Newcastle

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Come Saturday the town will be ‘flooded’ with people who are, to English football, what the Tartan Army are to the international scene.  The Toon Army probably attract more clichés per capita than any other group anywhere, apart from maybe their team.  Expect plenty of tales of shirt sleeved/bare chested, boisterous but friendly blokes that nobody could understand come Sunday morning, but in the meantime here are some of the things that come to mind when I think of the Geordies.

Yes m’lady
Will he get booed?  Probably not, I’m guessing that honour will be reserved for the Geordies’ ever popular media front man, Lee Bowyer.  However, perhaps Scott Parker deserves a little more contempt than is usually reserved for visiting players.  After all, his attitude towards our club has hardly been amenable.  Ignoring him breaking his leg last season to avoid coming here on loan, his out of hand dismissal of our attempts to sign him this season was the starting point for a summer of disappointment and recrimination in the transfer market. 

So far he’s hardly set the world alight in a Newcastle side that got knocked out of Europe before they were really there and has struggled to get their season going ever since whereas he would have been a key player in our team regardless of the start we’ve had.  Now I’m not daft enough to think that he’ll be regretting that decision, but it would be nice to think that he’s at least thought twice about it since. 

I’d love it…
It’s in the glory, not the victory.  In the minds of many Newcastle can be summed up by the “Devon Loch” season; the season where the ‘we’ll score more than you’ approach to football nearly, just nearly, came off for someone.  I suppose that being “glorious also-rans” like Newcastle must be a whole lot more enjoyable than taking breaking into the top 2/3 as seriously as, say, Liverpool, but sooner or later it’s going to start winding people up.

Yes we know that you’re a big club, that you can fill you stadium 15 time over each home game and twice over on a day where there’s no game on, that 20,000 people turned up to welcome Michael Owen to the club.  Yes I get the feeling that if you could just sort out the defence out you could be a 4 team, but what does it matter.  You’ve been flirting with the idea of really getting involved with a relegation fight for a few years now.

Up Toon
There’s probably been a ‘reality’ TV show about the Big Market, and it probably painted it as a rum, ale fuelled, piss stained stinking of vomit free for all.  That was certainly the impression I was given before I had a night out there.  No doubt it has its moments, but when I went it was a great night out.  Young and old, locals and visitors all mixed with out a hint of surliness.  Whereas most town centres these days seemed filled with McBars, FCUK Night Clubs and carpet carrying members of the Disco Dave fraternity, the majority here could almost be described as ‘real’ and, dressed up or not, the only real distinguishing feature that separated Geordies from the rest was (it’s only a cliché because it’s true) the lack of coats.

Big up front
It doesn’t matter who they play up front Newcastle always manage to find someone who doesn’t quite hit it off with Alan Shearer.  Now Michael Owen is having a second stab at making the partnership work.  Their first attempt, playing for England, never lived up to early expectations.  The First Division really sank in for me when we first played Forest a couple of years back; I’ve a feeling that these two running out at the JJB will have the same effect.  I’d imagine I won’t be alone in being a little star-struck; thankfully our centre halves have been there before and shouldn’t have too many problems concentrating on the job at hand.

The guv’nor
How did the most Scouse looking man ever to come out of Scotland turn himself into a suave European?  At the same time that they fixed his heart the doctors must have done a quick hair, tache and style transplant.  He might be a little more palatable on the eye these days (I know of some households where he rivals Mourhino as housewives choice) but he was a lot more fun the other way.

Whether it was the vicious but skilful midfielder, the manager who broke the spice boys into the Liverpool team, slaughtered chickens and speared flags into centre circles, signed George Weah’s ‘cousin’ or alienated the fans of the club he’s most associated with by selling his story to the same paper that had branded them all grave robbing, drunken thugs, he was never too far away from controversy.  Now he’s a bit too media savvy, not quite good enough at his job and let’s face it a bit dull.

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