Having a Newcastle pal is one thing – but wear his shirt?

Actually the boot was on the other foot, or the shirt on the other back. Two mates, one a Mackem and the other a Mag, had a bet on who would finish higher … you’ve probably guessed the forfeit but can read all about it by clicking here. It reminds M Salut of the Celebrity Supporter interview with a young Sunderland actor Sean Landless (pictured), who starred with Billy Connolly in Gabriel and Me. The part called for Sean, as a Toon-supporting Tyneside teenager, to try turning himself into an angel to save his cancer-stricken father. “I had to dress up in a sort of feathery dress,” he said. “But having to wear the Newcastle shirt was worse.”

The first story tickled Jeremy Robson‘s fancy …

Reading this story in the Sunderland Echo about two mates, Andy White and Josh Dyer, the first of whom supports Newcastle Utd and the other the mighty Mackems, made me laugh; or should I say cringe almost uncontrollably and then laugh.

The thought of wearing one of their shirts is completely repugnant. I just couldn’t do it. It strikes me as a strange mentality that these lads possess, in order to enter into such a thing.

Several years ago when I worked in the School of Design at Northumbria University a colleague sent a round robin email to everyone asking is
they had any Sunderland shirts that he could borrow for a project. Naturally my curiosity was raised. He told me that he wanted to take photographs of Newcastle Utd fans wearing the red and white shirts.

The concept behind the photo shoot was to capture inherent contradictions. I was a little leery about this, expecting my collection of Sunderland shirts (my own and those belonging to our three kids), to come back with abusive messages scrawled all over them, ripped to shreds or with fag burns in them. However, I handed him a batch of half a dozen or so shirts. They were duly returned a couple of weeks later, cleanly washed and in the same condition as when I’d given them to him. I’m sorry to say that I never got copies of the images that he captured. They were a series of monochrome images which were set apart because the red stripes.

There were people is all sorts of situations, young and old alike. I wish that I’d pestered him for copies of these pictures as they were very powerful. Each and every one of them featured a thoroughly miserable Mag face! This article from the Sunderland Echo reminded me about it, as I’d long since forgotten about it. The images were captured as a result of someone pursuing art, whereas this rather unusual bet between Josh and Andy was driven purely by rivalry and friendly banter. There must have been several occasions over the course of the season where both of them wished they’d never made the wager.

It has to be the daftest bet that I’ve ever heard a Mackem make with a Mag. That is of course unless someone out there knows different …

Contributions are welcome, subject to the usual rules of decency and literacy, from fans of other clubs who have engaged in eccentric wagers with a mate who supports “the enemy”.

4 thoughts on “Having a Newcastle pal is one thing – but wear his shirt?”

  1. Did something similar in the mid 80’s at RAF Stanmore Park. Dave Watson (no, not THE) wore my shirt for a substantial donation to charity.

  2. At Stephen Wilson’s funeral in August 2009, the eulogy was given by his mate, Brian Neil. Brian was a dyed in the wool Mag who had played for Shildon Sunderland Supporters and had worn a kind of red and white shirt but who would no more wear a SAFC strip than I would a NUFC one.
    After a wonderful eulogy, which showed Brian’s class as well as Stephen’s, he ripped off his shirt to reveal a proper red and white Sunderland shirt. A very moving moment, which shows that, at the end of the day, football is only a game and that friendship and love transcends all.

  3. about six or seven years back, a mag mate was trying to give up the tabs, to no avail. So we agreed a good incentive would be that the next tab he smoked meant that he had to wear a Sunderland shirt. For two years he managed, then he got himelf a woman who smoked and he took upt he tabs again. I thought two years was a decent achievement, so I let him off. MInd, I do have a photo of his better half dancing in my Sunderland shirt.

    …and no, I could’t wear a mag top under any circumstances.

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