Newcastle United vs Sunderland ‘Who are You?’: a less than happy Mag

Jake demands answers
Jake demands answers

As time crept on, I feared I had left it too late to find a warm, witty or wise Newcastle fan for the pre-derby ‘Who are You?’. Then Pete Sixsmith came up with Brian Neil*, a Gateshead-born, Bishop-by-adoption lad with a fondness for exclamation marks and mild profanity. Brian is an ideal interviewee: bags to say for himself and lots of strong views on things Toon to like and dislike (he very unhappy about the Pardew/Kinnear axis), as befits a season ticket holder who has attended every derby since 1981. He roundly – and rightly – rebukes Monsieur Salut for misuse of the word ‘great’ and is otherwise a very good read despite everything …

Salut! Sunderland:
Newcastle having a very strong season, Sunderland reaching Wembley in an otherwise dire and dangerous one. Did you see any of that coming?

No! I have to admit that I never saw any of that coming. After a hugely disappointing season last season, where we more than flirted with relegation and with no signings coming into the club over the summer to strengthen the squad and losing decent squad players such as the likes of James Perch, I could only foresee the same again and being involved in another dogfight to stay up. We have a decent first 11 when they are all fit, but, I just couldn’t see us keeping them fit and being in the top half…. to say I am pleasantly surprised, is a massive understatement.

5under1and getting to Wembley ? … don’t make me laugh !… but, apparently they have. I still think I’m more surprised that we are top half than I am at 5under1and getting to Wembley. After all, if you get a bit of luck in the draw, then you just never know…. But, I can’t even say that 5under1and have had a lucky, spawny draw, having to beat the likes of Southampton, Chelsea and Man Utd.

As someone once said … “It’s a funny old game”

Cabaye – great player but nasty at times – seems to be the key. Who else would you pick out for special praise and where are you still weak? (NB: question posed and answered before he joined PSG – ed)

My biggest pet hate in football is when players are described as “great” when they are nowhere near earning that accolade. Yohan Cabaye is good player, at times he has been very good this season, I would even say he has been excellent, but, he is not a great player! …. In my opinion great players include, Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, Eusebio, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Charlton, Platini, Puskas.

In his first season at Newcastle he did well and helped us to a 5th place finish. Last season, I know he suffered with a few injuries, but he simply didn’t do enough. He didn’t control games, he did not show enough class and he didn’t live up to the hype and he was way below his best ! This season he is showing his class and he is controlling more games and he has been very good of late… he must continue to do so in my opinion. Yes, he does have a nasty side to his game, but, I love to see that… it, tells me he can look after himself and won’t be intimidated… he’s been our best player this season – no doubts !…. However, here’s my prediction… as I sit here writing this drivel on Monday January 27th, five days before we meet at St. James’ Park…. Yohan Cabaye will no longer be a Newcastle United player come Derby day… he will be sold on the last day, or, next to last day of the transfer window for “an undisclosed fee”, which, when the truth comes out will turn out to be no more than £20m!!!

Mike Williamson is very deserving of praise for his performances this season and is definitely our most improved player this season … there’s a kiss of death for the kidda… he’s bound to drop a bollock that leads to a 5under1and goal now !

Debuchy is also much improved on last season, not difficult, because he was dire. But, now he is beginning to look like an international footballer.

Where are we weak ? …. definitely at left back !… Santon is a defending liability. Constantly caught out of position when we lose possession. He can’t tackle and wins nothing in the air. His apologists insist he is good going forward…. apart from the fact he can’t kick with is “left” foot , so, cant cross the ball on the run and has to constantly cut inside to cross with his right … and the threat is gone.

In my opinion Massaido Haidara should be given an extended run in the side at left back, he is quick, he can tackle, he has a trick going forward and he can cross a ball !

Jake: let ha'way rise above ho'way again
Jake: let ha’way rise above ho’way again

And what do you now make of Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley and did you always think that way?

Well they say “you should be careful what you wish for”. I was desperate to get rid of the bloodsuckers that were the Hall family – John & Douglas and Fat Freddy Shepherd, money was haemorrhaging out of NUFC and into their pockets.

When the news broke than an English billionaire had bought NUFC I couldn’t have been happier…. the parasites were gone at long last! … how wrong could I have been ?

Initially, Ashley made some very good decisions, he sacked Big Fat Sam (Allardyce) and brought back the King – Keegan… things were without doubt on the up. Then he lied to Keegan and sold James Milner against Keegan’s wishes and despite giving him guarantees that it would not happen, on the last day of the transfer window (I see a theme starting here) and the dye was cast … Keegan ultimately resigning on matters of principle.

Pardew, I can say hand on heart, that I have never liked him!!!!…. he was given the job after Chris Hughton was sacked…. Hughton’s last two games in charge were the 5-1 demolition derby hammering of 5under1and and a 1-0 away win at Arsenal the very next weekend and three days later he was sacked …. Ridiculous !

Pardew was parachuted in from the dole queue after he had been sacked by Southampton of the third division…. Ashley stating he had more experience managing in the top flight than Hughton …. Utter BOLLOX Man !
He was given the job because he was/is Ashley’s mate and he was guaranteed to keep his mouth shut, tow the party line, not rock the boat (ask for money to bring decent players in) and be Ashley’s puppet, his mouthpiece for the media et al.

I now despise Pardew…for the sh*** he spouts mainly, but, also for his tactical ineptness, but, mainly because he is Ashley’s bitch ! We are top half in spite of him, not because of him.

I want him gone from my beloved football club… and take ya sh** craic with you !

Didn’t the club make itself a laughing stock with its bans on some local and national newspapers?

The simple answer is Yes… but, not as BIG a laughing stock as it made itself look by appointing one Joseph Kinnear formerly of this parish as … Director of F***all (that’s F***all) by the way ! ….
and not as BIG a laughing stock as Douglas Hall & Freddy Shepherd made us look in the fake sheikh affair… when they slagged Shearer off as Mary Poppins, bragged they made the shirts for a quid and flogged them to the mugs (fans) for £30 quid and went shagging prostitutes in every city we played a European game in….f***ing wankers !!

But, here’s my take on the local newspapers being banned. Where have they been during Ashley’s regime ? And why haven’t they been holding him and the club to account for goodness sake ?…. No, instead, they have kissed his fat a*** and kow-towed to the twat…. for what ?…. for no other reason than to gain access to the ground and the players and give us the vital information, that Steven Taylor’s favourite colour is purple, or Tim Krul’s favourite ice cream is raspberry…. F*** off man you twats !!…. you should be asking the BIG important questions like….why were there no signings last summer ?, where has all the money gone ? why is St James’ Park plastered in s*** Sports Direct Advertising ? why do Sports Direct pay nothing, zilch, zip for that advertising space ? why are no other major sponsors logos in the ground ? Why have NUFC’s revenues dropped so dramatically compared to every other club in the Premier League, whose commercial revenues are all up ? Why has the Newcastle United Supporters Trust been banned by the club ? Why did you appoint a totally incompetent Director Of Football – Joe Kinnear ? Why does NUFC pay Sports Direct for club merchandise etc etc etc.
The local newspapers should hang their collective heads in shame!…. at last they are beginning to ask some questions, but, too little and far, far, too late….. and they now expect our sympathy …..sycophantic twats !

Frightfully Tactile, Men (if I may say so) ...
Frightfully Tactile, Men (if I may say so) …

Wear-Tyne-Wear derby days can be exhilarating, heartbreaking, downright poisonous.One point of view even suggests we should settle for an unplayed draw each time and just get on with our lives. What do you think?

Whey give owa man….Definitely not !, these are the games that I live for and provide a feeling like no other… I’m excited just thinking and writing about it man. I’ve had my share of heartbreak mind you… no more so than last season….but, during my time supporting NUFC I’m way in credit when it comes to Tyne-Wear derby games and results….Newcastle enjoying by far the better of the derbies since the late 1960s!

Do you have special memories – good, bad or amusing – of any from the past?

Well obviously my best and favourite memories are the wins and none better than the 5-1 hammering we dished out at the Halloween Massacre a couple of seasons ago…..the result just kept on giving when I saw Peter Sixsmith picked out by the BBC Match Of The Day cameras as we went 5-0 up as I watched it again later that night!
The Liam O’Brien “over the wall…whese keys are these keys” derby at Roker Park was also particularly sweet.
Beardsley’s hat trick in the 3-1 win at St. James’ in 1985 was also special, not least because there were the added celebrations of seeing two Makkem sendings off…. It was 3-1 at the time by the way!

I was very fortunate to get tickets for the fan ban game at Roker Park in 1996 when we had a great side containing Shearer, Ferdinand, Ginola, Beardsley, Lee, Batty, Albert and were 1-0 down at half time and getting battered …. we should’ve been at least three down. Right in front of us a 5under1and fan threw a half-eaten pie at David Ginola, which smacked him bang on the chin ….he wiped it from his face in disgust and gave a Gallic look of disdain to the crowd amid great mirth from the makkems….but, the beast was stirred and Ginola began demanding the ball and from then on for the next 40 or so minutes he was unplayable and without doubt turned the game for us…. I love the pies at 5under1and !!!!!!….. that was the only time in my NUFC supporting life that I have not celebrated a Newcastle goal… the silence when we scored was eerie and surreal .

The biggest low was definitely last seasons 0-3 home defeat, not least because it was such a surprise ….I don’t believe anyone saw that coming…especially me…..we effectively saved the makkems from relegation with that sh*** performance!

What were your emotions when we reached Wembley and how would you feel about us going down?

I was holiday in Dubai for the 2nd leg, the game kicking off at a quarter to midnight local time and the hotel did not have the game on !…. I managed to find it on the internet and watched it on my Ipad, but, the picture kept freezing, so, I was relying on twitter for the scores…

I thought you’d done well to take a lead there from the 1st leg, but, I honestly couldn’t see you hanging on…. What the fek do I know ?

When you won the game I’ll admit it….I was gutted ….the reason being ….not because I think you’ll win it, but, because I was certain that you had just guaranteed yourselves European football next season …. I’m less gutted now that you haven’t!!!!!!!

How would I feel about you going down ?…. I’d be delighted !…. but, I don’t think you will go down….Poyet has steadied the ship and I think you’ll just scrape safety.

Who are the greatest players you have seen – or wish you had seen – in black and white stripes and who should have been allowed nowhere near St James’ Park?

In this order the most skilful players I’ve seen at St James’ Park in black n white are….

1. David Ginola … the biggest compliment I can pay him is I still don’t know if he was right or left footed
2. Peter Beardsley
3. Paul Gascoigne
4. Faustino Asprilla
5. Jimmy Smith


The greatest players I’ve seen in black n white are…

1. Alan Shearer.
2. Alan Shearer
3. Alan Shearer
4. Alan Shearer
5. Alan Shearer

The man has been immense for us and he played in some sh*** teams at NUFC… he carried us more times than you can shake a stick at and considering the career threatening injuries he came back from …. HE IS THE MAN

Those who shouldn’t have gotten anywhere near a black n white shirt are far too many to recount here …. Because we have had lots of sh*** mind you … but, my personal sh** 11 would include, in no particular order….

1. Graeme Oats
2. Fumaca…. The only Brazilian who couldn’t play football
3. George Reilly
4. Kevin Brock
5. Des Hamilton
6. Stephane Guivarc’h
7. Marcellino
8. Boumsong
9. Cacapa
10. Carl Cort
11. Xisco

Your highs and lows as a Newcastle supporter?

There haven’t been many highs ….certainly not trophy winning highs, although I was alive when we won the Fairs Cup …. I was pushing six years old

I would have to say beating the makkems 5-1 recently

Beating Man. Utd. 5-0 in 1996

Being in the San Siro in 2002 and seeing Shearer score twice in front of 12,000 delirious Geordies to earn a 2-2 draw against Inter Milan in The Champion’s League

Being in the De Kuip in Rotterdam to see Craig Bellamy getting an injury time winner in The Champion’s League against Feyenoord

Mainly, enjoying all of the great European nights at St. James’ Park against top class opposition, but, especially the European away trips with ya mates and the craic.

The biggest low is without a doubt losing that big lead and being overhauled by Man. Utd. and losing out on the League Title in 1995/96 season…. I still can’t bear to watch the Premier League years for that season when it’s repeated.

Two FA Cup Final defeats in the late 1990s were also very bitter to swallow as well

That book***
That book: yours for a penny ***

What will be the top four in order this season and, without sparing our feelings, who is going down. If either of our clubs fails to features so far in your response, where will they finish?

The top four in order I think will be ….

1. Arsenal…. I think they’ll win it and I hope they win it… I detest them the least
2. Man City
3. Chelsea
4. Liverpool

Newcastle will finish 8th


18th ….West Ham

5under1and will finish 17th

And can Sunderland win the league cup?

Yes, I think you can win the League Cup….and you probably will….Man. City will get someone unjustly sent off and the makkems will get a deflection off the referee’s arse and win 1-0….It’s written in the stars

Is there any aspect of the modern game that truly inspires you?

No! absolutely nowt

And what annoys you most?

Diving cheats and players being described as “great”

Brazil: already excited or couldn’t really care less?

Very excited because I love football and the times of the games are excellent for the UK audience and I’ll try and watch every game….a summer with football is a gift from God.

Will you make it to the game and what will be the score?

I’ll definitely be at the game being a season ticket holder…. I sit in the Gallowgate End middle tier just inside the line of the 18 yard box furthest away from the tunnel …. It’s a cracking view with great perspective.

We have to win and I think we will win …. 2-0 to the Toon….

But, I couldn’t see us getting beat last season either !

Brian Neil at Sid James' Park
Brian Neil

* Brian Neil on himself: I was born in August 1963….(I’ve just turned 50) in Gateshead and brought up in Gateshead in a black n white daft family and house….I don’t know to this day of anyone in the family that doesn’t support Newcastle United….At school everyone supported Newcastle…if there were any 5under1and supporters I didn’t know any!….I was taken to my first game by my big brother on the opening day of the 1970/71 season ….we beat Wolves 3-2 and I was hooked….I couldn’t believe how green and vast the pitch was….we had a black n white telly and I hadn’t seen grass that green before!
My first derby game was at St James’ Park on Boxing Day 1976 …I believe there hadn’t been a derby game since the late 1960s mainly because 5under1and had languished below Newcastle in the old 2nd division for several seasons. I was 13… we won 2-0….happy days.

My first away derby was the following season in October 1977 in the 1st leg of the League Cup …. I’m sure Kevin Arnott scored a cracker for 5under1and, but, we came back from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw. I have been to every derby game since 1981 home and away.

I married a girl from Bishop Auckland and moved there in 1990 and I have lived in the town ever since ….almost half of my life.

It was only when I moved to Bishop Auckland that I actually came into contact with and got to know any 5under1and fans ….I was still playing Sunday football back then and I played with a lot of 5under1and fans ….I still play golf with them now….. They are great lads and I’m proud to say some of them are my best friends to this day and they love their team.

I’m still married to the same lady incidentally…. We have two daughters, both Newcastle fans …. both born in Bishop Auckland and both are passionate Bishop Auckland FC fans.

My fervent hope for derby day is that the idiots who showed up last season stay well away from the city and we can prove to the plod that we are deserving of later kick-offs….

Oh Aye …. And that we stuff the makkems out of sight!

Howay Me Bonny Lads !

Interview: Colin Randall
Exclamation marks: Brian Neil

*** Buy Geordies Vs Mackems: v. 2: Why Tyneside is Better Than Wearside & Why Wearside is Better Than Tyneside, by Ian Black, at . Used copies start at £0.01.

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6 thoughts on “Newcastle United vs Sunderland ‘Who are You?’: a less than happy Mag”

  1. Very amusing piece. I really enjoyed it and agreed with a lot of it [ still trying to work out ” makkems “? ]
    I particuarly agree about the ” great ” status awarded to almost everyone these days [ similar to the ” legend ” that is afforded anyone who had half a dozen appearances ]
    I’ve played and watched football all my life – too long to dwell on – and I’ve seen very few who I would describe as ” great “. Great is Stanley Matthews, who was peerless at 50, Pele and George Best [ before he lost interest ]

  2. A great piece Brian. OK it’s not great! Will excellent do you? You seem like a canny lad, pity you’re “one of them”.

  3. Ah, THAT 8rian! C4nny lad despite the obvious problems with his keyboard!
    I’d always settle for a draw up there as my default prediction, but you never know

  4. As the away team at N03cas21e I’d settle for a point. Would love to beat them again and it’s certainly possible as we seem to play better away from home. What we can’t do is be complacent in any way,a ridiculous thought that we might be looking at the league table,but losing Cabaye and Remy ( for 3 games) added to the fact that we’ve won the last two meetings might lull the squad into a false sense of security. With Poyet at the helm though, a proven mag slayer , we’ll have the best preparation we possibly could have , even if he does have the flu so I can’t really see us not at 110% intensity . A far cry from the Bruce surrenders anyway regardless of the result.Speaking of Bruce, when even Partridge can’t take anymore undermining from above and walks just wait for Doubtfires media campaign of emphasising he’s ” geordie” roots and how he misses ” home” .Watch this space.

  5. What an absolutely class WAY Brian. Superb piece.

    You mention being careful what you wish for. I don’t think anyone could really believe that FMA had brought back JFK for a second go at things. We all thought it was a misdated April Fool. He hasn’t bought anybody has he?

    You have a fool as Director of Football who has bought nobody. We just got rid of a fool that spent a fortune on complete dross. I know it’s hard to believe that Joe was possibly the better of the two options.

  6. “a deflection off the referee’s arse…and win 1-0”. I’ll settle for that. Also Brian, be prepared for another day of pain on Saturday.

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