City 3 – 1 Newcastle – sans Billy!

This was the first time since we’ve been together, that Billy and I haven’t both attended the family derby. Newcastle took only a reduced allocation this year – mightily strange decision on their part, even allowing for the supposition that City are telling visiting clubs that they must choose their allocation in advance as there is no “sale or return”. Newcastle fans always travel in good numbers and the clashes between the two clubs are usually popular for both sets of fans so there would be little chance that Mr Cashley would be stuck with unsold tickets. Many, many Toon fans failed to get tickets and were not at all happy. So…..

I set off, leaving Billy to watch the game online. For once I had thought to check if there were likely to be any more motorway closures before I left, and it looked like I’d be OK – but I made sure I had Em along in case.

I needed to meet up with Rick before the game as I had to return his tickets that I’d used to take H to the Wolves game, and as luck would have it, as I walked from the car park, I bumped in to Mark who said that Rick was just behind him. We were soon joined by more NE Blues, and we went en masse to City Square, where the rest of the gang (who’d come down by mini-bus from the NE) joined us too. We had a drink, sorted tickets, sold some more raffle tickets and exchanged the odd cuddle or two, and then went our own ways to take our seats.

Leading up to the game, and me living amongst the Newcastle fans, there were many discussions as to what we thought the result might be. Both teams remained unbeaten in the league thus far. Some thought City would hammer Newcastle (a couple of people even said they’d be happy if we “only” thrashed them 3-0!) Others thought it would be tight but City would still prevail. Personally I felt I might take a point – this was the highest scorers in the league against the tightest defence. We might score well, but we also concede – and they don’t!

It was really weird to be sitting in my seat, looking over at the away fans who were half their usual number, and Billy was not amongst them! I felt quite bad being there when he wasn’t. I hoped we could have a good game without the ref spoiling it for once – on our previous recent encounters the refs have not been great. Happily, this time we could simply enjoy the match itself.

At first it all seemed a little cagey and tentative. City went forward but between our own lack of conviction and their strong defending, we couldn’t get past them. Meanwhile they had a couple of excellent chances and as half time neared it looked like it would be 0-0. However, out of the blue, City had a penalty when Ryan Taylor cleared the ball with his arm (not intentionally, but the arm was outstretched so he can have no arguments) and Mario took the spot kick so casually that we didn’t think it was going in! Happily for us, it did, and just a couple of minutes later Micah (who’d had an excellent game so far) managed to score with his head, sending us in to the break with a 2-0 lead 🙂

I went and met Don at half time and got back to my seat just in time for the whistle. Again, Newcastle had chances (hitting the post at one point) but City rode it out and then Micah was fouled, earning us another penalty which Aguero tucked away. I started to relax a little, hoping that at 3-0 with most of the game gone, we might just have got our 3 points. Although Newcastle got a late consolation I felt they deserved it as they’d played well and had kept at it. I thought that Stephen Taylor was their MotM, by the way – he had such a great game and seemed to anticipate many of our attacking moves, cutting our players off from going round, slipping inside or whatever else we had planned. Our own MotM was Micah – I hope Capello was watching!

It had been an enjoyable game and I could live with 3-1 🙂

The visiting fans might have been half their usual number but they still sang loudly – unfortunately only half their singing was for their own club, the other half being against ours. (I always find this bizarre with any club – get behind your own team. I’m also getting well bored of the same old “Where were you when you were s**t?” though our reply of “We were here when we were s**t” is very valid. Anyway, I digress…) Sadly, the day was somewhat marred by one single idiot who decided it would be a good idea to light a firework and throw it into the home fans! The bang was very loud and mad me jump, and I have heard that when the firework landed in a section with children close by, a home fan picked it up to protect them – and it went off in his hands. 🙁 Unfortunately, our fans retaliated by throwing coins and lighters at away fans – although I can understand the anger, this was not acceptable and more innocent bystanders were liable to be hurt. Predictably missiles were returned, and one away fan ripped up his seat and launched it – it hit a lady in the face apparently. On this occasion, the police and stewards were excellent and got things under control quite quickly, and the firework thrower and seat vandal have been arrested. This is NOT what football is about and fortunately something I have only rarely seen. It’s the worst trouble I’ve seen at our stadium in any case. It’s a shame that this happened on a day which should have been about the fine performances on the pitch, and between two sets of fans who have previously generally respected each other and got on well. However, a couple of idiots are not representative of all fans of their clubs and this should be remembered.

One cause of amusement was that the PA announced that “due to unforeseen circumstances there will be no chips today” several wits commented that maybe the fryers were refusing to warm up – They weren’t too far from the truth either (no gas to heat the fryers!) 😀

When I got back to the car I spoke to Billy on the phone since I was still only just receiving all the first half texts – the signal gets blocked or oversubscribed in the stadium and this has been getting much worse recently, so there was no point texting him – he wouldn’t get my text until midnight! He was philosophical about the result and had no arguments with the penalties or the performances. It was still a shame he’d been unable to come though. On my drive in, I’d seen that my usual homeward bound slip road was blocked off, so I turned on Em to get me safely back on the M60 to go home and she did the job nicely. It was nice to have her for back up.

So, we are now the only unbeaten premiership side and have added another 3 valuable points and a further 2 goals to our goal difference. Happy days 🙂 – but when’s this bubble going to burst, I wonder?

Kippax Blue’s photos here.
MCFC’s 60 second highlights here.
MCFC’s extended highlights here.

%d bloggers like this: