|Welcome to the Premier League|
that time of year again. The season's over, cups have been won (or lost),
players are jetting off all over the world to bathe in the sun while their
loyal fans stay at home and dream of the possibilities that the following
season could have in store. Some players however don't go abroad, they
stay at home and drive through McDonalds ordering strange food and having
workers stare at them in their shorts in the warm English summers - that
would be former Toon player David Batty. You may remember a while ago that
McDonalds ran a Beanie Baby campaign. These delightful bean-filled toys
came in various animal shapes - giraffes, elephants, cats and even monkeys.
There seemed to be a certain little mouthy monkey at our restaurant who
caused a lot of damage. He couldn't stop swearing and had very bad taste
in football shirts. He was light brown in colour with big ears and was
last seen at the Stadium Of Light. His whereabouts are now unknown and
any information you may have would help us enormously. He answered to the
name of Peter Reid.
A LIGHT START
Before we dive straight in the nitty gritty details for the season ahead Keith has contributed a couple of jokes. These are, suprisingly, up to standard and therefore could be published without thinking of the possible damaging repercussions.
Strange, but could be true?
Apparently Ruud Gullit has been seen talking to Tony Banks the Sports Minister. Some say he was pleading for the F.A. to disallow Newcastle competing in the next F.A.Cup competition (a la Man United) - another performance like the one we witnessed at Wembley would cost Ruud his job!
Totally untrue but believable?
A Geordie goes on holiday to Italy with his wife and kids. They visit Rome and whilst there, the youngest son asks if he can meet the Pope. Dad thinks that would be a good idea, what with the Basil Hume connection and suggests the lad wears a Toon top. They wait in the Vatican Square but the Pope drives straight past the young Toon supporter and stops and talks to a young Mackern 100 yards further on. The young Geordie is crestfallen, but his dad suggests that if the he is prepared to wear a Mackem top the Pope is bound to speak to hirn. The lad isn't too sure but is keen to meet the Pope, so agrees to wear a Mackern top. The next day he is stood in the square and sure enough the Pope is driving past, but stops and leans over to our Geordie fan and says, "I thought I told you to **ck off yesterday?"
For those of you with access to the internet Keith recommends you pay a
visit to a site he came across via a Sunderland Supporter! It's called
Sad Mackern B@stard and can be found at: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~riks/sun-news3.html.
Well, it made Keith laugh anyway.
Back to top
From the award ceremony at the end of season curry night
The Boomerang- aka 'Spoke too Soon'
Last year this went to Malcolm, but Tom's turmoil at home left him in pole position from early January onwards when he introduced us all to his new catch phrase (now that could have been an award) "Shiz left iz ye knaa".
He wasn't around to collect his award on the night - beer, football, sunshine and a starter got the better of him and he missed out on collecting his boomerang for going into writing in Pud 6 and bemoaning other club members for their lack of domestic stability!
Graham HeIling looked up suddenly when he heard that this award was in the offering, but relaxed again as he remembered Martin Bare was there. Martin has totally rejected the concept of fashion - cords for Wembley and hackiest pair of Brutus (Gordon - that's fashion my boy!) jeans ever seen for home games. He wears these jeans whilst quizzing everyone on the bus with questions of good manners and etiquette.
His balloon bursting antics at Steve's bar in Bayswater didn't merit the over-reaction of a banning from the pub for life - Fruity still gets served - but perhaps it was the epitome of his long gone student-esque aspirations. Scruffy, pissed. outrageous - he is this year's Quasimodo.
He does make a good listener though - clearly evidenced when on the receiving end of the landlord's vitriolic outburst. His intelligence (survival instinct?) clicked in on autopilot and he didn't utter one word in his defence (apart from sorry) when nose to nose with Steve. Imagine what Steve would have done if he'd been up to Shakey's antics - tottering around, barging into the regulars and setting his eyebrows alight. (That was first for The Leg!)
Pouring his 4 cans of beer into the waterjug (the contents had already been poured over himself in his attempt to down in one to make space for the beer) was an impressive Young Ones act - bettered by JT who did the same with his Guinness and - through wrongly lining up the spout - poured half a pint down the front of his new Toon top. Spot the stain - it'll still be there next season.
Anyway well done Martin - banned from the Geordie bar, full of Geordies by a landlord from Wallsend, the night before the Cup Final. I wonder what the etiquette and manners column in the Times have recommended?
Mr S Skull award - for numbness
A multitude of runners-up were in the field to be introduced into the hall of fame.
As many were absent from the curry night they missed out on the receipt of some skeletal memorabilia.
The unlucky absentees were : (some already reported on in earlier Puds.)
man who turned up for Liverpool at home not knowing Kenny had gone the
journey and Ruud had arrived - Martin Miller.
The man who's hair lacked sufficient RockaBilly bounce and style to allow him to ventura out for Blackburn away despite having match and train tickets - Stave Green.
Dave Stead's form continued - after all he did launch the award when he didn't make it to West Ham away despite having tickets desperately needed by others. See the match report for his other goalkeeping antics which justifiably got him on the rostrum on the night.
Jim Philpott missed out on an award despite being suspected of numbness at Wambley - he got the dry train information wrong and would have been up for an award if we'd any evidence of his own culpability for getting clouted by a Manchester fan on Wemblay Way. The story goes he was innocent and didn't deserve to be hit with a tree branch. The old bill arrested the Manchester fan, but let Jim go.
Brendan Duggan indulged in some severe numbness on 4th June and missed out on the football match. The story has yet to emerge, but it will be rooted out. The incident left the club secretary and his daughter running around the student complex at Kirkatall Brewery looking for him as he wouldn't answer his phone or his mobile. In the end - after several kicks of his door - he emerged with some cock and bull story about needing to see the Police and he couldn't play.
So - to the winner. The award - a Skull mask - will be worn with pride by the stressed non-recipient of a cup final ticket. Everyone else's turned up and when the postman didn't deliver, ha rang up the ticket office - who were swamped by other unsuccessful applicants - only to be told they wouldn't discuss unsuccessful applications. Now, he hadn't missed a home cup game and he'd been to loads of away matches and by the time the Boro home game came around he was desperate to know what had happened to his ticket and his application.
A strategy was discussed in Leeds train station and he agreed to ring the ticket office and tell them he was going away on holiday and needed to make arrangements for someone to collect his ticket from his home if it turned up late while he was away.
This surely would make the ticket office relent and they would let him know if he'd been successful or not. Mobile phone in hand he goes to the concourse - claiming it may fool the ticket office into thinking he was in the airport- rings up and starts pleading for information.
No problem. After a little time on the computer the answer comes back that he has been sent a Cup Final ticket.
it hasn't arrived and everyone else has received theirs' 'We sent it to
your home address.'
'But I've moved'
'Did you notify us of your change of address?' asked the man in the ticket office - (by now we suspect making hand movements in the direction of the mouthpiece of the phone).
'No, I didn't need to because you sent all the other tickets, including the semi-final ticket, to my new address'.
Then before getting a reply a dawning of reality occurs and he goes on to say 'but that's because I sent stamped address envelopes for the other tickets isn't it.'
The reply was remarkably polite but probably made with the phone on the shoulder of the ticket office man - allowing freedom to gesture with both hands. 'Yes that's probably why it hasn't gone to your new address Mr Barclay.'
winner - and Driver of the Year - is the only Mr Barclay in the Supporters
Club - KEITH.
|Can you guess who any of the characters are in this artist's impression of a court scene in Scotland (clue). Answers at end of this issue of The Pud.|
|Good looking sincere, sensitive, hard Geordie lad, 40ish (recently deserted by selfish, uncaring 'wife') heavily into The Toon, 'Live & Kicking', Billie, Steps, Brittany Spears etc, GSOH WLTM similarly minded girl 15 to 18 (similarly minded to me, that is, not the selfish, uncaring 'wife') for evenings in, listening to CDs, watching vids, chewing gum and chasing the dragon. Who knows? Maybe we'll live the Vida Loca. Top totty only. No boilers. 07970 628782.||Old gadgie, late 5Os heavily into The Toon, Newcastle Brown, Jack Daniels, The Sky At Night and Radio 2, no SOH (especially when sober) WLTM anybody older than my daughter for nights in The Toon Hall Tavern and The Fox. Must be car owner and not averse to mopping up vomit, snoring of volcanic proportions and having knickers worn on head (my head, that is). Good taste, age of editor and some of readership prevents further exciting details of my requirements. Have live in lover/lodger but can soon boot him out 0690 696969.|
Bradford 0 Newcastle 6
For the first time in years a squad without any ringers with spurious links to Newcastle was assembled for the midday kick-off against Bradford City Supporters Club.
The starting line up was probably the biggest team we've ever put out and straight from the kick-off took charge in midfield. A bold decision was made to play four at the back but giving the two full backs, Hannen and Barclay, a free rein to get forward. So rock solid were the two centre backs with their impressive physical, almost intimidating presence, that Grant and Ather reminded the older spectators of John McNammee and Ollie Burton.... similar tight figure hugging shirts and shorts.
Starting up front on his own Nicholson was expected to make a lot of runs to exploit the very square defence. Chance after chance came his way all foiled through a mixture of great goal keeping or wasted through a lack of confidence when faced with one on ones. Fight dear cut chances came his way in this first twenty minutes, most of them supplied by the telling touches and through balls from the new signing, left footed midfielder Malcolm Wood. Four chances also came Wood's way as he strove to break from midfield to link up with Nicholson but it seemed that it was going to be one of those days.
Stead in net was being asked to do more and more, his lack of height compensated by his width, blocking three chances with his body although he let one shot go through his legs, grabbing the ball just before it crossed the line. Stead's distribution drew derision from the supporters, particularly his kicks out of and to the right side - either too pacey or curling into touch. 'STEADYS BENT!' shouted one young supporter from the side lines - innocently? or does she suspect what WE all suspect?.
The match nearly changed when an amazing mix-up saw the bent keeper pick up the ball inside his eighteen yard box from a throw in by his own right back, Barclay. He made amends by blocking the follow up to the indirect freekick. This Skull-like fiasco was the turning point The next bit of possession saw a corner won in the twenty fifth minute and Wood's silky left foot curled the ball straight into the net between a defender and the near post. One-nil.
Confidence grew as Hannen and Barclay continued to provide width for the midfielders - pressing on the opposition full backs time and time again with some powerful surges up both flanks. Barclay came to the attention of the referee for a couple of pushes when tight against an attacker - hitting the astro turf with a thud on each occasion and looking expectantly for the decisions that rightly never came his way.
Shortly after Harbord and Cross came on for Bare and Whittingham, a free-kick five yards outside the box was curled in by Hannen, skimming the bar with the keeper struggling to get across to his right hand post.
Two more substitutions in the thirty fifth minute saw Nicholson and Stephens replaced by Hutchings and Wheeler. The change paid dividends when the two stalwart centre backs, Grant and Ather, played a quick one-two to get out of a bit of trouble on the edge of their own box leaving Ather with space to surge into the midfield. He went past one man, played another one-two and put the ball into space in front of Kiernan. His firm pacey ball into the box left Wheeler with a bit to do, but he finished with aplomb, side-footing the ball in to the roof of the net from 10 yards. Two-nil.
On the stoke of half time, Cross, the replacement striker, having quickly got used to the pace of the game, used his Mick Quinn-like frame to put pressure on the defenders and made some space on the edge of the box and, taking a through ball from Harbord with some ease, looked up and passed the ball into the right hand corner, leaving the keeper stranded. Three-nil. There was still time for a powerful left-footed drive from Hannen which only just cleared the bar before the half-time whistle brought some relief for the home team. Twenty five attempts on goal by the visitors summing up their total domination.
The second half saw a clear tactical change from the home team. They put three men up front and stifled the midfield by defending on their own halfway line. They dominated the first 10 minutes, won 4 corners and brought the best out of the eccentric goalkeeper. He was at his unorthodox best when coming out to punch crosses. One incident saw him advance too far as the ball curled in from a corner, only for him to punch the ball back towards his own gaping net, the ball hitting the post and going out for another flag kick. The pressure saw Hutchings drop back to add some support to the stretched back four. The storm was weathered and ten minutes into the half, pressure on the edge of the Bradford box saw Harbord hustle the defenders, leaving Cross with a simple chance from inside the box. Four-nil.
The home team were deflated and the chances started to come again, but the offside trap was still proving difficult to crack, despite the best efforts from a tiring Cross trying to break from the right wing. New legs in midfield saw more possession and eventually, intelligent running with the ball by Hannen, Wood and the second half sub Steven Fleetwood saw the visitors putting together some good chances.
Although allowing Cross ample time to try and get his hat-trick, the warm weather and his lack of match fitness got the better of him. He had a clear-cut chance which he lobbed into the side netting. With twenty minutes to go and after Stead was forced to tip over a shot from outside the box, wholesale changes saw a heavily strapped Llewellyn come on, as well as Nicholson - both adding more pace to the front line. Wood's departure with fifteen minutes to go resulted in a standing ovation for the veteran midfield general. The pace up front got its reward when Llewellyn provided Nicholson with another one-on-one with the keeper and this time he seemed to force the ball through the demoralised keeper's legs. Five-nil.
Less than five minutes were left when another break from half-way saw Nicholson confidently stroke the ball in from the edge of the box to make it six-nil. This still left time both for Kiernan and Llewellyn to break through the now ragged defence, only to see both attempts lamely miss the target before the final whistle. Although the celebrations were restrained, Barclays' exuberance saw him rip off his shirt and throw it into the crowd, much to the derision of his manager who is expected to impose a fine of £42.
of the match - voted for by the opposition: ATHER
Sunday 11 April 1999 - another ordinary Sunday in the McKenna household - or was it?
The day dawned and I had a lie-in - Paul was trying to get into my good books because he was going out for the day, yet again, to see the Mags play. But this was no ordinary match - wonder of wonders those useless Geordies had only got themselves, with a lot of help from God and good nature, into the semis again.
What shall I wear? Striped top or Toon sweatshirt, striped top or Toon sweatshirt, this was a major decision - not by me I hasten to add but by my illustrious husband Paul. "Wear what you bloody like!" was my reply. Coat or not, coat or not, coat or not. "Hope it rains" shouts I as the daft git leaves the house at 9.30 am on a Sunday morning minus a coat - still thinks he's eighteen trekking round the Bigg Market on a Saturday night.
Bung in a load of washing - with luck the rain will keep off in Leeds today. "Can I have a biscuit? Can I have an Easter Egg? What's for lunch? What time is lunch? Where's Daddy?" We're deserted again kids another glorious day in paradise for Mrs McKenna.
Lunch comes and goes, wash up the pots, another load of washing goes in whilst the other goes onto the line - canny drying day thinks I, shall I strip the beds off today or tomorrow when it might rain? I take the plunge and go mad stripping off all the beds and throw three duvet covers and assorted sheets and pillowcases into the washer as well.
God, must go to Safeway, the kitchen floor needs washing and I've run out of Flash again. Bundle two kids and me into the car and head off. Tramp around Safeway and rush back to scour kitchen floor. "Shit" the head's knackered on my Vileda Wonder Mop I will have to do the bugger by hand now.
2.00 p.m. Time to set up the video to tape something that Paul might want to watch - as though he doesn't get enough.
Meanwhile, kids are running a riot, the littlest one gets sent to her room for being too cheeky, the oldest one bawls his eyes out on sofa because I've threatened to turn the telly off. Little one meanwhile is shouting for Daddy - "He's out again" shouts Mammy "and I'm stuck here again". Bloody football widow.
3.00 p.m. Might as well get the washing in and do a bit of ironing. The Oldest one is getting caught up in the match. "Mam is this a handball" he shouts. "Definitely" is the reply without giving the telly the slightest glance.
Glancing up from ironing board it's nearly half-time - better think about dinner. Spaghetti Bolognese today as this is no ordinary Sunday. Get to grips with Spaghetti Bolognese, set the table, very uneventful happenings on telly might as well have dinner.
Sit down to dinner just as extra time comes around. "Handball isn't it mam?" "Yeah. Penalty" shouts I and roars of delight from dinner table as Shearer, Oldest One's hero, wangs one into the back of the net. Meanwhile back at the table Spaghetti Bolognese is going down a treat, even though it is now all over the table cloth and Oldest One now has the portable beside the dining table.
minutes to the end of match - even more Spaghetti Bolognase on the tablecloth.
Christ how will I get this out - Vanish or Shout, Vanish or Shout and GOAL,
Shearer's waved his magic boots again and it looks like we're on
our way to Wembley. What a pity that the McKenna
Family will be in Lanzarote on that day!!!! ! ! ! ! !
I had the pleasure of watching the Cup Final in Lanzarote. The reason someone else was sat in my seat at Wembley was due to the final being a week later than last year and my not taking much interest in the holiday arrangements. Basically, I am an idiot! I suppose if you have to miss it there could be worse places to be.
The morning was spent by the pool (in a new Toon top) swimming and laying in the sun. Then lunch in the apartment washed down with a couple of bottles of Sheep's Head Dutch type beer (50p a litre). At about 2 o'clock I took up my place in the pool bar, with the family, to soak up the atmosphere and the beer.
Kick-off approached and there was a mood of nervous anticipation. Kick-off came and there was a mood of excited optimism which lasted for about 10 minutes! Keane replaced by Sheringham that had to be good for Newcastle (ha!). There was a muted cheer from those from Cornwall and Surrey to greet the goal. I am sure I would have been on the table had we scored!
From then on I can remember virtually nothing, apart from them scoring again. I think I was sitting in a state of numbness (no change there then!). I think the brain can blank out certain memories to protect from pain, shock and trauma and I will suffer dreadful flash-backs for many years to come. Or maybe it was because I was sat ten feet from the bar.
As soon as the final whistle went Christopher and I played pool and that was the FA Cup Final for another year.
The following Wednesday we saw the last half an hour of the European Cup Final and could not believe they got away with it. On Friday morning at about one a.m. we arrived at Manchester airport at the same time as a flight from Barcelona . As we left the singing and chanting in arrivals at least I only had to drive to Leeds whilst the happy lads head for Bristol and Basingstoke.
a few days at home I felt recovered enough to watch the tape of the Wembley
disaster thinking it could help me to piece together those lost minutes
spent in a haze I found I had mistakenly recorded Gerry Springer, Barney
the Dinosaur and Bananas in Pyjamas. Perhaps this was a fitting end to
a good holiday but the football was best forgotten.
the Site Manager of a large high school, I occasionally get asked to talk
to classes about new buildings and the school environment generally. I
did such a talk recently to a year 8 class. Actually it was more of a question
and answer session really. The first question was from a cheeky looking
13 year old lad. "Why are Sunderland so much better than Newcastle?" I
took it in my stride (I'd been primed by the form teacher). I started to
talk about Sunderland having spent so many recent years in the first division
etc when the lad interrupted. From that point I slowly started turning
into a teacher. In a stern voice but without shouting and giving him a
hard look with just a few teeth showing, I said "You've asked your question,
son, now shut up and listen!" Which he did. I then went on to explain about
the history of Geordie/Mackem rivalry and how the Mackems had always lived
under the shadow of The Toon etc etc. As I was talking though I could feel
my confidence growing. I was becoming a teacher. I could feel myself being
enrobed in a corduroy jacket. With elbow patches. Suddenly my tie did not
match my shirt. Or jacket. I was wearing white socks. And all I could think
about was spending the nearly seven weeks sununer holidays doing the Pennine
Way, the Three Peaks and the Coast to Coast walk, listening to Richard
Thompson on my Walkman. I looked down at my hand which was holding a blackboard,
sorry a chalkboard rubber, which I immediately chucked, without looking,
at the kid in the corner who was chewing gum, would you believe, giving
thc impression that I had eyes, if not in the back of my head, then certainly
on the sides. The class were in silence and in awe. The feeling of power
was overwhelming. I must abuse this power I thought. All my answers from
then on were littered with sarcasm. I put down and humiliated every kid.
It was great. Then a curious thing happened. A question was asked by a
girl. I softened immediately and went all gooey. I sat on the teacher's
desk and drew my knee up to my chest. "When did you get your ear pierced?"
she asked. "That's a good question." I replied. I spouted on about rebelling
late in life. "I'll show you my tattoo when you're in year 11" I said seductively.
All the girls in the class were giggling (and no doubt looking forward
to being in year 11). The boys were obviously thinking Tosser! but who
cares. That's how it is with us teachers, I thought. Then a boy put up
his hand and asked how many years it was since Newcastle had won a domestic
trophy. That was it. Down to earth with a bump. No amount of flannel could
get me out of this one. I looked at the girls in the class and even they
were thinking Come on smartarse. We're waiting. The feeling of power was
replaced with one of panic. I was sweating profusely. What could I possibly
say? Then I was saved by my walkie-talkie: Crackle crackle. Tom, Billy
'the stomach' Thompson in year 7 has made himself vomit on the head's carpet
again. "Time to go and delegate" I said to the class and I hastily left
to the boos, hisses and laughter of class 8M If only Newcastle had won
someting in the last 44 years, I thought.
The guy on the far right in the wig is the defending barrister, who also happens to be that Scottish Guy who lost his job for singing anti-catholic songs (no, not Jock Brown, the other one - the Rangers Director).
The guy second from the left is the prosecuting counsel (who is a brother of a friend of Paul Cook's).
The Guy on the left is non other than Big Duncan - just before he was found guilty and sent down for giving a opponent a Glasgow Greetin'.
copy available to view if interested.