Bowburn Mag - a life too short
We knew him as Bowburn Mag. His other friends knew him as Steve Thompson. Sadly, he is no longer with us after losing his fight against illness. What he did win on the way was fantastic admiration.
Bowburn Mag was a star of Newcastle United internet forums, writing for several including ToTT. For those who drift from site to site, there were welcome consistencies in both the articles he produced and the banter in which he engaged on the forum. Those consistencies were a readable style interspersed with his considerable sense of humour and joy of life.
His total enjoyment of football was transparent. Not only did he play himself, but he was a keen observer, both of his own team and others where he might happen to be. That enjoyment came through in the match reports that he wrote for this board and others.
It wasn`t just what happened on the field that caught Bowburn`s eye. He truly brought the whole environment to life, from his level 7 view taking in the visiting supporters and bringing to the page the whole match day experience including the pre-match banter and after match mood.
The cyber world can be a fraught place at times. Bowburn rose above the more heated discussions by bringing his own touch of humour and a highly positive view of just about anything. Point scoring was not his style, being more likely to remind us of the best in people.
The lack of point scoring was forgotten at times, however, most notably in the ToTT quizzes where he accumulated them by the bucket load. His victories were magnanimous and his rare narrow defeat was always met with the same good grace. Those evenings will be remembered by all who took part for the major character that he was. He remains the reigning champion.
His personal life was also no secret to us and worthy of our admiration. Aside from his regular football he was active in other areas with board members aware of his fitness until recently. Not one just to talk, he endured marathon cycling efforts as well as the Great North Run to raise funds for charity.
In many ways he was a normal bloke, striving to do his best for his wife and daughter. Like many of us, the economy hit him before he found a job that was well within his capabilities, stories from which provided us with much entertainment.
It is a measure of the man that he agonised over whether to take the opportunity of a challenge which suited him, self employed in Edinburgh. After seeking the advice of his friends on ToTT he took on the challenge for the most noble of reasons, putting his family first.
Sadly, it was in Scotland that his illness became apparent, coming out of the blue and hitting all his friends hard. It is a measure of the man himself that he not only took it stoically but in the best of humour. His bright insight into people can be seen in his commentary from his hospital bed:
Bowburn Mag will be missed by all of us here. Not one to impose himself, he was nevertheless the lifeblood of this community, keeping things going with his effortless charm, tolerance and personable nature, not to mention his self deprecating comments.
To those who knew him well, there will be countless happy memories. For those of us here, his passion and inimitable style will be a huge part of those memories that he shared with us. It is a tragedy that someone so generous should be taken so young.
Thoughts will be with him on Saturday as the St James` Park tribute will have extra poignancy for those who came into contact with Bowburn Mag. With the Level 7 crowd disbanded, maybe he has just found his own way to watch the game from on high. Let`s hope he has the armchair seat he so deserves alongside Sir Bobby and other greats.
Our sincerest thoughts go to his own young family who will surely miss him even more than us. We hope that it will be some comfort that we are proud of what he brought to us and that he chose to share with us a part of his immense, yet understated talent.