Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Wednesday July 22 2009
In the 40 years since the Fairs Cup was won, we've seen a lot of tantalisingly near misses at the club. 2nd in the league twice, four cup finals without success and a number of cup semis where the final was against a far easier side passed and went.
In the 28 years I've been alive, all but the two 70s cup finals have felt like repeated body blows. With this in mind it was a treat to read Jim Jeffrey's account of our 1968-69 Fairs Cup run and get some positive nostalgia rather than the bridesmaid's efforts we're normally associated with.
Jeffrey is not a Newcastle fan, being a Hibs programme editor, and when that happens there is always the preconception that the usual stereotypes come out. We've been hammered recently from the Southern, North West, Midlands and just about every other region's press since our relegation, with many taking the chance to twist the knife following the NUFC demotion, mostly as it's easy copy to fire out the myths coined by the usual bitter muppets.
However hats off to the author for keeping an open mind, not trotting out the usual cliches and focussing on the heroes on the pitch. Jeffrey starts off with an explanation of genuine curiousity as to why he took on the project, giving an earlier interview with Jim Scott in a Hibs capacity as the reason why the he started to dig into our last silverware.
Progressing through, each game of the run is covered, complete with player comments, a topical music chart top 10 and a resume of the opponents three key players. Working through Feyenoord, Sporting Lisbon, Zaragoza, Setubal and the famous 'Battle of Britain' v Rangers, up to the now legendary two legs against Ujpest, what passes is a fantastically nostalgic ride through the creation of a legend.
Being fed on a diet of Fairs Cup glory by my grandad and uncles, the way Jeffrey brought these to life for someone who never experienced these was sublime. The notorious Rangers home leg was the one they always talked about and the use of press clippings hammered home exactly how bad they had been and it wasn't just my relatives overexaggerating.
Overall the book has to be a must for the older generation of Newcastle fans. However for the younger crop of 'Toon Ultras' this should also serve as essential reading. Seeing the hapless, heartless displays last season, it would be well recommended that they have a read and see that once upon a time there were genuine characters who cared about the club.
For those fans interested in buying the book, Breedon are doing it delivered for £11.99 via this link:
Fairs Cup Story
Here at Vital we're also running a competition for one lucky reader to win the book. Details of this will be published tomorrow along with the question and how to reply.
Date:Wednesday July 22 2009
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