#9 v2 - Page 12

Remember when part 2 Hitchhiking to Glasgow The summer of 1993 and there was a monumental buzz around the Toon after May’s promotion party and our forthcoming season in the new fangled sparkling Premier League. Keegan magic was at its peak even after a collection of fairly tame and low key pre-season friendly games against Hartlepool United, Workington and Berwick Rangers. These unglamorous fixtures didn’t really spark the imagination even though we got our first sighting of new signings Nicky Papavasiliou, the exotic looking curly haired Cypriot, Alex Mathie, some unheard of Scottish bloke signed from Morton and of course, there was the returning football genius of Peter Beardsley after his 7 years spell on Merseyside with Liverpool and Everton. ! Our penultimate warm up game of the summer had us invited north of the border to Glasgow to face Rangers in Ally McCoist’s testimonial game in early August. This to me was the first game in the new era of football with all seater stadiums and the end of standing terraces. Redevelopment work since we last played at St James Park had finished with my new location for watching football being taken up in a grey plastic seat in the Leazes End. The ground from now on would be full of season ticket holders for some silly reason football grounds were suddenly to be referred to as football stadiums. Interest in Newcastle United even warranted all ticket pre-season friendly matches! ! Rangers at the time were the champions of Scotland as well as qualifying for the Champion’s League. They had just travelled down to Joker Park for Gary Bennett’s testimonial match in vast nu X