By Brian Hall
Monday 15 Oct 2012 10:12:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles




It was not exactly a Happy New Year, as such, in 1985,  either in so many parts of Northumberland or Durham. Since the spring of '84, communites across our region had, for once, been a tiny bit distracted from footy arguments. Debates were still around, of course, but running alongside them, was a massive juggernaut smashing into the people who lived in those places. The Miners' Strike, which lasted a whole year. New Years Eve provided some light relief in my part of Durham, and for a small period, that grim battle was not dominating the agenda.


New Years Day was to see the Derby at SJP. In my own part of divided old County Durham - and I dont mean the divisions on the Strike itself - traditional parties took place as ever, and football temporarily dominated many a drunken exchange. The local SMB were convinced that they would beat us. Their Mag counterparts were convinced that we would beat them.


Us lot, including a couple of lads on strike, getting some cash from those not directly under the cosh at the time, had our plans for New Years Day. Assemble in the local, get in the van, and head into town. Prompt. As always, the carefully prepared plan did not quite go to schedule, especially after a New Years Eve. Only one example. As we lay on NUFC Lyn's floor at 8 in the morning, drowsy crack started to break out. Somebody then wondered what happened to Strak? Mogga, as he was known as, added that if Strak was not up on time, that was his problem, and we would just leave as scheduled. Women, generally, tend to be more caring on such occasions, and Hostess Lyn said that we could not do that. Then a voice piped up from behind a settee, telling us all to shut the f...k up, as he was trying to have more kip. Of course, it was Strak. He later thanked Lyn for her care, and called us a set of bastards in the local.


We all made it, into the Gallowgate. The Little Magician did the trick. Mr Beardsley. Hat trick! 3-1, and two SMB sent off just to make the day complete. Then, tension returned big style to the area when we got back, and again, was not related to the Battle To End All Battles with Thatcher. No. NUFC-SAFC tensions of course. Mogga, our best singer, broke into one of his famous songs, when we all landed back into the Divided Territory. And it was strange really, as the locals not of Mag persuasion, did not seem amused. No sense of humour, eh.


I remain grateful, to this day, to Peter the Little Diamond or Jewel, as KK, once branded him. He gave a lot of people a lovely, joyful break from a rather nasty and difficult year. For sure, the red and white miners and their families would not agree that he did that. But all is fair in love and war.


What a Happy New Years Night that was. For half of us that is. Or, sorry, a lot more than half of the region, given our following.





ps I like to see all the North East teams do well!  mmmmm

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