It was a cold dreary day in 1993 - i was in the UK, it was raining outside, and mom wouldn't let me go out and play. Dejected, i flipped channels, and chanced upon a game of football being shown: Newcastle United FC against someone i can't remember. In those days, Newcastle was trapped in the lower divisions of British football, and though they had a huge fan base, affectionately called the Toon Army, their games were, at best, shown on TV on a massively delayed basis; probably the stuff the TV stations show when they don't think anyone is watching but they have to put something on the air anyway to pass the time.
To say the least, for some insane reason, i was enthralled by the Magpies (that's Newcastle's nickname) - their style of play was unstructured and a bit messy back then, but the attacking football was undeniable in its class and determination. They won the game, i cheered, and since then, i've been a fan.
As a football fan, there are two missions in life:
# To watch your team play LIVE in a competitive match
# To make a trip to their home (in this case, the city of Newcastle in the North-East UK), and watch them play a game there
Winning or losing is not too important in relation to these missions - at the end of the day, you hardly remember whether your team won or lost; what matters is that you were there to witness them play, LIVE.
Well, tomorrow, the first mission will come true. Newcastle is in Kuala Lumpur and will play the opening match of the FA Premier League Asia Cup against Birmingham at Bukit Jalil, 8.45pm.
Shearer's famous one-handed salute
I got my tickets months ago. I've got my replica Newcastle jersey prepped. Thinking about making a banner saying, "Alan Shearer - I LOVE YOU". I can't wait. My footballing heart is buzzing in anticipation.
UPDATE: The NUFC Malaysia Supporters' Club held its first activity over the last weekend. Check out the report here.