The hot ticket will be down at North Shields when The Robins will face Highworth Town in the second leg of their FA Vase Semi Final with a 1-0 advantage. It is all set up for a brilliant afternoon at Daren Persson Park.
At least 1600 lucky ticket holders will descend on the Northern League ground ready to roar The Reds to their first Wembley Final since 1969. With a treble of FA Vase wins notched up by their great friends and rivals up the coast at Whitley Bay and of course Dunston’s great win in the same competition still fresh in the memory, the atmosphere is likely to be electric. Geordie-land expects.
The match is completely sold out. I don’t doubt Shields could have sold out the game many time over such is the interest in seeing a good, proper Geordie team having a proper crack at getting to Wembley and winning a trophy.
But North Shields aren’t the only great Geordie side in action this weekend.
Just across the river from St James’ Park and Gateshead FC is striving to keep the promotion dream alive as they strain every sinew to get into the play-off places and do their utmost to return to Wembley and go one better than they achieved last season.
This Saturday, the mighty Heed Army will be assembling in good heart for the visit of seventh placed Eastleigh FC. This is what Gateshead manager, Gary Mills said about the support his team needs:
“Eastleigh are three points better off than us, and I don’t have to tell everybody what a massive, massive game it is. If we can perform as we did against Macclesfield a couple of weeks ago, then we can go and win the game. What I will say is, this is one of the biggest games since I’ve been at Gateshead. And we need the supporters to come and be the extra man for us on Saturday – there’s no doubt about that. If we can win on Saturday, then I honestly believe we can force our way in there. And the support on Saturday is vital to us.
Our regular supporters have got to be vocal, and I know that there are no Premier League games, so I’m urging the Newcastle and Sunderland supporters out there to come to Gateshead. I’m not going to say it’s going to be pretty, because it hasn’t been in the last few games. But what you will see is a fight and a determination, and a real desire to win a football match. We’ve grown a strength and a camaraderie in the last few games that can pull us through. As a manager, I couldn’t be more proud of my side if they were sitting top of the league. My message to the players will be, ‘same again, please’. We’ve had a tough season this season, we’ve never really got on a run. But through hard work and sheer desire, we’ve given ourselves a chance.”
There’s not a great deal of difference between the Tyneside towns of Gateshead and North Shields. Both share a common Geordie bond and identity. Both are known for the support they have provided to Newcastle United down the years and both are tough working class communities known for the warmth of the local people and the love of football.
Hell, if you are a season ticket holder at Newcastle United, you’ll even get a fiver knocked off the admission charge and get in for a tenner at Gateshead.
If you are at a loose end, don’t fancy the living hell of a trip to IKEA or weekend DIY etc. then get yourself to Gateshead.
That is all.
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