No NUFC game this weekend, so decided to take a trip up to Edinburgh for the crack to see the Inverness-Hearts Scottish Cup Semi-Final at the ‘neutral’ venue of Easter Road, home of Hibs.
After a couple of drinks on the train, we headed straight to a wetherspoons for breakfast, before heading into various other pubs on the way to the ground, meeting hearts fans along the way.
Managing to pass for an U-16 to gain entry to the ground, (£5 tickets!) we took our seats in the second row, and SAT DOWN. This surprised me, but given that half the people behind were families/older folk, can’t really complain and only the back few rows stood.
First half passed without much event, but flew over nonetheless. Moved up to the back row to stand in the aisle for the second half to a) get a better view, and b) to move away from the cold draught of the front few rows.
Inverness scored not long into second half, and then Hearts seemed to kick into gear. The equaliser came from Liverpool youth player, Michael NGoo, just joined on loan, sending Hearts fans into raptures, having already hit the post in the first half.
Hearts were then reduced down to 10 men before the end, with Robinson being sent off for a two footed tackle, which was soft in mine and 14,000 other peoples opinions!
Extra-Time came around, with Inverness missing an absolutely golden chance to win the game in front of the Hearts fans, but they bottled it leading to pens.
All 5 of Hearts penalties found the back of the net, with Bob Marley look-a-like for Inverness stepping up and firing over their 5th kick to give Hearts a 5-4 win on penalties.
Headed back towards Edinburgh city centre in good spirits, before leaving Hearts fans to get last train back to Newcastle, via McDonalds and off-license for more beer.
Successful day out, will definitely be heading back to the capital for more cheap football/beer fuelled fun in the future!
Up at half four in the morning and leaving Newcastle by 6am, it was a rough start to the day. 6 and a bit hours on the coach soon went by thanks to the beer flowing through the bus and we arrived at some posh little quaint town called Theale, just outside Reading, where they charged us £3.50 for a pint of fosters. Bastards. They were very friendly though, and made me one of the nicest bacon sarnies I’ve ever had, even if that was expensive too. Locals in the pub were friendly enough, as they went about their glory hunting ways watching the Arsenal-Chelsea match on TV.
2 hours to kick off, 5 miles outside of Reading and not one Reading fan in site. Do they even exist?
Get to the ground about half an hour before kick off, managing to sneak past the stewards with my U-16s ticket, full of optimism. This soon fades as the match kicks off, as it lulls both sets of fans into a near comatose state. Fear not, the fucking drum in the home end soon woke us up. Bastard.
2nd half was better from the neutral point of view, as we went behind, only to silence their shitty goal music about 90 seconds later through a stunning Demba Ba volley. 1-1 and we were still playing shite. More poor defending allowed them to get ahead again before Demba handled us level, 2-2. Few other chances for us after this, as Shane Ferguson and Santon looked threatening down the left hand side. Good goalkeeping from Harper kept us in it, as Reading hit the bar in the dying minutes.
Full Time 2-2, shit point away to a shit team that we should’ve shit on. Still, there was a 6 hour return trip to look forward to. The beer soon came back out, the tunes started banging out and it flew past again, as we danced and sung our way into the night.
Great trip, shit game. Same old Newcastle away game!
Hartlepool United 1-5 Newcastle United
First pre-season of this term that’s been hosted in the UK. 2,500 away fans turned up after paying on turnstile. Dominant performance, Shola with big parts in the first three goals before being taken off with an injury. Bigiramana, Amalfitano and Tavernier all impressed with Marveaux probably being my MOTM with two goals and some great passes & touches of class. Hartlepool got one back at 4-0 down, but was probably celebrated more by NUFC fans taking the piss out of their catchy goal music (Chase the Sun - Planet Funk). Obertan’s late and great strike rounded things off nicely and the game could be considered a resounding success.
Spent long periods of the first half picking on Sky Sports News reporter David Craig who was behind the NUFC fans. Took ‘Sad Mackem Bastard’ and ‘DC is a wanker’ chants on the chin to be fair, laughing it off.
Train back was interesting, around 300 fans crammed into 3 carriages lead to an Indian-esque train ride back with people crushed in tightly.
Second Division Czech team. I think. It wasn’t too clear. Guy who was loitering around didn’t speak too much English, as friendly as he was. Ground was situated 2 minutes away from the main train station, with a 5,600 capacity.
Canny sized Stadium.
Typical Communist Architecture. This 240,000 seater atrocity is the Strahov stadium in Prague. Built in the 30s and ‘renovated’ by the communists over the 60s and 70s, this stadium now has very little use. It contains 8 or 9 pitches, and is used primarily for training purposes by Sparta Prague. Hated by the locals, it is being kept in the hope that Czech Republic will win an Olympic bid, and then new renovations will surely begin.
Top photo was taken from Petrin Tower, overlooking Prague from the hills.
Generali Arena - Sparta Prague
Proper shithole, typical Eastern European ground. Lots of Graffiti and stuff around the ground by fans, not all pleasant. Anti-jew and black slogans were spray painted around, which surprised me as Prague is one of the friendliest cities I’ve been too, never expected that here. Tried to get inside, but totally closed but for a few open turnstiles behind locked gates.
Berwick Rangers vs Newcastle Reserves
Was the day after Newcastle’s friendly against Darlo. Genuinely can’t remember the score, I think we won. It was bloody freezing and never stopped raining.
I know it’s not Newcastle, but close enough.
Notts County 2-0 Gateshead
Fa Cup 2nd Round
Decided to go to this as I could tie it in with visiting my sister. Of course, I sat with the Gateshead fans, about 300-500 of us. We were in good voice throughout despite the result, and put up a good fight despite the obvious gap in quality.
RIP Gary Speed
Tribute to Gary Speed before the Swansea game, included singing of Welsh Hymn ‘Bread Of Heaven’ and a minutes applause.