My Passion with Jon Tullock: Being part of the Toon Army is more than just a game of football

Jon Tullock, head of debt recovery at Shulmans law firm in Leeds, talks about his passion for Newcastle United.

I’ve been passionate about Newcastle United football club since I was a nipper. It’s pretty difficult to come from the city and not be, frankly.

I can remember, so vividly, the first time I stood at the Gallowgate End of St James’ Park.

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For those who’ve never been it can be difficult to put into words, but it’s not just a game of football there – it’s pure theatre.

St James’ Park packed to the rafters with 50,000 Geordies singing their hearts out and willing their team to win.

I’ve been a season ticket holder for more years than I care to remember and if I can make it to a home game, I will, usually with my father and my cousin.

I’ve been to plenty away matches as well, even as far afield as Barcelona when we managed to lose a Champions League match 4-0.

Nice place, but it’s hard to appreciate it as much as you should when you’re nursing the wound inflicted by that kind of defeat, especially when we beat them 3-2 in the first leg.

The club, as usual, is going through some tricky times but as far as I’m concerned, it’s Mike Ashley’s club and, as such, he’s entitled to do what he wants with it – whether we fans like it or not, unfortunately.

We’ve got yet another new manager in Alan Pardew and as fans we need to get behind him and give him and the team as much support as ever.

At the risk of sounding like some old bloke (I’m 33) I can remember the glory days of Kevin Keegan, or ‘King Kev’ as he was known.

What a time. He was in a team with Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Terry McDermott, and they pulled us out of the old Second Division and up into the First.

I was there for his final match, when he left St James’ Park by helicopter, taking off straight from the pitch.

He was still wearing his NUFC kit. Not a dry eye in the house.

Of course, nobody guessed he’d come back as manager. His first stint was brilliant, especially the year we finished third in the Premier League. And signed Shearer. His second stint – not so much.

Sir Bobby Robson was another brilliant manager and frankly since his time we’ve never really got it together since.

Still, another season, another set of hopes and dreams for the Toon.

My passion for the club has now been complicated somewhat because I got married a few weeks ago – to a Mackem (that’s a Sunderland supporter, if you didn’t know).

Still, if we can get through a football season separately supporting two teams who loathe each other, we can get through anything.