I CAN’T help thinking about that joke about the Newcastle United fan who’s convinced he’s met a man with magical, mystical powers.
Prevented from seeing his team play at Sid James Park due to an outbreak of stress caused by having to attend Brough Park every week for his speedway fix, he goes into a pub for a swift half.
Unable to hold out any longer, he goes up to a fellow drinker and asks him if he knows how the Barcodes are getting on.
Without even looking up, the guy tells him: “Sorry mate, they’re losing”.
Though depressed to hear the news, Geordie is nevertheless impressed and intrigued at his fellow drinker’s ability to answer his question, especially as he doesn’t appear to have access to a radio, a phone or any other method of communication.
“Thanks for your help,” he tells his new buddy, “but how did you know?”
“It’s Saturday afternoon,” says the other man, “of course they’re bloody losing!”
It’s the way I tell ’em. I should be on the stage, me.
But the reason I thought of that – and therefore the reason ordinary members of the Middlesbrough community were giving me strange looks as I chuckled to myself while walking through town at lunchtime – was that it was Thursday. And it was just about to rain.
It seems you can bet your life that come speedway day, the old wet stuff will start to fall at some point and give us at the very least a few anxious moments.
Last week it did more than that and led to us all trudging home in dripping anoraks and clutching soggy programmes some six races earlier than we should have done.
The initial weather forecast suggested Sunday’s fixture at Newcastle might go the same way – but sadly it didn’t and we got tonked. That Mother Nature can be a cow sometimes.
Sunday’s match was one we’ll all want to forget quickly, though I suspect we’ll find the memories difficult to erase.
Six out of seven visiting riders hitting the deck in an untidy heap tells its own story – and now boss man Brian Havelock has reported the match referee for failing to respond to any of his three requests to inspect the track.
The Diamonds camp are naturally cock-a-hoop at such a big derby day win. Fair play to them – we would be if we’d won by that margin too. And no doubt they’ll argue that the track was good enough for their riders – again there’s not much to say against that.
But there seems a genuine reluctance by a good many Bears fans to want to visit Newcastle again after Sunday’s events. Given the numbers in which fans from Teesside traditionally flock through the Newcastle Stadium turnstiles, than can’t be good news for anyone.