On hope as a football fan

Scott’s the one to blame, he’s the one that stuck on old VHS on, back in the early 90’s, as we sat cross-legged on the living room floor of his parent’s house. Little did I know, that small act would set in motion a ridiculous love affair with our absurd club. We could’ve been playing ISS on the SNES, instead, we were watching the 92–93 season on repeat.

Listening to matches on 5-live on the radio. A first match at Wembley to watch us lose 2–0 to Arsenal. Being sat in the Holte End at Villa Park as Solano equalised my very good friend James holding me down from celebrating. Many, merry evenings watching our fantastic journey in Europe with Gary, only to be dashed by Marseille. Feeling a sense of belonging when up in Newcastle for the game.

Things took a dip from there, but through it, were James, Dave and Mike, as we watched every game we could live or in the pub. Ashley’s take over and sudden excitement. Relegation. The Championship season, eventually becoming that rollercoaster of 5th place with Pardew.

Even through all the awful football, aside from the last half of Benitez when things clicked, it was always worth it with my friends and a supporting cast of fellow fans. Always something to talk about. It’s what has made being a football fan for me.

After moving to Poland a couple of years back, I lost that first-person contact with my friends and fellow fans. Watching Newcastle play has been a purely virtual experience. It’s had to be watching on TV coupled with WhatsApp chats has been my replacement. It’s been one of my key links back home. Even with that the last few years have been tough. The apathy and, let’s be honest, awful football created by the previous ownership, by the manager made it harder and harder to make that time. It wore away at me.

The weekend’s match against Tottenham saw that change. The atmosphere at the start of the game as the teams walked out was something else. Even from over 1,000 miles away it was enough to put a tear in my eye. It was a reminder of old times, of good times. A feeling of hope.

I hope that Scott, James, Gary, Dave and Mike all got that feeling too.

Mind you we all know where hope has taken us as Newcastle fans over the last 30 or so years…

This post was originally posted on The Mag website on Monday 18th October:

https://www.themag.co.uk/2021/10/even-from-over-1000-miles-away-it-was-enough-to-put-a-tear-in-my-eye-newcastle-united/

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Liam FitzGerald

Liam FitzGerald

Sport, fitness, thoughts and a bit of Newcastle United so far…