The Evening Chronicle , the Chron, the Ronny Gill, whatever you want to call it , was for years, the final word on Newcastle United .

The inside stories, the interviews.  The reporters were often more well known than the players they were reporting on. It was that big a deal.
The Chronicle like most other written print has suffered badly over the last decade and it is for me, a shadow of its former self but is still around that’s the main thing.

Its circulation was around 27,000 down 12% year on year . I cant imagine its helped by being printed through the night as a morning paper which sort of knackers the ’Evening’ bit of it doesn’t it really ?

Times have changed and  local newspapers haven’t aged well and its now loyalty that keeps people coming back for more. Without United I doubt it would be around .

What doesn’t help them is the club is now its lowest ebb in terms of communication and you’re more likely to get a story out of the cows on the Town Moor than you are from the NUFC hierarchy.

It hasn’t always been that way of course and it’s the jewel of the Chronicle’s crown that I want to waffle on about, THE PINK!

In the new issue of Nutmeg magazine, which is incredible, they have a bit about the Dundee equivalent and what it was like working on such a high pressure edition of a newspaper.

So I thought I’d remember our little pink bundle of paper with its flaky news print and its headlines, which involved calling Peter Beardsley Pedro , which to this day I’ve never heard anyone else call him that.

The Pink flew against the basics of putting out a newspaper. Looking back it was simply incredible and without getting to over nostalgic here , for me it brings back so many memories.

Younger readers are probably wondering what I’m on about here, but the Pink was a Saturday night edition of the chronicle which had nothing but sport in and its main job was to give you the scores and report on Newcastle United.  Now a report of the game can be put up on the internet within minutes of the match finishing  but can you imagine the scene before the internet.

When the pale pink papers were loaded on to the wagon, everyone involved must have breathed a huge sigh of relief, opened up the whiskey and had a big cigar. Dripping in sweat.

When I started going to the match in the late eighties I remember the Chronicle having a normal edition , which we got in Northumberland and a late night final which my dad would bring home from Newcastle .

For a Saturday you would have a Saturday edition which was probably mostly done the day before and even a match day special for the big games. A preview available outside the ground.

True Faith do it better nowadays of course, but this sort of blanket coverage of NUFC made the paper essential.

The final cherry on top came after the game.

I remember going to Newcastle v Notts County around 1992 and my dad said we would hang around the toon and go to Greggs and whatever before getting the bus back . He also steadfastly refused to get onto the bus before getting a Pink. We are talking around about 40 minutes after the final whistle here and I was wondering what the hell he was doing. By 530 he had a Pink and me and my sister would hog it all the way back looking at the scores and how far we were ahead at the top of the table.

In Ashington I had it timed right. We had a corner shop called Malcolm’s (still there) and the Pink would land there at 625pm. If it was after that,  it was assumed the driver had crashed/struck by lightning/pinched them.

I would say at least half a dozen people would wait every Saturday for this. It was almost a club, or as some people might cruelly point out a pretty bad club .

Talking of clubs , before my time of course , social clubs would be the hotbed of the pink. Grown men sending pints flying to get to the young lad making a bit by flogging them to the half cut masses in smoky clubs.

Great eh?

In my childhood not only would the Pink serve my needs for numbers, scores and romantic names like Queen of the South, it also was my go to for posters on my bedroom wall.

Newcastle were not very cool at any point of my childhood and posters of our players were never in shoot or match, so your massive rolled up poster of Gazza, Goddard, Jackson or Mirandinha were only in the pink.

The first day of the season , usually after a crippling first day defeat , were never more exciting than the rolled up posters of the new team group were delivered on top of the papers.

I would have battled anyone for one of those, but I didn’t have to because no one else cared really.

The quickness of release was not only astounding but also hard to believe, but looking now at various reports it obviously involved Alan Oliver or John Gibson reporting the game live to a writer who would relay it back to Thompson House . I think. Too much for my 9 year old head but that’s probably what happened. Can you imagine the chaos if any late goal was scored? Or any delay ensued.

What comes to my mind the day in 1974 when Newcastle fans invaded the pitch against Forest , which in the end inspired one of the best comebacks of all time. Double trouble there. A late finish plus late goals.

Also see 5-4 v Leicester in the nineties, when with us 4-2 down and winning 5-4, their must have been 6 different headlines before a simple “United win 9 goal thriller” Covers all bases.

This created a bit of a lop sided look to the reports as well.

Paragraphs spent on a ten minute goal kick or a cross in the 23rd minute, but nothing about three goals scored from the 80th minute onwards, except the goal marked in broad capital letters of the scorer, but really that’s a minor gripe in what was a sensational publication.

Sunderland were given nearly as much column inches because invariably, the first thing anyone wanted to know coning out of St James was how Sunderland had got on. It’s the same now .

They generally had page three, quite apt really.

Further in the paper was its real gems. Local non- league football and this very, very good.

Reports from all the Gateshead and Blyth Spartans games plus all the local teams and a lot on my local team Ashington. You knew more about these games than the hardy souls who were there.

Because the Northern Alliance kicked off at two , they were well appointed. A dream league for the editor. Finish at 4.

To this day , no publication really shines quite a light on grassroots or non-league football and it should always be remembered for that.

Though not really my thing, local Rugby always got a shout. And racing, hell yes racing.

To get out by half five, the deadline must have been 5 with no excuses. A pack of cards waiting to collapse if the slightest thing went wrong, it must have been such an adrenaline rush for those involved and they would probably laugh now at the Chronicle printed overnight and available the same time as the Journal.

The Pink has obviously had its day , mobile phones and internet changed that, but not being able to get a connection on my phone in my seat in the Gallowgate Corner or be able to see the scoreboard which I assume shows the scores, it all leaves me as much in the dark about the scores now as I did in 1992. How I’d kill for the pink now .The increase of technology would mean this wouldn’t be as hard to put together and the market might be there with people like me who still indulge in stuff like this. The real reason is cash though and the thought of this happening went a long time ago I’m afraid. Also we very rarely play at 3pm on a Saturday anymore.

It lasted from 1895 to 2005 and apparently oversaw 13 cup finals and four relegations. It must be unlucky 13 for us because we’ve had nowt since it exited the building. Is it Ashley who put the hex on us or is it the Pink giving up the ghost. Think about it.

SCOTT ROBSON