didn’t matter as McFaul had somehow inspired successful end of season form to ensure United finished in 17th place, 5 points above safety and 3 above the newly introduced play off place. Following the loss of Beardsley to Liverpool, the signing of Mirandinha 3 games into the 198788 season was unable to stop supporter unrest as United won only 3 of their opening 15 games and another relegation battle appeared a

certainty. However, a team hugely inspired by Gascoigne and Michael O’Neill recovered to ensure Newcastle finished in 8th place as the new West Stand was completed. Sadly, McFaul lost 3 key players in Gascoigne, Goddard and Neil McDonald but broke the transfer record twice on John Robertson (£750,000) and Dave Beasant and Andy Thorn (£850,000 each). Winger John Hendrie took the rebuilding cost to almost £3m and give United one of the most expensive squads in England. Tony Cottee had other ideas though as Everton’s new English Record signing (£2.2m) scored after 34 seconds and United were hammered 0-4. With only 2 points from the opening 5 games and audible chants of “McFaul Out!” during the shameful 0-3 defeat at 3rd Division Sheffield United in the League Cup,

United would then go to the previous season’s run-away title winners Liverpool and inflicted a shock first home league defeat since March 1987. A 0-3 defeat at home to Coventry in the next game saw McFaul sacked and ex player and coach Colin Suggett was promoted to caretaker whilst the board started an embarrassing search for a new manager that would last 2 months. Suggett was allowed to bring in Liam O’Brien (and sadly Rob McDonald) and his 8-game spell returned 1 win, 5 points and a failure to score in 7. The United faithful had dropped to just over 20,000 for a televised match at home to Man United. Those present used the occasion to continuously chant with vitriol against the board and have a sit in protest after the match, a bore 0-0 draw. It was no surprise that United held up the table

Newcastle United 2-1 WIMBLEDON 1988

when Jim Smith left QPR to take control but 7 points from his first 3 games moved The Mags off the foot of the table. Smith’s high turnover of players meant the side became unrecognisable overnight but 4 successive defeats saw United return to the bottom and 6 points from safety going into February. A 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool was one of the games of the season and it started turn in form that returned 3 wins and 3 draws in 7 games that included a shock victory over surprise title

United would then go to the previous season’s run-away title winners Liverpool and inflicted a shock first home league defeat since March 1987

Liverpool 1 - 2 Newcastle UNITED 1st October 1988 Division 1

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Norwich 0 - 2 Newcastle UNITED March1989

contenders Norwich at Carrow Road on Easter Saturday. A repeat of 1987’s ‘Great Escape’ was on as Smith’s men had put themselves to within 2 points of 14th placed Aston Villa with 5 of the bottom 7 still to play. Sadly, the side appeared to lose all fight once relegation contenders Sheffield Wednesday left St James Park with all 3 points and 4 of the following 5 games were defeats. 18-year-old Anth Lormor, a product of Wallsend Boys Club, had scored 2 goals in 3 starts at the back end of the previous campaign and was now seen as the next striker to score the goals to keep United up. Supporters had appeared to have given up following wins for both Luton and Southampton on the previous night which meant Newcastle had to win their final 3 games. An early Lormor goal gave The Mags a chance against bottom side West Ham but the visitors came back to win 2-1 and a selection of individuals in the 14,445 crowd took turns to invade the pitch. Losing greats tf 58

Jackie Milburn, George Robledo and Joe Harvey throughout the campaign, Newcastle succumbed to relegation with 29 points and a club record of only 3 home wins in a disastrous season. JFT96. Promoted to the Premier League in 1993, it would be April 1998 before supporters were fearful of a relegation. Despite Champions League football earlier in the season, it’s somewhat forgotten that, despite taking Newcastle to a first FA Cup Final in 24 years, Kenny Dalglish overseen a horrific run of 2 wins in 19 games that included 11 defeats. Sitting in 16th on Easter Monday, United were only 2 points above the relegation places. Recovering slightly to take 5 points from the next 4 games, only 4 points separated United and Bolton in the final relegation spot. Thankfully a 3-1 win over Chelsea ensured survival. 5 defeats in 6 games under the ‘disciplinarian’ management style of Graeme Souness during the 2005-06 season meant relegation was becoming a possibility as The Mags

sank to 15th, only 6 points above the relegation zone. Calls for his head thankfully came to fruition for the man who had ‘influenced’ defeats in 50% of his previous 32 games in charge. The appointment of Glenn Roeder saw a remarkable turnaround in form as 10 wins in 15 ensured a chance of the UEFA Cup, via the Intertoto. The appointment of Kevin Keegan for a second spell looked like it could backfire by March 17th 2008 having failed to gain 3 points in the 7 games he had managed so far. Including Sam Allardyce’s last 12 games in charge, United had picked up only 2 wins in 20 and were only 3 points above the relegation places before a crucial fixture at Birmingham. Thankfully a late Michael Owen goal saved a point and Keegan’s change in tactic’s inspired 4 wins in 5 and eventual safety by 7 points.

United had picked up only 2 wins in 20 and were only 3 points above the relegation places before a crucial fixture at Birmingham

SPURS 1 - 4 Newcastle United MARCH 2008

Arguably the worst season in United’s history, 200809 would end in a shock relegation as Keegan (4 points from 9), Chris Hughton (5 points from 18), and Joe Kinnear (20 points

from 54) all contributed to leave Alan Shearer 8 games to somehow move United out of the relegation places. Despite only taking 5 points from the first 7, the side, carrying many who simply didn’t care, went down without a fight at Villa Park. By now, supporters were numb as the treatment of Keegan was starting to be unravelled. In a matter of principal, many supporters walked away following the owner’s continued insistence to treat club legends, players, managers and United’s overall history with such disdain. Under Alan Pardew’s management in 2012-13, 1 win in 7 saw a drop to 17th and Newcastle were 3 points above the relegation spots with just 2 games to play. A win at the already relegated QPR ensured survival, just. 10 wins in the first 18 games of the following season would save Pardew’s blushes as a disastrous run of 14 defeats in 20 games saw supporters turn. No wins in the first 7 games of the 2014-15 campaign ensured a ‘Pardew Out’ campaign. Recovering with 6 wins in 8 and a rise to 7th, 3 successive defeats that included a 4th successive defeat against sunderland meant Pardew’s escape to Crystal Palace was the best for all concerned. 21 of Pardew’s final 39 league games in charge ended in defeat.

plan and John Carver was appointed for the remainder of the season. In free fall, 2 wins in 18 followed and 8 successive league defeats saw boycotts, protests but silence from the apathetic majority. As always, supporters returned to try and shout The Mag’s home as win was needed in the final game at home to West Ham to survive. On an emotional day, Jonas Gutierrez secured a 2-0 victory in what would be his final game as United survived by only 4 points. Something had to change and some supporters would protest immediately after the final whistle. Sadly, the appointment of Steve McClaren continued the uncertainty around the club and 5 defeats in the first 8 games of the 201516 season made supporter’s astonishment at another questionable ‘board’ decision well justified. A 6-2 win over Norwich was a welcome surprise as was successive wins over Liverpool and Tottenham that saw a move up to 15th and clearly bought McClaren time. 2 wins in

12 followed and relegation was looking more probable than possible as the slump resulted in the side being 2nd bottom and one of 4 sides cut adrift from the rest of the table. McClaren would put us out of our misery by being jettisoned and Rafa Benitez shocked the footballing world by accepting the managers job to give supporters, the club and the whole city an immediate and huge lift. No immediate change occurred as 3 of his first 4 games in charge ended in defeat. However, a 3-0 win over Swansea appeared to reinvigorate the side and would start a 6-game unbeaten run that included 3 clean sheets and 12 goals scored. A lot of players who went missing throughout the season only appeared to raise their games under Benitez but it was too little, too late and after a couple of recent near misses, Newcastle United would be relegated for the 2nd time under Ashley’s ownership. We may never recover from a 3rd. Over to you Rafa.

McClaren would put us out of our misery by being jettisoned and Rafa Benitez shocked the footballing world by accepting the managers job to give supporters, the club and the whole city an immediate and huge lift.

Newcastle UNITED 5 - 1 SPURS MAY 2016

In typical Mike Ashley style, there was no back up

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In 1967, it is fair to say Scottish football was at its absolute peak. Famously, Celtic, under the Ayrshire-born manager, Jock Stein with a team born within a 20 mile radius of Glasgow had been crowned Champions of Europe after defeating one of the continent’s most aristocratic clubs, Internazionale in Lisbon. That victory remains the high-point of Scottish football but wasn’t the only glorious moment for Scottish and particularly Glasgow football in that era. Only days after Celtic became the first British club to lift the European Cup, Rangers had been narrowly beaten 1-0 by the great Bayern Munich side in the Cup Winners Cup, the Germans having home advantage in front of 69,480 in Nuremburg. Rangers would go onto win the Cup Winners Cup in 1972 in Barcelona and Celtic would narrowly fail to collect a second European Cup in 1970, losing to Feyenoord in the final. The Scottish national team (aka the Wembley Wizards) memorably defeated World Champions England (Banks, Moore et al) 3-2. The game north of the border had never been in ruder health. Or so it seemed.

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892


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I’d heard of Third Lanark but their story was over when I was a child, so I was unfamiliar with the tale of their demise. These documentaries put out by ALBA are excellent and why no film-maker has repeated the formula for the great segments of NE football history is a missed opportunity. I’ll be honest, I was unaware of much of the Third Lanark story, their colours (Red shirts, white shorts, red socks), their nick-name (the Hi Hi - named after a pub in The Gorbals District of Glasgow) or their stadium (Cathkin Park) or where they were based (southside of Glasgow, not far from Govanhill), their history (named after a West of Scotland regiment - the Third Lanarkshire Rifles) and the character of the club (non-sectarian, an important element of the

Scottish football story). It would be wrong to describe Third Lanark as a massive force in Scottish football. They were minnows compared to Celtic and Rangers and perhaps could not be compared either to Hearts or Hibernian but maybe something of a size of Dundee United perhaps. Formed in 1872, they were ahead of mighty Celtic and in their 90 year history were a well-decorated club - winning  Scottish Football League Division One:  in  1903–04,  Scottish Football League Division Two  in1930–31,  1934– 3  and were  Runners-up in  1927–28. They won the Scottish Cup in 1888– 89  and  1904–05. They were Runners-up in 1875– 76,  1877–78,  1905– 06,  1935–36  and runners up in the  Scottish League

Cup of  1959–60. They won the keenly contested Glasgow Cup in  1903, 1904, 1909, 1963, on the last occasion defeating a Celtic side in the final managed by Jock Stein and featuring Billy McNeill. They reached the Glasgow Cup Finals of  1891, 1906, 1907, 1914, 1924, 1938, 1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954 and 1958.  This was a club that mattered. It had a decent support. In the good times they could pull in 40,000 to their impressive Cathkin Park ground and at the

hey won the keenly contested Glasgow Cup in 1903, 1904, 1909, 1963, on the last occasion defeating a Celtic side in the final managed by Jock Stein and featuring Billy McNeill.

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time the club ceased to exist they were attracting 15-16,000. That’s an average gate comparable to what Boro and many other English clubs were pulling in over the same era. “The Thirds” had a fine history of producing players. One of Newcastle United’s most celebrated and talented players, the great Bobby Mitchell (idolised by Mags of the great Glory Years of the 1950s and nicknamed Bobby Dazzler for his superb wing play) being just one not to mention our Cup winning ‘keeper Ronnie Simpson who began with the Hi-Hi and later kept goal for Celtic as they were crowned kings of Europe in 1967. And there was Dave Hilley who joined United from The Redcoats and played 194 times, scoring 37 goals between 1958 to 62.   The tale of their demise is an untypical one. The

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venality of a club owner, who ordinarily should have loved, cherished the club having been a lifelong supporter and whose name, Bill Hiddleston is written into Scottish football infamy aling with the continuing ineptitude of the SFA, whose recent incompetence includes the implosion of Rangers FC during which they were asleep at the wheel. Hiddleston appeared to be motivated by a desire to close Cathkin Park and sell the land for much needed housing in Glasgow and from which he may have expected to pocket a substantial £250K (a fortune in 60s Scotland) having run the club like a tombola stall for his own personal gain in the preceding years and some claim motivated by spite towards Thirds due to some earlier imagined sleight. Several of the documentary’s guests talked of Hiddleston’s heartlessness and his early death in his 40s

before he faced criminal investigation, seems apt but unsatisfactory as the club was never reborn unlike others which manage to recover despite the best efforts of rogue directors. Its an incredibly sad story. Listening to ex-players (including Dave Hilley) talk of the decline and death of the club is moving but the pride in the club remains and it would require a heart of stone not to feel something for those ex-players and officials in their club ties.    Some of the most evocative footage is of the now abandoned Cathkin Park, which despite Hiddleston remains land for recreational use and there is still a football field, surrounded by the ghost of an overgrown terrace, complete with remaining crush barriers of happier days. 

Hiddleston appeared to be motivated by a desire to close Cathkin Park and sell the land for much needed housing in Glasgow and from which he may have expected to pocket a substantial £250K (a fortune in 60s Scotland)



#ASHLEYOUT - Our new t-shirt has an obvious sentiment but we aren’t pushing this t-shirt to take advantage of a very unhappy situation. Every penny raised from the sale of this t-shirt will be used to fund the kitting out of the new true faith studio so that we can expand independent, fan-led coverage of Newcastle United and offer it FREE to those who value it.


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Name: Charlotte Robson

How do you earn a crust? I work in Human Resources in a financial management company in London. It works for me because I’m interested in other people (read: nosy). Where do you watch United from? If I’m not at the ground where it’s being played, I go to the supporters’ pub in London – the Cock and Lion. It’s so great to be around Geordies when we play! If I’m away, I either obsessively check the internet or find a bar showing the game. First game? I can’t remember! My dad took me, I was about ten. He can’t remember either. I just recall being so excited. Best moment following this club? So many to list! Keegan years, Sir Bobby Robson, watching David Ginola’s flowing locks move about tf 64

the pitch so elegantly. Maybe the Arsenal 4-4 which I banged on about in the last issue. It really brought home that you must have faith in the team. True faith, if you will. And the worst? Relegation in 2009. I was working in a shop at the time and I got a call from my dad all choked up. Also Mike Ashley. Best player you’ve seen in a B& W shirt? That I’ve literally seen – Alan Shearer probably. The stats speak for themselves. What an era. I also have a real soft spot for Nobby Solano, which listeners of the Exiles podcast will know. Which club do you most dislike and why? Sunderland, obviously, because of the supporters. I also have a strong, strong aversion to Lee Cattermole. Nowadays I just feel pity for them though. It’s a long

road back, ya red and white pricks.

can probably fill that one in yourself. It begins with a C.

Best away trip you’ve been on?

Rafa is....

I’m new to away games! Recently we went to Bournemouth – threw away a good lead but the day was great. Not at all sober, but great. Favourite away ground? I’m still playing catch up on away grounds, but I really liked Selhurst Park. It has such an old school ground feel to it. best match day boozer? I know the TF lads love the Trent, but I absolutely love the Bodega in town. It looks so small and dingy from the outside and has such an amazing back space with stained glass windows. It also serves Beavertown beers which I love. Ashley is.... Can I swear? I think you

A King among men. Modern football is great because... It’s such a unifier, especially for the toon fans. You’re all in it together. Modern football shit because...


Sometimes it can seem like people are just buying titles. Obviously not a problem we’re encountering… Tell us something we don’t know about NUFC Hmm.. surely the readers of this magazine know everything?! Okay – readers might not know that NUFC has a presence in French vintage shops – when rummaging through one in Toulouse recently I found a 93/94 away strip (pictured)

“NUFC has a presence in French vintage shops – when rummaging through one in Toulouse recently I found a 93/94 away strip”

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It’s supposed to be Spring but well, this is the North East of England so a coat and cover of some description is mainly always necessary. You may disagree but I spotted this fella on sale at Oi Polloi (Manchester) and I am smitten. This may do for late-season games when we get the expected downpour to prevent those heady days attempting to have a few pints on the pavement and which send Northumbria’s finest crazy with panic. A reasonable £200 but this has every chance of becoming a classic to be fetched in and out of the wardrobe for many years to come. Something of a nautical feel with the cord ties on the waist but I’d guess they will be resolutely untroubled as the look is definitely loose. If the Adidas Spezial stuff is up your autobahn, you might also enjoy dipping into this blog which has been doing the rounds. I clocked this on a few clobber sites I periodically mooch in and out of but I liked the lay out of the one included in Oi Polloi. Interesting account of an 80s sub-culture that has been much discussed and might generate a bit more chatter:

It’s hard not to sneer at Stone Island to be honest. The sneering isn’t because they haven’t produced some outstanding clothes (or “pieces” if I want to get the chat right eh?) but simply because of the following it has attracted: the pound shop Danny Dyers, the bad snide E-Bay versions that have been shifted and the naff manner in which it has been worn it seems by Neds up and down the country have done Signor Osti’s iconic label, absolutely no favours. When I saw the walking abortions in Amsterdam lashing beer over pensioners on a canal boat and heard the hyena laughter, I knew a load of the dull-eyed, emptyheaded twats would have tf 66

the compass on their left arms. And so they did. Let’s hope they are wearing that schmutter in Russia this summer? Ahem. The latest collection I’ve seen from End is well, should we say, mixed. Whether SI now wants to be more challenging to shake off the Ned following remains to be seen but this stuff is

simply galloping. Perhaps okay if you want to rock the late-80s South African Afrikaan farmer look with this bad Rambo (ask your Dad) fella equally as bad. There are some new jackets from them that look okay but they are on the conservative side but I’ve no doubt they will

shift in-store and online. There is a ready market for their gear. To be fair, this new lot is better than the winter stuff SI had out which was laughable unless you fancied walking around in a continental quilt. I’m not sure how it would have been received in the Bee Hive.

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892

Interview – Gary Apsden, Adidas Spezial.

In recent years, Converse has more or less dominated the plimsoll market with one or two exceptions but these fellas (2390 Cotu Classic) from Superga appeal. Nice and subtle, clean lines... I can see many a Tyneside dandy with his trotters encased in these beauties over the summer months. Not me mind, I’ve still got a pair of Stan Smiths bought in Glasgow (Size) the morning after that pre-season friendly with Rangers I’ve barely worn so I can’t justify lashing out on these just yet (eek that was back in 2013!).

Saucony Jazz and in yellow.I clocked them in Size but they are probably available elsewhere. Anyway … you probably want to get back to reading about football and that.

You can get them in loads of places. Finally, with footwear, I believe a cap needs to be doffed in the direction of Saucony. The range they are currently punting … in the running shoe style (aye, right) had my retinas expanding. These are my favourites: Saucony Shadow 5000 Vintage

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Postcards F rom The Edge Paully

2018 is turning out to be a rather splendid year of association football for those who descend upon the black and white parish. We are within a maggot’s maggot of securing our place in the top flight for next season which is testament to Rafa’s managerial ability as the squad is relegation-fodder. It also looks extremely likely that our neighbours from down the road will be playing third tier football and possibly coming up against their nemesis Shola again next season. Simply lovely.

It’s annoying to think that if we had of brought in a Premier League quality goalkeeper and centre forward plus Kenedy last summer (exactly what Rafa wanted) then we could be battling for 7th place and another European excursion. I’ve banged on enough times about the numerous sitters that we’ve missed as well as the flapping of mediocre goalkeepers in nets which have cost us double-figure points. Our form this calendar year is phenomenal and is only bettered by four teams (all who are in the top six). Dubravka has made a massive difference to our defence which currently looks more resolute than the Trumpsta’s hair-piece. Everyone fully knows their roles and not even Jenna Jameson was as drilled in her pomp as we currently are. Mmm, that ‘heartbreaker’ tattoo…… This summer is absolutely massive for the future of NUFC . Even if the worst case scenario prevails and the current imbecile is still our owner then surely Rafa is going to be afforded a wheelbarrow full of cash to spend? Surely Ashley isn’t

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idiotic enough to mug off a manager like Rafa during four consecutive transfer windows? Actually, I can’t believe I made that comment as without doubt he is. It doesn’t bare thinking about as to how things would turn out if we lost Rafa. Ideally, we will be bought by ambitious owners who are worthy to have a manager like him representing them. I’m convinced that Amanda Staveley and her money mob will make another bid in the summer. Some of our fans seem to have doubts about her which to me is utterly astounding when you look at who our current owner is. Even if the other grass isn’t greener and is completely covered in smelly cow shit, it will not be as bad as Mike Ashley’s patch. I’m not quite sure if he can turn water into wine but the resurrection of Mo Diame far outdoes Jesus Christ’s similar act. I also think that Mo could pull off a hippy hairstyle better too. The transformation in him is absolutely incredible. He has gone from the footballing version of that

I’m not quite sure if he can turn water into wine but the resurrection of Mo Diame far outdoes Jesus Christ’s similar act. I also think that Mo could pull off a hippy hairstyle better too.

plot if someone farts in his direction from 242 miles away. For the majority of the time, he attempts the forward pass whereas all of the others keep it simple and take the easy option. I’m not advocating starting him but he would be an ideal option to come off the bench and to try and open up a tight match. I’m personally pleased that both didn’t receive a call-up as no doubt they both would have been stung by a jelly fish whilst relaxing in the hotel pool causing them to miss as in capta Speaking of our the rest of the season for us. well as our 70 yard ballshiny-headed Anyone who has endured pinging, maestro; both had good the misfortune of reading cases to be called-up to my previous ramblings will the recent England squad know fine well that I’m not especially the latter. Jake very fond of Alan Pardew. Livermore must have photos Saturday April 28th was set of Gareth Southgate with his to be a glorious day at SJP so penis fully rammed inside of I’m gutted that he has been a hamster’s mouth. Adolf; ditched by West Brom. Surely my pet German Shepherd, that is him finished as a top is more worthy of a call- flight manager albeit I’ve no up and he broke his leg idea how he ever ‘earned’ playing Knocky Nine Doors the right to be labelled as last week. Shelvey offers one. It still baffles me why completely Ashley binned Hughton for something different from every other this fraudulent egotistical English centre midfielder. ball-bag. Hughton got us I’m not referring to the fact promoted at the first attempt that he is likely to lose the and we were comfortably

utter buffoon Mr Bean to Yaya Toure beast mode of 2011-12. Even girls like him now apparently. He must be the proverbial nightmare to play against. Big, strong, athletic, energetic and he likes to put his foot in. He is currently just as vital as Lascelles which is the best compliment that I can give him. He has formed a very good partnership in the middle of the park with Shelvey which is helping us dominate and dictate matches.

sat in mid-table. We also smashed the two Clubs that we were desperate to batter 5-1 and 6-0 and we had also won at Arsenal. The players were fully behind him so there has to be a sinister reason behind it (and we’ve all heard the rumours) as there is no logical one. He’ll no doubt end up back on Sky Sports as an “expert pundit” with his smarmy face annoying the living excrement out of me and many others. Speaking of Sky, they announced their live selections for April’s matches on February 27th yet on March 22nd (two weeks AFTER the tickets went on sale), they very kindly moved our trip to Everton from 3pm on Saturday April 21st to 8pm on Monday 23rd April. Utter contempt from them yet again towards supporters especially those who had already paid for transport and hotels and who subsequently will not be compensated. Our away fixtures this season have been completely farcical with only a staggering five out of 19 matches being played at 3pm on a Saturday. I know we’re about a billion miles away from the nearest team but selecting our trips to Brighton, Swansea, Southampton and Palace for live transmission on a Sunday is surely taking the urine. I can’t be the only ‘deluded’ Geordie who finds the media attention that our apparent “small Club” attracts as truly baffling. tf 69



SEASON Players: Burns, Nelson, Fairhurst, Imrie, Leach, Weaver, Gallantree, JR Richardson, Williams, Shankley, Lang, Kelly, Pearson, McPhillips, Davidson,J Richardson,Allen, Murray, Swinburne, Boyd, Russell, Smith, McMenemy, Tapken, Leighton, Wilson, Bott, Cairns, Docking, Gordon Division:Newcastlecouldn’t get back into the top-tier at the first time of trying, and ended up finishing 6th in the firstoutinginSecondDivision. 48 points from 42 games was 13 points off eventual champions Brentford, with 2nd

placed Bolton Wanderers on 56 points the other side going up to the First Division.

Manager: Despite suffering the Magpies first ever relegation, Andy Cunningham continued in his role as manager. He, and the directors, totally re-jigging the squad. Sadly, it wouldn’t end in promotion. Trainer/Coach: Same as last year, James McPherson Jr. would carry on in his role as coach of the side and Cunningham’s right hand man. Highest Attendance: Our highest gate of the season came in our penultimate home game at home to Bolton Wanderers. Sadly, the 28,277 fans that turned up trudged away from NE1

disappointed, the Black & Whites on the wrong end of a 1-3 scoreline. On the road in the league, West Ham was the biggest crowd we played in front of, 26,799 seeing the Hammers record a 3-2 victory. Including the cups, that figure gets blown out of the water as 61,195 watched us crash out away from home at Tottenham in the 4th round. Lowest Attendance: One of the lowest attendances Newcastle have played in front of in a competitive game occurred this year, away from home. Only 3,851 wet to Oldham to watch the home side beat the Magpies 3-2 in the second last game of the season. At SJP, it was the final game which saw our lowest attendance, with everything already decided, 7,718 Geordies turned up to see a low-key campaign end on a high note, with a 2-0 win at home to Burnley. AverageAttendance:Adrop in attendances was bound to happen after relegation,

Jimmy Richardson

but probably not as big as you would expect. 20,081 was the average over the course of 21 home league games. Given the fact our two cup games this season were away from home, that number remained the same including cups too. Biggest Win: Three fourgoal victories were United’s best return this season, as the goals flowed on Tyneside, despite the lads not reaching the ultimate goal of promotion. Bury (finished 10th) and Swansea (17th) were both dispatched 5-1 on Tyneside. However, we managed to hit Hull (13th) for six on Tyneside on Christmas Day, winning 6-2. Gallentree, Wilson, Pearson (2), Smith (2) getting the goals to send Mags home happy just after Santa had been. Worst Defeat: A couple of four-goal defeats was as bad as it got for us this season, losing by a 1-5 scoreline twice. We actually kicked off life in the second tier with a horrendous reverse at Forest,

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being only 0-1 down at HT before capitulating 1-5 with Lang getting the goal. The second four-goal reverse was in mid-November when we fell to Sheffield United on the road 1-5. Unlike the Forest game, the black and whites weren’t at the races from the get-go in this one, going in at HT 0-4 down. Something of Interest: Cunningham decided to rip the squad up after relegation and try and build the team around an all-international half-back line of Bill Imrie and England skipper Tom Leach, who we bought from Sheffield Wednesday for the pricey sum of £1,000. Things didn’t start as expected, however, and after five games the Magpies were second bottom. Slowly but surely things improved, but not to the point where anyone wanted to be, as United finished 6th. It was no real surprise when at the end of the season, manager Andy Cunningham handed in his resignation from the club. A case of jumping before he was pushed, no doubt. Mentioned in Dispatches: After disposing of Hull in Round 3 of the F.A. Cup, the Magpies bumped into First Division Tottenham Hotspur in Round 4 (Spurs would go on to finish bottom of the league and be relegated, however). In front of a season-high 61,195, Newcastle would lose 2-0 and be knocked out of the cup. The game was far from straight forward, with captain and experienced centre-half Tom Leach sent off, United would go on to finish the

game with only eight men. Two others being taken off injured. If any game summed up Newcastle’s season this year, this was it. National Interest: Silver Jubilee celebrations occurred for King George V at the start of the summer.. A new Prime Minister takes charge of the country, Stanley Baldwin replacing the retiring Ramsey MacDonald. The Conservative Baldwin would go on to win an election later in the year too, but with a reduced majority.. cat’seyes are first used on British roads in April of this year.. The driving test becomes compulsory.. Saint Bede is sanctified by the Catholic Church.. Football men Brian Clough, Jack Charlton and Jimmy Armfield were all born in this year.. Regional Interest: The North East of England has the highest rate of unemployment in the UK at 28.5%. In an effort to broaden the

region’s economic base and under Special Assistance Area funding, theTeamValley Trading Estate in Gateshead is developed as a location for new industry. It is one of the most successful economic developments in the country and its location continues to provide thousands of jobs for local people. Palmers Shipyard in Jarrow, which had closed in 1933 was acquired by National Shipbuilders Security Ltd. In 1935 the site was demolished, though the 715 feet Hebburn dry dock was taken over by VickersArmstrong and continued in use as Palmers Hebburn Ltd. The British Union of Fascists (BUF) attempt to destroy a Communist Party Bookshop in Newcastle. The BUF then tried to attack an Independent Labour Party rally outside a Labour Exchange on May Day 1934 and were battered by an angry crowd. Local historian and Newcastle Councillor Nigel Todd wrote:“By threat-

ening a May Day meeting . . . the BUF unwittingly produced an entirely new situation. Instead of responding to fascist violence the strategy of anti-fascism on Tyneside now changed to one of completely breaking the BUF.” On 10 May the Newcastle Anti-Fascist League was formed. It consisted of 200 uniformed defence stewards “almost exclusively working class and fifty per cent of that out of work”, according to one participant. Street battles in Newcastle and Gateshead on 13 and 14 May decisively changed the situation. Workers turned out in their thousands to prevent fascist demonstrations. The fascists were penned into their Newcastle HQ by the angry crowd. As one fascist wrote: “The large branch room, with its floor covered in blood and groaning men, was a gruesome sight”. Nice. Chris Laws. Follow @tflawsy1892 tf 71

Of all the games on this latest Calcio road-trip this was the one I was looking forward to most. it was a Serie C Group A game between and my third match of six I was doing in four days. I had attended the AC Milan v Arsenal EL Cup match on the Thursday evening at the San Siro, travelled to Rome on the Friday for the night match at the Stadio Olimpico, AS Roma v Torino and then back to Milan for this Saturday’s afternoon game.



AS Giana Erminio 0 AS Livorno 2, Stadio Citta di Gargonzola, Serie C, 10/Mar/2018. Att: 772. 

A.S. Giana Erminio is a club based in Gorgonzola, a suburb of Milan and they play in the third tier of Italian Football. Below Serie B, the leagues are regionalised so as to minimise travel for teams and supporters. Group A contains teams in the North and Central West of Italy the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Emila Romagne, Tuscany, Lazio and Sardinia. tf 72

Giana were founded in 1909 as AS Gorgonzola, however the mother of a fallen WW1 Alpino soldier (a famous Italian mountain regiment) Erminio Giana bequeathed an annual stipend of 250 lira for a new ground/ training facilities and  as a result the club’s name was changed to Giana Erminio in memory of her son. They have played all of

their football up to 2012 in the Eccellenza (Amateur) leagues of Lombardy, a feeder league of Group D. They then won two successive promotions to Group C. Giana play in blue and white stripes, their nickname being the Biancazzurri or La Giana. My reason for picking this match was to see A.S.Livorno Calcio play.

For followers of Italian and football in general the Amaranto (Dark Reds) need little introduction, admittedly more for their followers and beliefs. Avowedly left wing Livorno, being the capital of Italian communism (the party being formed there in 1921) and the local club support has ran with its ideals of no exploitation ever since. The stories of their ideological driven left-wing support is legendary and over the years, portraits of Che Guevara and Joseph Stalin have adorned their banners with slogans expressing solidarity with rival clubs’ tifosi employment troubles. The club actually celebrates Stalin’s birthday every year, and before each match, the fans sing the song of the Italian antifascist partisans of WW2 “The

Bandiera Rossa” It has been my mission in life to see them play home and away whenever I could. Sadly they have been out of Serie A since relegation in 2014 and further humiliation followed in 2016 with relegation to Serie C. So this was my chance to see them play in the lower leagues. Getting to Gorgonzola is a fairly simple task from Milan and involves taking the Metro Line M2, and the journey takes no more than 30 minutes. Gorgonzola is a sleepy little town three stops from the end destination, Gessate. The Stadio Citta di Gargonzola is a 10 min walk from the metro stop. I neared the Stadio just as both the players and 2 busloads of Livorno tifosi arrived after a journey of

some 310km from the Tuscan coas who were a small but vocal contingent. Surprise, surprise, no queue to get in. After some discussion with the stewards, who were a really helpful bunch, it appeared the ticket I’d purchased from the official online vendor’s web-site was for the Livorno section. I didn’t want to be in there, as I needed to make a quick exit at the end as I had a match to see in that evening. Luckily for me the Chief Steward was very helpful and allowed me to enter the home supporting side stand. Grazie Mila. The Stadio only holds 5000, it has 2 main side stands and an end for the visting tifosi, the other end has a fence behind the goal the area behind being the

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club car park. A quick perusal of the official merchandise (Macron) set out on trestle-tables reveals some quality gear for such a small club. I purchased a couple of items to help club funds and fancied a beer from the café under the stand. Bloody hell no alcohol on sale. Whilst taking photos I met two Arsenal supporters, who like me were taking this match in. We had great crack, swapping tales of grounds visited throughout Europe which helped pass the time before kick-off. The Stadio was very neat and compact and the side stands filled up quickly with the Livorno contingent across to our right, noisy and vociferous from the off. The

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players went through their pre-match drills on the field on a cloudy cold day. The official match attendance was 772, one of the things that was immediately noticeable was Giania didn’t have an Ultra contingent or any singing section, and no banners or flags waved. Disappointing. This really was a must win match for Livorno who were second in the table a point behind Robur Siena they needed it to keep pace at the top, Giana were lying seventh needing a win to maintain a challenge for a play-off place . As with all games on this visit a two minutes silence was observed in memorial to the tragic death of Davide Astori, the Fiorentina

Captain, the week before, this to a back drop of a special prepared video of highlights of his career with his favourite song being played, accompanied this . A very moving, solemn and emotional occasion, impeccable observed. The match kicks off on a cold grey overcast day I am sitting with my newly acquainted Arsenal friends in a well maintained, side stand. What strikes you immediately is the quality of football on display from both sides, who attack and counter attack at every opportunity the referee Mr Amarable was particularly effective keeping play flowing being decisive in his decision making and

firm with any indiscretions made, without resorting to waving yellow cards. Livorno made the first break through in the 28th minute when the young 22 year old Brazilian Murilo nipped in to guide a shot beyond the goalkeeper. This was met by incredible scenes, the players, manager and staff celebrating together with the travelling fans as if they had just won the Scudetto. Strange that. Thought nothing of it at this point just over exuberance or so it seemed. Livorno maintained their lead until half time In the second half the pattern of play remained the same with the Armanto holding a slight advantage in possession. They scored

a superb second goal in the 66 min Murilo received the ball in his own half and showing tremendous pace outstripped the Giana midfield and defenders to slot home a cracking solo goal.Cue further pandemonium from the Livorno players supporters and the bench. It was only after doing some research as to why there were such wild scenes. In Serie C only the top team of each of the three divisions is promoted automatically. A knock out playoff of 24 teams takes place until the winner of the final match is determined who then take up the fourth promoted place in Serie B. That’s why every goal scored and every win is celebrated so wildly - you don’t want to

go into such a brutal playoff. Livorno then played out the game to end victorious 2-0 winners I came out of the ground bang on full-time as I had to get to the metro station quickly to get back into Milan. The small contingent of Livorno tifosi as you can imagine were going mental, another 3 points on the road to Serie B salvation and their place in the big time of Italian Calcio. This club and their support need to be back there. I was glad I had the chance to see them play this season as they are a club and fans I have always admired for their, undying left wing support and beliefs. Please get promoted this season. Forza Livorno. tf 75

We got the tickets for this gig what seemed to be months and months ago and they weren’t cheap at something like £60 a throw and for a party of three that’s a hefty bill for a night out. If I’m honest but for the company, I hadn’t really been looking forward to this that much.


The Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne, 23/02/2018.

music before the main event are a big part of the night. We are welcomed by a gigantic picture of Jason King on the backdrop (ask your Dad, Granddad) and whilst there are usual tributes to the New York Dolls just before the curtain rises, or drops, our wee group detected a definitive soulful vibe with some Northern Soul tunes joined by Nina Simeone, Dionne Warwick, The Four Tops and James Brown giving it a Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud. So, see he’s not really a racist eh? There’s a run through of various artists to have taken Morrissey’s fancy with the Human League and The Ramones as well

as what I took to be The Ronettes but I could be wrong as I frequently am. It’s Friday night so the audience is in the mood. No school tomorrow and a good thirst being sated in the pubs around town before the trek to the Arena (which is on death row before demolition and hopefully a much improved major venue is added to central Tyneside just over the river behind The Sage in Gateshead). If I’m honest, I think there was a little standoffishness in the audience tonight. A union flag in the audience may have hinted at dark intent by those raising it but maybe it

I’ve previously found Morrissey’s playfulness with his public and the media slightly entertaining but his criticism of Burnham (a Scouser) becoming Mayor of Manchester, last year for no other reason than his place of birth struck me as petty and bitter. The apparent support for BREXIT – given he is a wealthy man who lives abroad and iffy comments about race soured my view of him but anyway, here we were, big deep breath and ready to see how we could cope with what we feared might be a night out with everyone’s favourite racist uncle. I like getting to these gigs early. The film shows and

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didn’t. But that flag has the potential to make people uncomfortable. Maybe it’s all flags? Maybe they like us were as nervous and uncomfortable at his reported politics and there was a definite absence of the demonstrations of devotion I’ve seen before at these gigs. For all of that there was plenty to hint at Morrissey’s antiauthoritarianism and his continued railing at animal cruelty. On the basis of the mood of this gig few would have the Stretford crooner down as a rolling eyed right-wing nutter. His musical appeal is he can’t be put in a box, maybe the same applies to politics and ethics. Those making cracks about his ban on meat products at his gigs? You haven’t been paying attention, man.

His voice was as good as I’ve heard it in the last twenty years and his band as tight and as accomplished as they have ever been. He was energetic, warm (“Whatever happened to the Likely Lasses?) and incredibly appeared to be enjoying it if the hip thrusting was any guide. The shirt inevitably came off revealing a torso in pretty good nick for a man near 60 and he seemed to be showing no signs of reduced vitality given his health scares of recent years. I’ve been to so many of these gigs now but this was different, less raucous, mature and appreciative – particularly of the new material, which I’d not heard previously but I’ll make my business to get my lugs around.

Is this a return to form? Yes. Set-list: I Wish You Lonely, Suedehead, I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish, Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s Up on the Stage, Home Is a Question Mark, Munich Air Disaster 1958, My Love, I’d Do Anything for You, When You Open Your Legs, Who Will Protect Us From the Police?, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look At Me, Back On The Chain Gang, I Bury the Living, The Bullfighter Dies, Jack The Ripper, How Soon Is Now?, Spent the Day in Bed, Hold On To Your Friends, Everyday Is Like Sunday, I’m Not Sorry. Encore: Irish Blood, English Heart

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892 tf 77

Phantom Thread

Tyneside Cinema

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Tyneside Cinema.

Best film I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Beautifully filmed, acted and a great story which is painfully relevant in terms of misogyny, male emasculation, racism and injustice in contemporary life. I loved the stripped down raw heroism of the leading actress, a mother whose pain at the rape and murder of her daughter and its attendant unsolved, apparently ignored case sends her on a journey where there is no compromise. The film challenges notions of traditional femininity

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I’ll be honest. Had I been watching this on Netflix or some such I’d have switched it off. But as I was with the boss and had paid to get in and she was loving it, I was stuck. I think that says more about me than the film to be honest. We are so used nowadays to seeing beautifully filmed material in all walks of life it is often easy to neglect how far the bar has been raised. If I was the ignorant get I’ve been on too many occasions than is good for me in my appreciation of the arts, I’d dismiss this as not for me such is the absence of Italian-American gangsters and heroic battles against fascism 70-odd years ago. It isn’t for me. Maybe I’m far too blokey for my own good. I had no empathy whatsoever for the main

characters. Afterwards we discussed the leading part played by the always excellent Daniel Day-Lewis as a kind of self-absorbed Morrissey with dressmaking replacing Indie crooning. For me the highlights were the sets and the costumes. The acting was superb but perhaps I need to develop emotionally to fully appreciate the depths of this kind of deep, complex relationship drama. I never really got poetry at school and most of Shakespeare bored the balls off me. And don’t get me on about the Brontes. It was the wrong film for me but I never got Radiohead and I don’t deny they have something I just don’t get. Like this film. If you like this, you’ll love Wuthering Heights.. 6/10.

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892

with the leading character refusing to break in the face of marital betrayal and domestic violence, Police complacency and social disapproval. Not that there aren’t moments of the darkest comedy, tenderness and personal renaissance. There is plenty of all of that. This is a truly great story without a tidy resolution and I’d recommend you to get along and get it watched. If you like this you’ll love Mississippi Burning. 9/10.


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I’ve never met anyone who has told me ACR is their favourite all time band. For the same token I’ve never met anyone who has a half-serious interest in music who dismisses them either. And nor should they. I’m not sure this band ever achieved their full potential commercially but for delivering a canon of solidly unique music which draws from James Brown and Kraftwerk amongst many others, this lot have established a towering musical legacy.

A Certain Ratio Hoochie Coochie, 16 March 2018.

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ACR’s appeal for me is their lineage stretching back now close on forty years to the early Mancunian era of Factory Records and the difficulties some might have in pigeonholing them into an easy, unthinking genre. For me, they are their own genre. I like the angularity of the space they occupy. I’ve heard them variously described as Punk-Funk but I don’t get that. I don’t see much of the Punk element beyond the original ethos of the DIY culture and the ACR sound has always been far more layered, subtle, varied and accomplished than the punk or even postpunk roots from which they sprung and whose stages they shared. Again, as I see it, the difficulty in categorising them (similar perhaps to their Whitworth Street stable-

mates New Order) is part of their charm and if you want to really understand and appreciate them then I’m afraid you are going to have to devote time to listening to the ten albums they have knocked out over their career. I think this is the fifth time I’ve caught them. This was the third occasion I’ve clocked them at the Hoochie Coochie with whom the owner ACR has a long association and friendship going back to a meeting at Johnsons Nightclub in Dunfermline. I know this because I was so informed by their twitter feed in the hours after this gig. I did catch them once in Newcastle when they and I were in more youthful days but as per the conversation I had on the night with another silverback at the gig, we

couldn’t be certain though I’ve a strong suspicion it was The Poly (Polytechnic – ask your Dad). I did see them at The Hacienda and I suspect that was on the same bill as New Order. Fucking hell, I’m getting old. It was an absolutely rotten night. We couldn’t move on a spare ticket and with Stiff Little Fingers on across town, I feared the audience might have been thinned out. The previous time I’d been here there

had been a big section of the audience I’d have thought were under 30 but not tonight. Maybe a few had sated their curiosity and that’s an observation not a criticism. I enjoyed not being an audience constantly taking photos from their mobiles and gathering in footage so inexpertly shot and recorded as to render it worthless. There was a good crowd of relaxed enthusiasts with only a handful pushing up the bar

on the wanker averages. The gig. As ever, as tight as the proverbial drum bar only a few moments of unwelcome feedback as best wishes were given to a friend given the all-clear from cancer. Massive beats, beeps and basslines across funk, soul, Latin and a ridiculous quality of interchanging musicianship on an almost Total Football scale – move over Martin Moscrop, the ghost of Johann Cruyff on the bongos.

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892 tf 81

You were never really here

Red Sparrow

Fact Cinema, Liverpool Its tough to make a good spy movie. Let’s be honest the genre has been dominated by Smiley’s People on the big screen with Gary Oldman and on TV by Alec Guinness with fantastic scripts, a great intensity and measured pace that will never be topped in my humble opinion. Seminal. Much of what follows pales by comparison. At the other end of the scale there is the crash-bang-wallop action dramas of James Bond, Bourne with many points in between occupied by Harry Lime, The Third Man and all the way to Johnny English. I hasten to add, there is no comedy in this movie. This isn’t a good spy movie. It is variously titillating and contains scenes (of rape and other sexual humiliation) which are misogynistic and only there because the film lacks so much substance. They are simultaneously shocking and puerile. Clearly however, the film makers recognise that their lead actress Jennifer

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Lawrence caught in numerous positions of sexual compromise and nudity is good Box Office but they really don’t get their bang for their buck with Jeremy Irons, confined to what transpires to be a pivotal role in the film’s patchy narrative as a peripheral figure. If the under-use of Irons is disappointing, the positing of the usually superb Charlotte Rampling as a left-over from the Smersh-era KGB (see Dr No) with a better cut of Red Army uniform and lipstick is bordering on the criminal. Ms Rampling offers more than a Rosa Klebb for Millennials. This film clearly had a budget out of potential to its story.

Fact Cinema, Liverpool I’d heard this film variously spoken of in the same breath as Taxi Driver and No Country For Old Men so made my way up Bold Street with a bit of a sense of anticipation. It falls short of those landmark movies but its a good watch nevertheless. There is a whole swathe of current political referencing within this film centred around child abuse, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress, grotesque misuse of power and a sense of the main character (Joe played by Joaquin Phoenix) occupying a psychological space of suicide and death underscored by the intensity of his performance and a lack of dialogue, which in many regards, allows you to colour in the spaces where there are no complete explanations. The film centres around a US senator commissioning a hit-man

(Joe) to rescue his prepubescent daughter from a paedophile ring which happens to compromise the same man’s boss and well, we are left to believe the father too. Joe, a veteran, damaged by his experiences in US foreign adventures as well as his childhood gets busy with a hammer, becomes ensnared in the violence and murders but finds salvation in rescuing the young girl, who steps beyond her victim-hood herself. There are some good scenes - the rescue of the girl, is cleverly sequenced through CCTV cameras in monochrome and as you might expect from a director, Lynne Ramsey who previously brought us the excellent We Need To Talk About Kevin. You’ll get something from this film. I’d recommend it. 7/10. 

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892

Its a real shame. Given events in Salisbury, the Kremlin West (aka The Whitehouse) this has completely missed the Zeitgeist in a way that Homeland and to a much lesser degree McMafia on the small screen got so close to. Bah! 4/10.

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Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall Now available in paperback, Marshall’s book examines the impact of geography on politics and human development over the centuries. He does this by focusing on ten countries or regions to consider how their physical geography has affected the way they interact with others, where their priorities lie and the implications for geo-

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politics in the 21st century. In doing so, he moves away from the idea that politics are primarily driven by individuals and ideas and instead focuses on the threats, opportunities and constraints imposed by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. His view is that to understand people, ideas and movements you also need to understand

the geography within which they live and how this has affected their thinking. He is particularly good in examining why Putin seems obsessed with Crimea and the Ukraine and why Russia views the Northern European Plain as both a weakness and a threat, particularly with the forces of NATO camped on its borders. In a similar way Marshall examines whether China now feels secure behind what it sees as its natural land borders and the rationale behind its expansion as a maritime power. Unsurprisingly, there is also a chapter devoted to the implications of Brexit for the UK’s relationship with Europe and beyond. The book ends by examining the potential for conflict in the Arctic as global warming opens up the possibility of tapping into its mineral wealth. The author also examines where borders are in many ways irrelevant as there is no physical geographical basis for their existence, other than nineteenth century diplomats drawing straight lines on a map. This is the situation in much of Africa and the Middle East. Moving across the border between Turkey and Syria could barely be easier - it is just a dotted line on a map with no physical existence in reality. In these situations, nations with power will always push up to a natural defensive barrier if they are able, such as China

The author also examines where borders are in many ways irrelevant as there is no physical geographical basis for their existence, other than nineteenth century diplomats drawing straight lines on a map. annexing Tibet. Marshall’s realpolitik is often a bracing antidote to the acceptance of the current state of play and defending what is, ultimately, indefensible. On a more negative note, I have to say that, despite the book being subtitled ‘Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics’, the actual maps in the paperback are not that great. And thinking about power without considering the importance of ideology is an incomplete analysis. However, it does open up a space for fresh thinking about how we arrived where we are and the direction of travel in the years to come. Wallace Wilson

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

First published in 1941, and subtitled ‘A Story of Darkest Earl’s Court’, Hangover Square is the story of George Harvey Bone, a shambling bear of a man with a drink problem and his obsession with Netta, a failed actress. Unfortunately, she and her boyfriend,Peter,shamelessly exploit Bone for money and alcohol, who also suffers from what would now be called dissociative identity disorder, what he calls his ‘dead moods’. On waking from the moods, Bone can remember nothing of what he has done but

while under their influence he becomes convinced that he must kill Netta and move away to Maidenhead where he believes he will find peace. He comes across as a decent, slightly helpless character seeking the affection of Netta through a series of escapades which involve trips to Brighton. When she discovers that one of George’s friends works for an important theatrical agent, Netta tries to use his connection to advance her acting aspirations with disastrous consequences. In many ways Hangover

Square occupies the same literary niche as Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, published three years earlier. It examines, in an almost Dickensian fashion, the hidden lives of the slightly disreputable underclass, with their struggles to survive in an inhospitable world. Like Dickens, Hamilton conjures up believable characters and, if anything, Hangover Square presents an even bleaker picture of this existence. The novel is often described as ‘darkly comic’ but don’t go looking here for laughs. It does, however, succeed in brilliantly evoking a seedy world of saloon bars, lodging houses and cheap hotels while examining the pervading feelings of impending doom in London in the months before the war. Although slightly archaic in its language and construction, it is a rewarding read, giving a glimpse of pre-war London which is at odds with the heroic image passed down to us as a ‘nation standing alone’.

It does, however, succeed in brilliantly evoking a seedy world of saloon bars, lodging houses and cheap hotels while examining the pervading feelings of impending doom in London in the months before the war.

Hamilton was regarded as one of the most gifted writers of his generation but knew of what he wrote, with alcohol taking a toll on his writing after the publication of his major works Hangover Square and The Slaves of Solitude. J B Priestley described his as ‘an unhappy man who needed whisky as a car needs petrol’. Wallace Wilson

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‘The Boy on the Shed’, strange title for a book about an ex-footballer I thought. The reasoning behind this slightly opaque title becomes apparent within the opening chapter, with the shed in question being the place a young Paul Ferris would regularly perch himself as a child to watch his mother, Bernadette, busying herself in the kitchen - an indication of his fear of loss due to her increasinglydebilitating heart condition.

The Boy on the Shed

large wardrobe in front of his bedroom window, casting darkness and half-light across his room for a number of years. Ferris talks about his early years kicking a ball about in a way that most working class boys will relate to. Occasional games of 15-a-side in the schoolyard and honing his skills by learning to evade lunging ‘tackles’ in his Patrick football boots - Kevin Keegan always his hero. His arrival on Tyneside was tinged with longing for Bernadette and his girlfriend, Geraldine, but coincided with the rise of a certain Paul

Gascoigne (“me friends call me ‘Gazza’”). Ferris talks about a subsequent crash course in the Geordie dialect (“I learned that ‘haddaway’ is always to be followed by ‘and shite’, otherwise it made no sense at all…”) and a fondness for 1980s Newcastle-uponTyne; music, clothes and mullets. The settling in period was accompanied with a healthy respect for the manager, Arthur Cox; whilst John Carver was immediately on hand to offer support (“everyone calls me JC”). His debut with the reserves at St. James’ Park was followed

By Paul Ferris

What follows is an aching account of a working class boy’s ‘four cornerstones’ - his mother’s ill health, the Troubles, the Catholic Church, and football. The Troubles, in particular, feature heavily in the early part of his story. Born to a Catholic family in a largely Protestant estate, he offers a fascinating and chilling account of growing up in 1970s Northern Ireland. Narratives about

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a generally contented childhood are punctuated with bleak descriptions of the violence and terror, ranging from asking his mother, “what’s a Fenian bastard?” in response to being taunted by other boys, to the family home being firebombed, and his father’s drinking pals being killed in a UDA attack on a social club. Consequently, Ferris was protected from repeat firebomb incidents after his father positioned a

by a heart-warming encounter with Jackie Milburn in the ticket and admin office, with Ferris innocently thinking he was an ex-soldier rather than one of the greatest players to ever pull on the Black & White shirt. The period between becoming the club’s youngest ever player in a substitute appearance at Ewood Park in April 1982, and the point that his injuries became more problematic are coloured by the impact which Kevin Keegan had on the club during his playing spell. However, the death of Bernadette and his early retirement from football are both

covered with a sense of grim inevitability (“I was 25 when I played football for the last time. I was 19 when I was last a footballer”). His period as Newcastle physiotherapist is well told, particularly the KK ‘Entertainers’ period. Ferris recalls sucking in his stomach when David Ginola would regularly parade around the changing rooms with his top off, and fiercely competitive games of squash with Keegan and himself. The proudest moment of his physio career was supporting Alan Shearer’s recovery from the careerthreatening ankle injury

he sustained at Goodison Park in 1997. They would later develop a strong friendship, although the arrival of Ruud Gullit as manager would threaten to derail it (“When Alan Shearer and Robert Lee speak in the treatment room, you don’t answer. See you later lovely boy”). Ferris has a nice line in selfdeprecation throughout and it’s one of the more honest biographies I’ve read. There are fewer football-related tales than I expected but it’s beautifully written by a genuine working class boy done good. Highly recommended.

Michael Campbell Follow @MickyCampbell72 tf 87

load of meaningful staring (and I mean a lot of staring) and it was only a few days after I’d seen the lead actor giving out hammer pagga in You Were Never Here to make the switch. To be fair he did plenty of staring and brooding in that film, plus he had a beard in both. A bit rubbish – 4/10

Mary Magdalene Tyneside Cinema

I don’t know what got into us going to see this. Perhaps Easter gave us a pang. I don’t know as my Roman Catholicism was kicked into touch many years ago and her Anglicanism is similarly in some ditch up the Spine Road. For all that, I do have an interest in what the bead rattlers may or may not believing at any given time because well, I’m the first in a very long line of devout Catholics (Irish variety as well mind you) to have binned the lot of it off. When yours truly was bashing the pews at various left-footer churches south of the river, I was always led to believe that your Mary Magdalene was well, not to put it too finely, a bit of a sort. Or a fallen woman as my Mam might have described her and her place within Jesus’ orbit illustrative of his readiness to get down with the sinners and the reviled. Like the lepers and that. It transpires however, that the Magdalene lass was only so defined as being a hooker

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by some Pope in the fifth century and yon Mary was considered subsequently to have been the biblical brass ever since. Then it gets round to 2016 and the latest Pope (who seems as good as they are going to get if I’m honest) decides, naw, she wasn’t as slack as we’d all been led to believe and is then elevated to the same status as the disciples (bar that Judas one, not him) and all of that stuff that went before was wrong. So, there you are.

The Square

Fact Cinema, Liverpool I had high hopes for this. The reviews I’d read were encouraging and I was expecting an acid polemic against the workings of the art-world and all of that but I’m afraid, for this punter it just didn’t deliver. That’s not to say there won’t some great moments in the film. There were. But some really memorable scenes – which

served as fantastic trailers – seemed only loosely stitched together and I couldn’t really get into the underpinning narratives and whatever subtexts there might have been were lost and didn’t really make it. I haven’t worked out what the monkey was all about. There were some good individual performances, actors who know their craft but they were let down by a poor script which was propped up by what I’ve already said were scenes you’d be forgiven for believing had been designed as teasers for the film. Disappointing – 5/10.

Michael Martin Follow @tfMichael1892

Now, I’m no ecclesiastical scholar (yes, I did the use the spell-check) but I’m pretty certain the whole patriarchal structure of the Christian churches was based upon the masculine origins of Jesus, the disciples and all of that schmutter but well, it seems that may not have been the case but I don’t see any immediate changes in any of the high churches that may have made up all of that male hegemony in religion to preserve their status and wealth. Heaven forfend. Geddit. Anyway, the film. I didn’t care too much for it. There was a

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I don’t Like you, at time of writing, (22 April, 2018, of most Blessed Common Era) has been think I could be happier. A righteously BIBLICAL form of schadenfreude lament to be meted out on Wearyside; leading to many an uncouth and woebegone ululated into the crisp-packet strewn air. I’ve just had 4 pints at my local, where, also, salted nuts were dispensed gratis to one and all by flaxenhaired Dutch handmaidens, like ripe grapes strewn to wide- eyed peasants from the train of Bacchus. Top stuff. And, we’re flying , looking like a team in fact. Turning to our recent run of form, I’ve not really felt so hopeful in a young bunch of honest, willing and promising bits-andbobs since we ende d 8th in 1988, when the G-force was harnessed to Miran dinha ’s tricki ness and Roed er and Davy Mac’s lent steady hands on the tiller. When we

had the promise of Gazza, Darren Jacks on and the new George Best. When even Brian Tinnion, Kevin Scott and Spotty Mac seemed like world beaters. And look what happened then. Bringing any Spring fancy come crashing down back to earth (like some talkin g 40-so meth ing about the second summer of love to a gamine lass in the “Camden Lock of the North”), I’d like to quote Bert Hodges, pensioner, whos e appe aranc e at a senior citizens’ away day talen t conte st in Bognor Regis in 1972 led to outrage. I quote the venerable Bert.

A robin redbreast on my sill Sang for a crust of bread I slowly brought the window down And smashed its fucking head. That robin is us. Bert, by the way was disqualified due to indec ency. But Bert’s message contains a grain of truth to us Mags. We can never be sure of anything. The spectre of our lunatic owner hangs over us or, (to quote a song Head s Talkin g (seeing we’re into quotes this month) somewhere in the back of our minds. Ach, that was just reflex whinging. I love the team,

I love the manager, I love the things like the Food Bank becoming part of our DNA. I could quote some one else to right the balance: namely the 5 year old son of Oxford Aesth ete and Engli sh Profe ssor Emeritus Lord David Cecil , who, when asked what he’d like to be when he grew up replied, “I want to be a neurotic like daddy”. Indeed. Let us shy away from saying, “I want to be a neurotic a like a Mag on Twitter”. Peeps. Babes. Hunz . We have to bin the stats that drive us mad, stop disappearing Tw i t t e r down wormholes, the remo ve

a in ix S , s s e in p p Ha h t a e D d ir B d n a Row RICHARD FOSTER follow @Incendiary Magazine tf 90

Mitro plug-in from our frontal lobes. Stop, in essence, taking ourselves too seriously. Look at us man, we’re flying. And this team is all about human agency and daft hope, one of this club’s most enduring and endearing traits. At time of writing I can see us giving a kicking to bigspending Everton. I have no stats to prove it, I’ve just been passing water on towards middle-andleft this weekend. In my dreams Shelvey will play a ball to Gayle like Terry Hibbitt did to Super Mac in the 1974 semi, and Gayle will smash it in (this after 30 minutes of rigid, stat-loving, Skydrone induced boredom from the home side). He’ll do it twice more and they’ll miss a pelanty to boot. Classic Magpies insouciance. And the half-time tannoy will play the whole of the Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll at full fucking blast, melting the plastic Media ghouls into their Sky ejector seats. Ach: even if when you read these words and they’ve come back to hold me to account and we’ve lost 3 nowt I don’t care. I’ve never felt so hopeful of wiping the smile off the perma-chewing, pint-owine guzzling, rubberfaced irritant* that is the Pub-bore Orc known as Samuel Allardyce. Nowt against Everton mind.

I am happy. For now. At any rate. But, yeah this is Newcastle United. Back when paper was paper and we were about to go up under KK in 1992-3 I remember reading in a report about us that we were the perennial lead balloon of English football. It’s a phrase that has stuck with me and a potent one in that - to the outside world at least - it proved prescient. A lead balloon. One incapable of any sustained flight, like The Bournemouth, the brainchild of Lord Arthur Frederick Daubeney Eveleigh de Moleyns Ventry, which (despite the 17 stone Lord’s removal from the cockpit in the interests of aviation science) pancaked on the roof of a nearby RAF station’s gym on its maiden flight in 1951. According to the venerable Lord of the fateful venture, “we sat there like a broody hen. Chance in a million.” Indeed. We know the feeling.

Look at us man, we’re flying. And this team is all about human agency and daft hope, one of this club’s most enduring and endearing traits. reason to pay visit the Land of Cheesy Chips (given they won’t be troubling us for a while yet). And I shall travel in hope. Unbeknownst to many, an Accrington team (Th’ Owd Reds, not the Stanley of 1919-62 or 1977-present) played AFC 5under1and way back in the 1890s in the

then league, winning six ( yes 6) games without reply from the Wearyside mob. History. Don’t fight it, feel it. *(With all due respect to the Bard of Birkenhead, Half Man Half Biscuit’s Nigel Blackwell for one of the great lines of all time.)

Talking about a chance in a million: a quick shout out to my second team Accrington Stanley, who have been promoted to League 1 (or Division Three for the Real Heads) for the first time in their history. Given that a certain side who boast a pink-seated stadium have slipp’d most ignominiously the other way, yours truly has a tf 91



@tfMich w o ll o F in t r a hael M

We love St James’ Park. Its a place where we share a treasure trove of memories and we’ve never played home matches anywhere else. Not for us the soulless out of town retail park abortion or the hole in the ground flat-pack. SJP is a psycho-library of our history and it is a place where the ghosts of great players might linger down wings, in centre-circles and where long departed supporters, our relatives and loved ones stood and cheered on terraces some of us also stood on and in seats they sat in, shared moments of great joy and misery. The club is celebrating its 125th year (if it can be described tf 92

that way, after all Ashley will spend money on nothing) but it might also be commemorating St James’ Park. Our home stands almost smack bang in the middle of the city centre (though determined Westenders will claim it is in the West End. And it is. Just.). It is probably still the best appointed football ground in the country for supporters. Its location has spawned the club’s nickname, The Toon, which it shares with the city centre and with which its identity is completely interwoven. I can never imagine the club playing home games anywhere else. I could

perhaps be persuaded to move to a new site near the city centre. I’ve often thought the site and surrounding area around the Arena on Scotswood Road would fit the bill as a site for a football ground for our club. But I’d struggle if we were to move up to Newburn as was once suggested or worse over the river to Gateshead (and I say that as a Gateshead lad born and bred). I don’t like the term “Cathedral on the Hill”. Its a bit maudlin and corny for my tastes but I do get the quasi-religious dimension to what is inferred. Its a place we go where we release

it is a place where the ghosts of great players might linger down wings, in centre-circles and where long departed supporters, our relatives and loved ones stood and cheered on terraces some of us also stood on and in seats they sat in, shared moments of great joy and misery

emotions we don’t have anywhere else. Indeed the memorial stones outside The Milburn are often to remember supporters who have passed away and provide a place of memory. If you walk around there on non-match days, you’ll frequently see flowers left with notes and in this secular age we live in, SJP plays a part in some people’s lives that was once occupied by organised religion. I’m sure supporters of other prominent clubs might say the same. I was hardly a worshipper of Sir John Hall or Freddie Shepherd for that matter. They were rapacious capitalists who used United to make money for themselves. Filthy lucre was their driving force and I won’t allow the passage of time or the passing of Shepherd to lull me into a false sentimentality. But they did provide Newcastle United with St James’ Park in its modern format, a stadium once known and respected for its grandeur and facilities. Before it became plastered in corporate advertising and neglected of any kind of care. 

millennium gave United a profile and edge over most clubs in the country. For many years, SJP had the third largest capacity nationally behind only Old Trafford and the Emirates. Where Hall and Shepherd were absolutely on the money was in their understanding of the size of the support and the number of people who would come and pay to watch Newcastle United. They understood the club in that regard. But SJP is losing its status. West Ham moved to the largely unloved Olympic Stadium in recent years but it can hold 60K, Spurs will kickoff next season in what should be a magnificent and enormous arena, Liverpool have extended Anfield beyond our capacity and will likely do so again, Chelsea will increase their capacity to 60,000 and Everton plan to move to a new

state of the art stadium at Bramley Dock on the banks of the Mersey which can seat 57K. We are losing ground. Currently, SJP is sold out weeks in advance. This is not a club pushing for honours or playing host to some stellar names in football. With all due respect, Joselu and Gayle will not make their way into the United hall of fame when their times are up here. The club is attracting 52,000+ to watch a largely

Championship standard side struggle against relegation with a loathed owner. Newcastle United is absolutely nowhere near fulfilling its vast potential. If you guessed this article was going to get round to Mike Ashley, you were right. Ashley has been at United for over a decade. Much of the focus on him has been his failure to find investment on the playing side and the crass manner in which he has run the club. All of that is

The legacy of Hall and Shepherd is far from positive in all regards but with respect to St James’ Park, they were far-sighted. The almost entire rebuild of SJP in the 90s and early part of the

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right.You might also focus upon the tiny investment there has been in training and academy facilities and infrastructure - again, short-sighted and mean. But it is the lack of investment in St James’ Park that is costing the club its status and prestige. Within two or three seasons, SJP and its famous 50K+ attendances will lose their impact because they will be elsewhere and more.  SJP is now difficult to extend. The ideal position for expansion would be the East Stand but that is considered to be impossible due to the Grade 1 listed buildings on St James and Leazes Terrace. It is not thought the Milburn or Leazes can go any higher. So that leaves the Gallowgate End, now compromised by the transfer of a lease on land around Strawberry Place from a company bought as part of the purchase of Newcastle United by Ashley in 2007 to MASH holdings or

Mike Ashley if you like. Planning permission has been gained for that site and it will be hotel and student accommodation to profit Ashley alone. Development of that site will make further expansion of St James’ Park beyond difficult and prohibitively expensive. That will be Ashley’s legacy to United even if he leaves the club this summer and a takeover happens. If United want to push themselves into the higher bracket of club stadia in the PL and Europe, any new owners will have to think seriously about leaving SJP. Nun’s Moor and Leazes Park was considered two decades ago but ran into fierce opposition from a variety of lobbies so where to now I’d not be able to suggest.  For those who don’t believe United can push their capacity further in terms of attracting new support, I would argue we are 18K away from attendances of 70K even

with the legacy of the last decade, Ashley, two relegations and a team of triers. We are now at a time when we are the only PL club north of Burnley and our principle regional rival, Sunderland is in a tailspin of decline it is difficult to imagine them escaping from any time soon. United has a huge opportunity to expand the club’s support base in the region and that will have dividends for the next two, three decades. We are also a club that has virtually no support outside the region or the UK to any great degree. That is an area for huge expansion. But we can only accommodate all of that with a larger stadium. The club has a short term issue to deal with in regards to Rafa staying this summer as well as a potential takeover. Longer term however, the question of St James’ Park will need to be addressed if our club is to progress to where it should be.  Keep On, Keepin’ On

But it is the lack of investment in St James’ Park that is costing the club its status and prestige. Within two or three seasons, SJP and its famous 50K+ attendances will lose their impact because they will be elsewhere and more.

True faith 138  

Without jinxing the whole thing, we're in a good place right now with Newcastle United and it is clearly time for another fabulous issue of...

True faith 138  

Without jinxing the whole thing, we're in a good place right now with Newcastle United and it is clearly time for another fabulous issue of...