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The World Cup in Newcastle - or at least how I see it!

By Lee Ryder on Jun 4, 10 07:06 PM

I don't know about you but getting "geared up" for the World Cup isn't easy when you're a Newcastle United fan.

Transfer investment to most Toon fans probably outweighs the importance of a tournament that is merely filling in the gaps until the pre-season friendlies start again and we can see our beloved side reshaping for what is going to be a crunch season back in the Premier League.

Well, we won't see anything in the shape of new signings for a while yet, July 1 will be the start of any serious wheeling and dealing for Chris Hughton and even then the last two summer transfer windows have seen Newcastle end up as 11th hour players in the great transfer game.

My forecast is the arrival of loan players with Cleverley, Welbeck and Wilshere the targets at the top of Hughton's list.

Defensively, we know that Dedryck Boyata is potential incoming target but it's all about how much football Newcastle can guarantee their targets.

Hughton has already assured us that he won't get rid of any of his current crop but if somebody comes in with a silly bid then that would of course change.

Back to the business of the World Cup.

Well, where do you start?

I'm sure the pubs and clubs of Tyneside will be packed during the England games and we all get sucked into it and intoxicated by it along the way.

The main concern for Toon fans will not be how the minnows perform, if Italy have early nerves, if Holland can do anything in the latter stages, how great Brazil are or even who will miss the pens for England later in the tournament!

No that sounds negative, we won't need penalties will we?

Looking back you get wiser as each tournament goes by.

In 1990 I thought we'd won it with the a team packed full of Geordies, Gazza, Beardo and Waddle not to mention Bobby Robson in charge, great memories and at a time when Newcastle had lost in the play-offs to the Mackems, it was an escape.

In 1994, England didn't qualify but we were able to watch future players Albert and Hottiger and listen to Kevin Keegan's views on Leonardo's "fair" elbow on Tab Ramos with KK attempting to sign the Brazilian - oh and Diana Ross and that penalty!

For me 1998 only gave us a sour taste in the mouth, and if Michael Owen's golden moment in St Etienne against the Argentinians was good then, I tell you what it hasn't half been tainted as he hardly broke sweat as we were relegated last season.

The quirky 2002 tournament and getting up for bacon sarnies and beers came at a time when Newcastle had just qualified for the Champions League and the thought of that carried us all through with the future looking bright under Sir Bobby.

Then you had 2006, oh yes, watching Michael Owen get seriously injured after being wrapped in cotton wool for Newcastle.

The penalties against Portugal weren't painful, I didn't move a muscle through them all or lose my head as the face painted fans around me went through the emotions you become hardened to as a Toon fan!

And by the time I watched the final on a weekend away in Prague in the main square, thoughts were clearly on the new season starting or maybe it was who was getting the next round in.

Yeah, I know I sound like a misery and I'll end up getting patriotic for five minutes later in the month but...

It's very much all eyes on events at St James' Park and just who we add to a team that is already a few bodies light.

Enjoy the World Cup - but not too much!

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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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