This website iz dedecated to the Newcastle United groundhoppers
who follow the fortunes of the
team aroond the world
The ground totals include
competitive and friendly forst team, resorve team, junior team and Newcastle United X1 games that 'the mad-sad groundhopper' has attended, aall for Newcastle United games
only, in the last SEVEN decades***
(the mad-sad groundhopper!)***last count 351
It was aroond aboot ten tih five bells on a freezin' caad
thorsday neet that ah was flickin' through the back pages of the 'Ronny-Gill'
tih catch up on the latest Toon trivia that ah came across the joyous news of a
forthcomin' Toon friendly which had been fixed up at the last minute.
'UNITED'S SCOTTISH FLING', screamed the heedlines on the
inside back page!. (Whey---ER!---not exactly 'screamed'---more like
'NEWCASTLE HAVE COME TO THE RESCUE OF HARD UP SCOTTISH CLUB
AIRDRIE', it went on, 'UNITED HAVE AGREED TO PLAY A FRIENDLY AT THE SCOTTISH
FIRST DIVISION CLUB ON SATURDAY BECAUSE BOTH ARE IDLE DUE TO LACK OF CUP
COMMITMENTS'. (The Toon had a free weekend coz Villa had knocked wih oot the
cup a fortneet orlier!)
There was nee time tih waste as there was less than 48
hours tih 'blast off', so ah got staight on the blower tih tell 'Toon Travels'
'Barrett Mean Time' the 'gen'. (Az opposed to 'Greenwich mean time'--az '1 bells' to him iz '2 bells'--ie: he's aalways late!)
"Ah hear wiv gorra friendly at Inverness",
he telt iz on his mobile before ah had a chance tih gerra word in.
"NO!--NO!, ah said, "It's Aidrie, NOT 'Loch Ness
Monsterland!". (Apparently some 'corn-beef' 'pissbrain' had telthim that he'd hord on the radio that we where
playin' Inverness Caledonian when in fact the announcer had said
(A classic case of gettin' his 'Onians' mixed up with his
"Fink it's a dump!"---he replied,---"Ah
"Nivva mind that!", ah said as the line started
tih break up, "How wih gannih get there?"
"Divvint worry---wi'll sort sommik oot, aa'll get back
tih yih later!".
Like an excited five year old child openin' his christmas
prezzys---ah could'nt tek it aall in at forst---ah meen!---Airdrie was a place
a'd nivva been tee AND it would be mee penultimate groond before mee 'double
Ah knew that wi'd probably send a resorve team up, but who
gave two 'monkeys' f****!, it was somewhere new tih gan.
(At the time of writin' this 'piece' as was fast
approachin' mee 47th borthday!)
Sometime later Keith got back to iz.
"There's aanly a handful of wih gannin---so wi'll get
And so the train it was!.
"BY LAND, SEA OR AYR!"
Next day wih met up at the 'Central' and caught the 7:50
From there wih had tih catch another train tih Glasgow and yet another one tih Airdrie!.
(And aall this for a resorve match!)
On the way up az ah supped a can of 'L.C.L.', ah could'nt
help wonderin' just where on the planet ah would have tih travel tee tih de mee
'double ton'. The Toon had said that if necessary they would enter the 'Inter
Taatty (aka: Toto!) Cup' if wih did'nt qualify for Europe
the 'proper way' (i.e: through wor League position!)
Az this looked 'highly unlikely', (az we were in
'freefaall' doon the Premier League at the time!) ah had visions of wih draain'
some team from the Faroe Islands!, where men
are sheep an' sheep are men? (sommik like that anyway!) and hirin' a fishin'
boat from Aberdeen
tih get wih there!.
(Aaltogether now!--- We anly sing when we're fishin'! )
Or!---(perhaps?) get some god-forsaken unpronouncable
team,, six thoosand miles away by air in Outer Siberia!
However!----it was 'Biffa the Beer' (the man who knows
everything! and who runs the (unofficial) N.U.F.C. 'pirate' web!) who purriz reet!
"Wi'v gorra friendly arranged in Ayr
in a couple of month's", he said --withoot a blink of the eye!
SO! (ah thought, az ah racked mee brain cells?)---instead
of a trip by air or sea---it would be a trip by land tih Ayr!
(Aal have tih stop drinkin' this 'L.C.L.'!)
Wih got tih Glasgow at ten thorty bells and as Airdrie was
aanly a twenty minute ride from there wih heeded for 'The Iron Horse' a couple
of streets from Queen Street Station for a 'liquid refreshment break'!.
On the way wih bumped intih two kiddas who were totally
high on the 'happy baccy' and they could hardly stand up!
They could just aboot speak though!
"GEORDIES!---YOOA THE BEST DRINKERS IN
SCOATLAND!" one iv them said as they staggered off in the direction of Sauchihall Street.
Wih felt that wi'd better not let them doon on this coont
(an' believe you me wih did'nt!) and the forst 'jars' went doon wor 'Gregorys'
an' did'nt touch the sides!.
There were some Glasgow
fans in the bar who were off to Alloa for a Scottish Cup tie. They telt wih
that the Aberdeen and Rangers fans did'nt get on and that when a minutes
silence was held at every Scottish groond at the turn of the year in memory of
the Ibrox disaster in 1971 that thoosands of Aberdonians waited ootside the
Pittodrie tornstiles before their home game against Hearts until the minutes
silence was ower before enterin' the groond as the hatred between the two clubs
was so great!.
(And they reckon that the Toon/mackem rivelry is bad!)
Wih had a few 'Arthurs' with them before movin' on tih the
next 'waaterin' hole' alang the road where wih met some Partick Thistle fans
who were on their way tih Kilmarnock aalso for a Scottish Cup match.
One of their squad was wearin' a hand knitted wooly jumper
with a huge 'Fred Flintstone' caracture on the back dressed up in Thistle's
red, white, yellih and black strip, complete with scarf and tassles that were
cleverly knitted so that they dangled from the back of his multi coloured
'ganzy'! (Joseph and his techni-coloured dream coat did'nt have a look in!)
(And here's me thinkin' that 'Fred' was a Bedrock fan?)
He telt iz that he lived on the Isle of Mull at a place
caalled Toblerone (or was it Tobermoray?) and ah guessed that his granny must
iv spent weeks knittin' it for him from the wool of one of the local sheep!.
He said that he had'nt missed a game for seventeen years
which is'nt bad for someone who has tih travel from the Outer Hebredes (or
wherever Mull is?)
thord club, wih asked him who he liked/hated the most between Celtic and
Rangers---and his reply was unequivocal.
"They're both Irish b*******!"---"Ah f*****
hate them both!", he answered as he downed his lager---and he was'nt
"Ah hate the 'Gypsy b*******' as well!", he went
on polishin' off the rest of his 'gargel'.
"Who are they"?, ah asked him with a puzzled look
on mee 'boat race'.
"The Gypsy b*******??---"CLYDE!"---"they
have'nt got a home groound"---"play at Cumbernauld noo!"---he
ended, knockin' back a 'whisky chaser' in the process.
"Hope yih win lads!", wih said as wih shook hands
as they went tih catch their train tih 'Killie' (They did'nt!)
It was time for us tih depart iz well tih catch wor THORD
train tih wor final destination of Airdrie, accordin' tih the timetable a short
twenty minute jorney from 'RabC.NesbittLand'!.
We arrived at the 'promised land' aboot 'half one bells'
an' made for the nearest waaterin' hole---namely 'The Broomloan' (ah thinx?)
just ootside the station. It was 'Barretts' torn for 'the liquid' an' az we
were in 'Scoatlind' he insisted that wih had a 'wee dram' tih warm 'the coccles
ov yih heart' az was the custom in 'theeze parts'.
So!---wih downed wor 'Tennents Special' followed by 'the
said' quadruple whisky 'chaser', an' before lang we were in (er') 'quadruple
Az yid expect, (coz of wor jorney see far) we were telt by
the locals that 'Onians' new groond was a canny hike from the bar, so a taxi
was the order of the day tih tek wih the two or three miles distant. (The aad
groond was in the toon centre)
This meant that this was mee fifth mode of transport from
wor place tih Airdrie's new abode. (A taxi tih the 'Central'--three trains an'
Az yih might iv guessed it was in the middle of 'nee
where', with the bar underneath the main stand the anly 'liquid stop' for
miles!. (That's what we were telt, anyway!)
"ONLY THE LONELY!"
Az yid expect it was chaos in the bar with fans queuein'
five deep tih get some 'precious gargel', but luckily for me it was'nt my torn,
so it was left tih 'Bernie' tih claa his way tih the coonter tih get the vital
life savin' fluid!.
Aftah what like seemed forever (aboot 5 mins!) he handed
wih wor pints of '70/-' 'nourishment!', which wih quickly demolished az it was
gettin' on for kick off time.
Wih hurried towards the tornstiles where a programme seller
was shiftin' his 'wares' and at 50 pence a time for a folded 'A4' photocopied
sheet iv paper, it was'nt exactly great value for money, especially as it did'nt
even have the two team line ups in it!. Airdrie used tih have a fanzine caalled
'Only the Lonely' named after the Roy Orbison hit single ov the orly '60',s.
(Roy Orbison?---who the f***** hell is he?---ah divvint
naa---a'm much too young tih remember!--Honest!)
Anyway!, ah looked aroond tih see if ah could 'clock'
anyone sellin' them---but sadly (tih nee avail) ah could'nt, so a had tih mek
de wih mee sheet of 'A4' for mee readin' material!.
(It took iz aboot 20 secs. tih de just that!) (what a
Az wih entered the groond wih realised that we were in the
Airdrie end (or in this case, 'side' and were telt by the stewards tih waalk
aroond the pitch tih the far side where the Toon fans were congregated. Az wih
passed behind the Toon goal Airtdrie scored what torned oot tih be the anly
goal of the game after five mins!
At the time wih did'nt have a clue who scored their goal or
indeed who the young kidda in goal for the Toon was???.
There were aboot 5 or 600 Toon fans in the crowd, of which
aroond half (ah guessed) had travelled from sooth of 'The Tweed' an' the other
half (judgin' by their Jock accents) were Scottish based Toon fans an' ah
could'nt find one fan who knew who wor 'mystery keeper' was!?.
The match tih be perfectly blunt was a 'heep of crap' with
the Toons mostly second string team just treatin' it az a trainin' session.
(Meks yih wonder why wih bother?)
At the end of the match the Toon's young goalie came ower
an' was tellin' this gadgie an' wifey tih meet him ootside the main entrance.
Ah worked it oot that they must'iv been his mutha 'n'
an' mebbeez---(just mebeez!) THEY knew his name?.
"It's Phil Pringle!", said the excited 'daddy',
when ah put the question to him, "It's his first game at this
level!", he went on!
(So! nuw wih knew who 'mystery kid' was!)
(It was'nt until the next day when ah read the Sundih Sun
that ah foond oot that 'Jesus'! (Sanjuan) had scored for them!) (With God on
their side, wih did'nt stand a chance!)
On the way up tih the groond wid asked the taxi driver if
eed tek wih tih Edinburgh
(40 miles away) aftah the match asz the last train from there was at 'seven
bells' an' wih did'nt wanna miss it.
Wih telt him that wi'd give him a tenner each an' he
readily agreed! and sure enough there he was, patiently waitin' for wih at the
pre-arranged rendezvous a few yards from the groond.
Keith jumped in the front and az wih 'hit' the 'M8'
towardsEdinburgh, he 'hit' the pillow
(so tih speak!) and then literally 'hit' the driver with his heed, az he slid
sideways towards him az he went into a deep, deep sleep!, nearly knockin' him
oot in the process!. This was not a good move az he lost control momentarily
and swerved intih the fast lane dein aboot 80 M.P.H., nearly hittin' a passin'
Ah managed tih pull Keith off the driver and he fell
towards the passenger door, oblivious to the 'moterway disaster' he'd nearly
caused!. (God WAS on wor side nuw!)
Somehow we arrived in the Scottish capital in one piece and
we were dropped off at a bar at the end of Princess Street at 'six bells'. (Plenty
of time for a few 'gargels' before catchin' the last train tih Tyneside an hour
However!---after aboot three 'Arthurs' an' a bit 'chinwag'
with a couple ofCeltic fans ah
'clocked' that it was 'quaata tih seven bells' by the pub timepiece.
After a quick check with the barman that the 'dickory dock'
was infact reet (and it was!) wih hurridly downed the dregs from wor glasses
an' heeded for the door. Princess Street is aboot a mile lang and the train
station was at the other end from the boozer. It meant a mad dash alang the
street which was'nt easy with two 'n' a half gallons of 70/- swillin' aboot in
Az wih staggered doon the steps intih Waverley Station, ah
could see that the 'Michael Caine' was aboot tih depart at the appointed time
az the engines were revin' up az the huge second hand on the station clock hit
the top of the hour. The loco's engines got louder az ah flung open the
carraige door an' slumped exausted on the open window for a rest---wi'd made
it!---just!. But!---where the hell was Keith an' Bernie?---in the f*****
takeaway on the station concourse---that's where!. They'd decided that they
were claamin an' wanted a 'nosebag' before catchin' the train, so ah had tih
keep the door open tih stop it leavin' withoot them!---(yih naa warra meen!)
"Herry up yih stupid c****!", ah shooted as they
sauntered towards the carraige door, stuffin' their fat faces with a 12"
"Quick---the guards gannih blow his f*****
At this point they got the message and with their pizzas
'still in gob', they literally fell ontih the '125' from the platform az it
pulled oot of Waverley Station!---(A very close caall indeed!)
The jorney back ower 'Hadrians Waall' is a bit of a blur!,
but ah CAN remember gannin tih the buffet car az wih left Edinburgh-----but
then?---ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!---and the next thing a can remember iz suddenly
wakin' up at the 'Central' sometime later az the train breaked an' screamed to
(It's amazin' how yih aalways wake up when yih get
By the time wih had a few more 'liquids' in 'O'Neills and
'The Star' it was 'time tih gan yhem' time az ah was totally S-P-A-C-E-DO-U-T!.
Ah can't remember anything after this---but!---WOR LASS
CAN!, so!--- aall let hor tell yih the rest of this sorry tale!.
(Seven pages up 'till nuw!)
Wor Lass (In hor own words)
"Pleeze note!---Fink never mentioned aboot when he got
Well!---he got back at aboot four in the mornin' an' when
he came in he made so much noise ah thought someone was borglin' the hoose!
He went tih the 'powder room', (bog---az he would caall
it!) an' started shoutin' at the waall!---when he did'nt get any response he
started punchin' the waall---when THIS did'nt get any responce he came into the
bedroom demandin' his supper!
(Divvint forget!---this was at FOUR 'O' CLOCK in the
mornin'!)---After that he crashed oot an' fell asleep on the floor!---Ah left
the drunken sod where he was an' went back tih sleep!---When ah confronted him
the next day he could'nt remember a thing he'd done!---TYPICAL OF FINK!.
Lets hope there's nee more friendly matches in Scotland for a
FINK'S LANG SUFFERIN' GIRLFRIEND!--'VAL'
Hello!---this is 'Fink' again!
Ah knew that there was sommik wrang next day coz wor lass
was'nt taalkin' to iz!. Ah aalways waalk aboot the hoose in mee stockin' feet
and az ah went intih the kitchen ah felt sommik wet on mee socks az a stood on
Mee forst reaction was that ah must'iv been so drunk that
ah could'nt be bothered tih gan tih the 'tool shed' an' had a 'gypsies kiss' on
the kichen carpet instead!.
It was soakin' wet!, but az wor lass aalways wears slippers
when she waalks 'roond the hoose, she would'nt feel it---and so was non the
DRASTIC ACTION WAS NEEDED! az it would soon start tih
'ming' if ah did'nt de sommik quick!.
SO!---(az yih de!)---ah telt hor that the washin' machine
must be leakin' an' that wi'd have tih hoy the carpet oot!.
SHE BELIEVED IZ!---SO!---THAT'S WHAT AH DID!.
Wih had a bit spare carpet in the garden shed, SO!-- ah put
that doon tih replace the soaken one!.---But guess what??---after aboot half an
hour, the NEW CARPET was soaken iz well! (Ah could'nt work it oot?, az ah
DEFENATELY! had'nt had a 'lag' on THAT ONE!)
Then it suddenly dawned on iz!---the washin' machine (which
was switched on) WAS in fact leakin'!--- an' ah HAD'NT! had a 'gypsies' on the
f***** carpet after aall!---an' on top of THAT!---a'd hoyed a perfectly good
carpet in the 'rin tin tin' for NEE! reason!.
A quick inspection of the washers pipes confirmed that ah
was reet!, az the waata was f***** pissin' oot the back!, so ah had tih torn it
off, coz ah did'nt fancy a duck pond in mee back kitchen!.
NUW HERE'S A CONFESSION!---Ah thought it WOULD'NT be a good
idea tih tell hor what a'd originally thought a'd done (especially az she still
was'nt speakin' to iz!) and so ah stuck tih mee story! (which of course was
YIH CANNIT WIN!---CAN YIH!?
Ah knew of course that mee 200th groond was back in Scotland at Ayr