By Brian Hall
Tuesday 15 Jan 2013 14:55:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles



A long time ago, a naive Guernsey student lass, meaning no harm, expressed surprise that Geordies were in universities. That was in 1975, and the assembled exiles at Liverpool Uni burst out laughing. One was doing Physics, another was brilliant at Maths, and amongst others, I was studying - allegedly - modern history and spanish. After graduation - none of the said gathering bothered to gan down to wear a daft mortar board or whatever for a photo - the academic trail continued. To Cambridge. 1979. A van took off one Friday night from the very Far North to go in search of glory - to see the Mags play Cambridge United in the old Second Division.


The trip took off in a typically chaotic fashion. Me and one of my mates, Geordie, were in a local pub just before last orders was getting called, and Polly, the driver, popped his head around the door, saw us two, added that there was space in the van, and asked us if we fancied gannin to Cambridge. Why not, we thought, so we nipped up to our respective houses on the estate, grabbed a jacket, and joined the outing.


For some inexplicable reason, the van ended up somewhere near nottingham in the middle of the night, complaints broke out, amongst those awake that is, aimed at the driver, and van trouble was only quelled by hasty can supplies. The tired and sleepy crew finally arrived at the destination, the University town of England's  Ruling Elite. Except another elite were already touring the ancient domains of Cambridge. The Mags. The place was crawling with  Geordies. Talk about two very different cultures in the same place! Upper class types were punting on the river, for example, but seemed shocked when black and white clad characters were jumping into the water, singing their heads off! Japanese tourists took photos, of the NUFC, that is! Those punters were looking on in total bemusement as some Mags were jumping into the Cam for a laugh.


After obligatory inspections of local hostelries, our vanload went up to see the match. It was crap - we knew it would be, anyway. But it did have some moments. Off the pitch, that is. Mick managed to smuggle in the bottle of wine, then dropped the bloody thing. Geordie got thrown out - twice! First time was after his intial entry through the turnstiles, and a copper did not seem to like this sining - the second was when he got back in through another turnstile, only for the same copper to see him again. As Polly had given him the keys, he spent the whole match in the back of the van. A very lucky ejection really, given the rubbish on the pitch. Half time did give something to watch though, as the local ground facilites, with their burger van, was not exactly up to serving hungry Geordie hordes. It shut after the chaos got out of hand.


Match duty over, and the merry band made their way to Huntingdon for a night out. God Knows Why. The dishevelled outfit did not quite have a Home Counties look about them. One couple seemed to take offence at one of Jackie's favourite turns - singing Dean Martin and Mag songs whilst walking around the bar playing an imaginary guitar. Strange that, as everybody loved that act back home. After a brief visit to the only nightclub we could find, a rapid exit was needed, following a heated debate with some Chelsea fans. Polly, who had stayed sober for the whole trip, drove all home to the True North. Knackered, weary, but all proud to have made Cambridge. and represented the Geordie Nation.


If only I had kept that address for that lass from Guernsey after all. I could have told that Geordies do not just gan to universities, they even gan to Cambridge!

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