NUFC BIRTHDAYS
By Brian Hall
Tuesday 28 Aug 2012 09:19:00
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I was thinking of my imminent birthday, which falls, as it usually tends to, on August 29th. Tomorrow. Many can claim to say that they were born at a significant time of the year. But few can match up to those of us who popped out towards the end of an August. A time when the football season is just on the move. My own NUFC birthday life has often been typical of marriage to the Mags, with  massive Ups and Downs on occasions.

 

I first emerged in a room on a council estate on, well, obviously, August 29th. 1957-  aye, am an old git now - and just two days after birth, we hammered Spurs at hyem, 3-1. Good start, remembered little about it, but I would certainly remember some of the other birthdays over the decades. Moving into the late 60s, our Kid and his older mates took me into the Leazes to see us hammer, really hammer, Chelsea. 5-1. And the Icing on the Cake? I saw the Mighty Wyn put two goals in.

 

A couple of years or so later, and it was time for another celebration. I am cheating here a little bit, but nobody is going to stop me on this one, as it stll helped towards a coming birthday anyway. In 1971, the week before had seen me swaying and falling about the Leazes End, and it was nowt to do with under-age drinking. It had everything to do with a certain new Number 9, christened Supermac on that very day, blasting in a hat-trick against the Red Scousers. 3-2. I seem to remember some under-age alcohol occurred the week after, and his name was mentioned a few times among the motley crew!

 

But not all birthday times can be Happy ones. One particularly grim year, in 1979,  saw a ten day disaster zone. 4 of us went to watch the Mags down Preston for our first away game of the season on the Tuesday night. We decided to let our main regiment get the first train back up after, and we had a quick pint. Long story but 4 facing a mob of 60 next to a railway station is not good odds!!.

 

 Fresh out of hospital with a broken hand, just a day or so before our first leg League Cup tie against SAFC at Joker Park, a bus journey on the Friday night went pear-shaped. A couple of younger lads from Shiney shouted down, naively, if I knew how many Mags had tickets for the away tie. I gave a sign to stay quiet, as the vehicle had not left the Pennywell area, and we were not yet in safe territory over the border into Shiney Row. Too late. Brave bloke in front of me calls me a Maggie ...., he sees my arm in a sling, and proceeds to present me with a broken nose. Bus erupted and so did nose of course.

 

Then up came the imminent birthday itself. SAFC away on the actual day. 2-2 draw. Good enough. Swift turnaround to SJP, and this birthday week then really hit its lowest ebb. Penalty shoot out. Lost. Thus, broken hand, broken nose, and broken bloody heart, and I know which hurt the most. Honestly.

 

Never mind, 3 years later, and I probably got the best birthday present I have ever had - apologies to the women in my long life, by the way, on that one. The day before August 29th time again, a new signing turned up. It led to scenes of utter bedlam in the Gallowgate the day after my birthday, and he scored of course. His name was Mr Kevin Keegan, and he was to lead us out of Division 2. 

 

The late 80s birthdays were a bit of a nasty mix however. In 88, we had sold Gazza, but replaced him with a canny lot, not least Mirandhina, He's From Brazil, He's F....Brill. That team kicked off on August 29th down at Everton, and I really enjoyed that day down there. We got hammered 4-0. And were relegated by the time August 89 came around. That one saw me watching NUFC v Burnley 74 Semi-Final, in a pub in Low Fell - a video instead of being at the match near my birthdate time. We were in a boycott against the Board - sound familiar!!?

 

And so into the 90s and present times. 97 stands out, as 2 days before the annual day, I was stuck in a remote cottage near Oban. Me and Our Claire could not get Channel 5 to watch the Mags play the first leg of a Champions League qualifier in Zagreb, but we did have a radio. We went berserk when Temuri Ketsbaia got the vital away goal, and a bunch of characters on their boat on the loch nearby clearly thought we were either in a ritual nightly Scottish dance or mental. The latter would be the accurate desciption of course.

 

Just time to mention another brilliant, but belated birthday present, given to me by the SAFC actually. In 99, Gullit walked after our loss to the smb, and the day after August 29 time, we got slaughtered, managerless, at Old Trafford. Sound bad? It all felt it at the time, to say the least! But a new man returned home just after. Sir Bobby Robson.     Thanks Sunderland for that one. Your rare win up here kept us Shearer and gave us Bobby!!!

 

Fast forward to 2012. Though I behave like an 18 year old at times, I am 55 tomorrow. 24 hours before we play the Greek side at home. I know they say Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts, or whatever. But something tells me that even we could not manage to buggar this one up. Please.

 

 

Definitely must dash now, as I need to buy mesel a birthday card. Might buy 3 this year, come to think about it, as they are dwindling rapidly year by year.

 

Tarah



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