Blyth Spartans 1-1 Newcastle United

AT THIS evening’s Northumberland Senior Cup Final, one particularly stringent challenge – the sort of tackle that prompts the referee to order a shovel for the victim, never mind a stretcher – put Newcastle United’s home support in an accusatory mood. ‘Same old Spartans, always cheating,’ they cried. Clearly, more attention’s paid round here to the bottom of the Conference North than people like to let on.

As if to distract attention from the sight of 50,000 empty seats – not to mention the fact they only had three ballboys and one matchball – they were soon singing four-wins-in-fourteen Kevin Keegan’s praises, forgetting that if KK had his way, they wouldn’t have even been there to sing it in the first place. He was present to hear it as well, watching the self-same stiffs he himself had disbanded over ten years ago and answering occasional requests for a polite wave. My, how they love him. If one of them saw him eating a bowl of soup with a fucking fork, they’d all follow suit.

But it was Blyth that took the lead. An extra time far-post free kick was well and truly non-leagued into the net from six inches via the braising steak stuffed down Andrew Leeson’s sock. As if to prove a point, the same ball was stroked in from 25 yards at the other end a minute later, from the ostrich-leather slipper of another gentleman who goes by the name LuaLua.

Pegged-back and knackered, Blyth were made to feel like they’d outstayed their welcome too, as the hosts shut the bars and switched off the stadium clocks. Then a penalty shoot-out, to the sound of a groundsman impatiently swinging a huge bunch of keys round his finger, saw Spartans sadly miss when it mattered.

Too close for comfort, a fully-replicad up Geordie fattie was dancing – that’s right, dancing – because some players who’ll spend more time tracksuited than even he ever will had won something, and it became abundantly clear that far from being Blyth’s cup final, this was actually theirs.

Have your say...