Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A date to remember

As has helpfully reminded me, 18 years ago today, I made my first trip to St James's Park in the company of my father and my cousin to see Newcastle play Stoke. We sat in the East Stand, and watched as Benny Kristensen (2) and Mick Quinn secured a 3-0 win for Newcastle, and cemented a relationship that has been a constant in my life ever since.

Four years later, in the company of my father and another cousin, I was at Anfield for my first ever away match. Once again, Newcastle secured all three points, with goals from Lee and Cole on what was the fifth anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Looking back, it seems a bizarre coincidence that my first home and away games should fall on precisely the same day (albeit four years apart).

Since those two days, I've witnessed a large number of Newcastle games, both home and away with a mixed degree of success. Notable lows include consecutive FA Cup finals and a damp Sunday in Cardiff. Highs include the Howay 5-0 victory and the end of the London "hoodoo", not to mention Tino's hat-trick at home to Barca. The beauty of football is that, even after years of winning nothing, it still has the potential to return me to the state of giddy excitement experienced 18 years ago as Kristensen scored his second.


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