What To Do If You Didn't Get Wembley Tickets
Not heading south to see the Toon in action? Here's what to do instead
If, like us, you're at a loose end, struggling to fill the long and nervous hours of Sunday before 4.30pm rolls around, Living North has you covered with our match day itinerary of distractions so you can busy yourself until the whistle…
What to Watch
Newcastle United 5–0 Manchester United, 1996
Perhaps the greatest Geordie performance of the modern era came against the Red Devils in October ’96, a small revenge on the team that pipped them to the title a few months earlier. The full match is available to watch on Youtube – prayers for a repeat performance are optional but encouraged.
This gritty cult movie tells the story of two young Geordies trying to scrape together enough money to buy a Newcastle United season ticket, a feeling many scrambling to find tickets for Wembley can sympathise with.
Where to Walk
Cullercoats to Tynemouth
Santiago Munez, protagonist of classic NUFC-based movie Goal! lived in a seafront house in Cullercoats. One of the most famous scenes is a sweeping aerial montage of him running along the North Sea in a bid to get match fit. Run it, walk it, go at your own pace, retracing his steps along this stretch of stunning coastline will definitely clear the head for an hour at least.
Grey’s Monument to the Tyne Bridge
Earl Grey was born too early to see the Magpies play, but his statue has seen fortunes rise and fall and rise again for the boys in black and white. Walk down to the river and across the Tyne, take a moment to appreciate the majesty of our city in the stone of Grey Street, the strength of its heritage in the solidity of those bridges, and looking back up the hill to St James’s Park, the potential that now bubbles beneath its surface.
What to Listen to
Living North has put together a pre-match playlist here to help you set the mood or take your mind off things – delete as appropriate!
What to Eat and Drink
It has to be kept local this weekend so warm up with a bacon stottie or three. Cooking a pre-match roast will keep you pre-occupied as well as line the stomach nicely, Nicholsons of Whitley Bay, Turnbull’s of Alnwick or JD Hall of Corbridge are all excellent butchers to provide match day fare. It has to be Newcastle Brown Ale to wash it down of course.
Too nervous to cook? The main man of Geordie cuisine Terry Laybourne is a life long Toon fan – look no further than Broad Chare or Café 21 on the Quayside. Spoiler – he may not be in the kitchen that day.
Churches to Pray In
Hoping for some divine intervention? Pay a visit to the city’s three cathedrals. Firstly, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral opposite Central Station. Cardinal Basil Hume, reportedly a big Magpies fan, has a statue outside. Swing via St Nicholas’s and take in the beautiful recently-remodelled nave and say a prayer at the high altar depicting Christ in Majesty.
Finally head north and up to the cathedral on the hill – St James’s Park. There are no Cardinals here but you can worship at the holy trinity of statues dedicated to Shearer, Robson and Milburn.
Where to Watch the Game
Plenty of places are still taking bookings, and more are offering walk ins. The Bridge Tavern has plenty of screens and is always that rare mix of lively and friendly. Central Oven and Shaker has two huge projector screens and two-for-one cocktails.
Want the best atmosphere in Town? It’ll be at Wonderbar where there are no reservations, but expect to need to get there very early to get in and to come out covered in beer if Newcastle win!
Watching at home? The match is live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event with coverage starting at 3pm.
Finally, should the Toon win on Sunday you might find yourself needing an excuse or several on Monday morning. Here’s some tried, some tested, and some, well you never know!
‘Car broke down’
‘Trophy Parade Route blocking my way in’
'Food poisoning’ (there was something dodgy in that 11th or 12th pint)
‘I’ve lost my voice’ (from screaming at the TV)
‘Severely injured arms’ (too many high fives, lifting pretend trophies etc)