The alternative Bez and Ryder show makes a Happy Tuesday

By Lee Ryder on Nov 27, 07 04:41 PM

Warren Barton, Lee Ryder, John Beresford.jpgIt isn't every day you get the chance to spend the day with two Newcastle United favourites but today I was invited to NUFC to spend the day as a Toon player.

It only seemed five minutes ago that I was sat in the Press box lambasting the lads after the 3-0 defeat against Liverpool but at least this gave me an idea of just what life is like for Premier League players of today.

The two guys in charge of the operation - which has now been extended to Toon fans as well -are well known figures in Warren Barton and John Beresford.

It's called the ultimate St James' Experience and for one day only you get to spend the day with Bez and Warren to train, play a game and generally live the life of a pro footballer.

The day actually started at SJP where we enjoyed a "footballers breakfast" but it was a first meal of the day that I would soon go on to regret!

lee011.jpgIndeed a full English packed with eggs, sausage and bacon isn't exactly what I'd expect say a Zinedine Zidane or a David Beckham scoffing down them on match day.

Nevertheless it was enjoyable at the time.

But after boarding the team bus and being told we faced a two hour training session BEFORE the match I knew there was every chance I could be seeing it again.

The trip to the club's Benton HQ, at the Academy, was a great insight to what life is like on match day and there was plenty of banter flying about.

Indeed we discovered that Bez is a big Take That fan and had took in a concert of the boy band the night before, much to the amusement of most of the Press lads who'd also been invited on the tour.

But we'd be laughing on the other side of our faces soon.

lee012.jpgAnd after six laps of the pitch and myself lagging behind in last place I knew it was going to be hard.

Yet no sooner had the leg work been completed we had the balls out.

Foot skills were the order of the day and we were soon running in and out of those poles that Kieron Dyer once collided with and sustained an eye injury, thankfully that didn't happen to any of the lads today.

Next up was shooting practice and after Warren B had told me that after my first dig at goal was softer than his three-year-old son's efforts, I came back eventually with a point to prove and not only scored but crashed one in off the stancion.

To be fair to centre parting he did tell me it reminded him of Clive Allen's infamous disallowed goal in the 1980s for Crystal Palace which was also a thumping effort.

lee013.jpgSo after a series of shots by the hacks who thought they could prove the old pros wrong (some of which went over the Jurassic Park style fences) it was finally game time.

And as the lads were split into two teams my side went 2-0 down at the break.

True, we did roar back to 2-2 but were soon put pack in our place to find ourselves at least 8-3 down.

But then Barton uttered the words: "Next goal the winner."

Bez, on the opposing side to me, said: "We'll have some of that lads."

And as the game reached a climax the ball fell kindly to yours truly at an acute angle before I somehow rifled home the golden goal.

Well he did say it was next goal the winner didn't he?

So I didn't argue shook hands and then headed back to the ground for our footballer's dinner.

lee014.jpgI wasn't sure what I was eating most of the time, just veggies and meat in sauce, but it was nice enough and after a tour of the ground and the chance to talk Newcastle with Warren and Bez it was back home to nurse a few knocks and bruises.

I'll be back at my desk tomorrow but while I won't remind too many people of a cracking day with two former Toon stars, I might just remind myself, from time to time during the hard winter months.

*For more info on THE ULTIMATE ST JAMES' EXPERIENCE and to join in email


mag in boro said:

A shot on target,a winning goal surprised sam hasnt signed you on as cover for alan smith sorry in place of..


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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