>Watching Match of the Day this past weekend I was astounded by the few Geordie folk that got up and left St James’ Park after just half an hour. Their team were 4-0 down to Arsenal but still I was totally surprised to see that some home fans felt enough was enough and headed for the pub to drown their sorrows in “Newcy Brown” or to sit in a darkened room watching re-runs from the 1996-97 season. Surely, if any team was going to come back it was Newcastle. Yet for a couple of “fans” the faith had long gone, along with the pony tailed wonder that is Andy Carroll, south.
It took me back many a year to when the Cobblers were 5-1 down at Bournemouth on a cold evening (I think it was a Friday night game) and having gone down to ten men we had totally collapsed on the south coast. Duncan Spedding had been give his marching orders, presumably for trying to tackle with his right foot rather than his overly favoured left, and the Cobblers fell to a shocking result.
The point is that I never once thought about following some of the Town fans, and there were more than a couple, back to the buses in protest. I honestly don’t see the reasoning of leaving a game before the end and even though nine times out of ten you will end up on the losing side, there’s a once in a blue moon chance that something like the extraordinary scenes at St James’ will happen.
It takes me also to a bizarre moment at Sixfields when the Cobblers were 3-0 down to high flying Carlisle with Michael Bridges running the show. They were top of the league and we were fighting for a playoff place so it was a big night but the sheer quality of the visitors was too much and streams of Town fans had had enough. That was, to me, even less acceptable to the guys at Bournemouth – here was a game that we were likely to be given a real going over in and 15 minutes from time we had a half full stadium. “Loyal Supporters” chanted the remaining couple of thousand, and that’s exactly what we were, and still are.
There was a great story on the radio, after the game at St James’, of a young lad whose Dad said, with the score of Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal, that he was so confident that Newcastle, would lose that his insistent son who was begging him to stay at the game would get £500 of his own money if they fought back. That’s his season ticket paid for next season and it’s well earned!
I do hope that the rumours were true of Toon stewards being told not to let anyone back in at the weekend – those that did get up and go will be deservedly sick for a long time that they missed a truly incredible and seminal 45 minutes in the history of the English Premier League. There’s plenty more of you around as well who have stood up in disgust at a performance and got up to go at two or three goals down…maybe this will be a learning curve to you all…stay loyal, stay in the ground and for the love of the game get behind your team!