Friday 24 December 2010

109 porta elisa lucchese italy

Date of First Visit: 11th NOVEMBER 1992

NEWCASTLE UNITED 1 (Benny Kristensen)

ATTENDANCE: 744 (200 Toon fans)



A unique opportunity tih travel with the players and 'King Kev' on the same plane AND stop in the same hotel, waz an offer any true 'black 'n' white' just couldn't torn doon---could they?
For this iz what the club had organised for wor forst 'sonte' intih Europe for fifteen years!
It waz an offer that AH could'nt torn doon anyway, alang with two hundred other diehards and at ower £300 a piece (remember this waz 1992!) it waz a very expensive offer aall the same!

The arrangement on the plane was that the players and officials sat at the front of the plane and us 'plebs' sat at the back, oot the way!

Lucchesse (pronoonced 'Loo-cheese-eee' to aall yeez ignoramanissseess who cannit speak 'propa Italian' like me!) is 'just a few miles doon the road' from the 'leanin tower city' (ie: Pisa) in the town of Lucca


Once off the plane it was onto (separate) busses for the jorney to the hotel which we were telt was in the Tuscan mountains.. The busses torned off the main road near Lucca and started gannin up and up this windin' road past some old women herdin' donkeys with heavy bales of tree branches on their backs up a steep track. (are we in the 'thord world' or wot? ---Aa thought!?)
We just went up!---and up!---and UP! and we must have been a canny few thousand feet up when a luxury hotel suddenly appeared between some pine trees in the distance and in the middle of 'ne where'

The mountainside hotel we were stoppin' in was aalso a trainin' base for Italian clubs like AC Milan, Juventus and Roma and had a full size trainin' pitch next to the hotel so it was the 'bees knees' as far as we were concerned!

Aa had a huge room to meesel with a massive double bed and a fridge that was like 'Aladdins cave' as it was stocked to the hilt with bottles of lager and beer. "It must be on the house!?", aa thought as aa grabbed the nearby bottle opener and quickly opened the forst ice caad 'liquid lubrication' and poured it doon mee 'john o groat'!
After a few more bottles of 'lubrication' it was time to meet up with the rest of the party in the hotel bar where 'Grumpy Stumpy' was orderin' the forst roond (brilliant timin'!)
The money in them days was Italian Lira which was like 'monopoly money' and we couldn't work oot how much the forst roond had cost, but it wasn't cheap!
'The Caped Crusader' got the second roond in when some clever shite worked it oot that we were payin' the equivalent of TEN QUID A PINT! (aboot TWENTY QUID! in todays money with inflation!)

It was my torn next and as there were seven of us in the roond aa realised that aa didn't even have enough 'bit' to buy ONE! roond! ("Help!---aa can feel a 'heart attack' comin' on!")
Douglas Hall, wor Millonaire chairmans son was in the bar and when he hord wor predicament he bought the next roond for the whole bar ("cheers Doug!") but it didn't alter the fact the we 'paupers'simply couldn't afford to buy anymore drinks there.
Ti mek matters worse the nearest village (which looked 'shut' when we passed through it!) was aboot three miles away doon the bottom of the moontain! (ie: a non starter!)

A frantic discussion then ensued between the hotel manager and wor guides and it was agreed to open a wooden 'log style' cabin 'come bar' which was situated forther doon from the hotel, hidden by some pine trees, which was apparently closed for that time of year, but doubled up as a bar in the summer season.

An hour later it was open and at a mere THREE QUID a pint! aa could just aboot afford to get mee roond in now! ("horray!")
Harry Palmer was there with his guitar (remember him!?) alang with a TV crew from 'Tyne Tees' who had travelled to film wor 'historic retorn' to European competition and Harry gave us a rendition of such 'classics???' as---'Slap your mother with a Christmas tree!' and!--- 'Oh when the beans come oot the tin!' (enough to drive ANYBODY to drink!)

HELP!---aa can feel a 'Laurel and Hardy' 'moment' comin' on!

♫"On a mountain in Italia!—stands a lonesome pine!"♫
♪♫And next to it stands a 'boozer'---lets open it, it's drinkin' time!♫
♫"In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Loo-cheese-ee!♪
♫"On the trail of the lonesome pint!"♪♫♪

Anyway!—we kept as far away from 'yee naa who' as possible and got totally 'rat-arsed' on the strong lager that was on offer before staggerin' through the pine trees back to the hotel for some much needed 'beauty sleep'?

As aa waalked alang the corridor to mee room aa hord singin' in the distance and aall of a sudden a very drunken Toon fan came runnin' past shoutin' and baallin' at the top of his voice. He was baaldy and had 'NUFC' written in black felt tipped pen on the top of his heed as he ran past like 'a demented fairy'! wavin' his arms and jumpin' periodically.

Then!---a door suddenly opened and lo and behold 'King'Kevin Keegan appeared dressed in a full length dressin' goon and a pair of rather snazzy carpet slippers He asked me what aall the noise was aall aboot as he rubbed the sleep from his 'mincers' (the 'King' had actually spoken to ME!)
For a second aa was dumbstruck, but when a'd gathered mee composure aa telt him what was gannin' on and aall of a sudden the kidda reappeared and went he saw Keegan he got doon on his hands and knees, bowin'in homage and started kissin' his carpet slippers! as we both looked on in amazement!---it was SUREAL!
He then got up and ran off doon the corridor singin' Keegan's praises before disappearin' into the distance!. Keegan muttered sommik aboot the players not bein' able to get to kip because of aall the noise ,before gannin' back to his room and slammin' the door shut! (he was NOT a 'happy bunny'!)

To 'celebrate' meetin' the great man aa dashed back to my room and 'polished off' the rest of the 'free' lager before 'hittin' the pillow' meesel! ('vino callapso style')-------------------"ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz!!!!!!!"

Part Two (Day Two) "TEKIN' THE P***!"

It was match day and to start the day off it was off for continental brekkies in the alacarte restaurant before boardin' the coach to Lucca for a bit of 'sight seein' (ie: find as many boozers as possible!)
Aa telt 'Grumpy Stumpy' that a'd 'polised off' aall the 'free' lager in mee fridge and he just looked at me in amazement before blurtin' oot------"Yi daft b*****d! yiv got to PAY FOR IT!---it's NOT FREE!, there's a price list on top of the fridge to tell you how much it iz!"

A feelin' of 'dread' suddenly came ower me and aa dashed back to mee room to see what the 'damage was'! and usin' me vast knowledge of the Italian language (again!) aa worked oot that by readin' the English translation that it was!-----FIVE QUID A BOTTLE! after convertin' the Italian Lira price list into poonds!
As a'd downed TEN bottles of the stuff that came to FIFTY SMACKEROOS aall told!
Aa was shakin' like a leaf as emptied mee wallet onto the bed but aall aa had left was the equivalent of TWENTY FIVE QUID in Lira!--------"PANIC STATIONS!"

Luckily the chambermaid hadn't cleaned mee room yet, so aa took the bottles oot the waste bin, filled them with waata from the bathroom and then searched frantically for the bottle tops which were lyin' aall ower the place and banged them back onto the bottles before puttin' them (neatly!) back into the fridge.
Anotha piece of good fortune was that the bottles were green and therefore yi couldn't see the colour of the liquid inside!-------PHEW!---a'd gettin' away with it---but anly just!

Aa telt 'Grumpy Stumpy' what a'd done and before yi knew it---EVERYBODY knew!
A loyal white haired Toon fan of pensionable age caalled 'Vi' who taalked with a posh accent was aalso on the trip and had hord aall aboot it as well (but she didn't naa that it was me who had done it!)
She pulled me to one side and said in a very frosty voice: "Do yoo know whot thay've been doooing 'Fink'---they've been drinking the beer out on the refrigerator, filling the bottles back up with water and pooting the tops back on and pooting them back into the refrigerator so they downt have to pay for it!"

Aa just looked at hor 'straight in the eye', shuck mee heed and replied: "YI CANNIT TEK THEM NEWHERE 'VI'!" , and waalked away towards the coach which was to tek us to the match tryin' not to look guilty!

Vicious rumours then started on the bus jorney to the match that I in fact had NOT filled the bottles with tap waata, but had filled it up up with some other waam 'body fluid' instead!---a rumour that I categorically deny to this day! (did they think that aa was tekin' the P***! ---or what???)


It was time to heed for Lucca and so we set off on the windy road back doon the mountain to 'civilisation' below. They'd given us a 'packed lunch' to keep us gannin' on the bus jorney which consisted of!---an 'napple a 'norange and a 'narna? , as well as a huge crusty'doorstop' cheese sarny which was aboot an inch thick with a slab of cheese hoyed into the middle! (where's mee hammer and chisel?)


We arrived ootside the groond with two hours tih spare and everythin' waz locked up and shuttered and not a soul in sight! This resulted in 'The Caped Crusader' havin' a panic attack as it suddenly dawned on us that the floodlights we could see could'iv just as easily been a rugby groond or sommik and that we were in fact at the wrang groond as there was ne signage on the main stand to say who played there anyway!?

After a discussion with the barman at the 'pub'? ower the road from the groond which aalso 'doubled up as a greengrocers! he confirmed in very broken English that we WERE in fact at the reet place. There was nowt else open so we sat and drank the local beer that was on offer as an aad wifey purchased a bag of taaties and a cauliflower ! (or was it a 'cabbage'?----mee momory's failed iz this time!)

Anyway!---aboot half an hour before kick off some gadgie torned up at the groond and opened the gates (horray!) so we 'made tracks' for the tornstiles as the streets remained deserted apart from the Toon fans waitin' to get in.
There was a bar underneath the smaall main stand so we heeded there but on lookin' oot at the rest of the groond there was hardly anybody inside

'John the Chap' then torned up literally with seconds to spare before the kick off. 'The Chap' you see had hitched hiked it from Washington Sorvices on the 'A1M' three days orlier and he arrived totally shattered and dishevelled and ready for a drink or ten!. He telt me that he thought that Italy was just ower the English Channel near France and didn't realise that it was another thoosand miles or so further on!
(ie:His geography is'nt very good---IZ IT?-----(he DOES! come from Birtley after aall!)
And what did he de?---he went for a drink in the bar and MISSED the kick off!

The groond was virtually deserted apart from us and a few 'Lucchese Ultras' behind the left hand goal in an open 'golf style stand'. The anly other people present were a couple of hundred in the far stand from us and aboot a dozen or so behind the right hand goal! It was defiantly the lowest crowd a'v ever seen at a Toon forst team fixture (later confirmed at 744!)

Aaltogether , includin' 'John The Chap', there were aboot 200 Toon Travellers who had made the trip tih Tuscany which (as we now naa!) was ower one qwaata of the total attendance!

The home side opened the scorin' midway through the forst half when Rosso netted at 'The Golf Stand End'
Benny Kristensen equalised with 20 mins tih gan with a fine effort, cancellin' oot Rosso's effort in the forst half.
Just afta this Micky 'Fat Boy' Quinn came on az a substitute and little did we realise it at the time but this would be hiz last ever appearance for the Toon.

Just before the end the 100 or so 'Lucchese Ultras' started battlin' with the Carabinieri (that's the Italian 'Dibble', you ignorant b******s!) and a full scale riot took place in the home end as we looked on in amazement from the main stand!

After the match they were still battlin' with 'The Dibble' and 'The Messiah' (Keegan), who was comin' oot of the dressin' rooms asked us what the hell was gannin on as the players made for the team bus
(it was unbelievable that 100 teenage/twenty somethings could cause such mayhem! )

'John The Chap' was then offered a free flight yem by generous club officials to save him hitch hikin' back---an offer he couldn't refuse!

It was then back to wor 'moontain retreat' for some more 'cheap beer?' before retirin' to wor rooms for the neet ------"ZZZZZZzzzzzz!!!!!!" (the fridge door stayed firmly shut this time!)


A 'Stumpy' 'eye view' afta 20 pints!

On the final day of wor trip we heeded back to the airport and az we approached the city of 'Pisa' the Italian guide on the bus excitedly telt wih ower the microphone that wi'd soon be passin' 'The Leanin' Tower of Pisa'! and tih look oot the reet hand side windows tih catch sight of this 'Tuscan Tourist Trap'.
"THERE EET EEZ!", she announced, nearly wettin' hor knickers in the process!, az shih pointed towards this lop-sided oddysy in the distance!.
A look of indifference went roond the bus az wih passed by, just as some some Japanese tourists were tekin' THAT! picture of friends and family, with their 'zoom lenses' in THAT! most famous:
"I SAVED THE TOWER FROM FAALLIN' DOON!", pose, az they held their hands oot tih stop it topplin' ower!.
'Grumpy Stumpy' made an interestin' comment, statin' that the 'tower' was in fact STRAIGHT! from where he was sittin' ? (but he HAD, had a canny 'session' the previous evenin', after aall!)

Personally, a'd much rather have seen Pisa's FUTBAALL GROOND instead, (even though it was probably az bad az Luccheese's!) and within thorty seconds we were passed it and on wor way tih the airport!.
Wih nevva did see the 'said' groond (and probably nevva will!) and the flight yem was uneventful at forst apart from some 'sour pusses' complainin' that 'John the Chap' should'nt' iv been allowed a free trip yem az they'd paid!. (Even though there were plenty of empty seats on the plane!)

Then some of the---shall we say---'more alcohol enduesed element' (includin' 'baaldy bonce'!) decided to have an impromptu 'sing song' on the plane as the players slept peacefully in front (whey!---they tried tih get some 'shut-eye', anyway!)

Aaltogether now!


©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)

Friday 10 December 2010

078 ferens park durham

Date of First Visit: 15th AUGUST 1986

NEWCASTLE UNITED 8 (Allon (2), Davies, Bogie, McDonald (pen), Anderson, Whitehurst, McCreery)

ATTENDANCE 1,000 (700 Toon fans)
(Kick Off 6:30pm!)(NOT! 7:30!)


"Is there anybody there!?"

Whatever yi de----Aalways!---aalways!---aalways!---double check what time the kick off is when yih gan to a f*****' friendly match tih watch the Toon!.
That's exactly what wih DIDN'T DE! on this trip tih Durham's old Ferens Park groond.
The 'Ronny Gill' had published the kick off time as 'seven thirty bells' the neet before so we made plans to arrive there at the dezzignated time
After a few 'liquid refreshments' in 'The Spit and Vomit' opposite 'The Central' (er!---that's! 'The Vic and Comet' by the way!) wih caught the '6 'o' clock bells' train tih Durham and arrived at aboot 6:20 bells, in plenty of time for the kick off.

The groond wasn't far from the city centre--so! (az yih de!) wih had a couple of more 'gargels' on the way in the cathedral area . By the time we arrived at the groond which was reet next tih the river *wear and the ice rink where the famous Durham Wasps ici hockey team played, we could see that the approaches to the groond were deserted, which was very strange, considerin' a 'healthy' attendance was forecast as 'The Toon' were sendin' a strong team for this friendly fixture
(* Folk singer Roger Whittaker once did a crap song many moons ago caalled: 'I'm Gonna Leave old Durham Town'. One of the verses went like this: "Standing on the banks of the river TYNE—watching all the ships going down the line!"------DEFINATLEEE 'NOT!'-Roger!) (total C**P!--mate!)

It was 'seven bells' by this time and we could hear people shoutin' inside, az though there was a match gannin on aalready?.
But!--it COULDN'T possibly have started aallready?---could it??. (the deserted streets gave me a little clue!)

Az soon az wih got ootside the groond mee worst fears were realized as aa could see a baall bein' hoofed into the air as aa peared through the open tornstile, desperately fumblin' in mee 'sky rocket' for the dosh to get in. The match WAS definateleee in full flow, so ah asked the gadgy operatin' the tornstile if the game had just kicked off.
"NO!--NO!", came the reply az he looked at his watch. "It kicked off half an hour ago!". (ah meen---they could'iv waited till wih got there!—like!)

"What's the score pal?", ah asked him nervously, hopin' that ah had'nt missed owt.
"It's three nil to Newcastle!", came the reply.
SH**!---aa could'nt believe it---apparently the game kick off orly so they wouldn't have tih put the floodlights on---BUT NEEBODY TELT US!. (F*****' tight BAS*****!)

However!---ah DID see the next goal scored just before the break by Ian 'Bogie Man' Bogie, BUT missed the next one after the restart az a was taalkin' tih somebody!.
A converted penalty by Neil McDonald made it 6-0 (ah managed tih see THAT ONE iz well!)--but!--(yee've guessed it!) ah missed the next one coz mee 'mincers' were distracted by a sumptuous young blonde lassie in a mini-skort and leather boots who was waalkin' past!.

There were nee 'distractions' however for the eighth and final goal with Davy McCreery (ah think?) slottin' the baall home tih complete the rout. (Shi'd gone by then!) (unfortunatleee!)

After the match we heeded for the many 'drinkin' dens' next to 'that river' for a  canny few more 'liquid lubrications' to celebrate wor huge win, before catchin' the last train yem! (we DID have plenty of drinkin' time left, after aall!, as (of course!) the match
finished orly at qwaata past eight!)

Er!"— "aa can feel a song comin' on!"

♫"A'm gonna leave old Durham Town---a'm gonna leave old Durham Town!"
"Standin' on the banks of the river wear---drinkin' aall the pubs dry of their beer!"


Oot of the eight goals scored by the Toon a'd actually saw THREE of them!.

MUST! remember tih double check the kick off times in the future!.

Ferens Park has long since been demolished and the site is nuw a posh hoosin' estate of the same name

©Fink™ (the mad-sad groundhopper!)

Friday 3 December 2010

045 the den millwall

Date of First Visit: 19th AUGUST 1978




ATTENDANCE: 12,105 (2,000 Toon fans) (plus 3 daft c***s in the Millwaall end!)


Somewhere doon 'Cold Blow Lane'!

This was Newcastle's forst game back in the aad Second Division since 1965 after relegation from the top flight in May, and a more intimidatin' place tih gan for wor return tih 'the abyss' is hard to imagine!.


Both Millwaall and the Toon had hard core hooligans (Millwaall still dee of course!) and the reputation of both sets of fans was notorious tih say the least!. Aall the taalk at the time was aboot what would happen when the rival fans met. The Toon fans had aalready caused mayhem in the Berwick Rangers 'friendly'? the week before (a trial run perhaps?) and the Millwaall radgies notoriety spoke for itself.

The Newcastle fans were really 'up for it', as the Friday midneet train tih Kings Cross departed from the 'Central', and one fan full of drink, who was shootin' his mouth off, made it clear just what he was gannih dee tih 'The 'F' Troop' and 'Harry The Dog' in particular (One of the Millwaall gangs and their leader!) .

By the time wi'd reached 'The Smoke', he'd just aboot sobered up, after sleepin' aall the way doon, but had completely changed his tune by nuw, when the realisation of what he was lettin' himself in for, finally dawned on him, and he was shakin' like a leaf! as the train pulled into Kings Cross. (This was at five in the mornin'!)

By midday he'd completely lost his bottle!, and decided not tih gan tih the match after aall, and telt everybody that 'as it was a hot sunny day', he was gannin 'on the drink' instead!.

Aboot an hour later, a dozen more fans decided it was safer tih get a 'sun tan' in Piccadilly than a 'tannin' in New Cross, (where Millwaall play) and said that THEY were'nt gannin' tih the match either!.

Ah could'nt believe it!, ah mean, what's the f*****' point of gannin aal the way tih London and not gan tih the match!?. ("bloody 'yellow bellied 'turncoats'"!)

This left meesel, Geoff from Nottingham and another fan, (who's name ah can't remember) tih mek wih own way tih The Den!. Wih did'nt have a clue how tih get there, so wih flagged a 'black cab' doon and telt the driver where we were gannin.

As soon as wih mentioned the 'M' word, he was off like a shot!. After several more fruitless attempts at gettin' a taxi tih gan there, ah asked a cabbie the 'deadly question'!: "Why the hell will neebody tek us
tih Millwaall"?.

He just looked at iz in amazement (as though he'd been asked tih gan tih Beirut!) and said in a thick Cockney accent, MILLWAWLL!?---yoo've gotta be jowkin' mayte!--- aa dawnt want ma f******mawtaah wrecked!"
(Translation: "MILLWALL!? ---you've got to be joking mate!, I don't want my f****** motor wrecked!")

Time was gettin' on, and there was nowt else for it but tih try and find wor way on the tube. Tih cut a lang story short, wih got completely lost!, and did'nt get tih New Cross Gate tube station 'til qwaata past three!, it was panic stations by nuw as wi'd aalready missed the kick off, so wih quickly asked the way tih the groond, and were pointed in the direction of some old railway bridges and a couple of 'Steptoe & Son' style scrapyards!.

The place looked a 'bit dodgy' tih say the least, as wih hurried alang the *labyrinth of 'easy tih get lost' Victorian cobbled streets, towards the roar of the crowd. (*aa divvint naa wot 'labyrinth' means---but it soonds good!)

The onimouslee named 'Cold Blow Lane', (which leads tih Millwaall's groond) even on a hot sunny day, is (definately) NOT! a place for the faint hearted!, and a feelin' of 'dread' suddenly came ower iz!, as aa could'nt help wonderin' if 'Jack The Ripper'! would suddenly jump oot from behind one of the railway arches brandishin' a meat cleaver!, or!---worse still!---wi'd be ambushed by a posse of 'F' Troop' radgies, and get brayed ower the heed with their infamous 'Millwaall bricks'. (a rolled up newspapers, knotted at the end tih form heavy clubs!)

But mee fears were unfounded, (for nuw at least!) and wih (finally) got tih The Den at 'half three bells', and ah asked the gadgie on the tornstile if this was the Newcastle end.
"Noocarsel?---Yeah mayte---straight in!", he said, so wih paid wor money and hurried in.

Wi'd aalready missed half an hour of the game, but at least nuw we were safe and soond in the Newcastle end.----ER!---WRANG!---The b*****d tornstile operator had sent wih into the f*****' MILLWAALL END instead!---and their fans were gannin mental!---hittin' the 'Dibbles' and tryin' tih tear the fence doon tih get at the Toon fans behind the far goal!.

Luckily for us, we were'nt wearin' any colours, so wih did a VERY! stupid thing, by tryin' tih get tih the 'Newcastle end' by waalkin' THROUGH! the Millwaall radgies, (not even the S.A.S. would be mad enough tih try this!)

Az 'Geoff from Nottingham' had more of a 'southern accent' than me and the otha lad, aa said tih him, that if anybody spoke tih us, HE! would dee the taalkin' and WE! would pretent tih be deef and dumb!
BUT!--- wih couldn't get past the fence as 'The Dibble',who had their truncheons drawn and snarlin' alsation dogs 'at the ready', had formed an impenetrable line to stop 'The 'F' Troop' radgies in their tracks and so wih decided that wih had nee choice but tih stay put in the Millwaall section of the groond.

We waalked tih the corner of the terraces tih try and keep oot the way, and as wih did the Toon scored, when David Barton met a Jim Pearson cross tih heed the baall past the Millwaall keeper!.

We were in two minds whether tih celebrate wor goal, but soon had second thoughts, when the Millwaall fans started gannin' 'off it' again, ---so!--- (wih sensibly!) kept wor mooths shut, as wih did'nt fancy bein' carried oot the groond in body bags!. (This was the forst time in mee life, that ah hadn't celebrated a Toon goal!)

Just after the goal the whistle went for half time, however wor lead did'nt last for lang, and 'The Lions' equalised seven minutes after the restart. A few minutes later Millwaall got their second and the Toon were deed and buried. (But thankfully, not us!)

There was more fightin' after the final whistle and a 'Dibblette' was hit by a brick thrown by a Millwaall fan, (a hoose brick, NOT! a Millwaall brick!) and as wih left the groond wih wisely decided tih keep a low profile on the journey back tih Central London as we were 'on our own' again as the Toon fans in 'the proper end' were locked in for a good hour after the game!. (ie: Act deef and dumb!---again!) (sign language at the ready!)

However!---wih got tih Piccadilly in 'one piece' and heeded for the pre-arranged meetin' point at 'Snows' (pub) where the 'yellow bellied turncoats' were drinkin'---And didn't we have a story tih tell THEM!----Wi'd been in the Millwaall end and (somehow!) got oot alive!


©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)

Wednesday 25 August 2010

275 crown ground accrington


Date of First Visit: 25th AUGUST 2010


NEWCASTLE UNITED 3 (R Taylor, S Ameobi, Lovenkrands)

ATTENDANCE: 4,098 (1,350 Toon fans)
(plus 6 'Accy' urchins' watchin' from the roof of a neighbourin' hoose!)


It was 'ten thorty bells' on a Wednesday neet and aa was glued to the telly to see the draa for the 2nd roond of the League Cup. Az as been to most of the grooonds , aa wanted an away tie against Rochdale, Accrington or MK Dons as these were the anly three teams left who a'd neva (ever!) seen the Toon play.

Accrington Stanley were forst oot the hat and aa said under baited breath, "that'll de—that'll de!", as wor lass cooked mee supper in the kitchen and sure enough The Toon were paired against them at The Croon Groond

"That'll de!---that'll F*****' DE!",
aa repeated loudly under 'elated breath' as aa danced roond the livin' room, punchin' the air in unbridled joy, not carin' wot the rest of the draa was!

The truth was that it was getting' harder and harder to de new groonds as aa ticked them off (10 a season, 10 years ago---doon to an average of 5 a season now)

(groond 275 here I F*****' come!)

For those of you who are aboot to purchase your forst zimmer frame and who can remember that classic 1970s advort where a scruffy juvenile delinquent Scouser, drinkin' a glass of milk , was told to sup it aall or he would end up playin' for Accrington Stanley----and he famously replied! , "Aacccccrington Staanleyy!---who are theyy!?"
Well!—guess wot!?--- Wor lass (who thought a'd gone completleee mad as aa danced around the room!) then asked iz who we'd got in the cup and when aa telt hor she replied!------(wait for it!)-------"ACKLINGTON
"WHO ARE THEY!?------It was unreal! ("Er!"---"shih nearly got it reet!")

("Double Er!"---az far az a'm aware, 'Acklington' in Northumberland doesn't have a futbaall team?------but it
have a prison!)

"CANCUN!------ OR!------- THE CROON!"

The day before the match aa was havin' a few 'gargles' in 'The Hotspur' when 'John The Porn Tash' sauntered through the door. He'd been to graft and was covered in white paint as he slammed his pint of Guinnless on the table. "That's it for a fortneet, a'm off to Cancun in Mexico in the mornin' with wor lass !" ,he said, lookin' half 'cattle trucked!'.

"And a'm gannin' to Accrington tomorrow to watch the Toon!", aa replied excitedly, as aa raised mee fist in his direction!

A smug smile then came across his face as he took a swig from the Irish brew and he said, "Howay Fink!---where would ye RATHER be gannin' tomorrow, the sun kissed beaches of Mexico or rainy Accrington?---wherever that iz?"

"THE CROON GROOND of course!"---A'v neva been there before!" aa replied defientleee, (and of course aa MEANT IT!)

He then gave me one of those----'You reeelee are a sad f*****' b*****d'—looks! as he took another mouthful of the black broth, shakin' his heed from side to side!.

Cancun or The Croon???---aa new exactly where aa was gannin'!


After a few gargles in 'The Gloucester', it was time to heed for the pick up point at Gatesheed Metro where 'Tex' Taylor had asked to be picked up. 'The Caped Crusader's' bat mobile was once again to be wor mode of transport to 'rainy' Accrington and we set off at 'two bells' for the short two hour jorney to north Lancashire

On wor (eventual!) arrival (after gettin' lost on the ootskirts!) we spotted a pub caalled 'The Crown' and usin' wor powers of deduction worked oot that we must be 'getting' waam' as of course the groond had the same name---and we were reet!----as the main stand was handily placed behind the back of the boozer.

The question on everybodys lips was!---(or a least mine anyway!) Was the pub named after the ground, or vice vorsa? (and the answer izzz!: Who naaz??---who F*****' cares!???)

We parked nearby and waalked to the 'waaterin' den' in the brilliant sunshine (who mentioned rain?) where a mixture of 'Toon' fans and self proclaimed 'Stanley Ultras' frequented the bar and there were pennents hangin' on the waall from Wealdstone to Woking to name but two former opponents of Stanley, which shows how far they've come since then (indeed wor very aan Whitley Bay played here not so lang ago in a Northern Coonties league match!)

The bar was'nt too full at this time and we grabbed some seats beside a window and so we were 'set' till kick off time at '7:45 bells'!

Aboot an hour later six or seven rather obese 'happy slappers' came in the bar wearin' 'Accy' tee shirts with the words Stanley Ladies And GirlfriendS on the front (that's SLAGS! to you and me!) and their presence soon filled the bar up, I can tell you!

It was now approachin' KO time and the nerves were janglin' at the mooth waaterin' prospect of yet another groond to chalk off the list!

It was then a case of a short waalk to the away end where ten or so portacabin toolsheds were lined up against a breezeblock waall for those of us with weak bladders! (quite a few as it torned oot!)

Breezeblocks were aalso the order of the day for the waalls of 'The Coppice End' standin' terrace where we were situated and with ne roof it was just as well the old current bun was still present in the sky above us! (it was just like the 'good old days'? in 'The Gallowgate End', withoot a roof or plastic seat in sight!)

With a population aboot the size of Cullercoats and a groond the size of Whitley Bay's, this was the smaallest groond a'd been te for a propa game (league or cup) since aa started mee NUFC life sentence (1964!)

The main stand had aboot ten rows of seats while the stand on the other touchline was even smaaller with some 'new build hooses' behind owerlookin' parts of the pitch.and six 'lager louts' with an England flag were standin' on the roof of one of the hooses to get a part view of the proceedings as they swigged cans of alcoholic beverage ('The Accy Urchins'---perhaps!?!)

("Er!"---didn't the thick b******* naa that they'd get a better view watchin' it live on the telly in the hoose?)

Just before the big K.O., 'The Stanley Ultras' who were situated in the covered ' Garden Hut End'? behind the far goal, unveiled a banner from the low roof, of Bobby 'yee naa who', sayin' that he was now: 'HEAVENS MANAGER!', a nice touch!----but then they went and
spoilt themsels!----by unveilin' another banner next to it which read!: 'TIME FOR SORROW!', which depicted a Andy Capp character in Stanley's colours kickin' a magpie up the arsenal regions! ("we'll F*****' see!")

The game kicked off and not one Toon player who had starred in the 6-0 thrashin' of Aston Villa on the previous Sunday were in the startin' line up, which in effect meant that we had a resorve team on the pitch.

We were kickin' towards 'The Hut' and after dominatin' the orly period took the lead in the 36minute when Ryan Taylor picked the baall up (not literally!) and rifled it home from fully 35yards oot and his reet foot effort gave 'The Milkmen's' keeper 'ne chance! (that's: one for sorrow!---for the Stanley fans anyway!) (ha!-ha!)

HOWEVER!---wor joy was short lived as just as the ref was aboot to blow for half time a Nile Ranger missteak let in Accy's Fothergill who fired home from 25 yards (one for sorrow each!)

This resulted in mass celebration from the home fans includin' the six 'urchins' on the hoose roof, where one nearly fell off as he jumped up and doon on the tiles! (glad aa divvint live next door to them—like!)

The Toon's 'second string' regained the lead just 3 minutes after the restart when Ranger made amends for his orlier blunder by slippin' the baall to Shola Ameobi who had the simple task of pokin' the baall home from 6yards in front of the 1,350 Toon fans in the now renamed 'Breezeblock Brick Enclosure'!
(two for joy!)

The sun had disappeared by this time to be replaced by a 'full moon'. The 'full moon' a'm taalkin' aboot wasn't in the sky but was on that roof, as one of their number dropped his strides to show his nether regions! (NOT A PRETTY SIGHT!)
Peter Lovencrands made it 3-1 in the 71st min when he hooked the baall into the net after it was deflected of a 'Accy' defender and I have to tell you that he 'milked' the applause from the away contingent as he stuck his index finger skywards!
(Reet!---OK!---that'll be the last 'milk' reference for the rest of the story!)

To their credit 'The Garden Hut Ultra's' had given their side 100% backin' from the start and they kept on cheerin' their side on even though it now looked a lost cause! (well done to them!)

Aalthough!---it has to be said that fower of the 'Accy Urchin roof brigade' had jumped ship! (or had faallin' off the roof , pist, as the case may be!?)

A predictable late scare for us happened deep into injury time when 'The Milkmen' (Er!—sorry!---aa forgot aa wasn't supposed to mention the 'white stuff' again!) scrambled a second goal and after a bit of 'nail bitin' from us the ref finally blew for time to put us in the draa for the next roond


©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺ndh☺pper!)

Tuesday 3 August 2010

247 riazor stadium , la coruna 2010

GROUND NUMBER 247 < (been here before!---got the tee shirt!)

Date of this Visit: 3rd AUGUST 2010




(Newcastle won 5-3 on penalties) (Lovenkrands, Nolan, Carroll, R. Taylor, Barton)


Attendance: 8,000 (includin' 54 Toon fans in the away section and a few more elsewhere!)




This was wor one and anly owerseas game we would get a chance to gan te and at half the price of wor forst visit here five years ago in 'The Inter Taaty Cup' (Inter Toto Cup) it was a bargain!

With anly fower flights to get us there and back instead of the SIX we did the forst time it was aalso an easier jorney.

Meesel, 'Mal the skool teecha' and 'The Caped Crusader' were the anly ones in wor company who embarked on this trip and we arrived in La Coruna (via Amsterdam) some nine hours after departin' from Toon Airport at 'six am bells'

The Riazor Hotel where we were based for 2 neets was nicely placed on the seafront and within sight of the otha 'Riazor' (Stadium) where Deportivo played, so we cud hardly forget where we were stayin' if we got lost! (unless we got 'rat-arsed' that iz!)

We didn't!---(we were half-rat-arsed!) and 'staggered' back to the hotel in the orly hours after a few 'liquid refreshments' in the local hostelries and retired for a good neets kip----------"ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz!!!!"


'Brekky' the next mornin', which 'Mal' had said was in with the room price was on the groond floor of the hotel, but we were suprized that when we got there it was'nt a 'buffet-help yersel' style set up for the size of the place (we were on the 11th floor!) and that it was a waiter service anly.

As yid expect the waiter could hardly speak any Geordie at aall and we tried to explain that we wanted an 'English fry up'. 'The Caped Crusader' (TCC), bein' a non meat eater asked for just an eggs fry up instead and five mins later the waiter reappeared with!-----three cheese an' ham toasties!

'TCC' took one look at the ham and promptly pushed it to one side and quick as a flash aa grabbed the plate before 'Mal' could blink an eye ("It's mine!---it's mine!")

And so aa ended up havin' two 'brekkies' instead, while TCC sat starvin' to death!

Jonesy from Winlaton then made an appearance and we telt him wot had happened. "Aa kin speak
Spanish like!", he said and promptly telt the waiter that TCC was a veggie and cud he have some kind of egg concoction coz he was clammin'!.

This seemed ti de the trick and within another five mins the waiter came back with a plate of fried eggs (horray!) and!--- some boiled HAM!

As yiv probably guessed he did'nt want the ham and so aa had another half brekky to boot!

("ha! ha!")

We then foond oot that there was indeed a buffett in the forst floor restaurant, so!--- 'off we went' for some more much needed 'desperate dan'. Scrambled eggs and smaall sausages were on the menu and after we gave the waiter wor room number it was a 'double helpin' of the above for me to keep me gannin for the day! ("a'm a growin' lad yi naa!")

After a rest back in the room it was now time to gan on the traditional 'pre match bender' at 'ten bells'! (eleven hour before the nine pm kick off time!) but as usual 'The Caped Crusader' was stickin' to his orange anly drink diet as he likes to remember everything aboot the game! (that's OK if you win, but not if you get hammered!)

Jonesy was in the foyer as we heeded 'bar-wards' and he telt us that the brekky in the ground floor restaurant WASN'T free and that he'd had to pay ten euros for each of us!----and cud he have the 'bit' pleeeze!

Mal made straight for the checkout desk to complain, anly to find oot that in fact it WAS room anly and the 'desperate dan' WAS extra! and as wi'd had brekkies in two different places we were charged an extra ten euros for that as well! (it cud anly happen to us!)

La Coruna isn't a touristy place like the rest of Spain and there wasn't a sooviner shop in sight or any British bars eetha, (although there was (inevitably) an Irish bar!, where we partook in a few 'liquids' before movin' on to 'The Victoria' where we stopped for a while as the locals played some kind of crazy card game.


It was then off to a 'Chinkeez' bar ower the road from the sea front where an ancient episode of the cult American cowboy programme 'Bonanza' was on the telly with dubbed Spanish ower the characters voices and it was very strange to hear 'Ben', 'Joe' and 'Hoss' taalkin' away in fluent diego .

(Er!---this is a programme aa havvent seen on the box for at least 40 years!)

'Hoss' Cartwright was fightin' a 'baddie' who tried to stab him with a pitchfork and I have to tell you that after 100 (plus!) attempts to spear him, 'Hoss' finally got the better of 'the baddie' by wrestlin' him to the groond and stabbin' him with his aan pitchfork! ----'THE END!'

A move nearer to the groond 'was on the cards' and we purchased wor ridiculously priced 40 EUROS! tickets en route to the next waaterin' hole at the stadiums box office. (that's nearly 40 quid, incidentleee!) while the Deportivo season ticket holders didn't have to pay anythin', as admission to this game was included in their season ticket price! (200 Euros!)

Anyway!---after some more 'tonsil ticklin' at 'The Estadio bar', where a grand total of TWO other Toon fans were 'partisipatin' as well, we finished off wor nine hour drinks 'marathon' in the Alamanda and 'The Damubio' before staggerin' to the visitors tornstiles.

The crowd was quite smaall as aa surveyed the stadium, blury eyed and a quick coont by' yorz truelee' of the Toon fans who had travelled ower, revealed that (includin' ME!) there were 54 present, plus 6 home fans in wor section, with a smatterin' of 'Black n Whites' in otha parts of the ground

(The 'Ronny Gill' later said that there were 60 Toon fans, but they must have included the 6 home fans as well---even though they had blue n white striped shirts on!?)

'Super saddos' 'Glennn from Ashington' and 'Byzy' were unsurprisingly amongst the 'faithful few' and they couldn't wait to tell us that they'd got FREE tickets to get in! (just to rub salt into wor wounds!)

Glennn aalso telt us that they'd climbed to the top of the monument that dominates the city a couple of miles from the stadium, of which the trophy we were playin' for was an exact scaled doon replica . And so! he excitedly 'claimed'? that they'd actually stood on top of the trophy! (yes folks!-----it sureleee doesn't get any F*****'sadder than this!)

'Bysy' in fact was plannin' to gan to the Toon's resorve game at Luton the next day as (unlike us) he'd neva been to their groond before, providin' his bus connection got him to an airport near Bilbao on time to fly him to Luton (a canny hike from La Coruna!) (ower 300 miles!)

The Toon ran oot in their new aall white 'Real Madrid' away strip to rapturous applause from the '54 faithful', but to be honest we were nowt like wor Spanish counterparts as the anly 'action' in the forst period came via efforts from Barton, Best and Carroll and the 'best move' was when aa heeded for the 'toolshed' at half time!

On the way back to mee seat for the second period aa noticed 'Jonesy' and one of his 'sidekick' sneakily makin' A Sharp exit from a side door into the street (such was their interest in the game!)

The second half was a bit better than the forst (thank god!) and the action included a Wayne Routledge cross for Leon Best to narrowly heed wide and then with 5 mins to gan we had a great opportunity to seal the victory when the home keeper grabbed Coloccini's legs and brought him doon in the box.

Joey Barton stepped up to tek the resultin' 'spot kick', but he tamely hit it straight at the keeper with the baall reboundin'straight back to wor number 7 who then inexplicably'skied it' into row 'ZZ' with the goal at his mercy!---sendin' the cup final into a penalty shoot out!

The penalty shoot out went as follows:

Peter Lovenkrands scored for us (1-0) but Castro replied for the home side (1-1)

Kevin Nolan then put us 2-1 up and decisively, Riki missed the target for Deportivo.

Andy Carroll made it 3-1, blastin' the baall doon the middle, while Athemi scored for them (3-2)

A calm Ryan Taylor side footed wor 4th but the home side again replied through Guardoado

(4-3 to us)

The climax came, when, for the second time, Joey Barton stepped up to tek wot would be the trophy winnin' kick if he scored. It was nail bitin' stuff as he ran up and this time he made ne mistake and blasted the baall past the hapless Deportivo keeper to win the coveted trophy as the '54 faithful' celebrated wildly on the terraces! (Er!---sorry!---mek that '52' as aa forgot aboot the two who 'pist off' at half time!)

Nuw ask yourself a serious question!---have Man U. Chelsea or Liverpool ever lifted this famous trophy before??????-----------------I rest my case!!!

It was just like a scene from that famous commentary by some drunken Norwegian, when they beat England 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier some thorty years ago, as the massive golden trophy was jointly lifted by Kevin Nolan and Coloccini, in the Deportivo directors box!-----(nearly givin' themsels a hornier in the process!)

"Are you watchin' Manchester?---are you watchin' Chelsea??---are you watchin' Maggie Thatcher???"


"Oh when the Mags go up- to lift the Spanish Cup!"

"We'll be there!---we'll be there!"

"To see them lift- the cup up in the air!"

"We'll be there!---we'll be there!"


'Bysy' didn't make it to the Luton game---the bus was late and the subsequent taxi he'd booked from Bilbao bus station didn't get him to the airport on time as the 'non English speakin' driver couldn't understand that he wanted to gan to the airport, despite 'Bysy' makin' frantic 'aeroplane motions' with his arms!

He missed his flight to Luton and had to re-book at an extra cost of 90 euros! (more than double the cost of the match ticket he got for nowt!) On top of that!, he'd pre paid £18 for a match ticket (that's reet! Eighteen quid to watch the resorves!) AND! (aye!---there's more!) he'd aalso paid for a hotel in Luton as well, which (of course!) he never got to stay in!

(A case of swings 'n' roondaboots , if ever there was one!)

©Fink™ (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)

Thursday 7 January 2010

273: don valley stadium,sheffield


Date of First Visit: 13th OCTOBER 2009





Attendance: 203 (or 4?) (‘The Mad Professor’ coonted them!) (50 or so Toon fans)


The Gloucester pub opposite Gatesheed Civic Centre was mee forst ‘port o’ caall’ for a few ‘tonsil ticklers’ (John Smith’s bitter!) before heedin’ for the bus concourse where mee lift was from.

Wor meetin’ point with ‘Dave from York’ was a waaterin’ hole within ‘hocklin’ distance’ of groond, which went by the strange name of ‘The Cocked Hat’ and we duly arrived at the designated time. Within a few minutes the ‘Ashington Antagonists’ torned up (Glennn and Byzy) and Glennn telt us that they’d been lookin’ for a pub caalled ‘The Copper Dragon’ where Dave had telt them to gan te, but! they could’nt find it anywhere, despite waalkin’ in circles aroond the groond?.


Dave then arrived with his side-kick Alex and explained that he’d got the pub’s name wrang and this was the one he’d actually meant! (he is an OAP yi na!) (Old And Pist!)

This resulted in a ‘domino effect’ response from the assembled saddos with various names to wot the pubs real name actually was, includin’!---‘The Cock-Eyed Goldfish Tavern’---‘The Dragons Cocked It Up Inn’ and ‘The Cock-Eyed Copper Dragons Hat’

(ie: Dave had ‘cocked it up’ ‘big style’ and we were’nt gannih let him forget it!)



It was soon time to gan to the match and up until this point we had’nt seen a single Rotherham fan either in the bar or on the streets and it was’nt until we got to the rear of the stadium concourse that the forst one appeared. He was an aad gadgie standin’ beside a ‘Pukka Pie’ stall, which believe it or not aalso had the match programme on sale for the princely sum of 20p! next to the Heinz tomato sauce bottle! (a single ‘A4’ piece of glossy paper with a red border!)


When ‘The Mad Professor’ commented that he’d seen it aall, the Rotherham fan piped up---“Wots wrong wih that lad!?”, as though it was normal to sell pies ‘n’ programmes from a food hut! (strange folk theeze Yorkshiremen!)

Admission was free! (so there were complaints from ‘The Mad Professor’ and ‘Dave from York’ aboot NOT getting’ their OAP discoont!) and there were ne tornstiles to gan through (or to be seen?) and you simply waalked through a door and into the stadium concourse. The downside of free entry is that there are ne match tickets for the souvenir hunters like me Glennn and Byzy , but at least we did have some glossy sheets of paper to add to wor collections!


We needed to use the ‘tool-shed’ and unbelievably the way to them was in near darkness with just dim emergency lightin’ to guide us. Some of the netties were locked, just to mek it a bit harder, but thankfully we eventually foond one that was open! (“oh mee achin’ bladder!”)

On wor way back we foond that some of the doors to the seats were aalso locked as well? and we had to waalk aall the way back to the main concourse to try and find a way in!

(so much for the Taylor report-----and this WAS Sheffield after aall!)


We eventually foond some unlocked doors to the main stand seats (“horray!”) and as there were less than 200 hardy souls inside when we arrived we managed to find some prime viewin’ seats on the half way line near the back of the stand.

The Don Valley had recently hosted a U2 concert and they’d had to relay parts of the damaged pitch which was a patchwork of dark and light green grass.


The World Student Games had aalso been at the stadium a while back and they had an Olympic flame torch to the right hand side of us on the grass bank behind the goal. (aalthough it has to be said, it was’nt lit for this momentous occasion!) (an insult to aall of us!) To the left there was a scoreboard and a big clock’ so yi had ne fear of not naa’in wot the reet time was.

Viewin’ matches in an athletic stadium with a ten lane runnin’ track ‘to boot’ is not my cup of tea (give me beer any day!) and it totally kills the atmosphere wherever these games may be, especially when there are virtually less people in the stands as there are players on the pitch!


Rotherham were playin’ here of course because the owner of their Millmoor Groond some five miles away in ‘er!’ Rotherham (a scrap metal man no less!) was tryin’ to flog it for a few bucks and this was the nearest place that they could find to play!

The Toon’s team consisted of 10 of the 12 players who had played in an under 18 game at the weekend as many of the resorve team regulars were either injured or on international duty, which meant it was aalways gannih be an uphill struggle for us.


So it was a great surprise when we took the lead in the 12th minute when 16 year old midfielder Aaron Spear (a very appropriate name to grace an athletic stadiums outfield!) stabbed (sic!) the baall in from a very tight angle at ‘The Big Clock End’

However the lead did’nt last very lang and the ‘exiles’ equalized in the 27th minute with an unfortunate own goal from Ben Tozer and that’s the way it stayed til the break.

The second half started off with loads of pressure from the home side and this paid off in the 55th minute when Cummins blasted a shot past Jak Alnwick in the Toon goal. It was soon 3-1 from a Warner effort and it was ‘game ower’ 12 mins from time with a raspin’ shot from Brogan.


‘The Mad Professor’ missed the thord goal as he was wanderin’ the aisles coontin’ the crowd and when he came back he telt us that it was 203----the anly problem was!----he’d forgot to coont himself!----and he so adjusted it to 204! (believe it or not, even the ‘Ronny–Gill’ gave this as the ‘official attendance’ the next day!)

There was a late consolation goal from Baheng who heeded into an empty net followin’ a goalkeepin’ blunder at the ‘Unlit Olympic Torch End’ (“whey!”---“wot else could yi caall it?”) to give the scoreline a little bit of respectability!

To sum up---“We cocked it up big style”---as ‘Dave from York’ would say!


©Fink (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)