There was a match on Saturday?
I guess the best place to start is with what happened on the pitch, then what happened in the stands. Keep your interest a bit longer and all that. Or you can just scroll down and ignore this bit, also.
I have to admit, we did get a bit carried away on Friday night though, so my memory of the game is not really 100%. Staying out in Essen until 5 in the morning in what I later found out to be a gay nightclub with 1€ per drink – any drink – will leave a man dying on his feet a little the next day. So please, bear with me.
We tried to get to Gelsenkirchen to see what was going on there, actually, but were funnelled straight onto a bus to the stadium, which was escorted by police all the way, Newcastle and West Ham fans mingled without a problem, and it seemed we were being protected from Schalke fans. Ironic, in hindsight.
The first half kicked off and we were well and truly shite. Malaga seemed to carve our defense open at will and we very rarely managed to keep the ball. Playing direct balls towards Armstrong and Perez seemed to be the plan, which Malaga dealt with very comfortably. If we’d have had someone more like Roque Santa Cruz up front, like Malaga did, then the plan may well have worked. Tactical masterclass, that, as well as playing Yanga-Mbiwa at full back (again), and Sissoko on the wing (again). You sometimes have to worry about what the manager is thinking.
After 25 minutes, the inevitable happened and Malaga deservedly took the lead, as Darger cracked a long shot past Elliot and in off the post. About five minutes later they doubled there lead when a cross from our left evaded everyone but Castillejo at the back post who bounced a volley over Elliot. Ten minutes later, after the roof had closed (presumably to protect our fair skins from the warm summer sun (or, more likely, the heavy rainstorm we got stuck in leaving the ground)), that man Castillejo got his second goal, smartly sticking it past Elliot.
The second half didn’t get much better, really. Our midfield never got going, but at least Malaga took their feet of the Newcastle throat a little. On the hour mark, Newcastle got the goal that they probably didn’t deserve. Some smart movement by Obertan in the box gave him the space to put the ball past Kameni, to the shock of most of the fans in the away end.
Hang on, did I type Obertan there?
Aye. He was actually one of the better ones on the pitch, too. Though, that’s not saying much.
Anyhow, what happened next is probably why you’re reading this. We’d moved at half time from low down on the terrace to just above the tunnel where it all took place. My mate was watching the tunnel as a teenage Toon fan was walking in from the concourse and a West Ham fan ran up and punched him in the head. Then several started to kick him. After that, all eyes were on the tunnel and not on the pitch (sadly, not just because the game was shite).
Most of us moved away from the tunnel a little, partly out of concern for safety (especially as only me and one other of the six of us were actually Toon fans) and partly as many Geordies (not just the dreaded ‘young ‘uns’) hurtled towards the entrance to defend the area we were enclosed in. This went on for several minutes until the smell of pepper spray began to come into the area, and most of the fans made their way back into the pen, the situation somehow and finally resolved by a belated police presence.
I have to say, mind, that most of the West Ham fans there were fine (including the poor lad watching from the Toon end with his mates), and I didn’t hear any songs about the two dead lads, so I don’t wanna tar all of them with the same brush. But some of them are complete idiots.
After the game, as we left into the concourse, we could see that we’d been sealed from all sides and were being encouraged down the special exit for away fans. Into the teeming rain. Where the police protection once again disappeared.
Luckily, from what I hear, very few people were hurt (with the exception of pepper-spray related problems) and we all managed to get away from the stadium somehow, despite a lack of assistance from the staff.
We went out later that night in Essen, where we were staying, and thankfully there was no bother at all. Well, at least among the English. One lesbian bottled another though, in the middle of some kind of open air gay party the lad from Birmingham somehow led us to. So, it’s not just the English who are idiots…
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini (Williamson 74), S Taylor, Haidara (Dummett 67), Sissoko (Aarons 46), Abeid, Colback (Anita 67), Cabella (Obertan 46), Perez (Riviere 46), Armstrong (Gouffran 46).
MALAGA: Kameni, Gamez, Weligton, Antunes, Camcho, Santa Cruz, Duda, Sergio Sanchez, Darder (Angeleri 72), Horta (Samuel Sanchez 86), Castillejo (Juanpi 55).
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