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Newcastle United Graeme Hull

21st, August 1971, 1 o’clock in the afternoon, I was sitting next to my dad and cousin, in the back of Uncle Ronnie’s transit van, crossing the Tyne Bridge on the way to something that would change my view of the world and condemn me to 43 years of hope, joy and misery.

If you look up the date and the game report, you’ll see something remarkable – a home debut and hat-trick by Supermac, Ray Clemence kicking Mac’s teeth out, Keegan scoring for Liverpool and a 3-2 win for Newcastle – something that would fill lots of column inches today, but to me that day brings so much more to mind.

I remember standing outside of the old West Stand, feeling tiny – this was probably the biggest building that I had ever seen, let alone been in. I remember the noise of the turnstile as I was ushered through by my dad, I remember the dark interior of the old stand and that particular smell of dust, beer, smoke, onions and the antique toilets that football fans of a certain age will recall. Most of all, I remember that first view of the pitch – coming out of that dark interior into bright sunlight and the almost impossibly vivid green of the grass, then losing sight of it, as I was pushed down to the front of the centre paddock and realizing, that I was with the kids at the front, while my dad and uncle stood at the back.

And then, the noise, building to a point where I couldn’t believe it and being swept along with the action, the emotion and that sense of belonging that comes with being in a football crowd. Truth be told, I really don’t remember a lot of the game itself, save for Mac being carried past me with those beautiful, simple black and white stripes spotted with the blood from his mouth, but the whole experience has stayed with me….now all we need is a team, a player, an owner who feels for this club as much as the fans do.

Graeme Hull

 

 

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

 

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