Toon Army Best In The Country – Make That The World

Newcastle United’s Toon Army is the best in the country.


The legendary Newcastle fans

So says Newcastle boss Chris Hughton after 3,000 traveling Geordies supported the lads to a second successive league victory last night at Bramall Lane.

And Newcastle’s faithful fans, like the many of us who are  now spread around the world, were more than happy at the 1-0 win, even if we didn’t play at our best.

When we win we are ecstatic and when we lose we are near inconsolable, as some regular readers may have noticed when this blog went missing for 24 hours after the Scunthorpe defeat. 😀

My dear wife’s constant nagging – you take this stuff far too seriously – but she just doesn’t understand – and she’s a Geordie too.

It was Ryan Taylor’s second-half strike that sent the lads back to the top of the CCC – now 2 points clear – and we must start to widen that gap.

But the game was tough to watch, especially near the end, when goalkeeper Steve Harper had to pull off two outstanding saves in  injury-time, no less, to preserve all 3 points – it was close!

Shay Given, who was in the Sky Sports studio last night, called the save  Steve somehow made from Henderson  world class – and Shay knows a thing or two about world class saves – he made a few himself on Sunday, including a penalty save.

Chris Hughton spoke to Newcastle United TV about the away support today:

“They turn up in their thousands game after game and it is without doubt the best away support in the country,”

“There cannot be a better away support anywhere – I’m sure of that.”  “So we’re delighted to be able to send them home with a win.”

“You get very disappointed as a group of players and staff when you don’t do that because it’s a long way home.”

“But I’m pleased for them tonight and I hope they enjoyed it.”

We often refer to the Newcastle fans as legendary.

And while many may think we are overstating that – when you are anywhere in the world and you mention Newcastle United – a couple of thing come up – Alan Shearer and the Newcastle fans.

I can tell many personal stories of this when I was in China, Japan, Australia, South America, Europe, and of course the US – while doing my job at IBM until recently.

Newcastle  are known as one of the best supported clubs in the world, not just in England, and also a club who haven’t won anything for 40 years.

But we’d like to be remembered (soon) for being successful on the field, and that has to be the club’s aim over the next few years.

But please don’t leave it too long – some of us are starting to run out of time in this life-time. 😀

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

13 comments so far

  • sirjasontoon

    Nov 3, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #1

    If we had ownership,players and management half as good as the fans we would be unstoppable.

  • G

    Nov 3, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #2

    A nice article Ed, to be honest, it all goes without saying, but it’s nice to be reminded once in a while.

  • sirjasontoon

    Nov 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Comment #3
    A personal view from an exiled member

    Once upon a time there was a man named Ronnie Lambert, but most people on Tyneside knew him better as ‘Busker’, the man who’s ode to his City, ‘Home Newcastle’ became a much played pre match anthem at St James Park and the lyrics of which still resonate deeply within the hearts of exiled Geordies like myself.

    While there are probably only a few of us would actually drink a “bottle of the River Tyne”, even post 1980’s cleanup, the lyrics of Busker’s song still receive approving nods because they get to the heart of what it is and what it means to be a Geordie; That feeling of coming home to a city that has roots that dig deep into one’s soul, roots that bind you and delight you and that make up an integral part of your native identity.

    Busker understood this and that’s why his music, while dismissible as corny and sentimental to those who’s roots lie elsewhere, still fills most Geordie’s hearts with warmth on a cold matchday and has them humming along to its knowing refrain.

    It’s always struck me that Newcastle United Football Club, in the many administrations that have reigned during my 31 years, have never properly been able to tap into that identity and make the most out of it, especially from a “business” point of view. Too often the fans have merely been viewed as a by-product of the “business” with no serious efforts made to do anything more than sell them this year’s overpriced shirt.

    Sir John Hall arguably made the best stab of it, Freddy Shepherd often went nauseatingly too far down the parochial path with his talk of how “only a Geordie” could understand the club. Hello Freddy, Kevin Keegan and Joe Harvey amongst others say “hi”!

    However, neither, I feel, really made the most of the Newcastle Supporter’s insatiable passion and deep interest in the history and culture surrounding our once very successful club.

    My lifetime has not brought any meaningful trophies to St. James Park, all I’ve had are hope, dreams, folklore and memories with brief glimpse of success cruelly snatched away at the tail end of 1996. Because of that I, like many others have turned to the past for the glory that I’ve missed out on in my trophy-less years as a supporter of NUFC. I’ve steeped myself in the folklore of Hughie Gallagher and Jackie Milburn, Joe Harvey and the Fairs Cup team and I’ve always been rather surprised that the club’s various administrations haven’t done more to sell this history to my success starved generation.

    Year after year, I’ve read about heroes of the past passing away and I’ve looked to the club for a tribute, a mention, a lasting memorial. Instead, aside from the renaming of a stand, all I’ve witnessed is a single statue of ‘Wor Jackie’ being erected, paid for not by the club but by readers of the Evening Chronicle!

    To that mind one of the first things I proposed to the committee of what was then the Newcastle United Supporters Club was that we push the club to introduce a Hall of Fame for ex-players and managers, that their achievements in representing our great club might be properly celebrated and fans might be given the opportunity to pay a lasting tribute to these great servants of the club.

    Thankfully the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, as the NUSC has now become, has made this an integral part of their long term plans for shaping community involvement with the club and I look forward with pride to the day it is established and we induct our first heroes into its hallowed halls.

    In the meantime though, things have gone from bad to worse as far as the attitude of the current administration goes towards the preservation of our club’s glorious history and heritage.

    One of the first things Mike Ashley did after taking the reins of power at St. James was to decommission a project setup by former chairman Freddy Shepherd; to wit he put the kibosh on plans to build two £65’000 a piece statues of our two all time goal-scoring legends – Alan Shearer and Jackie Milburn.

    In Ashley’s view these were a frivolous waste of money. Unlike Freddy, who while no angel at least appeared to have something of a grasp of what the club was all about, Ashley didn’t see how statues like this help build and further the relationship between the club and its customers. He didn’t get how they build on the heritage and folklore we grow up living and breathing. Ashley didn’t see how the statues would pay for themselves everytime some wide-eyed Geordie kid walked past one and asked for the first time “who’s that, Dad?” only to be sucked into a lifetime of devotion to Ashley’s “business”; Newcastle United.

    Ashley didn’t see how plastering the roof of the Gallowgate End with a giant advertisement for his sporting empire cheapened the look of the church of St James. That’s because Mike Ashley treats Newcastle United and everything that’s said about him as a joke.

    Don’t believe me? Get yourself along to the director’s suite of St. James (it shouldn’t be hard, just walk through the front door, Ashley has sacked so many of the staff that there probably won’t be any security left). When you get there take a look at the framed Sunday Times cartoon Ashley has hanging on the wall poking fun at his pathetic joke of a tenure. Yes, folks, this is a man who doesn’t just mock the supporters and people of Newcastle on a daily basis, he publicly displays a cartoon satirising his own disastrous reign in a suite where he entertains other football chairmen.

    And now we come to the final insult. Having once again taken down the ‘for sale’ signs (conveniently after it’s too late to improve the threadbare squad) Ashley still doesn’t get why it is that over 40’000 still come to St James every other weekend. He still doesn’t get that we don’t come because of him; we don’t come because of the “superstar” players or the awe inspiring management team he’s put in place. We don’t come to have an overweight opera singer bawl at us to “get behind our team” (Sorry Mr. Danby but its true) we do it not out of misplaced pride to any of this but because our heritage, our history and our identity is intrinsically linked to a place called St. James Park.

    Or at least it always has been up until now. Now Mr Ashley has had another brainwave and even that once seemingly irremovable truth is up for sale; for the right price, of course.

    It’s a truly sickening day for all of us.

    Ronnie Lambert, AKA Busker died earlier this year at the age of 58 and will be greatly missed. I doubt he could ever have imagined that one day his lyrics might be twisted and malformed by the greed of one man so that fans were left singing:

    “I’ll brave the dark at the Barclaycard, in the Sugarpuff’s End in the rain”

    Mr Ashley, it’ll be a cold day in hell before we do. Remember that when you consider how many season ticket holders you think you’ll get back into your rebranded stadium when the 2010/2011 season comes around.

    Through relegation, humiliation lies and Dennis Wise the supporters of NUFC have stuck with this shattered club and given it their undying support. Attempt to strip us of its heritage however and you commit an act of heresy that no Geordie will be prepared to forgive. That, I’m afraid Mr Ashley, is where the bottom falls out of the barrel for most of us; the final cretinous act of a hopeless gambler and his utter failure to understand the “business” of Newcastle United Football Club.

    R.I.P Busker,

    “They’ll never take St. James”.

  • G

    Nov 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #4

    An excellent post SJT, possibly the most profound thing I have ever seen on the blog. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  • stuart no9

    Nov 3, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #5

    i just hope a majority of the guys who leave comments on this blog ,get to read your comment.In it you mention history,culture,insatiable passion, something most of us, and people from other parts of the world,refer to when NUFC is mentioned.i was brought up on the banks of the tyne in Walker, moved away , but still come back for first game my dad took me to was Jackie Milburns testamonial when i was about 5 ( i crawled in under the turnstyle in the popular end.from that day i was hooked.I was amazed when i went to work abroad,how many people knew about NUFC , they would mention milburn as if he used to play for their team,they would talk about the fans they would mention SJP sometimes i felt they knew more about my club than i do, and all because of its history, thats why ,personally,taking away the name ST,JAMES PARK is an insult to EVERY newcastle supporter,it is not JUST a name it is part of our history, and every fan should be proud,every time you walk through those gates ,the same as every player should feel when he pulls on that famous black and white shirt

  • sirjasontoon

    Nov 3, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #6

    Cheers G.

    The people on here that have said renaming the stadium is a good idea want shot.

    I was born and raised in wallsend,1st match was around 1975 and got my first Bukta kit from Fenwicks soon after.

  • cubsfan102

    Nov 3, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #7

    First time poster…just wanted to make the statement as to this is the reason I originally chose Newcastle as the club I support. Over here in the states we have a baseball team much in the same situation as NUFC. The Chicago Cubs have not won the championship in over 100 YEARS! Lol, and yet, the Cubs continue to have the greatest fans in baseball, and sell out every home game, no matter the state of the team. When I heard about the Toon Army, and was first choosing a team to root for in England, I could choose no one else BUT Newcastle!(Of course with my luck, they get relegated that same year 🙂

  • summerof69

    Nov 3, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    Comment #8

    i would disagree ed you could argue best in the country but to say the world is wrong we wouldnt even be in the top 10

  • stuart no9

    Nov 3, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    Comment #9

    who is then ? top 3

  • cupiddstunt

    Nov 3, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    Comment #10

    Ok summerof69 c’mon lets have your top ten, and forget regularly successful clubs as most of those are just glory hunters and would fall by the wayside the moment the club starts to slide.

    All clubs have their fairweather fans who turn up when they are winning but are no where to be seen when loosing. We have lost 10,000 sunshine fans since dropping into the fizzy.

    Fizzy league 1/ Leeds and Norwich still gating 23,000 to 24,000 plus, on attendance that would put them in the middle of the prem.

    So c’mon with your top ten clubs whos’ fans are there through thick and thin not just there when the sun shines.

  • lacedaemonian

    Nov 3, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #11

    Great post SJT.

  • lacedaemonian

    Nov 3, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    Comment #12

    Travelling fans is primarily British. In most countries in the world fans do not travel at all.

  • Graeme

    Nov 4, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #13

    SJT, that sums it up superbly well, brought a tear to my eyes, I’ll be honest.

    I’ve supported the toon since 1963 when my old man was a copper in the back of the Leazes and never missed a match. Have worked overseas since 1980 and watch the toon every chance possible.

    The current situation sickens me. I dont want to go there to put a penny in FCB’s pocket, but now my son is NUFC daft. I’m in the UK for a week and he wants me to take him to the game; he wants to sit with his dad in SJP for only the second time.

    I have to go, I have to take him, disgust at FCB will not stop me no matter how much it hurts. My son has the right to be there, with his dad, cheering on the TOON!!

    FCB just doesnt understand and never will. Despite him, I’ll be there on Saturday, with my boy, cheering on MY team.


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