Ground 091 (revisited)
Date of Visit: 27th January 1990
Elm Park, Reading
Newcastle United 3 (McGee (2), Quinn)
FA Cup 4th round
Attendance: 11,989 (est 2,000 Toon fans)
“Wheaze keyz are theaze?”
Several of us set off from ‘The Central’ on an orly train to King’s Cross sufferin’ from hangowers from the previous neet ‘binge session’ in ‘The Forth’, ‘The Star’ and ‘The Waterloo’, etc
We’d played ‘The Biscuitmen’ @ Elm Park for the forst time ever in The Leegue Cup orlier that season when we lost 3-1 and unbelievably we drew them away again in the FA Cup!
On arrival in ‘the smoke’ we made for Paddington where the train to Reading waz leavin’ from. Elm Park wasn’t far from the station and we did several ‘liquid lubrication locations’ on the way and by the time we got to the ground we were ‘canny snozzled’!
We took up wor places on the open standin’ terrace behind the goal, just in time to see the kick off.
Behind this open end there were a row of terraced hooses with their back gardens backin’ onto the perimeter wall. An old wifey waz hangin’ hor washin’ on a line, which included a very large pair of ‘pantaloons’! <(bloomers!) which she fastened with some clothes pegs she had in hor mouth!
The game kicked off and straight away The Toon went for the ‘jugular’. After a few chances we finally took the lead in the 27thminute when a Ray Ranson free kick on the edge of the box foond the heed of Mickey Quinn and he nodded the baall goalwards. The baall went in off the post az the Reading goalie got a hand to it, but couldn’t stop it enterin’ the net! --- 1-0 to ‘us’!
The lead didn’t last lang however az Bjorn Kristensen lost possession and the baall finally fell to the feet of full back Lindon Jones and he fired the baall past Burridge in the Toon goal --- 1-1!
A quick throw in a few minutes later allowed ‘Quinny’ to have a ‘half shot’ which foond the grateful Mark McGee and he had the simple task of puttin’ the baall into an empty net to restore wor lead az their goalie went ‘AWOL’! ---2-1 to ‘us’!
Disaster them befell us again on the stroke of half time when ‘Quinny’ attempted a back pass to ’Budgie’ Burridge but the baall foond Senior instead and he slid the baall into the net az Stimpson tried to whack it clear, but the linesman flagged to say that the baall HAD crossed the line! --- 2-2 nuw!
Again we re-took the lead orly in the 2nd half when a Ranson left footed shot waz parried by Francis in the Reading goal, but the baall fell nicely to Mark McGee who gleefully knocked home the rebound! –3-2 to ‘us’!
However!---this iz NUFC and 3 minutes into injury time the home side again drew level when a disastrous 40 yard back pass from John Gallacher, who waz under ne pressure, foond Reading winger Gilkes instead and he had the easy task of knockin’ the baall past Burridge to complete the greatest give-away since the invention of the January sales!!!
After the match we heeded straight back to Reading station and caught the forst train back to Paddington, where (again!) a canny few pints were shifted doon wor ‘gregorys’ and it waz at this point we lost ‘Fawlty Towers’ who waz a bit ‘cattle-trucked’ to say the least!
It waz then ‘onward’ to Hammersmith where we bumped into ‘Malla’, an exiled Geordie who worked in London az a painter and desercrator <(No!—this iz not a spellin’ error!) alang with several other exiles who worked doon there. Malla used to de hand drawn cartoons aboot the exploits of hiz fellow companions and called it “ER!” ‘The Geordie Times’! <(where we got the name from for this blog!)
Malla had digs opposite Charing Cross Hospital on Fulham Palace Road and he telt me aa could ‘doss’ there for the neet before catchin’ the train yem the next mornin’!
After many more ‘liquid lubrications’ in ‘The Swan’ and various othaa waaterin’ holes aroond Hammersmith we heeded off to ‘Malla’s pad for some much needed ‘shut-eye’---he said “This iz where aa live!” az he pointed towards a row of aboot 30 terraced hooses opposite Charing Cross Hospital and he invited me in!
“Aa’m starvin’!” said I (haadin’ mee beer-gut!) az Malla produced a very large bunch of keys to open the door! “There’s a fish shop and a chingkeez doon the road if yi want a ‘nose bag’!—Here’s the keys to let yersel back in!”, he said az he handed them to me (There were keys for hiz hoose, van and place he waz workin’ amongst others!)
So ‘off aa went’, trundlin’ doon the road from side to side and by pure chance aa bumped into ‘Tex’ Taylor who had been drinkin’ with us orlier on!
“Aa’m stoppin’ at Malla’s place up the road!”, aa said to Tex, “But aa’m gaannin for a ‘nose-bag’ forst coz aa’m claamin’—like!”
He followed me to ‘the chingkeez’ where 2 chicken currys with chips, fried rice and wontongs were consumed on the way back to Malla’s hoose and aa spilt half the curry sauce doon the front of mee Toon top!
The anly problem WAZ!---aa couldn’t remember which door it waz???—Aa took a wild guess and tried the keys in a front door lock, but it wouldn’t turn ---and so aa knocked loudly and sleepy eyed gadgie built like a Masai warrior who waz wearin’ a dressin’ gown and a snazzy pair of carpet slippers (eventually!) came doon and answered the door <(ie: NOT Malla coz he’s a skinny c**t!) and he waz ‘non too pleezed’ to be awoken from hiz slumbers by 2 drunken Geordies! --“Sorry mate!—wrang hoose!” aa said sheepishly az he angrily slammed the front door in wor faces, mutterin’ sommik not very nice in a broad ‘Landan’ accent! <(“Fackin’ Cockney bustard!”)
Not wantin’ to risk anothaa confrontation like that! and not havin’ a clue which waz Malla’s door, we decided to try and find somewhere else to kip for the night and heeded off back doon the road!
“Aa naa where there’s some railway sidings---We can climb into a carriage and get some sleep on the seats!”, said Tex
And so---‘off we set’ to find wor beds for the neet---it wasn’t that far away and so we sneaked onto a train in the sidings and ‘crashed oot’! “ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz!!!!!!!”
Aboot 2 hours later aa felt a ‘jolt’ and opened mee ‘mincers’ and looked oot the window---
“TONY!” aa shouted <(Tex’s othaa name) “THE PLATFORM’S MOVIN’!”
Tex awoke suddenly and said, “It’s NOT the platform that’s movin’ yi daft C***!---It’s the F***IN’ TRAIN!”
PANIC STATIONS!!!—The train went for a few miles and suddenly stopped at Harringay Station!---It waz time to make A SHARP exit az we didn’t have a clue just where the train waz gannin’!
On alighting from the train aa fumbled in mee pocket and produced a large bunch of keys which I damgled in front of Tex
“Where did yi get them from?” he said “Aa havvent got a clue?” aa replied in a drunken stupor and az they were weighin’ mee pocket doon aa hoyed them away onto the railway tracks!
We then made wor way in the direction of King’s Cross, az by this time it waz ‘5 bells’ in the mornin’ and the forst train back yem waz due in! Az we sobered up around aboot the Durham area the realisation ‘HIT ME’ that the ‘MYSTERY KEYS’ were wot Malla had given me to get into hiz flat!!!
Luckily! <(for me!) there were ne mobile phones in them days and Malla didn’t have my land-line number, so he couldn’t rant and rave at me!---until the next time we met at least!
Next day aa went doon to ‘The North British Bar’ (since renamed ‘Raffertys’) in Pink Lane near to ‘The Central’ where a’d arranged to meet Fawlty Towers’ who we’d lost at Paddington the day before and had never seen since!?
On orderin’ mee ‘liquid lubrication’ the ‘telling-bone’ rang behind the coontaa and the manager asked if there waz a ‘Fink’ in the bar! <(remember?---NE mobiles in them days!)
Aa reluctantly put mee hand up and hoped (and prayed) that it WASN’T Malla on the othaa end!---Thankfully It WASN’T—it waz ‘Fawlty’ to my great relief!
“Are yi comin’ doon for a a few ‘gargels’?” aa asked him!
“A’m in SOUTH WALES!---aa got the wrang train!—thought aa waz in King’s Cross, NOT Paddington and ended up in CARDIFF!” <(yi couldn’t make it up!)
“SO!—yi NOT comin’ for a drink then!”, aa replied az he slammed the phone doon at the othaa end!
A few weeks later in ‘The Adelphi’ aa bumped into Malla , who waz non too pleased to see me! “Where’s mee keys like?” he said in a not too friendly voice!
Wot could aa say???---aa just shrugged mee shoulders and bought him a pint to calm him doon!
“Aa had to get some new keys cut for mee hoose, van and work and mee landlord and work’s gaffer were NOT ‘happy bunnies’ when aa telt them a’d lost their keys!”
However!---He understood (from forst hand experience!) that the ravages of alchohol de funny things to your brain cells and he haz half forgiven me! <(Aa ‘fink’?)
To this day aa caall him “Wheayz Keyz Malla” and produce a bunch of rattlin’ keys from mee pocket when aa see him---just to remind him---like! <(NOT that he’ll ever forget!)
PS: We won the replay 4-1 with Mark McGee (2), Micky Quinn and Mark Robinson getting’ wor goals---(this waz Robinson’s one and anly goal for NUFC)
We never played @ Elm Park again <(Reading have moved on to ‘pastures new’)
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