The truth behind Whitley Bay's trip to St James's Park
It's been an incredible few days on Tyneside for football fans in a proud city that could be excused for having their fill of watching the beautiful game.
In the last seven days alone we've watched Newcastle United climb out of the bottom three and stunned a fleet of southern journalists who'd travelled to Tyneside to dance on our grave, watched Gateshead proudly regain their place in the Conference, watched Newcastle and Sunderland fans in unison see Whitley Bay win the FA Vase at Wembley and witnessed Ashington fans descend on St James's Park and sing their hearts out all for the love of football in the Northumberland Senior Cup.
Sadly, that isn't the take on North-East football from our friends in the south.
When Whitley Bay, along with basketball outfit Newcastle Eagles, were handed the pride of parading the FA Vase on the pitch at half-time of the Toon-Boro game, one journalist from the Daily Mail in Matt Lawton commented: "At half-time the stadium announcer (Justin Lockwood, a Barnsley lad who quickly realised what Newcastle was about during his time on the radio here) pretty much summed it up before introducing what seemed to be the only two decent teams in this part of the world.
"'It's not been a good season for everyone here in the North East,' he said. 'But let's put our hands together for the Newcastle Eagles basketball team and Whitley Bay.'
"It was like choosing someone's funeral to tell the world the wife's pregnant.
"An act of appallingly bad taste.
"So bad that the two teams in question were almost too embarrassed to parade their trophies to supporters preparing to grieve their loss of Premier League status."
I don't think so.
Where was he coming from.
More like a lack of total lack of appreciation.
For a start, the Whitley Bay team bus couldn't get back to Tyneside quick enough after the team's 2-0 win over Glossop on Sunday.
And manager Ian Chandler, despite being a Mackem, was actually excited about his players being on the pitch and showing off the trophy.
I know that because he telephoned me just an hour before hand.
With Toon fans in the squad like Paul Chow and Lee Kerr not to mention Toon nuts Paul Robinson and skipper Davey Coulson, why on earth would they be embarrased to get out on the hallowed turf?
Coulson tipped a 3-1 final score for Newcastle and it came off.
Chow has his own memories of being a fan at Wembley with Newcastle but these were overtaken by a Wembley goal.
And Kerr, who was also asked if winning the trophy made it a shorter journey "all the way back North" by a London-based hack at Wembley, commented: "It was a short journey here anyway (four hours), but I would like to get back quicker to watch Newcastle."
In the end Whitley didn't want to come off the pitch on Monday night and needed more tickets to get everybody in.
Would you see such a gesture down south?
But in a season when Newcastle have been battered from pillar to post, lots of it deserved through poor management I admit, and often conned by dreadful refereeing decisions (Habib Beye red card and umpteen penalties), perhaps it's admirable that there is such great sportsmanship still on offer in Newcastle.
The problem will always be that southern fans just don't understand it and they think we're mad!
For me personally though the support in the North-East will never cease to amaze.
Yes, we will always have good crowds at Newcastle and probably Sunderland, and both teams will always take good away followings.
I mean come on, Whitley Bay took almost 8,000 fans to Wembley and 150 to Spennymoor for a Northern League match!
Yet the feeling is best summed up for me in a different situation.
And anybody who has been involved in the Great North Run will agree.
The last mile coming in down the front at South Shields tells you everything you need to know about life up here.
Yes, when you turn that corner and you think you can't give any more.
When you think your legs are about to pack in and you wonder why you are doing it to start with.
It is then and only then on that final mile, the final part of the journey that you realise just what great people we have up here.
People who don't even know you giving their full vocal support who are giving up their own time to get behind strangers in need of a lift.
It's then it hits home. It's then you realise what all the fuss is about.
On Monday night, finally it hit home to a few Toon players as well.
Now Newcastle are going into their own final mile and the support of Tyneside will be needed yet again.
And after a flag waving finale against Boro, another does of the same against Fulham will probably mean that there won't be any shortage of that again next season.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?