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Newcastle United Stephen Cox

2nd Division. October 16th 1982 St James Park Newcastle Newcastle United 1 Fulham 4

My first ever trip to St James Park - in fact to any professional ground. Aged 8 along with my uncle and 6 year old brother. The ground sodden due to ongoing heavy rain. I remember approaching along past the strawberry pub looking at banks of fans you could see sitting in the exposed banks of stands in the days before the castle like structure of today was built.

The incoming crowd of around 29,500 (huge for a second division game) pushing us into our seats. Before the game the Fulham manager Malcolm MacDonald (yes SuperMac himself) took to the field to soak up the applause of the Newcastle fans he once turned out for as well as the rain.

Excitement was in the air as the game kicked off - Kevin Carr in goal for Newcastle huge moustache on show peering through the mist of rain to see where the ball would go from kick-off. Indeed I'll always remember the rain playing more a part in the game than Newcastle themselves did. It caused havoc with Newcastle's passing game while Fulham's more direct game profiting from 3 goals by their big ( also moustacheoed) forward Gordon Davies, often seen at the last minute through the rain , a streak of red ( Fulham's away strip for that day) ascending onto the ball to bury it past Carr.

One clear memory for me was Kevin Keegan grafting to win the ball in the middle of the park - his efforts that day only resulting in him tearing up clods of turf under him. All 5 goals scored that day went unseen by me due to the rain. Visibility being only about 10 yards. I only knew Fulham had scored due to the silence and Keegan had scored a penalty when the his name was chanted after the roar greeted his goal.

The colour, noise and rain of that day will stay with me forever. Not Newcastle's greatest day but from that day to this I got the black and white bug and live football bug in general going to as many live professional and amateur games alike.

Nothing quite like football.

Stephen Cox

 

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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