The magical night I’ll never forget – What a time to be a Newcastle United fan

Newcastle United qualified for the Champions League just a few nights ago, and I still don’t quite think it’s sunk in. But it’s a night I’ll never forget.

The city centre was chocka block from early doors and the pubs filled up quicker than ever a few hours before the game. The atmosphere was excited with just a sprinkle of tension. We knew there was a high probability we’d confirm qualification that night, but it still felt unthinkable.

I duly turned made the short pilgrimage from the Strawberry to the ground 15 minutes earlier than usual because I’d heard whispers of a full East Stand-length surfer that would be taken down with “plenty of time before kick-off”, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Hang it in the Louvre.

I blithely waved my assigned black flag and marvelled at the Newcastle United crest the Gallowgate flags formed, with no idea what part I was playing in the Leazes end. Turned out the old-school logo was just as spectacular.

The match was stressful, but the scenes after were incredible. I promptly burst into tears at the final whistle as the ground erupted. It stayed full for 45 minutes after the final whistle before we all began to make our way back to the pubs, filled with song down Strawberry Lane and Gallowgate.

Everywhere I went, there were gaggles of supporters and the odd stray Mag singing one of the songs we’ve reignited this season. Everyone was vibrating with excitement. I’ve never seen so many black and white shirts in the cheesy establishments I haunt on weekends.

Popworld is a Mag favourite, but I’ve never seen so many black and white shirts in it at one time. Flares filled up once again with black and white shirts and scarves as Popworld shut for the night. Cosy Joe’s probably had its best Monday night takings ever. We even outnumbered the students in Rusty’s, which I definitely didn’t expect!

I’m disappointed to have missed the fella playing the Champions League song over the loudspeaker, but the pockets of madness I did see throughout the night made up for it. Flags everywhere, “I won’t be home for tea” belted out down every side street. A delighted roar every time a football song came on in Flares.

Every now and again, the realisation that we were in the Champions League would hit me again and I’d get a bit breathless. And I don’t think I was the only one – there were plenty of happily dazed faces about.

Post-match jaunts around town aren’t uncommon on my matchdays, but they’re usually reserved for the weekend; and this one was probably the most memorable. Even as I rolled into my city centre flat at 3.30am, I still heard lone voices singing “up the Premier League we go”.

What I love is that the players all went out to celebrate – together, as a team – at the mighty Cosy Joe’s (the one flaming time I’m not there). We’re united as a supporter base and united as a team.

What a time to be a Mag.