Christmas Day always has me reminiscing about when I was little (mind you so do most other days). And I’ll never forget one particular Christmas when all I’d craved was a Newcastle United football strip…
I was so smitten with football that my weekly (maybe fortnightly, can’t remember now) treat, the footy magazine, Shoot, would, after having been read, end up being dissected and the pictures promptly stuck to my bedroom wall! And anything to do with Newcastle United, or more so, Malcolm MacDonald, would take pride of place on that wall! Supermac, was my hero! There was a time when I was inconsolable at the discovery of holes in Supermac’s eyes on my team poster – my sister had burned them in with a cigarette! I will never let her live that down – she also drew a penis on Alan Gowling, however, that wasn’t as bad as the ciggy holes in my favourite.
Okay, so Christmas day came and I knew deep down that my mum and dad had planned on buying me this much dreamed of Newcastle United footy strip, so with the frantic haste of a ten (or so) year old opening pressies on the big day, I tore into the wrapping and dragged out the strip! To be honest, I could have been the World’s most famous and talented child actor, as, when I looked at what was in my hands, feigning utter surprise and huge pleasure were the two most difficult emotions I’d ever had to instantly summon and perform!
It was explained rather sharply that the Newcastle United strip couldn’t be found and that this one “looks nice, doesn’t it?”.
Despite the shock and the horror, I wore this strip, day in, day out. Obviously friends wondered and scratched their heads but I took any ribbing on the chin and wore it with pride, as after all, it was different. And besides, it was a Christmas present…
Much later on in life my great love for Newcastle United calmed and disappeared, as in my early teens, I wasn’t allowed to go to any games without my elder brother – he supported Sunderland, and so for many seasons after, I’d see just about every Sunderland home game at Roker Park. These days I don’t follow football but, I always make a sideways glance just to see how these three teams are getting along – and the team that I feel most fondly for, is, not surprisingly, Middlesbrough Football Club.
Mum’s gone now some fourteen years ago and there isn’t a day goes by that don’t appreciate that gift… Though I do still remind Dad, with a mischievous smirk, of that particular Christmas.