As some of you will know, Jem Sullivan is an Aussie who has developed an fathomless love and affiliation for Newcastle United. Jem has decided to move to Newcastle for a season and have a full year on the Newcastle United rollercoaster, up close and person. Man City at home was Jem’s first ever visit to St James’ Park for a live game, so we gave young Mr Harrison the day off and invited our new supporter to do the match report. Here it is:
Game one of nineteen.
My first Newcastle United game at St James’ Park, its was finally here.
Leading up to Sunday my mind was awash with thoughts about what the day, and what the game would have in store for me. I suspected it would be over before I knew it, and leave me with a slightly underwhelming feeling, kind of like the first time you have sex.
My initial thoughts weren’t wrong. My expectations weren’t overly high; as any Newcastle fan would tell you, we tend not to live up to these. I was realistic. All I really hoped for was a performance we could be proud of, a slight glimpse of what might come for the season.
Whether this was wishful thinking, time would tell. If we got an early goal, then it was game on. We could grab a draw if we catch City on an off day (unlikely), however this is Newcastle Untied, a team that looses to Hull at home, and then beats Man United at Old Trafford; anything can happen.
My match day experience started at the Strawberry (where else!), where my good friend Andrew introduced me to Brown Ale, I was all ready wondering how I would make it home, let alone write a match report on the football I was about to watch.
Finally, after months of waiting, wondering and dreaming of this moment, I headed towards The Gallowgate. Walking up the steps, my mind couldn’t help but be drawn to that famous Sir Bobby quote, obviously I wasn’t holding my father’s hand (at least I hope not), but the feeling that this was the beginning of my next chapter of my ridiculous love affair with Newcastle, and I was helplessly hooked to this club. As we took our seats, I was honestly speechless.
The picture before me was one I’d seen hundreds of times before on TV, this time it was in the flesh. And it was amazing. The noise, the supporters jostling to their seats, the chanting going on throughout the ground. Everything. It was just as I imagined. I stood gripping onto the railing, trying desperately to take into account what I was seeing.
My first match day at a packed St James’ Park against the defending champions of England. This was it. The match started with a moving minute silence for John Alder & Liam Sweeney, the fact that this was my first game made it seem even more surreal. Two fans who loved the club just as much as any had lost their lives is heart breaking, I can’t remember too many experiences the shook me to the core as much as that.
The game started, it was a whirlwind initial few mins, both teams started ok. Of course city saw more of the ball, but that’s expected when your team is worth excess of £200m. They had two decent shots on goal within the first 15mins but Krul kept them out nicely. Sissoko and Cabella linked up nicely shortly before the 17mins tribute, which saw everyone in the stadium give John and Liam and rapturous applause.
Riviere looked weak for me, even in the initial exchanges he seemed a little lost and didn’t really know why he wasn’t controlling the ball. Hadn’t quite sunk it that he was playing the best team in England, rather than Guingamp in France. Up until the half hour mark we had looked decent, we were challenging for the ball every chance we got we were desperately trying to get it forward, but after some fancy work from Toure and Dzeko , Silva found himself with the ball in our 18yard box and calmly slotted it past Krul. Too easy. I suppose 1-0 going into half time was ok, we still had ourselves in with a chance, which is more than can be said for half of the performances from the back half of last season.
We attacked from the onset in the 2nd term, with Gouffran and Cabella making some decent runs. They each had chances with a flurry of shots in a crowed penalty box, however we still couldn’t find the target. The inform Obertan (I felt weird writing this, don’t worry) and Rolando Aarons were introduced mid way through the last half, with a little more pace we seemed more lively going forward, however we lacked that clinical finish. The last 15 minutes we seemed at our best, with the introduction of Perez for Riviere, who beat his man with the first touch and sent his shot narrowly wide, this got the stadium properly rocking.
The best chance for the game came when Cabella gave the ball to Sissoko who slotted it over the bar. Many of the supporters (me included) thought that was the chance, and City quickly capitalized when Aguero found the target after his initial shot was saved me Krul. It was a gutsy effort by the lads, but ultimately they fell short. City just had that class that Newcastle simply cant match in this day and age.
Despite the result, it was still one of the best days of my life, I loved every minute. I couldn’t keep the smile of my face. I was buzzing, I was in St James’ Park watching Newcastle play, and it was fucking mint.
Here is to the next 18 games.
Player ratings: Krul – 5; Janmaat – 6, Williamson – 5, Coloccini (c) – 6, Dummett – 4; Anita – 4 (63′, Obertan – 4 ), Colback – 7; Sissoko – 4, Cabella – 6 , Gouffran – 5(72′, Aarons – 5); Riviere – 3 (84′, Perez – 5)
Jem Sullivan. @anaussiegeordie
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