Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

KK and all that.

without comments

Dear son,

I said I would explain about my feelings regarding the return of Kevin Keegan (KK) to Newcastle, so here goes.

I moved to the North East in 1982 when Grand Pa John’s work took him to Birtley. Before that we (Uncle Phil, Grand Ma Audrey, me and Grand Pa John) had lived in Grimsby. It was the day after my 12th birthday that we left, having moved there in 1974 so at that point nearly all of the life that I could remember leading had been in Grimsby. I didn’t really appreciate the North East during my teenage years and waited for any opportunity to leave. It came sooner than I thought.

My cousin Iain needed someone to look after his 3 and half year old daughter for the summer of 1988 and I jumped at the chance to spend three months in Chamonix looking after Emma. I finished my A levels in June, went on a family holiday to Scotland (the Piper Alpha Oil rig exploded while we were there) and then the adventure began. Iain had paid for my flights from Newcastle to Heathrow and then onto Geneva where I would picked up by his brother Andy. The morning of my flight I woke up mega early, really excited about the three months in Chamonix ahead of me. My mum and dad dropped me at Newcastle airport and I boarded my flight. I knew that depending on the direction of the wind the plane might fly over our house so I decided to look out and see if I could see it. At that point the co-pilot announced over the speakers “If you look out to the left you will see Leicester…”.

Uncle Phil wanted me to buy him some duty free after shave and when I got to Heathrow I went looking around the duty free shops only to hear the final call being announced for my flight so I hot footed it off to the gate to be see a whole load of people queueing, boarding hadn’t even started.

At Geneva I made my way to the exit and found Andy. Before long we were dropping my stuff off at Iain’s house and then on to spend the rest of the day at Andy’s house in Les Praz.

I enjoyed my three months in Chamonix, leaning how to cook, quite a lot of French and how to placate a three year old. The cooking and French skills I soon lost but my children skills I seem to have kept. A few weeks after coming back from Chamonix and going back to the North East I was off again to take my place at the lowest seat of learning in the land: The Polytechnic of Wales. I caught the bus to London and then another bus to Pontypridd. The bus to London did pass by our house and on the way past I flicked the V signs at it – I had never wanted to live there and I didn’t ever image I would come back.

But come back I did, in late 1993 I moved in with Uncle Phil. Effectively homeless and penniless I left Wales for the North East. There were two triggers that made me move; the obvious one was being homeless and penniless. The other was home sickness for the North East. During my time in Wales I had been back to the North East to see the family and to attend weddings and it was at a wedding in 1991 the seed of my desire to return was planted. This seed was watered by a TV program called Byker Grove that I started watching in early 1993 when my contract with Welsh Water wasn’t renewed and I was at home on the dole.

The third thing that really tipped over the edge of wanting to go back to the North East was football. Kevin Keegan had taken Newcastle into the Premership and the place was buzzing. At this point I had never seen Newcastle play, coming from a non-sporting family, but I had been a regular at Ninian Park to watch Cardiff play during my time in South Wales seeing the likes of Nathan Blake and Phil Stant under the management of Eddie May. I had even been to the Auto Windshield match between Cardiff and Swansea when police horses charged the Cardiff fans who were making their way peacefully into the stadium. This provocative action by the Police lay the foundations for the later riot. And I was at Ninian Park the day Cardiff won the old 3rd Division, doing the Aiatollya on the pitch when the game finished. I was sitting in a bar in Cardiff one night and they were showing something on Sky Sports about Newcastle and I watched 30 minutes of Newcastle goals. I knew at that point that I needed to “go home”.

When I heard that Kevin Keegan had been re-appointed at Newcastle my mind was thrown back to the time when I returned to the North; all the stress of being homeless and poor, and the realisation that this was the place where I called “home”.

After these memories had been thoroughly investigated and relived my mind went on to the two years I was back in the North East and the things that I did. This was mainly a happy time for me although there were some side times – being dumped by a girl friend springs to mind.

And then there were the thoughts regarding the events in the last 11 years – thinking I had found the one I was going to spend my life with only to be dumped on Valentines day, meeting your mother and knowing I was wrong about the other woman (this was very liberating), your birth, the death of my own mother and a hold host of other emotions both good and bad. All these thoughts played out in my mind in the few days after Kevin Keegan returned to Tyneside.

They say that smells trigger the most vivid memories and sometimes, for me, this is true. But the Return of the Messiah reminded me that I am growing older, that I have done a lot in my life and that I still have so much that I want to do.

Written by Administrator

March 18th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

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