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Thursday, May 11, 2006

EXTRA: Miracle at St. James's Park

TDH tried long and hard to find something interesting or clever to say about the UEFA Cup final. No luck there. It was a pasting, pure and simple. Fortunately, there is another story so full of heart, passion and joy that TDH is just dying to share.

After trawling the unmarked side streets of Salta, Argentina for ten minutes, TDH finally found the night's hotel. A few minutes after check-in, the TV was turned on in a search for football, any football. First, it was the last three minutes of the Copa Italia final. Yawn. Then, a couple of channel flips later, there it was: minute 88 of the skipper's testimonial.

With the score 1-2 to Celtic, the Geordie faces were looking wan. But then Sir Les OBE dribbled into the box, failing to shoot but still riling up the crowd. And within a minute, there he was again, dancing along the goal line, looking for Dr. Deepak with a cute backpass that, instead, found its way into the net via a Celtic defender.

Smiles were returning to the Tyneside faithful, but they could hardly have guessed what would happen next. Two minutes into the three allotted for stoppages, Chops was pulled back in the box, leading to an immediate penalty. And off the youngster went, making room for the injured but dressed Uncle Alan. He strode to the spot and calmly stoked in yet another of his trademark penalties. Right arm raised, the general greeted the jubilant Toon Army on his last sally.

A moment later, with the ball returned to midfield, the referee called time. If only life were always so just.


Anonymous bibble said...

Just got back from the match. Lucky enough to have been on the front row almost opposite the dug out. A truly memorable and enjoyable night, tinged with sadness for me only at the end. It was such a mild night that most everyone was in NUFC tops and once they got the idea of giving the free scarves a twirl it was also a sight to behold.

The game was fairly competitive and, unusually for SJP, our chanting kept up well through much of the match - save a patch in the 2nd half. At times the noise was incredible, and the penalty set-up was just the perfect ending.

Good to see Taylor on the pitch for a bit, and the receptions for Steve Watson, Gary Speed, Rob Lee, Sir Les...were probably pretty darn memorable for them too.

But the end, when Shearer and family wlked round the pitch taking the cheers was just too much, even for him, and just a few tears came. I was the same...

Another hairs on neck moment was when the fans started chanting "Shearer's coming home" To me, it was like he was being welcomed back into the fold as a fan.

12:53 AM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

Welcome, bibble, and thanks for the on-site report. That last bit put a lump in my throat, too. He'll always be with us....

5:36 AM  

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