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My first match reader recollections VII

This must be the place:

Russ Tulip:

January 2nd 1960 Newcastle 7 Manchester United 3

I was nearly 11 years old and my older cousin took me to the match. We went in to the ground via an adult gate and l had to climb over the turnstile.

There were over 57,000 there and l sat on the grass near the Gallowgate corner flag with lots of other kids.

For months afterwards, l replayed this game in our backyard. On one occasion, a penalty went through the big dining room window - my Mam and Dad weren't too happy.

I still think this game is the best I've ever seen.

Ray Coxon:

January 9th 1954 Newcastle 2 Wigan Athletic 2

My Dad first took me to St James' Park at the age of 10, and I remember thinking the ground was fantastic, particularly after having watched Gateshead at Redheugh Park.

I  cannot remember a great deal about this tie but Wigan were a non-league side at the time and briefly went 2-1 ahead -
just as now you could never rely on Newcastle to get anything right, although they did win the replay.



Matt Rutherford:

May 7th 1988 Newcastle 2 West Ham 1

My first match was Gazza’s last match for Newcastle.

I was 10 and I met Gazza the night before the game at the Swift Hotel in Jesmond, where we were staying.

He gave me six autographs (six!) and told me to keep them and sell them when he was the best player in the world (I didn’t – I lost them all).

On the Gallowgate, £2 for me and £4.50 for my Dad. I feel old.


John Ryle:

January 15th 1966 Spurs 2 Newcastle 2

I had a bit of wood with screw in legs to stand on!

The great Alan Suddick got the second for the Toon at White Hart Lane.



Keith Parker:

May 5th 1984 Newcastle 4 Derby County 0

I was 10 years old and went with my dad into the Gallowgate end. I sat on one of the safety barriers as he stood behind me, trying to protect me from the swaying crowd.

Given that it was a crowd of nearly 36,000 there were a few times where I lost my balance and fell off.

Keegan scored the first goal, suffering a head injury in the meantime. He went off, so my first view of our superstar lasted about 20 minutes. Although my view wasn’t great, stretching as much as I could to see over the many heads in front of me.

But Beardsley and Waddle were excellent too. It was an incredible atmosphere, one that I can still remember to this day.

Brian White:

August 15th 1970 Newcastle 3 Wolves 2

I am a Scotsman and was serving in the RAF in August 1970. I was in the Exhibition and Design and Display Unit preparing the RAF stand in Exhibition Park for the Tyneside show and Battle of Britain display.

My mate suggested going to the game so we set off and had a beer in The Farmers Rest. Some Geordies told us to watch it from the Leazes End 'cos it would be good from there. My goodness what a game it was!

Newcastle were 3-0 up with just minutes to go then Wolves scored twice but Newcastle hung on. I was up the top of the Leazes then down the bottom and sideways the lot. I fell in love with Newcastle United that day and still love them totally. Still hanging on and haven’t won much but so much pleasure.

Gary Goodson:

October 25th 1989 Newcastle West Bromwich Albion

My Dad decided that it was time for me to experience my first Newcastle match aged 9 and thought this midweek cup game was ideal as we were expected to beat a poor West Brom side.

I was stood in the Milburn Paddock behind the away dugout and witnessed an absolute dire performance from both teams. The game was settled by a scrappy Chris Whyte goal in the 38th minute and we never looked like scoring from that moment onwards.

My two distinct memories were that I thought WBA were playing in our away kit of yellow and green stripes and kept asking dad why they had our kit on. The other memory was a young Steve Howey playing up front. I remember turning to my dad and saying “Dad, that Howey kid is useless. Your mam could do better than him”. He just laughed and said 'there are worse players than him'.

When John Gallacher was substituted in the second half, dad said, 'remember that I said there were worse players?' He then pointed to the sub coming on - Wayne Fereday. Thankfully Steve went on to be a top CB for us in years to come but you would never have thought it based on that showing on a cold October night.

From that moment, I was hooked and went to every home game with my dad.

Steve Smith:

31st October 1987 Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1

I was a Newcastle fanatic (thoroughly encouraged by my Dad – RIP) and he eventually caved into my peer pressure (after finally been given the full kit for my 9th birthday a month earlier).

We went on the Gallowgate, in the corner nearest the West Stand and I remember being sat up on one of the concrete crash barriers on the terrace. Arsenal (like the song) won 1-0, Alan Smith scoring right at the death, as we were starting to shuffle out.

I remember cheering wildly when Darren Jackson ‘scored’ (ruled out for some reason but most of the crowd had already realised apart from me, so I was the only one to celebrate....)

My most abiding memory was hearing all the swearing and sharing with my school pals on Monday my new found vocabulary!

Christopher Field:

January 5th 1980 Newcastle 0 Chester City 2

My oldest brother took me -I’d been on at him for ages and he eventually took me to this FA cup tie.

What followed was us being knocked out by a lower league team, Ian Rush scored and my brother blamed me for the defeat for the rest of the week, something that happened regularly for the next 15 years!



Dave Waddell:

March 27th 1965 Newcastle 3 Swansea Town 1

My dad was in the Merchant Navy which meant he was away from home for months at a time, and then came home for say, six weeks.

By the time he came home in Spring 1965, his son was mad about football and wearing my recently acquired NHS wire-rimmed specs - 7-year-old me went off with my dad to see Newcastle play.

My dad decided we should stand in the Paddock as it was a bit safer for a young kid. Most of the people around us were older men - women didn’t go to football much then - smoking and dropping the occasional swear word, which I found very exciting.

In those days, season-ticket holders were in the minority, virtually no-one sat down, and there was terracing on all four sides of the ground. You queued to get in, paid in cash, and there were separate turnstiles for adults and kids. The queue at the kids’ turnstiles were always ten times the length as at the adults’, no doubt exacerbated
by frequent arguments between NUFC staff and 21-year-olds claiming they were 15. I think my dad just paid me in as an adult.

Home Radgies (soon to christen themselves The Leazes Aggro) occupied the Leazes End, which was covered, and big - like the Kop at Liverpool, with away fans forced to brave the elements in the uncovered Gallowgate. I don’t remember if Swansea actually brought any fans, but there was certainly very little trouble then.

Needless to say, I can’t remember much about the actual game, but I do know I instinctively liked all of the players without exception. I think you do when you are young. It’s only later in life you realise that they are not always that good, and I’m not sure it’s a good thing. For example, I couldn’t tell you if Willie Penman was a good player or not, but I do know he scored all three of Newcastle’s goals that day, and was therefore my hero for a while. I remember my dad telling me to look at Stan Anderson “he’s a lovely player, son."

The player that caught my eye that day was Jim Iley. It may have been because he was as bald as a coot, it could have been because he tackled like a combine harvester, but I think it was because he could kick the ball right over the top of the Popular (now West) Stand and out of the ground when he wanted a breather.

We won the game 3-1, Newcastle were promoted to Division 1 at the end of the season, and my dad realised he’d fanned the flames.



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Page last updated 25 March, 2020