We Are the Geordies. That oft-heard phrase could not be more relevant to the football team we at FNA support – Newcastle United FC – the ‘wee club up north’ – to coin a phrase. And we are not alone. There are millions of fans like us who either have been born in the North East of England and have inherited NUFC as a birth right, or like so many other football fanatics around the globe, have decided, for one reason or another, to defy logic and support a team that hasn’t won a major trophy in more than 50 years.
Despite its lack of success on the pitch, the trials and tribulations of the Club have been well- documented and commented on by many in the media as well as supporters of other football teams. In fact, it’s rare that NUFC is not a hot topic of the media, albeit more often than not, for reasons other than what has transpired on the pitch. Many NUFC fans believe that they’re misunderstood by people who live outside of the region, so we went and met them to see what they had to say.
We spent an entire season following Newcastle United supporters as they followed their beloved Newcastle United up and down the country. Led by world-renowned manager, Rafa Benítez, who only six months earlier had been manager of Real Madrid (from the Bernabeu to Barnsley, who could resist?) and who had surprised many when he decided to stay on as manager of NUFC after their relegation to the second tier of English football. His mission – to lead the team back to the Premier League in his first full season at the helm.
There’s no denying the passion and loyalty of NUFC fans. Home or away, they support their team in record numbers and in loud cheer, often imbued with a touch of Geordie humour. We’ve often heard it said that to the Geordies football is a religion… and St James’ Park, where they play their matches, a cathedral. A holy place. Sacred, even. The team is inextricably intertwined with the local culture, a part of their identity. Legend has it that back when coal mining and ship building were the region’s main source of industry, the effect of the team was such that worker productivity increased on the days following a win and vice versa after a loss. NUFC is in the blood.