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My first match reader recollections VIII

We go again:

David "Rocky" Kemp:

August 18th 1951 Newcastle 6 Stoke City 0

1s 3d to get in through the Boys gate at the Leazes End. It was packed, so we were rolled over the heeds down to the front where we sat on the little raised wall at the front of the terracing.

We won 6-0 and Jackie scored a hat-trick. Having just won the Cup, with another two victories to come soon, I assumed this was the norm for wor Lads.

The only refreshments were bags of peanuts for a tanner, which we couldn't afford. People hoyed their tanners down to the peanut man who hoyed back the bags, much to my amazement.

A few people would still take pigeons to the match to release when goals were scored or at half and full time. St Johns Ambulance personnel were on hand to rescue the stricken.

Some 69 years later with sons and grandchildren duly infected with the Toon virus, I am still there, but now in 'The Corner'. If anything, with age I have become even more fanatical. The winning goal against Chelsea in the last minute gives me as much of a thrill as anything I watched in the 1950s. Possibly it's just desperation.

The one constant in our lives is wor beloved Toon. Pits, shipyards, engineering - all gone, but we are still there at the Shrine of St James. We are the best by a mile.

Paul J Hale:

December 22nd 1956 Newcastle 6 mackems 2

We moved to Newcastle from Barnsley in November 1956 I was aged and didn't go to a match until brother came home on Xmas leave from his national service.

I remember not being that keen on going (still a Barnsley fan at heart) but the scoreline converted me straight away! I have told many mackems since that I may have supported them if they had won!!


Alex Evans:

February 4th 1989 Newcastle 2 Liverpool 2

My dad moved from West Denton to Washington for work and won match tickets from Metro Radio, having not gone for a few years due to having a young family.

Being just 7, the main thing I recall was the police dog show at half time; little did I know I was witnessing history in the making with Frank Pingel netting!

I wouldn’t say I was hooked immediately but I enjoyed going to more games in the Milburn paddock when finances allowed but mainly just enjoyed the match programme and Magpie chocolate until Kevin Keegan took over and things took off.

As exasperating as it can be, United are a huge part of my life, and like many others they have took me all over Europe with nothing but great memories to show.

Steven Johnson

February 4th 1989 Newcastle 2 Liverpool 2

My Dad got us tickets in the East Stand as a present for my 12th birthday. I know it's a cliche but I genuinely still remember walking up the steps and seeing the pitch for the first time. So green! So bright! So big! My life had just changed.

Mirandinha got us off to a dream start with a goal in the third minute at the Gallowgate end. I still remember the wild celebrations behind the goal. Ian Rush equaliser before Frank Pingel got us back in front with a lesser-seen back header. John Aldridge later headed home to make it 2-2. Peter Beardsley came on as sub for Liverpool in the second half before John Hendrie almost clinched a win with a late strike that just dropped wide.

We went back again for the match against Aston Villa later that season; season tickets soon followed and the rest is history.

Ben Wood:

April 12th 1975 Newcastle 0 Everton 1

I was 9 years old and taken by a friend of my dad who had a season ticket in the Leazes end of the East stand.
The game was on Match of the Day and I remember hoping I would see myself in the crowd.

Mike Mahone made his debut and he looked solid to me but my dad’s friend (who died in August 1977 after we had beaten Leeds 3-2, following which we lost 12 in a row) didn’t like him. Supermac missed a sitter at the Gallowgate End and Martin Dobson scored the winner.

Craig Callender:

October 24th 1992 Newcastle 0 Grimsby Town 1

It has taken the last decade of mediocrity and inevitable disappointment to realise that that first few seasons I ever went to watch Newcastle were just a cunning ploy to lure me in.

One season after nearly being relegated was easily forgotten as I was too young, instead they graciously waited till I was 4 and could hold memories to become a good side and start of five seasons of (relative) success, at the end of which I was stuck for life.

The irony being that I don’t remember for certain anything from the first 11 wins, the worn out video of that season means I can recall the goals and the highlights but not for being there. And then my brain chose to remember Jim Dobbin lacing it into the top corner and seeing us lose for the first time.

It takes something that my brain thought losing was so unusual that it decided to etch it into my memory. The next part being me saying “come on ref blow your whistle, we have lost”, as the game entered injury time. How I would like defeats to be so unusual these days.

Apparently I fell asleep at my first game, also a defeat (to Millwall the previous April). I probably should have taken the hint.

David Smith:

March 18th 1967 Newcastle 2 Blackpool 1

The three favourites for two of the relegation placers were Newcastle, Blackpool and Aston Villa . I was 8 and really wanted to go to "a real match." I nagged week after week and a friend loaned us his two season tickets for the Blackpool match on the Wednesday and the weekend could not come quick enough .

Match number 23 was displayed above the entrances of the cream coloured corrugated cladding of the West Stand (before it was painted with the words 'Newcastle United').

We were seated nearer the Gallowgate end and the steps up to the entrance increased noticeably as you travelled down from the Leases end because of the slope

My most vivid memory was the “colour”, having only ever seen football on black and white TV. The Blackpool fans were sporting tangerine and white scarves and the first sight of the pitch after climbing the wooden stairs was a Wow! moment. The only grass was on the wings, the centre circle just flattened mud with white lines slapped on.

The match itself was a tense affair. 0-0 At half time, one down after about an hour but two goals from Pop Robson sent the crowd wild.

You never forget your first goal celebration, jumping up and down hugging everybody around you and the noise . We hung on for the last ten minutes and we won our next home match on the Good Friday , Villa and Blackpool were relegated and I was hooked .

Phil Carmichael:

January 13th 1968 Newcastle 0 Nottingham Forest 0

We lived in county Durham, and my dad had taken me to Boro (a boring 0-0 in 1963) and Roker Park (3-1 v Everton in the cup, 1964) even though, coming from Linton Colliery, he was dyed in the wool black and white.

Lots of men had season tickets to St James and Roker in those days. He had been given two tickets to seats up in the back row of the old West Stand.

We climbed the wooden stairs to the top of the stand and the view took my breath away: there was so much green grass (Match of the Day was in monochrome those days)! It was a dire 0-0 draw but the crowd seemed huge and the atmosphere was great.

All I can remember was confusing Dave Hilley with Jim Iley and that Jim Baxter was playing for Forest (he had just been transferred from Sunderland). Every time Jim got the ball, the crowd would chant “soft as sh*te”.

Back at school on Monday I got stick from my mates who were, to a man, red & whites. I suppose at that moment I decided to follow my dad as a Mag forever. And sometimes it really is worth it.

Kevin Hamilton:

January 5th 1974 Newcastle 1 Hendon 1

Little did I know at the tender age of six this was to be a taste of things to come for the next 46 years!

I can only remember Pat Howard scoring and that they played in green.

My father said he spent the whole match trying to get me to sit still in the newly opened east stand and saw very little of the game.


Terry McCrady:
October 13th 1962 Newcastle 1 mackems 1

What a game to pick!

Aged 12 and squashed on a concrete barrier in the Leazes End with over 62,000 inside St. James' Park.

Jimmy Kerray scored for us and Brian Clough for the mackems. Little did I know this was the start of a life long affair....



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Page last updated 26 March, 2020