Our friends from the south - part two

By Lee Ryder on Jan 7, 11 01:10 PM

Surprise, surprise, people from Stevenage have been letting their mouths go ahead of the FA Cup tie with Newcastle United.

To the credit of Alan Pardew and all of his players, they have not even touched on any of the nonsense that was part of the build-up the last time these two teams clashed in the competition.

Unfortunately, Stevenage FC - their new posh name after being promoted - have opted to go down the same road as last time.

Their current manager Graham Westley got the ball rolling when he came out with: "I got a text from a fan saying 'You've sorted out one of the wrongs, now go and sort out the other one',"

The "wrong" was getting Stevenage in the Football League after they were denied access in 1996 because their ground was crap.

The second, the former non-league club feel that there was a sense of "injustice" when Stevenage were knocked out of the FA Cup in 1998 by United.

Now don't get me wrong, the FA Cup is a competition - or at least was - in which dreams are made and nightmares endured.

We all love to see shocks and hate to be on the end of them.

We've had it rammed down our necks about Hereford since 1972 about their famous cup win on the muddy pitch.

I wasn't even born, and feel like I was there because of the amount of times it's been on TV.

And just to make sure, you don't forget Hereford, the FA have even made an award called the Ronnie Radford award which will be handed to the team that causes the biggest and best shock!

Unsurprisingly, Stevenage's former manager Paul Fairclough has been spouting off his usual hot air ahead of the tie.

Firstly, let's remind ourselves what happened last time.

In a nutshell, Stevenage were happy for the tie to be switched to St James' Park in order to get extra revenue from the game.

Then Sky and The Sun offered them extra cash to play it at Broadhall Way.

Then Kenny Dalglish - still haunted by the very serious situation at Hillsborough just years earlier - quite rightly expressed safety concerns.

Stevenage then accused Dalglish and Newcastle of bottling it.

Stevenage gained a creditable draw, and were beaten in the replay by an Alan Shearer brace.

One of Shearer's goals did not appear to cross the line but it still stood.

Stevenage were dumped out.

Paul Fairclough - the beaten manager of the tie - this week spouted: "I know we sold quite a lot of Stevenage shirts to Middlesbrough fans who were walking around Newcastle taunting the Newcastle fans."


I don't know of many Boro fans who would make the 45 minute journey to Newcastle to do that.

He then piped up: "Our local university ran a virtual replay on it and it showed that it didn't go over the line."

That's interesting.

There was no replay because some traffic cone pinchers' survey, and Newcastle went all the way to the final.

And finally from Fairclough: "I would love to go to the game. I haven't been invited but I know some of the players from the past have."

That's probably because you're a bit of nugget.

Stevenage milked the publicity last time but went about it the wrong way.

They must be the most famous non-league team to have been knocked out of an FA Cup because of their poor etiquette before, during and after the game.

May the best team win this time around...


Gaz 'The Messiah' Boycott said:

You've hit the nail on the head mate.

Our boys will batter Stevenage on the weekend

Undefeated in two heading into the mackem match

Reckon we will fill the ground?

Everyone will be looking forward to this one.

Alan Pardews really turned things around

Chris Who? lol.

Undeniably the best team in the NE now.

Newcastle 4 lyfe

Take no prisoners.

Geocola said:

My mate at work used to play for Stevenage a fews years before the last Toon v Stevenage cup tie. Even he admitted they were out of order. Seems nothing much has changed.

Oh, and Jonathon? It's 'write', not 'right'. There's rubbish and there's rubbish...

Freddie Trueman said:

As a huge Toon Army fan since 1992, I agree with everything Lee Ryder writes here. I remember watching the Stevenage games on tellly and how our messiahs like Shearar tore them apart. I think we're going to win the FA Cup this year, and go on to have a good run in the Champions League next season - we mite even win it. Europe is a must now, anything less and Pardew will have to go or we'll boycoutt the club again.


kingstoon said:

Looks like they got you biting there Lee mate ! ! !!
Why not just come out and say it:
"I would luv it if we beat them" !!!!

Chris Page said:

Do you want red or brown sauce with your Humble Pie, Mr Ryder??? We beat you fair and square today.

teddy thompson said:

You never learn, Lee. Just blame the foreign players, eh? Smith and Routledge should never get another game for us. Barton was awful apart from his goal. Couldn't cross to save his life. Tiote should never have been sent off. Nolan was awful from the word go. Simpson and Williamson refused to tackle for the last two goals. Stevenage wanted it; we didn't. Embarrassing evening; embarrassing 'journalism.'

KieranSBFC said:

Well Lee, you were right about one thing...

The best team won this time around!

What's your excuse going to be?
Balls too bouncy?

Glad to hear Chris is sorting you out with a humble pie. I've also heard that Gazza's on his way round with a bucket of chicken and a fishing rod. Apparently he knows you so that'll be nice for you.

Bill Holmes said:

"Gazza's on his way round with a bucket of chicken and a fishing rod. Apparently he knows you so that'll be nice for you."


You're right, of course, Lee is more than prone to this sort of parochial, hyperbolic back page BS, but I can't imagine it's any different to the rubbish served up around the rest of the country, so cut the poor guy some slack, please. We're not all like that up here.

Dr E Newby said:

May the best team win?

They did.


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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