West Ham United 1 – Newcastle United 2

5.30 pm

23rd October 2010

Upon Park

My favourite NUFC v West Ham clash was fairly unspectacular and won’t too live long in the memory for most, but what could be better than a weekend in London with your mates in your early 20s watching Newcastle United win away from home?

This was the first season back up after Ashely relegation no1. This wasn’t a great Newcastle team, but we’d come up with momentum and the summer additions of Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa were good buys. The workman like nature of the squad, the experience of the likes of Harper, Coloccini, Nolan and Lovenkrands and with a sensible head in Chris Hughton at the helm,  we had confidence in avoiding a repeat of the disastrous 08/09 season.

We thumped Villa 6-0 on a glorious late summer’s afternoon at SJP and Ben Arfa smashed one home at Goodison Park, but we’d then slipped up at home to Blackpool and Stoke. We had a local lad wearing the number 9 who was scoring goals and the Nolan and Barton in midfield could get the ball up to him. We went into this trip to the east end of London quietly confident. West Ham had shown that they were vulnerable at the back, conceding 9 goals in their first 4 games of the season, but were unbeaten in 4 leading into this.

So, my compatriot and I set off on the Friday tea time rattler down to Kings Cross with little more than a pack of cards and our train beers as luggage. We met up with the London contingent at our lodgings for the weekend in Seven Sisters and spent the night at the local boozer. Sore heads in the morning were quickly overcome with a full English. The late kick off left us with time to kill in the smoke but this was no problem- a tour of central London’s finest boozers ensued before popping on the tube out to Upton Park. Some well- oiled allies in black and white shirts got on our carriage and chants of ‘Toon Toon’ started up. We joined the crowds walking along Green Street, past the pie and mash shops and market stalls. I must admit I was disappointed when West Ham moved to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. There was something special about the atmosphere around the ground as the floodlights came into view in between the terraced streets.

Newcastle kicked off, playing towards the away end in the first half. West Ham had the better of the opening exchanges. Avram Grant’s side pressed us hard and 12 minutes in Mark Noble picked out Frederic Piquionne who was able to square for Carlton Cole to side foot past Tim Krul in front of the Bobby Moore Stand. However, Newcastle started to see more of the ball and probing runs from Gutierrez brought half chances for Carroll and Barton. It wasn’t long before the away end erupted as a looping Barton cross from the right allowed Carroll to tower over Matthew Upson and nod down for Nolan to smash in a low shot from 8 yards past England keeper’ Robert Green. I think I ended up about 4 rows further forward hugging some bloke I’d never seen before. I found my way back to my mates to watch Newcastle dominate the rest of the first half. Carroll continued to terrorise the Hammers’ defence and Shola Ameobi could have scored Newcastle’s second when he shot wide.

Just after half time, Carroll forced Green to save low to his left- hand side. Ameobi had two more shots on target before we won a free kick on the half way line on 68 minutes. The ball was hit long down the right to Joey Barton who cut back on to his left foot and chip one across the box. Carroll arrived with a diving header to leave Green with no chance.

I think this time I was about 10 sets of seats further forward on someone’s shoulders. “Give me an N and an E and a WC, an S and a T and an L and and E…. UNITED, NEWCASTLE UNITED FC,FC,FC,FC..”.

We could have had a third when Shola shot wide on 82mins. It didn’t matter though as we held on to secure a thoroughly deserved victory away from home.

We sang our hearts out as Chris Hughton and the boys in black and white came over to applaud us in the Trevor Brooking stand; “TRALALA LALALAAAAA LALALAAAAAA GEORDIES”.

Little did we know that this was the beginning of and impressive run for NUFC. A week later we hammered Steve Bruce’s Sunderland 5-1 at SJP. We then began November with a 1-0 win away at Arsenal thanks to another Carroll header. We haven’t won at the Emirates since.

We meandered back along Green Street and found a local pub while we waited for the q for the tube to settle down. We bumped into some exiled Geordies who we knew from school and a “quick pint” turned into hours of reminiscing.

We drank the night away in merriment but then made the foolish error that lads from the provinces often make in the big city. We assumed that we were only a quick and inexpensive taxi journey away from barracks, but alas; a long and winding night bus journey saw us home at about 4 am with not much time to get our heads down before the early train in the morning.

I didn’t care though. I’d seen Newcastle United win away from home with my best mates. You can’t beat that.

Teams;

West Ham- Green, Gabbidon, Upson, da Costa, Jacobsen, Parker, Nobel, Behrami, Cole, Piquionne, Obinna

Newcastle- Krul, Colccini, Simpson, Williamson, Enrique, Barton, Nolan, Gutiérrez, Tioté, Carroll, Ameobi

Adam Morrison