Main Page


My first match reader recollections IV

Here we go again - more of your first time tales:

Roger Smith:

February 5th 1966 Newcastle 2 Sheffield Wednesday 0

My Dad had continually told the referee all throughout the match that he was "blind" so I went back after the match and told my mam (believing it to be 100% true as a 7 year old) that the referee had no eyes.

Of course in typical Newcastle style we lost to the same team in the FA Cup the following week. Should have realised then what was to come but couldn't understand why we didn't win again at that age.

Nicholas Maxwell:

November 5th 1983 Newcastle 3 Fulham 2

Aged 7, I went with my best mates dad to pick him up from the match - his grand-dad took him.

We got there around the 80th minute and snuck in the Leazes End. I was on shoulders, had a cracking view and watched us turn it around from 1-2 to 3-2. That was me sold!

Chris Humble:

August 21st 1971 Newcastle 3 Liverpool 2

My Dad, not previously a massive football fan, had finally broken down and bought season tickets for me, my younger brother and himself.

We found ourselves at a rammed St James’s Park for the first home game of the season. As a raw 12 year old I had no idea what to expect...but it certainly wasn’t this.

Drama, controversy, a hat-trick, the birth of a chant that would become famous, and a stretchering off.

I remember asking my Dad on the way home, ‘will it be like this every match?' Hooked and reeled would never be the same again.

Aaron Soulsby:

May 7th 1988 Newcastle 2 West Ham 1

I am from Spennymoor - Sunderland area you could say though there have always been many Newcastle fans, including my uncle.

In 1986 I was 7 and though I loved football, didn’t really have a team- my dad hated football and my mam wanted every team to do well.

My uncle happened to give me a load of NUFC match programmes from 1983 onwards. That was it. Hooked. Strips. Scarves. The lot.

My first game just happened to be Gazza’s last! He scored. We sat in the East Stand overlooking the corner- I was hooked watching this mass of people moving, singing the joy of being out together. I spent most of the game watching them.

That was it. I was a black and white. Now I have my own 11 year old hooked!

Glen Robson:

February 11th 1984 Newcastle 0 Grimsby Town 1

My dad had been in the Fairholme club since 11 sharp and picked me up from me Nana’s on Pendower Way, bus into town with a bag of Army and Navies bullets.

The match was sh*te obviously, Kenny Wharton had a goal disallowed but that was it!!! Hooked for life. I took my son Rocco to his first match this season against Burnley!!! Same sh*te!

Stephen Lawton:

October 8th 1988 Newcastle 0 Coventry City 3

I was 13 years old and although a Newcastle fan for five years, my love affair was restricted to reading The Chronicle every day, the three minute segment on local TV such as Look North and local radio when the game was on.

But on a bleak miserable Saturday in October 1988 all that changed. I convinced my older brother, a rollie smoking long haired Bon Jovi fan with as little interest in football as Joelinton has in hitting the back of the net, to take me to the match.

We stood on The Gallowgate End, in what I'd later learn was The Scoreboard, "K section" from around 2pm, behind giant pre-Hillsbrough fences, awaiting the action.

I was standing next to my brother watching the lads warm up awaiting my debut as a supporter. We would win; of course we would. It was my first game. It was fairytale. It had to have a fairytale ending. My Dad was a massive Newcastle supporter; he'd died when I was just a bairn and never got to take me to a game. I'd made my own way there. This had to be a home win. It was destiny.

At half-time we were 3-0 down. We were a shambles. There was no fairytale. The game finished Newcastle 0-3 Coventry and within days Willie McFaul was sacked. We would go on to be relegated. I barely missed another game in 20 years.

It took a while to knock the optimism out of me and turn me into a dour, miserable, defeatist fan I am today who always expects the worst, but on that magical day the first seeds of that bitterness were sown. And I couldn't have been happier.

Things would get much much bleaker before they ever got any better. Boardroom unrest, under-investment in the team, managerial upheaval, fan unrest, relegation and the promise of more relegation to come and heart-breaking derby defeats all lay in wait.

Not a lot has changed in 30 odd years has it? But at the end of all of that came some absolutely glorious seasons and games and memories and adventures. Who knows that the future holds. But my adventure, it all started with a good old fashioned home defeat to Coventry City: my first game.

Tim Smith:

February 1st 1992 Oxford United 5 Newcastle 2

Aged 6 and living in Reading, we made the short trip to Oxford in Division Two. The way it’s remembered in my family, the fog was so thick that we couldn’t see the far goal, and we lost count of how many we’d conceded.

On returning home, I reported “The good news is, there was lots of goals.”  Within 4 days, Ossie Ardiles had been replaced by Kevin Keegan, and the next match I attended at Brentford (10th straight win 92/93) would have me hooked for life.

Scott Robson:

February 4th 1989 Newcastle 2 Liverpool 2

I would have just turned 10. Living in Ashington like I still do now. Two weeks before, me and my mates were playing in Hirst Park and just as my mam came out to call me in I had been swearing at the top of my voice. Bad move. That was the night my dad, as it would later transpire, was going to unveil the tickets. The reds at home.

But my mam whispered as my dad came in and after a week of punishments my dad finally was allowed to unveil these tickets.

The nearest I had got at this point to the players was a meet and greet at Marks & Spencer when the whole squad signed autographs. Tinnion, Cornwell and Roeder watching Gazza like hawks to stop him, I'm assuming from making a tit of himself.

This was for real though. Spaghetti and Beans (mixed: My dad's pre match choice), Saint & Greavsie then the X31 from the 'piv'.

An old bloke seen my scarf and said we would lose. I laughed not knowing the half of it. In reality if we kept it below 3 would have been an achievement.

Our seats were the last two in a row in the East stand. All that was separating me and the swaying Gallowgate crowd was a small wall and my dad's arm.

I was transfixed not on the game but the crowd. We drew that day against the best team in the world. Somehow. We went on to be a laughing stock. Relegated in front of that Gallowgate.

Frank Pingel scored with his shoulder: He was awful but for a day he was my hero. Mirandinha hitting the bar with a 30 yard volley was the highlight though. Summed that season up.

I missed that though because I didn't heed my fathas advice... "Watch though son, there's no action replays like on the tele."

Kev W:

November 17th 1990 Newcastle 0 Barnsley 0

Sitting in the Milburn Stand where The Platinum club is now, I witnessed one of the most boring games ever. My fatha kept the Chronicle report from the monday after and stats showed no shots on goal from either side.

I was told to take toys with me and selected some Transformers while the adults tried and failed to transform to robot and back, I watched the game intensely.

30 years later I still have some great friends from that day, sadly 10 of these years have been without my dad. Been hooked ever since, would I change anything from that time? Would I shite!

Mike Lavery:

April 1st 1989 Southampton 0 Newcastle 1

We lived in the New Forest and for some reason Dad decided the home paddock was the best bet for us to watch. I’d been hassling him for ages; he’d been going to SJP all his life but we moved when I was too young.

I have vivid memories of Glenn Roeder launching a screaming shot just in front of me that went narrowly over the bar, before Gary Kelly was beaten by Neil Ruddock's penalty.

y first match at SJP was a year or so later; at home to Port Vale. I was thrilled as all hell; we’d moved to Hull, and that meant we could go back to the North East to visit occasionally.

My 13 year old enthusiasm wasn’t dimmed by the vaguely dismal 2-2 result: I got to sing, applaud, and watch then-heroes Mick Quinn and Mark McGhee play in the flesh at a not-exactly rammed stadium.

It didn’t matter – I was at the spiritual home of my footballing obsession for the first time, and I was as happy as a kid could be.


Back to Main Page


Page last updated 25 March, 2020