Luckily (or perhaps extremely unluckily) I won tickets at work to the recent Leicester game.
Being a Leicester local, however, the catch with these tickets were that I had to sit in the home end pretending that I was there to watch the likes of Tielemans and whoever Dewsbury-Hall is.
I sat with my brother (whispering criticisms to each other) and a friend from work who supports Leicester.
My friend was keen to share some of the things about Leicester, like how the clappers mostly had one player as the picture or how the shirt cannons tended to fail in reaching the upper echelons, but, in all honesty, everything felt extremely small time and forced.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting Leicester’s hierarchy and the ambitions they have to create a big club, but I sat there feeling like there was an imbalance. It didn’t feel right that this club who relied on goal music and gimmicks to create an atmosphere was miles ahead of us in infrastructure and recent success.
I was born in Leicester, I’ve lived in the city my whole life but my heart is with Newcastle. Initially, in a bid to help cultivate my love of football, my parents bought a season ticket to Filbert Street until my Heaton-born dad decided that the seven hour round journey was infinitely more important to see Newcastle play at St James’s Park. Mild interest was prompted in Filbert Street but a burning passion was born in St James’s.
I’ve always seen a difference in fan attitude to the respective clubs and I’m not doubting Leicester City fans’ love for their club. I know some cracking people who bleed blue, but it feels different on a city wide scale. Maybe I’m blinkered and biased, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is a difference in the two cities for the love of their football club.
Writing this currently, it feels like I’m writing a criticism of Leicester City and it’s really not supposed to be that. Supporters of their club deserve to experience joy and happiness from their team.
I’m trying to explain that Newcastle United is massive and really should be in a stronger and higher position (something that we will hopefully achieve soon). Just from our support, we absolutely deserve success and aspiration.
I’ve had many friends and colleagues mention how impressive our away support was yesterday and I’m proud to be able to agree with them. Our support is special and we should always acknowledge that.
A teenage lad started singing after their first goal “You’re not singing anymore” and his face was an absolute picture when he realised that we weren’t going to stop. It didn’t matter that we went down to 4-0 because our fans kept singing and they showed what we truly are.
We are unique. We are special. We are Newcastle United.