Andy Carroll got a hostile reception from Newcastle fans, when he returned to St. James’ Park yesterday, and that’s putting it mildly.
The scenes yesterday as a lonely Andy Carroll was booed off the pitch
So did Jose Enrique and even Craig Bellamy, two other former players but the real barracking was kept for Andy Carroll, and that’s because he’s a Geordie born and bred over the River Tyne in Gateshead and part of the Newcastle Youth Academy for many years.
And it’s not only because he’s a Geordie , but also he was given the famous number 9 shirt when he was just 21, a shirt worn in the past by Newcastle’s two greatest ever strikers, Jackie Milburn of Ashington, and Alan Shearer of Gosforth.
Both were also local lads who between them scored 406 goals for the Magpies.
And it was also because it seems, if we are to believe the press reports, that he left Newcastle and went to Liverpool for the money.
The fact he left Newcastle was almost unforgivable to Geordie fans, but to go for the money – he’s supposedly on £75K/week at Liverpool – is almost unforgivable.
And Andy had a clear chance to score after just 10 minutes when he was clean through, and when he should of just hit the ball in the back of the net past Tim Krul, he hesitated and tried to beat Krul, as the mental thoughts of scoring against his home town team could have affected his play.
But it’s not the first time he’s missed good chances this season, as Liverpool fans will no doubt attest to.
Andy played for a foul and dived, as TV replays clearly showed as they repeated the incident about 103 times.
That made it even worse for Newcastle fans – a Geordie who is trying to cheat, and he’s in opposition colors. The comments that Andy was falling in any case from Kenny Dalglish were hard to believe – but it was a good try by the Liverpool manager.
I showed my wife of 40 years, Madeline, the scenes as Andy was taken off yesterday after 79 minutes, and my wife, who is also born and bred in Newcastle, thought it was cruel the way he was treated yesterday.
But English football in general is all about passion, and Newcastle is one of the most passionate places in the world in football, as far as real passion goes, and it cuts both ways.
The top players at Newcastle are treated as Gods, and Andy was treated that way when he was scoring goals regularly, and looked to be Newcastle’s new talisman of the future.
But when he left his home town club, that all melted away and was replaced by scorn and dismay that a Geordie, who was given the number 9 shirt by the club at 21 years old, could walk away, even for three times the money he was getting at Newcastle.
It may not be right what happened to Andy yesterday, and he was obviously upset and a little dismayed when he left the pitch and whispered a few F words in his frustration, and walked straight to the dressing room as he took off his Liverpool shirt.
But that’s the way it is.
Andy must have wondered what he had done, to cause the fans who once adored him to now scorn him, and wave goodbye to him, as he left the sacred turf (whoops I had earlier mis-spelled that with a “d” on the end – embarrassing!) of St. James’ Park to tumultuous barracking from the Geordie crowd.
And unfortunately for Andy, that feeling that Newcastle fans have for him right now, may not change any time soon.
Such is life at Newcastle, and whether it’s good or bad – that’s the way it is.