Every team says they have the best fans around, that goes without saying, but Newcastle United really do have some of the greatest fans in the world. It is in times of hardship that you find out the most about yourself and I can safely say that against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday, the Toon Army were in full voice despite what was happening on the pitch. Newcastle players might not have been giving as good as they got, but the fans certainly were.
Being a football fan is a rollercoaster at the best of times, but as a Newcastle supporter it’s like you’re on Nemesis every day of the week (notice I didn’t say Oblivion here). You really are put through the wringer, with relegation to the Championship in 2009 a real low, as, in a different way, was missing out on the Premiership title in the mid ‘90s and being second best twice at Wembley in FA Cup finals. However, it is these lows that make the highs even better, and that’s why whilst being mauled at White Hart Lane wasn’t an enjoyable experience, it makes you savour the wins even more.
Last Saturday, for those who made the trip down from Newcastle to London, was a real kick in the teeth to be out of the game before it started. Cue jubilation from Spurs fans and taunts towards the Newcastle supporters, including one chant that stuck in my head that was: “What the f*** are you still doing here?” I did wonder that myself, but of course you support the team through thick and thin and I think the Tottenham fans respected that, in a similar way to the respect I have for the way Spurs play football.
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Discussions like this always seem to come down to numbers, it’s somewhat inevitable. The fact that 50,000 plus fans cram into St James’ Park every week, a high proportion of which went week-in-week-out when the Magpies were in the Championship, speaks for itself. However, it is Newcastle’s away fans that really shine brightly, as thousands travel across the country every week, and if you’d have had a camera purely on the Toon Army last weekend, you’d have had no idea that Newcastle were 5-0 down and completely out of the game.
While I loathe making reference to him, Gary Neville even Tweeted that Newcastle’s and Stoke’s supporters were among the best in the country. This doesn’t mean anything and this isn’t an article saying one club’s fans are better than another’s, all I’m stating is the pride I have in those who support Newcastle United. The scenes at White Hart Lane showed that, and manager Alan Pardew acknowledged that at the end of the game as he gave the Newcastle fans the thumbs up, which wasn’t the signal he would have given to the players in the dressing room.
Outside of the north-east many people don’t seem to realise how much Newcastle United Football Club means to supporters. The team is like a part of our extended family. You don’t always like them, but you will always love them. Newcastle fans I salute you.
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