It’s hard to get away from football as the end of season covid infected games have been pumped out every night on the telly. Newcastle United finish mid table after another season of zero ambition under owner Mike Ashley. Times up Mike. He needs to delete any connection with the football team, hopefully, new owners are waiting in the wings.
Last week I received an email from Wavis O’Shave who remembered better times for the club. Back in the 80’s Wavis released singles, an album and appeared on live music show The Tube, but before that he was a regular at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United…
I used to go to all their home games and I remember at the start of one season about 50 Wolves skinhead supporters made their way around the ground to try and get in the Leazes End where they would have got eaten.
At one game I asked a bloke to zip me up inside my anorak so that my arms were inside. When the game ended I couldn’t move and got carried all over the place by the packed crowd as they made their way out. All good fun.
The first game I went to was the start of the ’68 season where Newcastle beat Man City 1-0 with an early Pop Robson penalty. I’d been deciding whether to support Newcastle or Man United but as Man U lost their opening game 4-1 at home to Southampton that same afternoon, I chose Newcastle. Big mistake!
I wasn’t a great football player but I could play football great, I had been invited to a trial for Newcastle on August 23rd 1973 at their Hunters Moor training ground, as a right winger – not the political type.
Strangely, I wasn’t playing any footy that summer and every week kept saying that I’d better start to get in shape for the big day. I went down to The Dragon playing fields near the South Shields beach to have a bit of a kick about. I wasn’t in great shape!
Day of the 23rd and I’m off to Hunters Moor which I thought was nearer to St James’ than it was, so I had to run like hell on the extremely hot day to get there in time for 1.30pm. I was knackered – great preparation, eh? Then it all went surreal.
I was to play on the right wing but when they called out my name I was down for left back – defence instead of attack and wrong footed! They threw me some shin pads and wouldn’t let me play if I didn’t wear them. I’d chose never to wear pads in my life so I found myself having to stop every 10 yards to readjust them as they kept whizzing to the back of my legs.
According to some mates who came to watch and give me moral support I played a good shift with some crunching tackles. The club said they’d let you know and it was months later I got an expected thanks, but no thanks.
Now, either the buggers made a grave error in playing me out of position or fate stepped in to ensure they never have a soccer legend. Either way, they’ve won nowt since and I don’t think they ever will.
When VIZ Comic had their 20th Anniversary bash I was invited but of course didn’t go. There were a few celebs there including my footy hero Malcolm Supermac Macdonald. I’d gave my ticket to a friend who went in my place, and when he was having a piss in the bogs next to Supermac he said to him ‘So you know, Wavis?’
If they hadn’t played me left back maybe I would have played with him!
I followed the Mags until I deleted all interest in them some years back when they lost to Sunderland five times on the trot. Unacceptable behaviour so I was out! I can’t take footy serious now it’s not a sport anymore, just stocks and shares, and you can’t take the thing serious when players earn 100k a week and behave like girls blouse pop stars. They should get themselves a decent job.
Links to previous interviews with Wavis O’Shave:
Gary Alikivi July 2020.