Supporting Newcastle? It's still worth it

Posted by Marc Duffy

Stu Forster/Getty ImagesThere's been plenty going on at St James' Park for the fans to talk about.

I am 35 years old and I've been attending Newcastle games on a regular basis for the past 30 years.

In that time I've seen some utter rubbish turn out in black and white stripes. I've seen some great players, too. I've seen terrible Newcastle teams, some mediocre ones and some very good ones.

One thing that I've never seen is Newcastle United win a trophy (don't you dare say the word 'Intertoto'). Nothing, zip, nada -- no silverware at all.

Will that change this coming season? Of course not! So why bother? Sport is about winning, right?

So why do I go?

One of the things I love about going to the game is seeing my mates. The lads I used to go out to town with three or four nights a week in my younger days who, like me now, spend so much time working and most of the rest of the time with our families meaning regular nights out are a thing of the past.

The match gives us the chance to meet for a couple of hours before kickoff and right all the wrongs of Newcastle United over a beer or two. And let's be honest -- it's definitely better than an afternoon of trailing around various shops with the wife and kids.

I love going to the match on the off chance that we see one of those blinding games that come along every now and then.

Last season's 3-2 win over Chelsea was magnificent! The 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland. The 5-0 and 3-0 wins over Manchester United, beating Barcelona, putting seven past Tottenham. The second half of the 4-4 draw with Arsenal was the stuff of unrealistic fiction but in factual football form. The list goes on. These games keep us going for months.

Player brilliance is another thing that keeps us interested.

Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne, David Ginola and many, many more.

Players capable of doing something magical -- Ginola turning Neil Cox inside out so often that the Middlesbrough full-back sat on the floor with his arms out as if to say 'what can I do?'

Hatem Ben Arfa running 50 yards through most of the Bolton team before scoring at the Gallowgate End.

Alan Shearer volleying in a late screamer against Everton.

Alan Pardew jumping in the crowd after yet another late, vital Papiss Cisse winner.

Great moments that I'd hate to have missed.

The St James' crowd can generate a wonderful atmosphere. Many of them use the games as a way of letting off steam from the stresses of the week. They scream and shout and this has helped the team along to some of the famous victories. I love a red-hot St James' Park atmosphere.

I'm proud of my city too. Newcastle is a great place to live and I'm lucky to be from there. The football club offer the chance to display local pride in an almost tribal manner.

A lot of us harbour secret hopes of success, but when it doesn't arrive we have a great time anyway. I've watched Newcastle play at Wembley four times and in those games they've scored one but conceded 10! I had four great trips to London though and celebrated that one goal (Rob Lee vs. Chelsea) as if it was a late winner in a Champions League final. Imagine what it would be like if Newcastle won a trophy?

There's also the fact that walking away from Newcastle United is not an option. It's in us and we could never shake it off.

I can't wait for these moments this coming season.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy


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