In the 90s I lived in Carlisle, and would sometimes go to see them play. My mate Mike Broadis was a journalist and I'd accompany him into the press box. Frankly, watching Carlisle was not an experience for which you would easily part with hard cash. That was the last contact I had with real football, though, at least thirteen years ago. Until this year, I didn't really follow it in the papers, or on Match of the Day. As a Geordie male, most blokes would expect me to know all about Newcastle and the Premier League in general, and not wishing to appear too remote from my roots I learned to bluff my way through most conversations on the subject. My bluff was only called once, about ten years ago, by a fellow teacher, a Coventry City fan, who suggested (in the nicest possible way), "you know fuck all about football, do you?" I had to admit that he was right.
At some point last winter, I began again to take a genuine interest in football. I read up on the history of tactics, and devoured the match reports and the gossip in the sports pages of The Guardian and elsewhere. Much to Herself's dismay, I eschewed late night French language films for Match of the Day. I watched Newcastle's
And so here we are into the 2010/11 season. I plan to get to at least three or four Newcastle games, but mostly I'm going to be following Celtic.