Friday, 4 October 2013

27. Go and watch a Premiership football match

It was a sunny autumnal day when I met my auntie and cousin, Emma and Philip Williams at the foot of the Sir Bobby Robson memorial at St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne to watch Newcastle United v Hull City. As some of you may be aware I am more of a rugby follower than a football fan however I felt that my put downs towards the “beautiful” game would have more integrity if I could actually hold my hands up and say I’d been to a live match. Also living in a city for the past 9 years where the football team is integral to the cities culture and not having seen the team play just felt like a travesty! 

Me and Sir Bobby
 I’d been thinking about this fixture since I was (by coincidence) sat in a pub the day Hull City were promoted to the Premier League. Now the significance of Hull City aka The Tigers is that my granddad, Mr Larkman to many, was born and raised in Hull and has been a lifelong supporter of the team. This is the Tigers shrine in the downstairs loo at his and my grandma’s house in Richmond. Subsequently some of my uncles and cousins have developed a strong allegiance to the team so I had a choice of people that I could get on board to go with me. It seemed fitting that a match played between what I class as my ‘home’ team Newcastle and the family team Hull City seemed a perfect fixture to tick another experience off my list. 

The 'throne' room at Grandma and Grandad's
Considering that this wasn’t a derby match or Newcastle weren’t playing against one of the top 4 teams I couldn’t believe how busy it was. Me and Philip, my 16 year old cousin had 2 season tickets courtesy of our Uncle Philip’s friends. Gone are the days of a book of individual paper match tickets and in keeping with the age of modern technology you now get a plastic card with an electronic chip in to swipe you in to every match. Now the implication of having these tickets was that we were surrounded by Newcastle season ticket holders, which considering we were cheering on Hull City we had to be extremely restrained in showing our support, especially when Hull City scored. 
Me and my ticket
 As a sport I do find football quite dull however this match was pretty entertaining, 5 goals scored in all and we were even treated to Steve Bruce busting some moves on the side lines, however the most entertaining part was listening to the commentary from the Geordies sat behind me. I picked up some new choice phrases including some xenophobic remarks. I have this belief that football fans can be quite fickle at times which is what came across from the fans that were sat around us. When Newcastle were playing well they were like gods to these fans however one miss kick, some sloppy defending and then they were quickly pulled off their pedestal and called every name under the sun, my favourite quip was made at Ben Arfa who was labelled (in their words not mine) ‘an overpaid French arse hole’ – such a lovely image. The abuse continued to get more derogatory throughout the course of the match at Newcastle’s playing quality declined and the score went from 1 – 0 Newcastle, 1 – 1 all, 2 – 1 Newcastle, 2 – 2 all, 2 – 3 Hull City (final score). 

The Hull City fans celebrating in their pen
All in all it was a good experience made all the more pleasurable by the sunshine however I won’t be queuing up for my season ticket next year. Compared to rugby as a sport football just does not cut it. Rugby is more entertaining  the opposition don’t need to be penned up in the rafters of the stadium to segregate the fans AND at a rugby match I can enjoy a pint in the stands while watching the game. 

The sun shining on St James'