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Newcastle United Adam Marshall

I've never liked Arsenal. Arsenal are the football version of Waitrose. Overpriced, and its customers, or, in this case, supporters, are nouveau riche wannabes who would turn their noses up at a cheaper alternative. Best part of two grand for a Season ticket? Do me a favour. The Emirates has seen the Highbury Library "atmosphere" effortlessly transfer over. Arsenal are one of the clubs I want to see My team, Newcastle United, sticking it up whenever possible.

The date was 5th February 2011 and we were playing Arsenal at home in the Premier League. My dad, who I go to every game with, was not at this one as he had a reunion to go to. He was not too disappointed at missing the game as he was sure we were going to get humped. Ten minutes in and it seemed his pessimism and decision not to risk the wrath of my mum by refusing to go with her to the reunion, was well placed. We were 3-0 down and that flat, sinking feeling had set in. 15 minutes later and it was 4-0. People were walking out in disgust. I have NEVER left a game early and I never will although, I had never been so tempted to do so. We were being ripped apart and the defence were all over the place. The arsenal fans were in sickeningly jubilant mood and giving the Ole with every pass. The half time whistle brought a crescendo of boos and fans looking at each other in disbelief. This was horrible. It was not so much the score as the abject, dire performance from the lads that most people minded. Newcastle United fans are amongst the fairest around, and appreciate fine football when they see it. However, when our own team play so miserably they make the opposition look so good, that is a different matter.

Now there is a tale about Joe Harvey's half time team talk in the Fairs Cup Final second leg in 1969. The story goes he told the players who were 2-0 down at half time "score one and this lot will fold like a pack of cards" Well either Alan Pardew repeated this talk or he put something in the players' half time energy drink, because what happened next is pure fantasy.

We started the second half with a new energy. We went forward straight away. Just 5 minutes in and Arsenal were down to 10 men. Diaby sent off for shoving Joey Barton and then Kevin Nolan. Suddenly the crowd were energised. That never say die belief that, as a football fan is always in you set in. Every move forward was roared until, with 20 minutes left we got a penalty. Barton stepped up and slammed it home. 1-4 and that little bit of belief started growing. Then Leon Best put the ball in to the net - elation then despair as it was ruled out for offside. It didn't matter as 3 minutes later he score a legitimate goal. The noise coming from all 4 sides of the ground was deafening. Everyone, to a man believed we could do this. My voice was getting hoarser but I didn't care. 6 minutes to go and we got a second penalty. Barton again took it. Straight down the middle 3-4! This was getting unbelievable.

Arsenal were wilting. The sheer noise from the crowd was clearly terrifying them. Playing in front of their silent supporters every other week they clearly were not used to this level of intensity. Then with 3 minutes left it happened. We got a free kick on the right hand side. Joey Barton played a great cross in to the box it was headed out where Cheik Tiote met it with a first time volley. Time seemed to slow down as I watched the ball arrow in to the bottom corner. There was a split second where there was only silence as if people were looking at each other saying "did that really happen". Then an explosion of pure joy. Grown men hugging each other, people flying several rows in front of them. I had bruises for 2 weeks after on my shins from then whacking off the seat in front. I grabbed my mobile and called my dad. The conversation went something like "Four ******** Four, Four ******* Four!!!" The fact Kevin Nolan could, and maybe should have won it in injury time has largely been forgotten. I, and 52000 others had just witnessed the greatest comeback in football history. The joy I sang "Four Nil and you messed it up" (or words to that effect) to the Arsenal fans who were slumped in their seats can not be over exaggerated.

Those who left early must have been kicking themselves. These kind of games do not come around too often, but when they do it reminds me why I love Newcastle United!!

Adam Marshall

 

 

Newcastle United Foundation have a heritage project for fans of all ages called Toon Times.

Toon Times will culminate with a major Newcastle United exhibition at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, although in the lead up to this event Toon Times wishes to reach out to all Newcastle United fans across the North East and further afield to get involved and share their memories, experiences, photos and memorabilia what people have collected over the years.

We are supporting the project by helping to collect NUFC memories online - fans can share their memories on the Replay Football website, simply select the Toon Times tag when submitting yours.

For more info contact the Toon Times Heritage Project Coordinator, Newcastle United Foundation, gavin.ferry@nufc.co.uk

 

1 Comment

Priceless. 0-4 down after about 25 minutes and two things ran through my mind (1) I remembered that match when the mackums manged to score three own goals in about 10 minutes in the first half at home to Charlton and the telly cameras panning on to the locals leaving in their droves. And I thought, we must stay and perservere and be United. I expected pain and torture but I wasn't leaving, no matter what. (2) When the 4th goal went in it occurred to me that the only salvation might be that Arsenal could better our worst ever home defeat which was 1-9 but as that was against the mackums then at least we could scratch that from the record books. In reality, at the end, there was still a tad of disappointment. I was still aggrieved that Best had had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside. We should have won 5-4 (Van Pursestring's goal late on really was offside!!). Or was that being greedy?

– JEY, August 30 2013 at 13:15

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