Clueless, Gutless, Cupless – again

by • January 25, 2014 • NewsComments (10)902

Here we are, 4th round of the FAC day, well we’re not are we.  I’m sat here safe from the pouring rain, radio ShearerCupbanned for the day, Twitter banned and yes I’m beginning to resemble our dismal club with all this banning lark.  In truth I would give anything to be heading off in the pouring rain to a cup game but I haven’t been given the opportunity and it still hurts.  Instead I’m listening to the likes of The Cure, JJ Cale, The Jam and the masters PiL and about to delve into happier FAC times.  I have my cup programmes, pics and even a copy of The Pink to hand to remind me of the first final against Arsenal but this isn’t really about the actual matches as they’ve been well documented, this is more about the journey to Wembley and the experiences, feelings and joy along the way.
When we beat Sheffield United at OT in the semi, I cannot begin to describe the excitement and the journey back to Newcastle Central on the football special was unforgettable.  Plans had to be made for the final.  Unfortunately for my ex, I had to journey down 1st class, such was the demand and as luck would have it, Peter Beardsley, his son and two friends sat in the aisle opposite but I was too shy to speak – I do remember their table being awash with Panini stickers.  I met my son in London and we did the usual visit to Baker Street etc. and then onto the Tube to Wembley.  It was very hot and sunny that day, we were sat in the funny bucket seats, in the sun for the whole afternoon and I suffered from heatstroke but that was fine and worth it.  As we know, the game was a disappointment and Dalglish didn’t have a clue but that didn’t seem to matter to the Geordie nation and it was down to our supporters to get the Arsenal fans singing and chanting about their victory as we travelled back down Wembley Way to the Tube.  I was staying with my first in-laws that night and managed to while away the journey to East Croydon chatting away to an Arsenal fan.  They’re very shy too and I had to force him to speak up and enjoy the occasion.
I couldn’t believe our luck when we got to the Final the following season and this time it was the turn of my daughter, she’s the one who nearly destroyed my credibility at SJP by taking a book or Game Boy to matches with her!  Anyway she accepted she had to wear a NUFC top, rosette and scarf but she preferred Oxford Street to Baker Street.  She was thrilled though that everyone in the shops we visited wished us luck and hoped we would thrash Manchester Utd – it was good to have usually reserved Londoners, stopping, smiling and greeting us like welcome giant slayers but as we know this didn’t happen and Gullit didn’t have a clue either!  We had much better seats this time but didn’t see much of the action as everyone stood up, as you do, and we are not giants.  Didn’t matter though, it was great to be part of such an occasion.  It was a little tricky travelling north after the game as we travelled up the west coast to a family event in Shrewsbury and we didn’t see many bedecked in black and white along the way.  I thought we’d cracked it by getting an earlier train which was nearly empty but I went to the buffet car, the train stopped at Luton or was it Watford, and when I returned the previously empty carriage was awash with red people.  The two who were opposite us looked very fierce and were huge but I muttered something about the Kit Kats and crisps I’d bought being red and white and they softened a little.  It wasn’t long before most of the devils in the compartment were helpfully pointing out where we had gone wrong, what we should do et al.  It wasn’t that bad after all as most were genuine Manchester fans and were still sweating on whether they would be lucky in the lottery for European Cup final tickets.
I know we didn’t win either game but the whole build-up, event itself and even the aftermath are experiences I will never forget and will always cherish, particularly the happy Geordies who brightened up London, before and after both games – absolute legends.  However, I don’t think I will forgive our club for not being arsed about any cup competitions and it’s another slap in the face.

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10 Responses to Clueless, Gutless, Cupless – again

  1. Dave says:

    This beautifully sums up the club we all love. No insults, nothing nasty, just the absolute depression that Mr. Ashley has brought us all.

  2. Phil Carmichael says:

    Very good article and I completely endorse the sentiment. Winning a cup has been a dream for as long as I remember. We’ve been mucking it up for so long, and with the present regime it will go on for even longer, it seems. Your description of the two finals coincide with what I remember of the ’74 and ’76 finals, great away days but for the results.

    • Phil Carmichael says:

      The defeat by Cardiff is even more annoying as this year’s FA Cup is the most open ever. THis afternoon’s draw sees at least two of the favourites out, in fact only 5 premier league teams into the quarters.

  3. Alex Hurst says:

    I take it you didn’t go to the Man City game?

    How you can accuse the players and manager of not caring or not trying is beyond me. We were the better team and every player gave absolutely everything and we should have won the game.

    Yes, going out to Cardiff was inexcusable – but it just fits the popular narrative which stems from one perfectly reasonable sentence. When has ‘not a priority’ meant ‘don’t care’?

    Why do so few people turn up to cup games? I enjoy them and I go, many other do but. only seems to be about 30,000 of us that enjoy them. Where are the other 20,000+ mags? And it’s not an Ashley thing, I remember Palace brining 4,000 in 2002 when I went to SJP and we were top of the league at the team. Only 32,000 home fans in a 36k crowd. I was about 13 at the time and it was great getting to go to home games.

    Your memories sound great. I watched the 98 cup final in the Plough at Killy. It was brilliant and I’ve been in love with the FA cup ever since. I was 9 and I can still remember how cup ‘fever’ was all over the place in Forest Hall, flags, balloons etc – people who didn’t follow United were totally swept up in something that no other form of entertainment can provid and bring strangers together.

    So I’m not anti-Newcastle fan, or anti cup competition – but I’m tired of reading articles and social media posts about the poor NUFC fan stuck at home because big bad Mike Ashley doesn’t care about the cups, that we went out of both cups this year and the poor old fans have been short changed again.

    It’s not true, in my opinion. The continued attempts to make it sound like the truth to fit the anti-Ashley/Pardew are wrong, and damaging.

  4. STEPHEN says:

    The likes of Allardyce and Pardew have been in football management long enough to know the requirements and needs to be able to have a real crack at the FA Cup competition. The fact that they both – year after year – are ill prepared to make a serious go of the competition is a sad reflection on them.

  5. STEPHEN says:

    Take Allardyce again – Pardew last season – the FA Cup is ‘sacked’ off because he’s got his team at the bottom of the league. The Owners should be looking at that and saying hold on ! you’ve got us down the bottom of the league and because of that you’ve got us out the cup too. Off you trot mate but no they don’t bother because it’s all about the money not the glory.

  6. Davey says:

    My abiding memories of the Man Utd and Arsenal cup finals is the frustration of not being there as I didn’t have a chance of a ticket as I was one of the fans left by the wayside in the sea-change of St James’ as a pay on the day ground to the relentless pursuit by John Hall and Freddie Fletcher of getting a virtually all season ticket crowd in the nineties. Having traipsed around the 2nd Division it was hard to take missing out on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. By ‘Luck’ and queuing overnight I did get to the Charity Shield nightmare and made the heartbreaking semi-final loss v Chelsea but the cup finals was a strange mix of excitement from watching it in the bar to resentment to being excluded from even a chance of getting a ticket.

  7. Tom Bates says:

    I agree with Alex hursat re the Man City game but its hard to disagree with the opinion that we werent arsed about the cup in the Cardiff game. Cabaye and Krul rested (injured?) whereas Arsenal and City are happy to play their big guns.
    ANd I would rather have a day out at Wembley and try to win something even if we fall short than finish 8th in the league, as decent a campaign as that would be.
    When people at the club state the clubs arent a priority and after the limp performances against Brighton, Stevenage etc, why would fans come to any other conclusion.
    If the Mackems go down some will point the blame towards their cup run but I would argue the good feeling has given them more chance of staying up.

  8. Tom Bates says:

    People who grew up as the Sky football generation have been weaned on a diet of Premiership football and due to Skys marketing believing that this is head and shoulders above any FA Cup glory. Those of us who liked football pre premier league days remember when the FA Cup final was the match of the season.
    So i’m not suprised that ‘some’ supporters below 25 dont view the cup as a big deal and its reflected in the attendances. Pardew should know all about the magic of the cup having took Palace to the final as a player but his hands are tied by the man above.

  9. STEPHEN says:

    Although we gave the Man City cup game a bit of a go, we still didn’t put out our strongest team. We might have won if we’d done that and not been the ‘nearly men’ that we always are and some are content with.