MATCH PREVIEW: West Moor & Jesmond v Rothbury
REDS VISIT BENTON LANE IN SEASON OPENER
I don’t know how much cash Toon owner Mike Ashley handed manager Steve Bruce for the summer transfer kitty, but after walking around one of his House of Fraser stores the other weekend I can tell you whatever it was its not enough.
They want £400 for a lightweight CP Company Goggle jacket, man. It’s £90 for a T-shirt. A black La Coste polo shirt – the staple of any football casual’s wardrobe – is around £100. To be honest, I’ve never really got what the goggles are for. Well, they’re fine on a hood but why stick them on a bum bag? What’s the crack there?
Stone Island obviously remains the more grown-up brand for football lads and it doesn’t matter how old that you’re getting, you still want to be seen wearing some decent clobber on the steps up towards the Gallowgate and the little button-on patch on a jumper remains standard.
Massimo Osti was the brains and designer behind both CP Company and Stone Island and it is said that he was inspired by military and work wear but you wouldn’t part with £400 for an ex-Army Parka. Even if someone had cut a couple of holes out and stuck some swimming goggles in the back.
“I still like to wear my Adidas Sambas, a pair of Levis and a Stone Island jumper to the match. Standard,” says Rob, who is in his 50s now. But that’s the rub – we’re all getting old. I still think Valentino is a thing. I can see that Armani has gone a bit down market, but I’d still wear it. You can’t go wrong with Levis – style and comfort. John Richmond’s Destroy range was class in the 1990s.
But what does that mean to a kid sitting in St. James’s Park these days? Rob’s bald head is shaven, his nose broken flat like Bruce’s. You’ll still see the Burberry check on a shirt collar under his jumper as he sups a pint. Old skool. Traditional. He’d get clocked in a motorway service station and they’d say look, the Geordies are here.
Just going by what was on offer in Ashley’s clothing emporium, Hugo Boss (have always maintained a grey shirt in the wardrobe), Barbour and Diesel must be big among the young lads today. But who really knows? We haven’t seen a proper crowd for over 18 months.
The reality is that those of us who grew up on the terraces in the 70s and 80s and raved in the 90s are all dads and grandas now and too long in the tooth to be paying £50 for the new Castore replica shirt which is, frankly, awful. No, I’ll wait until they bring out the black and white stripes from CP Company – with bloody goggles on! – and keep making my way down to Armstrong Park to watch Danny Olson’s Rothbury in the Northern Alliance.
The Reds are in Division One again this season and have been joined by Newcastle Independent and West Moor & Jesmond – who they visit in the season opener on Saturday – while Haltwhistle Jubilee and Prudhoe YC were promoted into the Premier Division.
Olson says that the club’s pre-season has gone as expected with lots of training sessions and lots of games that were not very well attended. “We played six with no wins and it was disjointed at times, but we will do what we can,” said the gaffer.
“We were dealt a big blow in that centre forward Paul Dunn has been out since the second game with a hamstring but we hope to have back in training soon. We have introduced half a dozen new faces in key positions and included a couple of local youth players,” he continued.
“We hope to have everyone available from the Whitburn game in a couple of week’s time. If we can consolidate early on we hope to have a decent season. It has been great having crowds back in – they do make the game what it is and we look forward to welcoming them back home and away.”
You’ll not see much terrace fashion on the green slopes of Armstrong Park’s perimeter where the bailer twine belt was once de rigour, but you will see plenty of effort, commitment and passion on the pitch.
Can you really and truthfully say that about St. James’s?
Words: Jon Tait