Soapbox: suffering in the rain at St James’ Park

Sunderland fans remember the 2-1 victory in torrential rain at Newcastle United in 1999. Pete Sixsmith’s memory goes back further to another wet occasion at St James’ Park, without the uplifting consolation of a win …

Half term and a couple of days in Lincolnshire, watching the delights of Louth Town v Shirebrook Town (8-0) and Lincoln Moorlands Railway v Long Eaton Town (5-0), with this game enlivened by a strange Long Eaton supporter bellowing out “Come on Long Eaton” at regular intervals and giving a decent impersonation of the late lamented Emperor of Exmoor.

I awoke this morning, logged on to the trusty lap top and nearly expired on the spot. There, on this very site, was a fair, balanced and very enjoyable view of the Tyne/Wear Derby – by a Mag.

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Newcastle United and Sunderland: harmless banter or poisoned hatred?

Time soon enough for the talking to end and the real stuff to take over. But after a season without the need for a Newcastle United “Who are You?”, the Toon version of the feature is back as surely as the derby itself Keith Topping*, author (40+ books) and broadcaster, is the man whose dismantling of the Tony Blair/St James’ Park myth (deserved to be true, but there you go – see footnote**) was reluctantly given prominence here a while back. Stand by for an entertaining read from someone who sees through Mike Ashley but may still believe the Mags to be “everyone’s second favourite club”…

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Tony Blair and Newcastle United: when the truth hurts

If it has begun to seem like Be Nice to Toon Week here. be assured normal service will resume once the volcanic cloud lifts. But as a footnote to the questionnaire Alastair Campbell answered for Salut! Sunderland ahead of today’s game against his beloved Burnley, he commented on a certain urban myth – dear to Mackem hearts – concerning his old boss. Colin Randall reports with heavy heart …

Some stories are true, but you wish they weren’t. Some cry out to be true but are false, even if they leave a postscript – read on – that is entertaining and plausible.

Into the second of those categories slots the belief that Tony Bair, while Prime Minister, talked wistfully in an interview of having sat as a lad in the Gallowgate end at St James’ Park, watching Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle United.

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