First of all I hate doing match reports and I hate friendly matches so this doesn’t bode well. Anyway, I made the hour or so trip, from where I live in Murcia, to watch Newcastle United take on the Norwegian League champions, in a friendly game at La Manga Club. This was the first NUFC game I have witnessed live in about three years. I figured with free entrance and being fairly local I wasn’t contributing to something I have really lost all interest in.

The first half wasn’t up to much and apart from the actual goal, I can’t remember Newcastle actually threatening LaManga1Lillestrom much at all.  That said, Newcastle scored early in the third minute and to be fair Wijnaldum he took his goal well after Perez had set him up. United weren’t in the lead long though as the Norwegian side soon equalised in the eighth minute. After that United huffed and puffed trying to put moves together that just didn’t seem to come off. For me it just wasn’t a performance befitting of a Premiership outfit, but I don’t profess to be any sort of expert. When the first half ended one Geordie wag behind me commented “Well I hope their golf handicap has improved”, La Manga Club reportedly being one of the best golfing facilities in the area.
The second half was slightly better from a Newcastle perspective, although early on chances were scant. A number of substitutions were made around the sixty fifth minute mark and this seemed to change the pattern of the game. Geordie lad Jamie Sterry came on and he crossed the ball, from a Perez free kick, in the seventy fifth minute for Aarons to head home, the goal eventually turning out to be the winner. From then on in chances for both teams were sporadic to say the least.
I am sure that the Newcastle hierarchy will spin the good things that came from this mid-season jaunt to Spain but the Homage to Murcia book by Tony Higginsonly plus points I could see from this kick about were that nineteen year old Stanley lad ,Liam Gibson,  looks a canny prospect as does Newcastle born Jamie Sterry. Apart from that I am struggling to see what the point of this game really was.
I have to report fair play to the United team and staff who interacted well with the fairly big crowd, generally made up mainly of ex-pat Geordies. The players and staff made sure that they gave autographs and photos to all who asked for them.
Tony Higgins 
You can follow Tony on @Higgins1892

As you might have guessed, Tony is something of a lapsed Mag as well as an ex-pat now living in Spain but he still retains a deep love of football and the culture around it. As well as writing regularly in true faith about his football experiences near and far, Tony had his first book published last year and I have to say its something of a corker. HOMAGE TO MURCIA – A SEASON OF FOOTBALL ANARCHY is highly recommended and if you click on the image enclosed you’ll be able to get access to it for a very small price. 


As well as his excellent book, Tony has two excellent articles in the latest issue of true faith that whilst being non-Newcastle United related will still very much appeal to those who really do love the game of football. Just click on the image as below and you will get FREE and instant access to issue 124 and Tony’s writing for Newcastle United’s number one fanzine and the most widely read independent supporters’ led publication in the UK.