Newcastle Till I Die
By Max Flinders
Tuesday 19 Mar 2013 10:06:00
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This story was meant for the new book Newcastle Til I Die however its ended up here. It all began back in the early 1980's when Keegan, Beardsley, Waddle and Gazza were all gracing St James' Park. I grew up in Shiremoor and can honestly say all we did was play football and talk NUFC. Out the front of the house, down the park, and if it was too late, we would make the living room into our very own St James' Park as soon as Mam and Dad went out. 

 

It was around 1982 when my brother and sister and I were asked if we wanted to move to Lancashire. Lancashire?Where's that? Of course, none of us did but guess were we ended up? You got it, Lancashire. To be more precise, East Lancashire in a little town now divided between Burnley and Blackburn fans called Great Harwood. Back then things were very different. I wandered into school with a Geordie accent and immediately stood out. Everyone wanted a piece of me. Having an older brother and sister that used to kick clumps out of me came in handy back then and I brushed of all challengers. The big thing for me then, as it is now, was Newcastle United FC. I remember my first football class at my new school. All these so-called Blackburn and Burnley fans were all kitted out in Liverpool, Manchester United and even Everton kits. I, however was the proudest of the lot. I pulled on those magical Black and White stripes and felt ten feet tall. I had the old Malcolm MacDonald  top and how proud of it was I. All the piss taking and harassing bounced off me, I felt like a Super Mac. 

 

For years and years I suffered abuse from these glory hunters while they chose to support the top clubs and gave me shit for supporting Newcastle. I was prouder than ever to be a Geordie and support the famous Newcastle United and when my Dad took us to the games it was incredible. We could unleash our passion for Newcastle and sing our hearts out. I am always so proud going to Ewood Park as we Geordies always show our superiority and I think back to all those glory hunters and their envy at seeing true fans.

 

It was only when Jack Walker took over as owner of BRFC and started spending and winning that all these glory hunters started supporting Blackburn. I couldn't believe it. One minute they had their Liverpool kits on and now they were all following Blackburn Rovers - who were led by a young Geordie lad now loved in East Lancashire because he won the League for them. I never heard the end of that but nothing would turn my head from my beloved Magpies. I eventually got out of the North West and now look upon BRFC like a 5under1and. I even support Burnley as my second team just to piss them off. It was only when I had moved away from Lancashire that Keegan made a return and transformed our fortunes. How I would have loved that to have happened during my days in Lancashire.

 

I remember the day we got beat by West Ham 8-1 with Peter Beardsley ending the game in goal. It was a dark day for us Geordies. I remember waking up in the morning and not wanting to go into school. I did though with my head held high because I knew I wholeheartedly supported my club even though it was not a successful club in those days but a club with history and passion and a will that never wavers. I took all the crap and threw in back in their faces. My accent may have changed down the years but my attitude to football has not. Growing up I watched NUFC as much as possible and made the journey regularly from wherever I have been to see the Magpies play. I guess I was unlucky to move away from Newcastle as a kid but it did make me the proudest Geordie in the world, even if we did get beat 8-1. I am Newcastle United, I am Newcastle Till I Die.



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