St James Park
For many, football is a religion. The North East is full of worshippers who attend St James Park, who are known as the Toon Army or the Black and White Army. I first started to actively support Newcastle United by going to the games back in 1981. I was still an art student, but even back then I was selling my paintings.
My first match was an FA Cup 3rd round tie against Sheffield Wednesday. Newcastle won 2-1, a young Chris Waddle scoring his first two goals for the club. It was an awful season for Newcastle. They only scored 30 league goals and 4 of them came in the last game of the season against Wrexham!
Paintings of Newcastle
This blog post could easily become a lament over Newcastle United, so onto the painting. From 1996-2002 I had a gallery in Eldon Gardens, Newcastle where I would sell my paintings of Newcastle. Often on a Saturday I was able to get away from the gallery to go to the match. This was the view I would get as I joined the throng of fans congregating outside of the Strawberry Pub just before the game. For me, this painting of Newcastle sums up the essence of match day and captures the most important part of football, the fans.
Earlier this year a copy was presented to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva who was born in Wallsend and is also a Newcastle United fan.