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!)