Written for "Total Football" website Friday 6th Oct 2000
Media pundits may point at a North-East Wembley hoodoo that has also seen Darlington, Boro and the mackems suffer in a similar manner, but at least we have won underneath the Twin Towers, albeit in front of a handful of the dedciated, and foolish.
In quite possibly the most bizarre football
tournament ever dreamed up,
The black and whites moment of glory came
after a 0-0 draw with Liverpool, when a penalty shootup under instant sudden
Of course, this being Newcastle United, we
promptly followed up our victory over the elite of Merseyside football with
a thoroughly deserved 0-2 reverse at the hands of mighty Tranmere, then of
the Fourth Division. Of course having bought weekend tickets, most of the
toon fans present returned the following day to watch a succession of boring
toonless matches. My abiding memories of the whole weekend were the police
One good thing though - there were so few people there that the toilets didn't overflow, there were no queues at the beer stalls and so many empty places that fans weren't forced to sit behind a massive great pillar or next to some gloryseeker from Surrey. The football was still crap though, that never changes. Alan Shearer was right, pull the bloody place down, and dynamite the Dell while you're at it.
The best two North East performances at Wembley since 1955? Brendan Foster winning the pre-match race before the 74 final, and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits at Live Aid.....